Huh, that accidental Mega Man 9 article turned out to be way more popular than I expected. I was hoping I’d be able to stress-test the site’s new private hosting service, but I didn’t expect an all-time one-day traffic record so soon. And so far as I can tell, the site only broke down once, and then just for a few seconds. So that’s good! It looks like this mad sucscription/hosting thing is going to work out after all.
I can’t complain that this particular article was the one to catch the Internet’s fickle attention, either. It’s a piece that honestly represents several years’ worth of observations and thinking, and I spent about a week formulating it in my head before spending a good chunk of yesterday putting into actual words. Of course, even then it didn’t quite turn out like I had intended, but I think the ultimate point comes across regardless: Games, as a medium, can employ a full range of styles and technology, and as the medium matures I think (or at least hope) we’ll see developers making deliberate decisions to anchor their creations at all different points on the technological spectrum — not just at the “bleeding edge” end.
Well, the ultimate point mostly comes across. This being the Internet, I did notice a bit of the usual myopia, with people either willfully striking out to disagree or simply getting hung up on utterly incidental comments which had no bearing whatsoever on the main thesis. Much to my surprise, it turns out that some parts of the Internet really like Mega Man 5! I mean, really really like it, as in the collective reaction at every site where the article was linked to my offhand remark that MM5 was soulless and phoned-in was about he same as if I had just stabbed everyone’s mother in the eyes. The fact that I didn’t write the site’s MM5 review myself notwithstanding, this heartfelt love for what I’ve always considered the low ebb of the NES Mega Man games caught me rather off-guard; and while I’ve long since learned to roll my eyes at the feral fury of the Internet’s collective temper-tantrums about games, I’ve seen enough genuinely sorrowful responses to our cumulative MM5 criticism that I feel compelled to reconsider my opinion.
Bear in mind, though, that I have quite a history with MM5. Specifically, it is the game that made me get rid of my NES. Let’s recount history, here: I saw Mega Man 2‘s glory previewed in two Nintendo Power screenshots and promptly went and mowed a bunch of lawns so I could buy the last copy of the original Mega Man at our local Waldensoft, along with MM2 when it arrived a few months later. They were fabulous and I loved them. Mega Man 3 arrived the following year at Christmas, and Mega Man 4 the Christmas after. (They were excellent and pretty good, respectively.) But I merely rented Mega Man 5, because it didn’t look to offer anything particular new…a suspicion which was borne out through hands-on gameplay. I realized with much sadness that the heyday of the NES was long past, and that innovation and fun had hitched their wagon to the Super NES’s Mode 7-capable trailer post. And so I bade farewell to my NES…well, sort of. I retired it to the closet and only pulled it out again to be broken down to use in a college art project. (That’s right: I was doing cool, artsy things with video game stuff back in 1995. Screw you, Internet, you Etsy-using, late-blooming bunch of wannabes.)
Still, maybe I was wrong. Maybe there’s this nugget of amazing brilliance hidden in some part of MM5 that I simply overlooked in 1991, and again in 1999 when I imported and played through the Rockman Complete Works PS1 reissues, and again a couple of years ago when I reviewed Mega Man Anniversary Collection for GameCube and PS2. You never know! I’m never afraid to admit I was wrong.
But… I kinda doubt I am.