If, perhaps, I would want to make some money--I'm broke and jobless at the moment--I would bet that there is not a single person who reads my blogs (apart from maybe this one, that is) who gives one-and-a-half or two fucks about Mega Man. By that accord, and seeing as how any audience I have to this post is a captive one, I've decided to give you a brief history of my history with Mega Man. These details of the details of my history with the Mega Man series should hopefully convey just how fucking difficult and frustrating Mega Man can be.
The images that are usually conjured up when most people think of their childhood can be completely maudlin. Luckily for me, mine are drowned in 8-bit noise. To further exemplify this, say I was in therapy for some deeply rooted psychological disorder. To begin, my therapist may ask me, "What comes to your mind when you think of your childhood?" I would probably shy up a little, ready myself to face my worth, and would thus reply, "Mega Man." My illusory psychologist with pictures of Carl Jung on his walls would in turn inquire, "Wat?" Then, at that exact moment, I may most likely stammer up a few incomplete sentences detailing just how much I abhor Elec Man's stage, as well as how I farmed 9 lives--perhaps a subconscious choice, seeing as how I always really wanted a cat and never got one, which, coincidentally, could be another cause of my hypothetical disorder--for Dr. Wily's castle and lost miserably.
Suffice to say, Mega Man's difficulty could have led to me spending far too many hours in front of my television. The atrophy of my brain did not begin with my own conscious desire to indulge far too much in video games; the death of my brain cells came exclusively from Mega Man's difficulty. (The emotionless, caustic nature of blog-text is often a terrible a medium for sarcasm. Either that, or I am just not funny.)
What I am getting at is that Mega Man helped define what video games meant to me. The view is, of course, egocentric, but my concept of control pad-smashing, reset switch-bashing, button-mashing gameplay was entirely derived from Capcom putting a dude in a blue suit and making him fight robots that "cut" and "gut" shit up. (Combined with some terrible box-art whose cheesiness inspired fear and loathing in many a generation.)
Considering what I just described as "nostalgia," no surprise should be felt when one discovers that when Mega Man 9 came out for the online gaming distribution services this generation offers, I was stoked. Mega Man 9 was everything I was looking for in a next-generation game. The graphics, sound, controls, and gameplay that MM9 possessed were archaic, clunky, and perfect. Granted, MM9 does have its flaws, but for what it is, the game is incredible. Splash Woman's music is one of my favorite tracks from the series, and all the levels are amazingly well designed and fluid. The cohesiveness of the game even extends to a more dynamic level as well; hardcore and casual players can be equally satisfied with how prevalent the game is to them, and the game is just as streamlined and laid-out for casual, 4-hour run-throughs as it is for 25-minute run-throughs.
But I must digress--I cannot relate to many "good" Mega Man Players. I was always really talented at Mega Man X--I have one of the fastest Mega Man X 100% clear times in the world and I'm not afraid to boast it in my (possibly) upcoming video--but I was contrarily never very skilled at the original series. Maybe that reason is precisely why I prefer the newer games to the older ones, seeing as how much of the older games' difficulty existed merely because of technical limits or primitive programming; the older games were much harder to get around because of the NES technology. Maybe Iím wrong on this particular point, but the aforementioned limits of the NES is how the difficulty seems relevant to me.
So here we are in April 2010. But more specifically, here I am with Mega Man 10:
I just started playing this game and I'm all kinds of stoked again. After some early-game rough patches, I can undoubtedly and wholeheartedly say that this game is the hardest in the series. Difficulty, too, can be relative, but I honestly feel as if MM10 is the most "fair," yet difficult game in the original Mega Man series thus far. This is mainly because the game "cheats" less, by showcasing less "holy-shit-did-that-seriously-just-fucking-happen-to-me?" moments and exhibting more "wow-that-is-legitimately-difficult" ones; making the levels seem longer (at least to me); implementing more "challenging" level themes and vehicles; and overall, the game has a less "trial-and-error" feel.
Along with previously stated reason, there's the fact that Capcom implemented less AWFUL wait-for-the-blocks-to-appear-but-if-you're-not-amazing-you-will-die-on-your-first-try block puzzles--I do not miss those at all.
I'll post more as my experience with MM10 unfolds if anyone is interested. Homework has been piling up as I nerd-out and write this, so I have not had a chance to sit down with the game longer than an hour or so. This post is already massive, so here's to hoping that the next post is less verbose.
Oh, and to those who play on easy mode: go fuck yourself. To whom it may concern: here's an awful quality, inverted video of me playing MM10. I apologize for the unnecessary vulgarity; I guess I was just stoked to be on camera or something. I've gotten much better at the game since the video, so if you're going to make fun of me, make fun of me in the past: