When I was a child, I didn’t know much about games. I played whatever my mom grabbed at the flea market, and she in turn bought games based on box art and titles alone. Sometimes, this was a curse. I wound up stuck with such garbage as Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Bash and Where’s Waldo. Other times, mom scored a hit. On one fateful day, dear old mom saw a game and thought “Oh, Mega Man 2. That sounds like something a kid would like.”
Mega Man II became my favorite NES game by far. I played through the game more times than I could count throughout my childhood, even devoting entire playthroughs to one particular weapon. As I got older, Mega Man II remained a favorite. Mega Man II and its NES brethren became a standby for when I became too stressed out and needed to clear my mind. It’s hard to dwell on your problems when Quick Man’s lasers are threatening to vaporize you. To this day, Mega Man II ranks up as my favorite game of all time.
As time went on Mega Man grew with me. Mega Man X offered a decidedly more cool take on Mega Man, perfect for me as I straddled the lines between child and teenager. Mega Man Legends became my first PS1 game, and is another game I’ve played many times throughout the year. Plenty of lunch periods were spend battling opponents in Mega Man Battle Network, and Mega Man 9 and 10 hit me right in the nostalgia.
I’ve grown attached to the little blue guy, as many others are attached to their favorite fictional characters. That’s why I was so upset when Capcom yanked away my hopes of seeing Mega Man Volnutt freed from the moon. That’s why I was upset to find that Capcom’s former mascot was left out of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom despite pleas from their fans. That’s probably why I was so pissed off at the following video.
Happy Birthday Dear Mega Man…
Few characters have managed to stay relevant in the video game industry for 25 years. This achievement places Mega Man in the upper echelon of game heroes alongside the likes of Link, Mario, and Samus. This should be a time of celebration, but Mega Man fans have had precious little to celebrate. Mega Man’s last retail console appearance was way back on the PS2. Mega Man has seen quite a few adventures in the land of portable gaming, but he’s yet to make an appearance on the 3DS or the Playstation Vita. Mega Man’s been kept on life support through retro downloadable titles like Mega Man 9 and 10, fan projects like Street Fighter X Mega Man, and re-releases from Rock’s back catalog. Meanwhile, Mega Man’s most promising new titles, Mega Man Universe and the much anticipated Mega Man Legends 3, were both canceled, the latter in a very controversial matter. Apparently, a Kinect version of Steel Battalion was deemed a higher priority than Mega Man Legends 3.
Since then, Capcom’s PR department has not only failed to put out the fire among Mega Man fans, but have continually poured gasoline on it. Capcom Europe’s PR team (hopefully former PR team) suggested that fans were responsible for Mega Man Legends 3′s cancellation by not participating enough in the Devroom, a website designed to solicit fan input on Mega Man Legends 3′s development. Naturally, this was salt in the wound for disappointed Mega Man fans.
Capcom’s next two snafus came from their fighting game franchises. Despite being the most requested character on Capcom’s side to be added to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mega Man was not allowed to join the fray. Mega Man did however make it into Street Fighter X Mega Man. Which of Mega Man’s incarnations was deemed worthy to join the game? Was it the classic chibi style Mega Man we know and love? The sleeker and more high tech X? Would Capcom surprise us by including the digital MegaMan.exe? Capcom had a lot of great options. Instead, they chose this.
This version of Mega Man is based on the box art from Mega Man 1 which was notoriously awful. To a fanbase hoping for any glimpse of their beloved character, this seemed like a wasted opportunity at best, and a slap in the face at worst.
Finally we come to Capcom’s most recent Mega Man related debacle. While fans are eagerly awaiting a game announcment to celebrate Mega Man’s anniversary, all we have is a vague promise that “top men” are working on the future of the franchise. Then, Capcom releases a trailer showcasing new avatar costumes as if to say “we’re not going to make games, but we’d still sure like your money.”
Is Capcom Trolling Mega Man Fans?
Capcom’s actions have been so baffling that many fans feel like Capcom is deliberately trying their best to piss off their most devoted fans. Is this the case? Is Capcom crazy or just plain stupid?
Stupid is probably the answer. I doubt Capcom is being malicious in their efforts. In all honesty, the avatar costumes are pretty nice as far as avatar costumes go. Bad Box Art Mega Man has often been a target of ridicule for Capcom. Keiji Inafune even planned to put the character in Mega Man Universe and reportedly approved his inclusion in Street Fighter X Tekken. Capcom is not guilty of trolling, but they are guilty of complete obliviousness.
It’s part of human nature to become attached to fictional characters. It’s why people line up at midnight to see the Dark Knight Rises, it’s why people read 700 page Harry Potter books in one night, and why gamers play their favorites over and over again. Over the years, Mega Man has developed a fanbase as passionate as any other you’ll find in the entertainment industry.
Frankly, Mega Man’s fanbase is scared. They’re worried, quite legitimately, that Mega Man is on his deathbed. Capcom needs to realize just how much their fans care about this franchise, and then they’ll understand why announcements like their avatar announcement met with the reaction it did. What Capcom needs to do is provide Mega Man’s fans with real evidence that Mega Man will be around for his 26th birthday. Once Capcom does that, we’ll all gladly chuckle at an overweight Mega Man throwing punches with Heihachi and we’ll happily pay for our avatar to have a snazzy Gutsman helmet. We’re not really angry Capcom. We just want to know that our little blue buddy is going to be ok.