Editorial: What Mega Man Means to Me

It was 30 years ago that the Blue Bomber made his way into our lives. Since then, he became one of Capcom’s major franchises and after years of neglect, Capcom FINALLY announced Mega Man 11 for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC via Steam. While there were mixed reactions to the announcement, Capcom’s newly rekindled devotion to the series was a shot in the arm that the Mega Man community had been patiently (or impatiently) waiting for.

Mega Man 11

After 7 long years… we FINALLY get a new game!

I’ve been a Mega Man fan for the better part of those 30 years. Since The Outerhaven gives me this wonderful platform to voice my opinions, I wanted to do something for the 30th anniversary of Mega Man. At first, I contemplated ranking every single Mega Man game out there, but felt that would be a huge undertaking. I had only played some of the games in the series a handful of times, such as Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX and Mega Man Legends. While I have completed all of those games, I hadn’t replayed them as much as games in the classic or X series. Because as such, I didn’t believe that I had a strong enough grasp on the later entries to truly be qualified to rank them.

The next thought would be to do my own person Top 10 list, but after reflecting on that decision, I realized that, while popular and often considered clickbait, Top 10 lists are just overdone and didn’t really fell all that original.

So, I decided on just speaking from the heart. I wanted to take this opportunity to use this platform to just express what the Mega Man franchise means to me.

It all started back in 1990 for me. I have a life-long friend by the name of Jonathan that used to come hang out at my house often. His mom and my mom have been friends for over fifty years and when he was two years old, his mother brought him to the hospital when I was born and we’ve been friends ever since. I have been alive on this Earth for 36 years and I am proud to say that he’s been a friend for all 36 of them. I bring him up because it was he who had got me interested in Mega Man.

He spent the night at my house one and, as boys do, we would waste the night away playing video games or watching movies. He brought over Mega Man 3 for the NES and I just sat there and watched him play it as he hogged my TV and my Nintendo console. The first robot master I saw him take on was Magnet Man. Everything from the run and gun action, the level design and the boss fight intrigued me. I loved the music I heard, the sound effects and the fact that when you beat a boss, you got their weapon. All of it just enthralled me to the point where I begged my mom to buy the game for me. She did and I remember sitting there playing it over and over again.

The one that started it all for me

As the years went on, my mom, once again, bought me Mega Man 4, 5 and 6. Years later (1997 to be exact) when I got an afterschool part-time job, there was a mom and pop video game trading store in the local mall and they had like-new carts of Mega Man and Mega Man 2 for like five bucks each. I had loved the series so far so I wanted to pick those carts up and try out the first two games. While I missed the slide and the Mega Buster, I still had a ton of fun. I was actually shocked that the first game had a scoring system as none of the other games had the component. Even though there was a score at the top of the screen, there wasn’t a place to put your initials when you got a game over or you beat the game. I often wondered what the point of the scoring system was and still do to this day.

Back tracking a bit to 1993, I remember taking a trip down to Florida to visit my grandparents. While I live in Florida now, I used to live in Massachusetts. This was also the year Mega Man X came out for the Super Nintendo. I remember seeing Mega Man X on the cover of an issue of Nintendo Power and I was thoroughly confused.

Keep in mind that the box art for the classic games used numbers to indicate the sequels (i.e. Mega Man 2), but the title screens on the game used roman numerals (i.e. Mega Man II). When I saw Mega Man X, my feeble little immature brain thought that it was Mega Man 10. I actually went to Blockbuster video and searched high and wide for Mega Man 7, 8 and 9, but was disappointed when I couldn’t find them anywhere. I wasn’t the only one who thought this either because several of my friends thought the same exact thing.

X doesn’t = 10? Who knew? Oh… right… everyone but me.

Upon actually READING the article (because at that age, let’s face it… you looked at the pretty pictures and not the words on the page… or at least I did), I realized that this was a brand-new series set in the future beyond the classic series. My mom, again, bought it for me while we were in Florida. The biggest problem was that my Super Nintendo was back up in Massachusetts so I had no way to play the game until we returned home from our trip. I remember starting at the box art just chomping at the bit to play it. I must have read that instruction manual at least fifty times within the one-week period we were down in Florida on vacation. After all, it was the closest I could get to playing the game so I had to take what I had been given for the time being.

I remember coming home and rushing to my room. I didn’t care about unpacking or anything. It was about 11pm at night when we got in and I was still on holiday break from school so I didn’t care one bit about pulling an all-nighter. I slammed that cart into my Super Nintendo and played until my body gave out from exhaustion and fell asleep.

These are some of the fondest memories I have of the series. As time went on and just bought my own games because pre-college financial independence, my love for the series just grew and grew. I became extremely fond of the Battle Network series because it was a whole new spin on the franchise and, at the time, I was REALLY getting into computers and technology so the fact that everything was set in a digital age where you could traverse the internet using Net Navis really captured my attention. You could imagine my elation in 2007 when my friend turned me onto anime and I discovered there was a show based off of Battle Network. In America, it was referred to as Mega Man NT Warrior… in Japan, it was known as Rockman.EXE. I’m kind of miffed that the third, fourth and fifth seasons never got an English dub… especially Rockman.EXE Stream as I felt that was the best season out of the entire series.

30 years later, my love for the Mega Man franchise still burns brighter than ever. Not including the recent Mega Man 11 announcement, I’m just two games away from owning every single U.S. released Mega Man game. I’m missing Mega Man 64 (although I technically have it in the form of Mega Man Legends) and Mega Man for the Sega Game Gear. Once I collect those, I’ll start working on foreign titles such as Mega Man the Wily Wars for the Mega Drive, Rockman.EXE Operate Shooting Star for the Nintendo 3DS and so forth.

Funnily enough, I have Ryuusei no Rockman 2 (Mega Man Star Force 2) because Capcom stated that the game would not be coming to the West. Sure enough, right after I import them, they announced it was coming to the U.S. after all so now I have both the English and Japanese versions of the game. FYI… the Japanese versions are still sealed in shrink wrap! I also have Rockman.EXE 3: Black for the Game Boy Advance simply because it was named a different color even though it’s the same game!

Yep… I own a copy of each of these!

I also own a ton of action figures, some of which are still sealed in their original packaging, the Ruby Spears cartoon on DVD, the Wish Upon a Star OVA from Japan, the entire Mega Man NT Warrior manga set and I even went as far as to get the Mega Man Star Force series on DVD. I say “went as far” because that DVD was only released in Europe so it is a PAL version of the anime. I actually looked up the code sequence for my Panasonic DVD player to access the region settings and set it so that it would read the disc! I have a lot of odds and ends things as well with the life-sized replica helmet as my latest acquisition. Maybe one day when I’m insanely bored, I will assemble my entire collection and snap a photo. Some of my stuff is boxed up in order to make room for new stuff so it would take me hours to sift through and locate everything and I know that I’m going to think I have it all, take the picture, put it all away and discover I left something out.

In conclusion, I hope you made it all the way through this long ramble, but I just wanted to tell my story of how Mega Man became a part of my life and why I am happy and proud to celebrate three decades of the Blue Bomber!

Feel free to leave a comment below about some of your fondest memories of Mega Man!

If you feel inclined, give me a follow on Twitter @TheAnimePulse

 

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.