It’s been this way ever since I was a kid.  Video games have been as much a part of my sleeping cycle as have been giant scary monsters, falling into hayfields from the sky, and suddenly finding myself with super powers, heading to high school, and toasting all the jerks with my heat vision.

I’ve been on a retro binge lately, fuelled by a haphazard re-playing of my anniversary collection of MegaMan games I have lying around.  It’s pretty wicked – you get all 8 MM games on one disc, as well as some obscure "arcade" version that’s interspersed with scenes from what is apparently a popular (and extremely epileptic) anime show featuring our blue-helmeted hero.  Yeah – I don’t ask any questions either.

To understand MegaMan, you have to understand why it’s so much fun to play.  It’s not the storyline – almost every sequel that comes out has exactly the same structure: Choose one of 8 bosses to fight, blast your way through his level, and then end up in a one-on-one showdown to the death in a locked room.  It’s not the hero – as MegaMan, you’re basically a little blue man with large conical feet, with a weapon attached to one arm;  And it’s not the depth of play – MM is basically restricted to four moves: Jump, Shoot, Run and Dash.  So, what the hell is it then?

The answer, is utterly and definitely, the levels.  Every game might have the same structure, and the bosses might be just a reinvention of the same boss in the previous game under a different guise, but you can always count on the levels to be completely different every time.  Therein lies the key!  It would seem to be sort of akin to the corporate shrewdness of changing the packaging on a product that’s already crap to begin with (bye bye RadioShite), but in this case, the end product is actually the result of many hours of original work, ideas, design and let’s face it, love.  But I digress.  Music is golden as well.  You can always count on a MM game to bring some smooth techno-rock tunes to your TV – so much so that I find myself getting excited every time I hear the intro music.  Bring it on, blue bomber! These game makers put their soul into these games (or whatever’s left of it after taxes), and gamers reap in the joy after a simple financial transaction.

Anyways, this doesn’t really apply to me, because the games are now more than 10 years old, the super nintendo cartridges are still inexplicably priced at a ghastly $30-$40 each, and an alternative + free method of playing the games of old is readily available.  So I’ve taken that option,  which brings me back to my dreams.

In what must have been a marathon session of arthritic investment, I managed to complete MM X recently.  A particularly satisfying accomplishment, as I never managed to beat the fucker when I was a kid – too many 5$ rentals of the same game becomes expensive.  The extensive length of my playing time pervaded my thoughts even after I had finished playing – in my dream, I could see myself actually playing MegaMan.  It wasn’t particularly exciting (the graphics sucked!), and mostly strange, because the little guy seemed to be drowning on the screen – but there you go.  Anyways, back in the real world, since no amount of MM is ever enough, I have used the latest technology to record my game as I’m playing it!  Whee-freaking-ha!  Here I am fighting a deranged monkey-faced wall: link (11MB)

Note about movie links! I’ve encoded the clips with a particular codec that some people may not have installed on their computers.  In most cases, clicking on the link will start to load the quicktime movie, and the quicktime software will automatically detect that the codec is missing and ask you to install "Intel Indeo 5".  Click ok/continue, and you’ll be able to watch.  If this doesn’t happen (it should though!), then I don’t know what to tell you.. I haven’t figured out how to install the codec separately from quicktime! :(

Anyways, the absolute coolest part of this whole renaissance thing I’m going through, though, has to be the discovery that a secret exists in the game that I did not know about when I was a kid.  Kids may just be stupid adults with a height problem, but they do know their viddy games.  And to my surprise – and in a game I loved – here was a freaking unlockable Ha-Do-Ken fireball (5MB)! (Which seriously whoops the final boss’ robo-dog, by the way).  And yes, in this sequence, Sigma goes on to wipe the floor with me – how the hell am I supposed to deal with a wall-hopping light saber-wielding maniac like that?! (I later learned he doesn’t appreciate HaDoKen’s in the face either…)

So yes, I was finally able to beat the game.  A chapter that had long been open in my life is finally closed, and I can move on… until I start playing the sequel.

But for now, enjoy Sigma’s death (16MB), and the horrible, ever-so-slow-scrolling, closing game text.  I warn you – it’s actually painful to read.

p.s.: This rocks.  Thank you and goodnight!