251: Mega Man: A Transmission from Another World

Mega Man: A Transmission from Another World

Much has changed since the early days of gaming, not the least of which is an increasing lack of feeling like you were playing something weird and wholly alien. John Constantine examines this phenomenon by contrasting the releases of the first Mega Man and Mega Man 10.

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Thank you, John. This is a great article, a nice stroll down memory lane for us original NES owners, and provides even more incentive for us to cough up Micro$oft points to get our hands on Mega Man 10.

Great read! It holds a lot of truth to it. I remember renting old NES games and never knowing exactly what it was that I was about to play.

I miss those times.

I think this article makes many points. As long as they keep coming out with sequels or re-makes, people will continue playing them. The real question is if they will add anything new to the game to make it fresh and interesting. With Super Mario Bros. Wii, they added a new element by adding multiplayer play on the same screen at the same time. While this doesn't seem like much at a glance, when you put it into practice it makes the game entirely different. My single-player experience wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the couple of hours of multiplayer experience with that game, and I can't wait to finish it the next time a few friends come over (after all, killing each other is half the fun!).

Hey, great article. Brings me back to my early NES days.

On a sidenote, Megaman has taught me one thing: perseverance.

How?

One Megaman 2 stage: Quickman.

Alar:
I think this article makes many points. As long as they keep coming out with sequels or re-makes, people will continue playing them. The real question is if they will add anything new to the game to make it fresh and interesting. With Super Mario Bros. Wii, they added a new element by adding multiplayer play on the same screen at the same time. While this doesn't seem like much at a glance, when you put it into practice it makes the game entirely different. My single-player experience wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the couple of hours of multiplayer experience with that game, and I can't wait to finish it the next time a few friends come over (after all, killing each other is half the fun!).

Well to be honest, the multiplayer that's being used in SMBWii was used a long-time ago in the original Contra game (at least - even Contra probably wasn't the first multiplayer scroller). I do get what you mean, though, as SMBWii IS different from what we usually see nowadays... And it's actually quite the riot!

I remember renting games back in the day with little knowledge of what you were actually renting. Usually ended up with garbage, but when you found a little gem, O my was it ever exciting.

My dad purchased a lot of those 200 in 1 Nes games back in the early nineties and although a lot of the games in them are "Super" versions but man did I discover a bunch of little gems through them. Adventure Island, Balloon Fight, Ice climber, Mappy, Bomberman, A really really messed up version of Mario Bros, countless versions of Contra and way too many games I can't recall. Digging through piles of games was fun. Lots and lots of resetting of my Nes.

Mister Benoit:
I remember renting games back in the day with little knowledge of what you were actually renting. Usually ended up with garbage, but when you found a little gem, O my was it ever exciting.

My dad purchased a lot of those 200 in 1 Nes games back in the early nineties and although a lot of the games in them are "Super" versions but man did I discover a bunch of little gems through them. Adventure Island, Balloon Fight, Ice climber, Mappy, Bomberman, A really really messed up version of Mario Bros, countless versions of Contra and way too many games I can't recall. Digging through piles of games was fun. Lots and lots of resetting of my Nes.

What about Joust? And City Connection? And Twin Bee?

Meeeeeeeemories...

Thank you, Monsieur Ben.

I remember back in the 80's buying a game just based on the cover art and what was said on the back. When I finally starting getting Nintendo Power, that helped some, but not every game was in there. In a way I think I still prefer those days. You took more chances on what you played, sure you got duds, but you got some real gems too.

As others have said, there was such a thrill in picking something up off the game rental shelf at the movie store and not having any idea what you were getting beyond what the box showed. I was an early Nintendo Power subscriber so I had something of a lifeline but the mag's focus on strategy guides and big name titles, not to mention the news lag of print media, left me totally blind more often than not.

I would certainly miss this always connected world of instant information that we have now if it ever went away, but there is something to be said for that info deprived mix of excitement and dread.

There's definitely a certain innocence that cannot be regained. When first meeting a character appear randomly in the woods in Adventure of Link, and having him declare "I AM ERROR" one couldn't tell if this was a half-translated bug code, or part of the game. The 'tidiness' of modern console games allows us (*mostly* positive) confidence in them, but leaves them without the ability to surprise so readily.

I never got into megaman...

Best I can do. This article with its strange mixture of melancholy introspection just didn't speak to me. I understand the desire for a game to be more than it was, coupled with that sense of magic - but ultimately, this is a time that is likely done forever. I feel like focusing on it, only makes the loss that more dear.

The only thing I could think of the whole time I was reading it was "Your name is John Constantine? HOLY SHIT."

Good article, too. Thanks!

I agree.

Most games lack the artistic styling from the 8-32 bit days. 3D has become "realistic" focused rather than have much stylization to it like Psychonaughts and a few others do. The most colorful and artistic looking games are the 2D games often made with flash

Personally, I prefer the modern-day gaming happens, as a subculture I can drawn on, and watch videos and read walkthroughs and run Let's Plays and read articles about gaming and write posts that other people that have a unique view on gaming will read. The mysterious discoveries of yore were, to me, essentially a lonely activity.

Maybe I'm getting old.

Indeed, knowing more about the creative processes behind games does remove part of the mystery... But in return you get a much deeper understanding of just how hard it is to create a good game, and this often includes a bigger appreciation of the game. Now I have experienced level and even game design with programs such as the Valve Hammer Tool, CnC's World Builder and GameMaker, games are less of a mystery to me than ever... But I look at them through completely new eyes. First now I realize just how incredibly detailed Metroid Prime is, especially if you consider it's a game that came out in the early days of the GameCube, for that same console. I realize how hard it must've been to code properly working fully interactive portals in the games Prey and Portal. I am impressed by how well the creators in Spore work; stick a limb onto a creature, and the limb will instantly integrate with the body, as if it's always been there.

Less mysteries, but more appreciation. That's the way I see it.

"Games are less magical, less unique as individual works of art, than they were during the 8- and 16-bit console era."

I disagree,
the gaming industry has matured, and now has huge companies on the top who have multi million dollar advertising budgets.
and they in general shovel repetitive crap, like other media industries.
But a large percentage of games are indie developed. Many of these games are very good and most are individual works of art.

John Constantine:
Mega Man 10 may not be dramatically different than Mega Man, but it is a better game.

You say that like it's some great achievement *snicker* (To qualify this, I love the Megaman series, but my love started with 3 and 2. The original is my bane. I realize it was important to kick-starting the franchise, but it's like how you have to get chicken-pox as a kid to gain immunity. Just because it was an important first step doesn't make it a pleasant memory.)

The Random One:
Personally, I prefer the modern-day gaming happens, as a subculture I can drawn on, and watch videos and read walkthroughs and run Let's Plays and read articles about gaming and write posts that other people that have a unique view on gaming will read. The mysterious discoveries of yore were, to me, essentially a lonely activity.

Hmm, I think information is a positive thing, but in my view, there's so much of it. I've got a ten minute break, do I go read an article from the Escapist, check threads on Gamefaqs, or scan Kotaku for articles? Speaking of Kotaku, whenever I go there, there's something like 15 articles that interest me, and I just don't have time to read them all. I end up with tons of open tabs in my browser, trying to consume the information I think is interesting. I don't know, I just wish there could be a little bit more focus, and less Twitter-esque "Hey guys, this big developer just said something sort of cryptic that could possible maybe kinda be interpreted as a hint at [insert upcoming blockbuster title]."

For me it isn't the not knowing or mystery of games. TBH I could care less. I think it's more the lack of creativity for me anyway.. Since GTA 3 and its popular sequels and whatnot how many games have been open world for no reason, how many FPS' do we have now? I do get gaming is a business, just like movies and music. I just wish there was more creativity and more people willing to buy something creative instead game x which is like game z but sorta like game lmnop lol

Interesting article. I guess now is the time when we're done figuring games out and we just have to use them well. Thinking of games as tools, relatively new tools, we're finished with learning the basics about them, and now we just have to use them and figure out better ways to use them and more convenient shapes and sizes and stuff. I don't know if I'm being clear here, but what I mean is that we know games well now, and we just have to refine them and figure out ways that work better. I still don't know if I'm being clear... I hope I am, I seem to have run out of vocabulary.

Also, if the article is about the difference between Mega Man and Mega Man 10 (which it is), why is the picture a picture of X?

kirok:
"Games are less magical, less unique as individual works of art, than they were during the 8- and 16-bit console era."

I disagree,
the gaming industry has matured, and now has huge companies on the top who have multi million dollar advertising budgets.
and they in general shovel repetitive crap, like other media industries.
But a large percentage of games are indie developed. Many of these games are very good and most are individual works of art.

I think you missed the point.

He's not saying that games today are less unique in the sense that they are clichéd or rehashes of older games, he's saying that thanks to the massive amounts of information we get from gaming oriented websites, magazines etc. there's no mystery in buying games. They have little to no chance to be surprising. Sure, they can be really, really good and enjoyable, but it wasn't a complete mystery when you bought it.

On that note, there were a lot of flaws with that system. Lord knows how many games people bought that failed to deliver a satisfying experience. It was basically a gamble whether or not you were going to get a good game when you hit the local game store.

I feel like gaming has turned for the better. When people talk about the past, all they can think about is the good days. It's like music. People talk like today's music is worse than the music of the 60s or 80s because of all the crap we see, but if you take the time to look around the LP section in a music store, you'll find a lot of unknown bands that glow of the crap-factor that didn't stand the test of time. It's the same with the old-school era of gaming.

People claim that today's games are bland and uninspired, but really, how many games do you think there existed that tried to ride on the backs of Super Mario or Mega Man? The truth is that in 20 years, only a few games will have stood the test of time. I'll give my own shout out to my personal favorite; Shadow of the Colossus, but it's no guarantee that it will last.

So in short: The only thing that can actually judge the quality of modern day gaming is the future. A future that will show just how much our generation inspired theirs. Until then, I guess we can settle with flamingly-hot speculations.

 

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