WedNESday #9

You knew this beautiful blue bastard was going to make it to the list at some point, because he is, in many ways, the defining character of the NES era. Especially when people discuss difficult games from their childhood. Like fellow masochists, I played a lot of Mega Man growing up. Obsessively.

When I was deciding which entry of this beloved franchise to pick, I ran into a huge dilemma…

Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3…

Mega Man 3 is the best entry in the series to me, but completing Mega Man 2 was the most satisfying. We’ll go with the second entry today and save the third for another WedNESday.

Ah, Mega Man 2. The bane of my childhood, the central nucleus of my toddler rage. You see, by the time I thought you took on the role of a blue astronaut meaning you would explore planets. Why did I think this? I have no idea. I was completely wrong. You don’t play as an astronaut and you aren’t exploring.

You take on the role of Dr. Lights helper robot named Rock, who gets converted into a fighting robot to help save the world from destructive robots in the first Mega Man. In this sequel, you are tasked with following and defeating Dr. Willy, who caused the events of the first game, but in order to do so, you have to defeat his eight created Robot Masters.

The game allows you to choose which of the eight you would like to fight first, in any order. Once you make a selection, you’ll go through that boss own world and ultimately face him in the end. Defeating the boss grants you his power to use. Now, a veteran of the series will tell you that certain abilities you acquire make other bosses easy. There is a pattern for success and less stress. That’s nice and all that, but no one had this knowledge to bestow upon me when I first started playing the game, mostly because my childhood classmates were playing games released at our time and I was stuck with my sister’s hand-me-downs.

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Picture me as a young eight-year-old boy reenacting the scene of Rocky IV when he goes to the icy wilderness of Russia to train for his Drago fight. That was me, locked in seclusion, playing this game every waking moment since I first put the cartridge in. I was determined, desperate. Day in and day out for months I was getting destroyed. The height of my anger was when I made it to Willy’s castle only to die and have to start all over.

I’m sorry, what was that? Passwords? I didn’t know what that was for at the time.

I will tell you this though, once I finally did defeat the game it was one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of my entire life. Till this day I can remember the massive amount of joy from beating the game, blissful tears as I screamed in accomplishment.

A normal child would move on and play something more relaxing. I was not a normal child and jumped back in to try different orders. At least I had fun… for the most part.

All my life I’ve suffered from issues dealing with hearing and I’ve lost a lot of my ability to hear, with becoming deaf an inevitability. I’d like to think this has caused me to appreciate sounds and music more but, either way, the melodies that play in Mega Man 2 are some of the best in gaming. I’d put it near, or at the top of the NES library. I could listen to those beats and songs on repeat forever, to be honest, and never got tired of it.

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