Rock. The Blue Bomber. Mega Man has shaped a generation of gamers with his buster gun and irrepressible charm.

Mega Man

My first exposure to Mega Man was with his second offering, passing around the controller before school. It was wild to find out what you could do with the second controller, so being a passive observer suddenly became more appealing — and less passive. But you still needed the mad skillz to get to Wily. The worst part? That effing stage where you have to use the Crash bombs to defeat a bunch of annoying lightbulbs, and if you miss EVEN ONE hit, you’re done, man. That game was brutal, but it made the defeat that much sweeter.

Not a single game was the same after that. Sure, we loved Mega Man 3, but did we really need to slide? And Rush? Every robot boy needs a robot dog, sure, but something different was happening here. And I beat the game a week after I first played it. Fun? Yeah. But I wasn’t playing so much before school any more.

That didn’t stop me from guessing what Mega Man 4 might be like, designing my own levels and bosses (this time after school). I caught on pretty quickly that games like this and Mario were pretty cookie-cutter, but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment.


When the NES grew up, Mega Man had to as well. Thus Mega Man X was born — not Mega Man 10, as the uninformed will profess. The X is for prototype, as the game will clearly state. They even stuck another one in the year, so you have no IDEA when in a hundred years this story of 20XX takes place (hopefully at least a year after 200X).

The opening level grabbed you by the diodes and didn’t let go. It was also my first experience being forced to suffer failure to proceed in a game. (Now I can spot that shizzle like a light-year away, but I digress.)

I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, just like I wasn’t sure how I felt about the death of Doctor Light. Fortunately, it looks like time was the culprit, and not Doctor Wily, but I still missed the crazy old coot. And what happened to Rock? Did he finally sacrifice himself in a shower of mult-colored concetric circles defeating evil once and for all? What about Rush, man?


Even with the release of its little brother, the NES was neither down nor out. All of the crazy tricks and cut scenes were somehow coaxed out of the little gray box to create the visually stunning Mega Man 6. It was to be the last installment on the console (and one of the last hurrah’s for the NES in general). Mega Man’s move to the SNES felt unnecessary, and perhaps a little confusing — especially for those who thought that “Mega Man 10” had already come out, so why are they going backwards? Maybe if I’d known it’d be the last time we saw him on a Nintendo console, I would have paid more attention


I have no idea what happened to Mega Man after that. It’s not that I don’t realize that X4 and X5 came out, along with Mega Man 8, and Mega Man Legends. It’s not that I didn’t own the console when those games came out (I didn’t, but that’s not the point). It’s the game boy games, when Zero spun off into his own series. And what the heck us up with Battle Network?


You know that a game is an inspiration when you name your band after one of the supporting characters. You know that band is special when you dedicate and entire ROCK OPERA to the subject of its inspiration. That’s exactly what The Protomen did.

They cannot be explained, only experienced. I first heard about them from Penny Arcade, but you can take a listen for yourself. “Breaking Out” had me convinced they were truly poised for greatness.


Mega Man recently returned to his roots with Mega Man 9, released on the various current downloadable console offerings — which includes Nintendo. Also, much to my chagrin, it has somewhat retroactively validated the “Mega Man X is Mega Man 10” school of thought. Was it fun? Sure? Hard? Hell yeah. Satisfying? I’ll get back to you. But it did bring me back to those days when I would see how far I could get in Mega Man 2 before I had to go to school.