Selective muscle memory

Oh, hey, our review copy of Mega Man 9 arrived today. Oh, hey, it’s for print only. Oh. Hey. Our reviews editor poached it. Curse my empty life.

Well, I did manage to swipe it long enough to take it for a spin through one level I’d never played before, and…you know, it’s funny. The Internet is convinced that I’m utterly inept at video games because I’ve panned crummy titles like Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins and Yoshi’s Island DS, incapable of making the connection that I don’t dislike them because they’re hard but rather because they’re badly made and their challenge stems largely from poor design. It’s a significant difference! But I loved Bionic Commando Rearmed, and I see myself going after far too many Mega Man 9 achievements for my own good. I played through Galaxy Man’s stage (simply because he had the weirdest-looking portrait and I believe that those are different from us should be destroyed) and aside from a single trick trap that will almost certainly kill everyone their first time through, I breezed through the level and took down the man (well, Man) himself on my first attempt.

Based on this I think it’s safe to say that I’m only capable of excelling at twitch games whose patterns and strategies were burned into my neurons twenty years ago. I may be too old a dog to master new tricks, but I’m quite good at the old ones, it seems.

Also, in case you missed the Retronauts that went up earlier, you really should give it a listen. While I’m the first to be critical of the show, this episode came out incredibly well — doubly surprising given its patchwork, improvisational assembly and preposterous length. But the quality of the guests helps, and so too does the fact that each of the four segments has a markedly different tone from the rest; despite talking about Dreamcast matters with two different groups for nearly two hours, there’s very little of the same ground covered between the two segments. I take no credit for its quality myself; I simply gave good things an excuse to coalesce into audible form.

25 thoughts on “Selective muscle memory

  1. I’m at the 1 hour and 30 minute mark, and so far it’s great. You should have Jerry on there every week ;)

  2. That was an intense episode. So awesome you got Tycho on there. Honorable mention goes to Sharkey’s obvious contempt for those pieces of reader mail.

  3. @Fred

    A Retronauts all about the history of Retronauts!… Nah, just kidding; that’s a horrible idea.

  4. Excellent episode, I’ve always wanted a Dreamcast but I’ve never experienced it other than through friends. I loved hearing the P1P guys with the now dead Ziff recording equipment too!

  5. Actually, the mobile gear we used for PAX wasn’t in the studio today, so we still have some glimmer of hope that maybe, maybe we can record podcasts before our insurance check hits.

    The next podcast will be very special, because it will be back at the hour mark again. Thank god.

  6. A live-in-front-of-the-audience taping of Retronauts would be excellent. I’m sure PAX would accommodate you in that regard – they already do 1UP Yours.

  7. Right, they already do 1UP Yours. So, no live Retronauts; we looked into it. Equal time for other outlets and such. Fair enough. I’ve claimed dibs on East Coast PAX.

  8. Sense memory IS a funny thing. I’ve been playing through the old Mega Man games in preparation for 9, and it’s funny how much I’ve retained — I made it through Air Man’s stage without taking a single hit. I’d forgotten entirely until you mentioned your girlfriend struggling with it that that level of skill is the result of getting knocked to my death by retractable horns dozens of times.

  9. Whenever the time comes to enlighten the masses, you have to mention what system we should buy MM9 for. The Wii just feels right – Mega Man belongs on a Nintendo console, dammit – but if the game has trophies/achievements, I may have to reconsider.

  10. Insanely long length aside, I have to say that this is probably the best retronauts to date. Even if I wasn’t on it, I’d still say that, because Jerry is REALLY passionate about the Dreamcast, hell, we all were, and there’s so much love in that room it’s almost disgusting.

  11. I thought it was a damn fine episode. And I especially liked the inclusion of the guys from the Player One Podcast. I have been listening to that one since it’s inception and they really fit in well on Retronauts. I would also like to suggest getting Phil Theobald on a future Retronauts too. He always champions retro rereleases on Player One and his NES and Mega Man knowledge is quite incredible. And he’s very entertaining to listen to.

  12. Too bad you aren’t reviewing MM9, but I guess now you are free to just enjoy the thing like a fan instead of having to be a critic.

    Live Retronauts? My interest in PAX East increases!

  13. A live Retronauts sounds cool… until I remember my strained attempt to listen to that PAX episode of 1up Yours this week. The sound quality was unbearable.

  14. Still need to finish this episode, I’m somewhere in the middle of it, but hot damn it’s been entertaining thus far. I’m with Jerry: All life revolves around Shen Mue.

  15. Jeremy, what system did you get MM9 in on? I’ve been wondering whether the Wii version will have “achievements” or not, and if you can answer this you will be my hero.

  16. DLC Wii games are reviewed via ROM disc. On Xbox 360 and PS3 we get them as installable files on a USB thumb drive. (And before you ask, the executables only work on debug systems.)

  17. Muscle memory is a funny thing. Last week, we played the Mega Man Collection (for Xbox) on a 360. We could NOT, I mean, not get past Air Man’s stage. There’s a tiny tiny tiny bit of lag with the button presses on the 360’s controller, but it was enough to keep us from getting past the Air Tikis. Then we switched to Mega Man 3, and we breezed through in almost a single life (missed a jump after the Rush Jet section of Doc Robot’s Needle Man stage.) The funniest thing was, we discovered brand new patterns in Magnet Man’s vanishing block sections. Yay for 15-year-plus replay value!

  18. I haven’t finished it yet so I dunno if maybe it came up again in the later segment, but I was bummed that the Sea Man talk got derailed by pedobear! A friend and I spent about a month raising Sea Man (eventually we broke down and tweaked the Dreamcast clock because it was taking too long) and that was a fucking weird experience. Sea Man had a pretty impressive amount of pre-recorded phrases, some of them hilarious… It was pretty fun to threaten him from time to time.

  19. I’m right there with you hating on Yoshi’s Island DS Parish, I was severely disappointed in the sequel to my favorite game. And an excellent podcast, those hours breezed right past. I got a Dreamcast for Christmas 2000, and loved it. You can guess my huge disappointment when a mere month later Sega called it quits.

    And, really, Mr. Driller music again? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great soundtrack, but you’ve used it before and many other Dreamcast games also had superb soundtracks (Jet Set Radio being my personal favorite).

  20. Yeah, well guess what. I already spent nine hours putting this podcast together and decided to go with music I already owned instead of hunting down more. Boo hoo, how heinous.

  21. Very heinous, my life is ruined. I don’t know how I’ll climb out of bed tomorrow. I was kind of hoping you were just really enamored with it, cause it is really cool music. Anyways I do appreciate the effort, Retronauts really is my favorite podcast.

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