Tony Ponce may have already given us a great article
bidding adieu to Mega Man, but given how close the series is to my own heart, I figured I'd throw my own history with the blue bomber out there. I'm not usually the sort to get up and say something at a funeral, but Mega Man has been, for the longest time, very near and dear to my heart.
My First, My Last, My Everything
I remember initially passing over the first offering of the series, knowing it only in passing, thanks to Nintendo Power and some tips in one of the many video game hint books I ordered from those book club pamphlets we'd get in elementary school. It wasn't until Mega Man 2 that I spent any time with the game, and not only did it prove to be my first Mega Man experience, but some would argue that it was my penultimate Mega Man experience.
Many a marble notebook intended for school (and many a homework worksheet, for that matter) ended up with several pages filled with scribbled passcodes for the various amounts of progress. I would probably be terrified to learn just how many hours of my young life were thrown into the yawning pit that was Flash Man's stage. I did the trick to turn the stars into those flying chick robots whenever possible. Mega Man 2 is one of the few Mega Man titles I've been solo, nevermind multiple times.
Hell, I can even claim to have made out
out with a girl while watching someone play Mega Man 2. It was Bubble Man's stage, and he wasn't very good, and I'd be lying if I wasn't tempted on a couple of occasions to break up the festivities and take the controller from him to show him how things were done.
I probably still have, somewhere, the issues of Nintendo Power featuring both the call for Master Robot suggestions for Mega Man 6, and the issue that showed off the results. I never submitted anything, but that contest had quite an influence on my doodles and margin scribbles through the course of middle school.
I'll confess to have taken a bit of a break around the time of Mega Man X; I'd become more enamored of JRPGS than action games at the time, so Mega Man's exploits, especially with the absence of new titles on the classic front, fell by the wayside. Even more reason to avoid the X series came further down the line, when I heard at one point that, while intended to be a three-game series originally, Capcom had pumped Inafune for more and more sequels, diluting the franchise until he could get back to where he wanted to be with Mega Man Zero. I'm not entirely sure about the truth of all this, but it wouldn't surprise me, and still left a bad taste in my mouth.
Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Bonnes
Legends, on the other hand, I fell absolutely in love with. It was as if two of my favorite gaming series, Mega Man and The Legend Of Zelda, had somehow concieved a beautiful, enormously fun baby. Clearly, I need to elaborate upon this, given that my Servbot user icon is clearly not very telling. At a point when I'd become fairly burnt out on grinding like a mofo to max out statistics and weapons in an RPG (thanks FFVIII, thanks Draw system), MML breathed enough fresh air into the idea that wiling away hours for the sake of more Zenny didn't feel nearly as much of a chore. The world was colorful, as were the characters, and the Bonnes were some of the most endearing nemeses I'd ever encountered.
The Misadventures Of Tronne Bonne was a delightful new look on the universe the first game had built, and the differences in gameplay were enough to keep me interested, as was the relative focus on my favorite element of its predecessor, the Servbots. Another confession I have to make is that I never finished MML2, but that still doesn't mean I wasn't looking forward to a third installment in the series, and its recent cancellation was certainly a devastating blow.
Around the same time I was playing through MML and Misadventures, I was hanging around a lot with my friend PJ. While he was more of an X fan than classic, he still had a dying Ford Tempo with eroding paint he'd dubbed the Blue Bomber, which we spent many a Wednesday night pushing to the mall and Borders (another recent casualty of the times), the former to look for good deals on clothing and video games, and the latter to hit on the two Rachels who worked the CD section and info desk.
Days Go By, And Still I Think Of You
While I've never been particularly successful in spreading the gospel of MML, I did pick up the Mega Man Anniversary Collection released on Xbox, and it proved quite useful to some friends of mine who made it their mission one year in college to play through all of the classic games. When I had the good fortune to see the Minibosses in concert a few years ago, I had even greater luck when, by some miracle, my screams of "MEGA MAN 2," somehow cut through the more numerous cries of "G.I. JOE" amongst other concert-goers when it came to requesting their next song. I own both Protomen albums, and the original Crash Man theme
, jumping back to Mega Man 2, was one of my primary inspirations for trying to pick up and learn the bass.
This username, which is probably my most widely used one in my entire internet career, is deriven in part from the Japanese word for Servbot, "Kobun," and before that, variations on "servbot" or "servbot42" were my most predominant handles for years; the latter is still my AIM name. A couple years ago, I commissioned art for a tattoo that was inspired by Mega Man Legends, prominently featuring the Bonne skull and Rock Volnutt's lifebar, and while I haven't quite found someone I feel is qualified to handle the necessary level of detail, it's meant to be the centerpiece in a sizable tattoo sleeve dedicated to video gaming I aim to have done.
I ended up naming one of the cats I adopted Tango, and given the things he'd do to my arms when he wanted to "play-"wrestle, you'd probably agree the name was apt. Not long ago, the "I Defeated The Eight Master Robots" shirt I'd originally gotten as a promo (rather than the later, Hot Topic version) finally gave up the ghost, after I'd kept on using it as a work/slop shirt even after its XL status pushed it to a point where it fit me like a trash bag. And, while I haven't the chance to learn not to suck at it, I try to squeeze in a little Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch whenever I can.
Mega Man, you may never have realized it, but you went a long way toward making me the gamer I am today. Without you, I probably would've gotten bored of my NES, and moved on to some other hobby, like building models, or sports, or macrame. I've got a love for you, since you were like the little, robotic brother I never had, and I'm gonna miss you something fierce.
Twenty-three and a half years is too young for anyone to go. May you rest in shiny, flashing pieces.