These past few years have seen some big names reach significant milestones in gaming history. In 2010/2011 we saw Mario (25), Kirby (20), and Zelda (25) celebrate their birthdays in big ways, from concerts to collectible games. 2012 also saw some big names pass by, but with less intriguing results. Final Fantasy saw a few Distant Worlds concerts and a Super Fan Contest dedicated to it (there was much more going on in Japan), while titles like Contra and Phantasy Star barely got a head nod. However, no one saw their anniversary receive as much fanservice as our very own Blue Bomber himself. I will take a look at the brief history of our hero, and recap Mega Man’s 25th anniversary.
Mega Man touched the hearts of many when that first game came out in 1987. With that awkward blue humanoid robot on the cover, Mega Man would come to be known as the Blue Bomber, a small robot boy built by Dr. Light to combat the crazy Dr. Wily from trying to take over the world with other robots. Mega Man brought some revolutionary concepts to the table, including catchy music, a new take on platform gaming, and of course, the ability to absorb your foes powers to use against other foes in a rock, paper, scissors fashion.
In the gaming world, it was always gratifying to triumph over bosses in each level, but being able to use their abilities sweetened the deal. Not only were you progressing through the game, but you were awarded a small gift in the process. A twofer! Add into the mix that Mega Man also allowed you to begin the game however you wanted. No longer were you bound to one path to take as you made it to the end of the game. Mega Man games allowed you to decide who you wanted to start the chain with, and you could choose from that point to continue along the weakness path, or challenge yourself by going out of the normal order. The choice was truly yours.
Needless to say, Mega Man garnered quite a fan base behind it, with fans affectionately referring to our beloved Mega Man as the Blue Bomber, a title he rightfully earned as he ran, jumped and shot at his foes with the grace that only a robot could have. Now, 25 years later, fans still love our hero just as much as day one. And while we have seen some disappointments lately in the release department (see: Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe), we have definitely seen some surprises (Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10). Today, the Mega Man games are starting to get fewer and farther apart, especially with the departure of Kenji Inafune, and Capcom, although stating that we would see a Mega Man game in the future, hasn’t instilled much confidence in me.
Instead, fans have decided to pick up their Mega Busters, put on their Auto hard hats, and bring the anniversary to us. In celebration of his 25th anniversary, several small projects have come together to bring us the experience that we crave in light of Mega Man’s birthday.
This excerpt is taken straight from the website:
“132 Robot Masters rebuilt by 132 artists.
The Robot Masters of Capcom’s prolific series represented more than an epic figurehead of destruction, they represented aspiration. Stealing the boss’ power to defeat the next. Becoming the badass. Saving the world.
Megaman has deeply inspired generations of video gamers and artists. This project is to pay homage to Megaman and the hordes of Robot Masters he defeated over the last 25 years. The artists of this project have come together to pay tribute to the what we feel is one of the greatest game series’ of all time.
Each artist has chosen one Robot Master of a selection of 132 classics and represented them with the artist’s unique style and inspiration.”
Mega Man x Street Fighter
In my eyes, this title received the “Most Likely to Not Succeed” award, simply on concept alone. After all, how do you combine a fighting game with an action platformer, and make it successful? Nevermind the fact that the Street Fighter characters would be shrunk down to size. I don’t think there has been a time in my life where I was more wrong. Mega Man x Street Fighter blend the best of both worlds into a beautiful 8-bit adventure. There was a lot of creativity pushed into this game, from open ended level traveling to the remixed crossovers of Street Fighter and Mega Man music. The game even follows the tried and true system of bosses being weak to certain abilities, although the pattern may not be as obvious this time around. As of this article’s creation date, this game is still free, so be sure to grab it before they put a price tag on it!
Still a work in progress, this ambitious project (developed by Jason Canam) is coming along nicely, with a small demo available for play. Jason is creating a brand new Mega Man experience with all new bosses and another piece of the storyline, seemingly hooking in the Bonne family. He is keeping true to the originals, while creating eight never before seen robot masters for Mega Man to try his hand at. I know I will be keeping my eye on this project for a final release, so head on over and give him some emotional support!
If you know of any more fan projects that are going on, please email me, and I will be happy to put them up on this page! I am extremely excited about all of these projects, and they help remind me that I am not alone when I sit here and crave a new Mega Man game. If you have time, please send a message to all of the people who are working diligently on these projects to bring to us the joy and celebration of one of the greatest heroes of our time: Mega Man!