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My Gaming Story: X marks the spot


The old clichť of pirate tales is the fabled treasure map, a sometimes cryptic drawing that leads a person towards a location marked with an ďXĒ which signifies riches or something else valuable or desired. In the world of video games, itís treasure is likewise marked with an X Ė in this case, Mega Man X.

Mega Man X is one of the crown jewels of the video game world and itís the game that absolutely cemented my love for video games. I was into video games well before Mega Man X came along, but this was the right game at the right time.

Iím not going to beat around the bush, Mega Man X is the best and smartest designed video game in history. The only other video game in existence that should even entertain a debate to this fact is Super Mario Bros. 3. Mega Man X is on such a higher plane of existence that it stretches across time itself to become the best game of any year.

What was the best game of 1993? Mega Man X!

Best game of 1985? Mega Man X!

What about 2007? You guessed it, Mega Man X.

If Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade has any historical errors itís that the Holy Grail actually wasnít a chalice used by Christ because it was actually Jesusís copy of Mega Man X. A game that good clearly must have been blessed by some otherworldly being. You know the magical glowing object inside of John Travoltaís suitcase in Pulp Fiction? Yep, itís actually his copy of Mega Man X. The Tesseract in The Avengers is likely just a physical manifestation of Mega Man Xís source code.

Right now I should clarify something, donít expect me to start on some nostalgic trip down memory lane about my first time playing Mega Man X. How I fell in love with this game isnít important, why I did is all that really matters. Why I fell in love with this game is because itís, to be blunt, as close to perfection as games will ever get. Itís the Citizen Kane, Empire Strikes Back, and RoboCop of video games. And I fell in love with video games as a whole because I had now seen how great gaming could be.

Mega Man X was the Michael Jordan of video games in the sense that you knew you were witnessing greatness as it was happening. This gameís greatness stems from how everything in the game is designed to have a very useful role in the game as a whole. Mega Man X is also a relic from an era where developers didnít assume gamers had the IQ of a potato. Do you know how many tutorial-like messages or prompts are in Mega Man Xís opening level? None! Mega Man X teaches you how everything works by building its opening stage around the basic mechanics of the game. What a novel idea Ė teaching you how to play the game by letting you play the game.

At this point Iím just going to bring up Egoraptorís Mega Man X episode of Sequelitis. Iím treading on the same ground as his video already and Iím not going to waste your time repeating the same things as this video, especially when this video says everything I would say (and does it a lot better).

Sequels are a huge part of the video game industry, and always will be. Part of the reason I fell in love with Mega Man X was because itís the definition of what a sequel should be. It looks at what its predecessors did and builds upon that to create a new game that, effectively, renders the old games obsolete. It doesnít strip away parts from past games or change things simply for the sake of going ďweíre different!Ē (like DmC: Devil May Cry), it honors its past while making its own contributions.

Mega Man X, quite simply, did everything right. The levels were designed smartly, the game never got unfairly difficult, it had plenty of replay value, and you could make the game as challenging or effortless as you wanted depending on which robot masters you defeated first.

One of the big reasons Iím in love with video games is because I constantly want to find more video games that do things just as right as Mega Man X did. Once you get a taste of that kind of greatness you simply want more of it, which is one of the reasons I revisit Mega Man X at least once or twice a year.

Are there other games do things right in a Mega Man X sense? Sure, Devil May Cry 3 comes to mind for me. Shadow of the Colossus is pretty well done as well. But they are mere appetizers of perfection compared to Mega Man Xís never ending buffet of perfection.

Another reason I love video games because of Mega Man X was because I could see what the video game world could be like if more games had as much thought put into them as Mega Man X had. Even in this age of multi-million dollar ďAAAĒ caliber video games, I really donít think the people in charge put the same amount of thought into these modern games compared to Mega Man X or games from MMXís era.

As Iíve gotten older my love for Mega Man X has also developed a nostalgic side to it as well. To use the old adage, they donít make Ďem like they used to. Weíre in an era of video gaming where hand-holding tutorials are so frequent they can be parodied (Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon) and has seemingly turned a generation into gamers who are dependent on these things (y canít Metroid crawl?). Even though this generation gave us Demonís Souls I still kind of feel like this generation took away a bit of the thrill of learning and accomplishment from video games. Every time I see a prompt thatís along the lines of ďhit this button to jumpĒ I die a little inside, because I really donít think we always need to so bluntly explain basic mechanics with giant prompts.

Mega Man X is also the reason I feel so sour about modern day Capcom. Capcom went from putting out games that were amazing to now dry-humping the leg of Call of Duty in the faint hopes that one of their games will somehow stick. Itís sad to see, in my opinion, one of the old frontrunners be reduced to a copycat follower.

By the way, did I mention Mega Man Xís soundtrack is fucking amazing?

Iíd make that song my ringtone, but then Iíd never answer my phone.

Iím going to go play Mega Man X now, because not playing it now after jerking off so hard about it would result in the ultimate case of gamer blue-balls. This game is so good.
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About Sephzillaone of us since 9:27 AM on 07.15.2008

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Who am I? I'm a guy who plays video games, talks way too much about comics and movies, likes Godzilla and Robocop. Why should you read my blog? Because when I write I have fun, make up bullshit lists, and when I do get a little serious with some blogs I try to be insightful and use resources and facts to try and back up my opinion as much as I can. And if you don't follow my blog, I'll send you a picture of a sad kitten who wants some love.

Also, I tend to debate a lot and get up on a soapbox a bit from time to time. I like to debate for the sake of debating and I tend to find it fun to get other peoples perspectives on things, and sometimes I like to play devil's advocate a bit just for the sake of it. Basically, don't take me so serious sometimes even if it seems like I am being serious.

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