Tag Archives: little metal boy

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7 (Live!)

So I’ve done three streams for the site, and I haven’t actually “finished” a game in a single one. This had to be rectified, so, in order to test Discord chat, we had a live stream of Mega Man 6. And then it segued into a stream of Mega Man 7, because… why not? And then there was a little Sonic Mania, because I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to that title. It happens. Anywhere, here you go:

Notes! With Time Annotations!

3:00 – After a few adjustments, we’re ready to go. Mega Man 6 has always been one of my favorite Mega Man games, so, finally, we’re doing a stream of a game I’m actually good at playing. Our guests to start are Fanboy Master and A Turtle Does Bite.

15:00 – And then BEAT shows up! He’s drinking Victory Golden Monkey booz. Does this count as a plug? Should… should I be getting paid for this?

22:00 – At this point, I randomly start singing what I can remember from We Are Rockman, which was a Japanese song used to peddle Mega Man’s Soccer. Submitted without comment, here’s a sampling of lyrics:

You don’t have to be a president to clock mad dough (yo)
Run you own show (yo) drive a phat car (yo)
Fuck blond ho (New York)
Bro, act like you know

30:00 – We’re going to talk about centaurs now. The Penny Arcade strip mentioned, Unhorse, can be found here (https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/05/26 ). It’s almost a decade old… and honestly, I thought it was older. Huh.

40:00 – LancerECM joins us in the text portion of the stream. Yay! Someone is watching! Oh, I think this is also whereabouts I compare Dr. Wily to confederate war general statues. They’re both bad.

50:00 – I seriously believed I was the first to propose the dual timelines theory of Bubble Bobble, but it apparently originated in a Bad Rats episode. There is nothing new under the sun.

How to live1:09:00 – And thus did Mega Man 6 end. I guess it took an hour to complete? That sounds about right. So, naturally, we talk about the ages of Street Fighters.

1:15:00 – Because I’m rather enjoying myself, we flip over to Mega Man 7, the immediate sequel to Mega Man 6. I realize this should seem obvious, but it’s not like Mega Man 6 requires a complete understanding of the rich lore of Mega Man 5.

1:19:00 – Hey everybody, it’s the first appearance of Shadow the Hedgehog Bass! Also, Muteki stops into the stream. Always room for one more.

1:37:00 – Here’s an actual videogame relevant fact: in Mega Man 7, you can’t obtain the RUSH letter and the RUSH part on the same run-through, so you either have to return to the stage later, or suicide. I choose the option that leads to a dead robot. Also, BEAT talks about streaming his wedding.

1:45:00 – I apologize, the Mighty No. 9 quote about female characters was in reference to Mighty No. 3, the electrical lady. The full quote is “This is pretty much the No. 3 design by Inafune-san himself. You can see how much he likes strong female characters.” –Kimokimo. Maybe there were secret “strong female characters” in the Mega Man franchise?

1:56:00 – I can actually hear the gameplay now, and, yes, I did successfully activate the Ghouls ‘n Ghosts music for Shade Man’s stage. Also, to prove I’m not insane, here’s Mega-Caveman:


2:09:00 – We’re mostly just talking about Sonic throughout the stream. How many chaos emeralds has Knuckles lost over the years? The world may never know.

2:15:00 – You can fight Protoman and steal his shield in Mega Man 7. For all the talk of how this game was rushed out the door, there are a lot of fun little details in this adventure.

2:23:00 – Though the “thoughtless”, rushed game design does show itself with the lack of an easy “escape module” (like in Mega Man X). Having to repeat an entire stage because you chose the wrong option on the menu is just terrible.

2:33:00 – Another day, another Wily Castle. Let’s talk about Atari landfills.

2:40:00 – Bass and Treble are known as Forte and Gospel in Japan. It’s still a basic music theme, but “Gospel” does at least make certain organizations in Mega Man Battle Network 2 sound more interesting.

I hate you2:52:00 – Nobody cares that Freeze Man can “freeze” the game, so let’s talk about fictional characters liking fictional universes. I’m sticking to my theory that Dr. Light sits around watching century-old cartoons when no one is around.

2:58:00 – Mega Man 7 final boss! I hate everything about this!

3:10:00 – And then it finally ends. BEAT talks about “Fifteen Minute Classics”, which is a book that I’m almost certain doesn’t in any way exist.

3:17:00 – We’ve been talking about Sonic Mania all night, so I finally decide to play it. Knuckles is clearly the main character of Sonic Mania, right?

3:25 – BEAT leaves, because it’s 1 AM. I try to stop the stream, but then we start talking about Trump, and I can’t pass up a good chance to deride that idiot, so the stream continues for about another half hour.

And that’s it! Four hours of complete nonsense! If you decided to actually watch the whole thing through (during the live stream or now) congratulations, you’re a Gogglebob.com super fan! Thanks for watching, and thanks to everyone that participated! See you on the next stream!

FGC #319 Mega Man 6 & Mega Man 7

  • System: They’re not quite as ubiquitous as Mega Man 2 & 3, but 6 & 7 have appeared on a number of systems. In this case, it was the Playstation 4, but I’m pretty sure these games have been available on every Playstation model… and Xbox… and maybe like 75% of Nintendo consoles, too.
  • Number of players: One person plays, like four people watch and comment.
  • Pew PewMaybe actually talk about the game for a second: Mega Man 6 isn’t the apex of the NES Mega Man games, but it’s a tight, fun experience. Mega Man 7 is loose, but pretty, and generally inoffensive. If we could even out the difficulty of both final bosses, we’d have some kickass games here.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 6): Centaur Man, because 70% horse, 50% man forever.
  • Favorite Robot Master (Mega Man 7): Shade Man, because robot vampire. I guess I just like the “mythical” robot masters… but then again, when the competition includes friggen’ Spring Man…
  • Goggle Bob Fact: Mega Man 6 was one of two games I kept at my grandmother’s house, so it got played roughly 600% more than other NES titles. This is likely why the level layouts of that title are now a part of my DNA.
  • Did you know? Wind Man and Knight Man were both “designed” by American fans (and specifically Nintendo Power readers), but if you look up the “original” designs, they’re pretty far off from the actual final product. I guess it’s more like they officially “named” a couple of robot masters. And I’m not jealous. Not at all.
  • Would I play again: I will play every Mega Man game again until the end of time.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Low G Man for the NES! Time for some low-down dirty gravity hijinks! Please look forward to it!

The news!

FGC #168 Mega Man IV

Charge ahead!I’ve said it before, but videogames are inordinately complex. I’m not (just) talking about how many programmers it takes to animate the leading man’s nose hair, no, I’m thinking of the basic design going all the way back to Mario. Jump physics “feel wrong”? Game is crap. Powerup distribution makes the game too easy/hard? Game is crap. Level 2 Boss is impossible and there’s no skipping it? Game is crap. It seems like a million little pieces have to work 100% in tandem, or the whole thing tumbles down the dumpster hole. In a way, this is true of many mediums (how many times have you seen a movie with an interesting plot but insipid dialogue), but considering how much a videogame is impacted by how the player “feels”, well, I admit there have been a few videogames I quit inside of five minutes. Tekken: Death by Degrees, I’m looking at you.

Mega Man basically got it perfect on his second shot. Mega Man 1 had its share of… weirdness with terminal falls and noisy platforms, but Mega Man 2 just about perfected the formula for many games to come. Yes, things were added, like the slide and mega buster, but I can see why Mega Man 2 deserves as many accolades as it receives, as it’s a very well-constructed game from top to bottom. Assuming I’m willing to ignore the boobeam trap, of course.

And, honestly, Mega Man is comforting in its familiarity. When Mario, the Belmonts, and even Contra couldn’t seem to pin down one 100% same gameplay style between titles (I can fly now? I can be a pirate? What the hell is Contra Force?), it was heartening to have “the same, but with a new cast” every year or so. Hell if the franchise was created today, from Mega Man 2 on, every Mega Man title could practically be an expansion pack.

Oh God I just realized how badly I want a new eight robot masters every year…

The Mega Man Gameboy titles were an obvious attempt to translate those great games to a portable system. Save Mega Man V (which I already… kinda… discussed), each of the Mega Man Gameboy titles Toad Flush isn't going to cut itreused robot masters, incidental bots, and stage hazards from their “big brother” NES titles. In general, this led to a mix of different robot masters comingling (Quick Man and Cut Man in the same game? Why, I never!), and, sometimes, the opportunity to use new techniques against old enemies (eat mega buster, Snake Man!). But, overall, the first three Gameboy Mega Mans were… lackluster. Not completely bad, mind you, just another example of early portable ports that were greatly compromised compared to their console brethren.

And then there’s Mega Man IV.

Mega Man IV is actually a pretty great game all on its own. It combines the fun of Mega Man 4 and 5 superbly, introduces Ballade, the final (and pretty cool) Mega Killer, and the geography of many of the areas (like the interiors of the gigantic Wily Tank) are pretty splendid. This is the kind of Mega Man game I’d like to play on the go, and really makes me lament the fact that I ignored it for so long (thinking it’d be just as underwhelming as its Gameboy ancestors). I didn’t play this title until well after Mega Man Mania was cancelled (sometime around the GBA days), and more’s the pity.

However, the changes to the Mega Man formula this game does make really highlight what works so well in the “real” Mega Man series.

ARGHThe first and most obvious issue is that everything is cramped as hell. Mega Man usually has full reign of the entirety of the NES’s vertical space, and his little metal boy sprite doesn’t take up that much real estate. Not so on the teeny tiny Gameboy screen. Now, in the previous three Mega Gameboy titles, the dedication to aping the old level design was held above actually fun level design, so things like Elec Man’s disappearing blocks became… frustrating. Meanwhile, in Mega Man IV, levels finally feel like they’re designed for the Gameboy, and not just ported. This is great for the minute-to-minute gameplay… but can be a little disorienting for someone who has played Mega Man 3 a billion times, and isn’t used to hitting the ceiling so often. Mind you, the most open areas (Toad Man’s stage comes to mind) still seem to retain a sprawling feeling, but the feeling that an unseen enemy may be lurking just out of range gets pretty insistent as the stages proceed.

Secondly, and less immediately obvious, is the fact that Mega Man has less health. Your life bar is shorter in all the Gameboy games, and that creates a sort of dissonance between the “classic” rival bots and their new deadliness. Revisiting Toad Man’s stage again: here are some water rat bots. In Mega Man 4, they’re an inconvenience that is most likely to murder our mega pal only through some edge of a platform knockback. In Mega Man IV, a single hit from those rodents seems to drain a quarter of your life bar. There are less enemy bots per stage than in the NES titles, but since they’re all so powerful now, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. In mainline Mega Man, lesser bots are nuisances, but on the Gameboy, they’re downright deadly.

Of course, the shorter life bars also mean the bosses go down a lot faster, so, good, less Ring Man to deal with.

Too humidNow the health thing might be a pain on its own, but it couples poorly with the new P-Chips System. From a strictly theoretical perspective, I love P-Chips. Mega Man now has access to a shop, and, if you’re terrible at the game, you may incidentally accumulate enough P-Chips to buy a shiny new E-Tank or stock of extra lives. That’s great! No more do you have to farm that one E-Tank in Hard Man’s stage, you can buy your consumables, and defeat even the hardest robot masters with all the technique of Thomas the Thumbless Man. Life keeps getting better!

However, the downside is now that where there might once have been free energy for your health or weapons, there’s a P-Chip. This random mook could have dropped a lil’ energy refill, but, nope, P-Chip. And P-Chips are great!… they just can’t be used actually within the level you find them… so you’re stuck waiting to cash in your chips later. That’s super an’ all, but I’m dying now! And did I mention that weapon refills are really important in the later stages that don’t grant that “free” between level fill up? But don’t worry, you’ve got more P-Chips!

And, finally, we have the recoil factor. This is one subtle change that absolutely changes the game entirely. Now, whenever Mega Man fires a fully charged mega buster blast, he recoils juuuuust a little bit. It seems small, and it’s unlikely to impact a boss battle (probably when the mega buster is most abused), but wow can it make an impact over platforming segments. Carefully leaping from one platform to another is dangerous already, but there’s an enemy! Quick, shoot it! … But Whoopsyou were charging, so you fired off a mega blast, recoiled just enough, and now welcome to the abyss. While this never comes up on the NES games, here Mega Man has an actual reason to not be charging all the time. Scary platforms ahead? Stop holding down that B button and use your regular pew pews. You’ll be glad you did.

What does this all mean? Well, it illuminates exactly how Mega Man is make or break based on the tiniest changes. Overall, for better or worse, I would say most of these changes make the game more difficult. The closer ceiling is a pain, the recoil factor will get you killed, and P-Chips are very situational. I don’t need to mention (again) how a smaller life bar is going to end poorly. However, Mega Man IV is still a fun game. It’s more difficult than Mega Man 4/5, but it’s also just different enough to be interesting. Like the concept Final Fantasy 4 DS would eventually embody, this is a game that is fun for new players, and plays with veteran players’ expectations just enough to be a new experience. Mega Man IV is highly recommended because of how it tweaks its formulas.

But it just goes to show that every robot lives or dies thanks to a million little pieces.

FGC #168 Mega Man IV

  • System: Gameboy and 3DS Virtual Console. I don’t think any other systems want that pea-green business.
  • Number of players: One, because I don’t want to see that stupid link cable again.
  • Too bombyFavorite Robot Master (this game): Toad Man continues to impress through his own sheer lack of… anything. Dude can dance, and, other than that, he’s basically a slowly moving target. Dr. Cossack was having an off day, I guess.
  • Did you know? This was the first Mega Man game to feature the Energy Balancer, the item that allows Mega Man to pick up weapon energy without opening the menu every damn time. You will note that this item became completely standard for the Mega Man X series.
  • Would I play again: I would, but Mega Man V has all the cool stuff of this game, and a rocket punch. I can’t say no to a rocket punch.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Venetica for the Xbox 360! Venetica… isn’t that a font? I would play a game about a font fighting to become part of a default list of… oh never mind. Please look forward to whatever this is!

Year in Review: 2015

I’m making a list!

Disappointment of the Year (that I actually played): Batman: Arkham Knight

I am the nightBatman: Arkham Knight is not a bad game. It’s basically Batman: Arkham City, but with a car… and that’s the problem.

See, I played Batman: Arkham City until my Playstation 3 demanded something new to read. I found every last trophy, solved every confounded riddle, and transformed the criminal underworld of Gotham into some kind of jelly substance. I flew around that city for what seemed like days on end, taking any excuse to play just a few moments more or swoop and tumble across the entire skyline again.

Batman: Arkham Knight introduced the Batmobile, which seems like something that could only add fun to the universe, but, nope, it sucks, and I literally never want to see it again. I mean, I can see why it could be fun, it’s not, like, a game of Deadly Towers every time you hop in the vehicle, but it’s the same thing every car mission (well, one of two things, a race, or a tank face-off), and there isn’t enough variety in techniques or gameplay between Batmobile events to justify the hundreds of times Bruce has to use that… that thing.

VroomSo, after I completed the main campaign of the game, I checked a FAQ to see roughly how many times I’d have to use the Batmobile again to 100% the game. The answer… didn’t thrill me. I put the game away, and haven’t touched it again since.

A real shame the game couldn’t be as fun as its older brother. It’s the Jason Todd of the Batman video game family.

Disappointment of the Year (that I played for a half hour): Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

I have been told by reliable sources that this game improves as more complicated modes are unlocked, but I played this game straight out of the box with some friends, and, geez, Lawn Mowing Simulator 2015 might have been less boring. For a game that has to share a system and peripheral gimmick with Super Smash Bros. 4, you’d think this one would be just a teensy bit more enjoyable, but, nope, random, boring nonsense all around.

Worst of all, it will likely never see my WiiU again, but I’ll still buy all the stupid Amiibos for this game. Damn Resetti…

Reason to not let me out of the house for the Year: Amiibo

Gaze ye upon my OCD and despair!

2015 Completion

Compilation of the Year: Mega Man Legacy Collection

This category only exists because Rare Replay was a contender, but those Micro Mega Challenges are much better when the Blue Bomber is involved. If I’m being honest, Mega Man Legacy Collection was always going to be a winner, because I will take any excuse to play a Mega Man game. Unlike nearly every Mega Man collection previously released (and there’s practically been one for every console generation), this one is flawless, so no weird controller mapping or graphical “upgrades” to ruin the experience of dropping Dr. Wily. And it’s all available on “new” systems like the Playstation 4, so I’ll be able to flip over to a quick game of Mega Man 3 whenever I want for the next few years.

Honestly, if Shovel Knight (and his frenemy Plague Knight) didn’t partially steal the little metal boy’s thunder, this might have been my game of the year.

But it did inspire a nursery rhyme.

Remake of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

I realize this is sacrilege in some places, but I’m going to say it: I don’t really like Majora’s Mask. I realize that, objectively, Majora’s Mask is a good game, and the innovations it made for the Zelda franchise and all of gaming should be recognized and applauded; but on a subjective level, I can’t stand to play the dang thing. I have a natural OCD Ugly ol' Moonabout video games, and the fact that I can’t save at any time to avert mistakes, or that I have to complete a dungeon all in one try while collecting every last fairy… it drives me insane. Couple this with ancient, blurry N64 graphics and 90 masks to use and only three buttons to use them, and I quickly grow frustrated and roll over to greener pastures.

The 3DS remake, right off the bat, corrects my biggest issue, and now I can save with impunity anytime, anywhere. No, I don’t use it to savescum all day long, but the mere fact that I can puts my mind at ease in a way that’s hard to describe. Then you’ve got the bottom screen inventory that allows for quick mask switching, updated graphics that allow for a draw distance greater than the length of Link’s sword, and various other “quality of life” improvements, and one of my most loathed Zelda games suddenly becomes my favorite.

Way to go, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, now I can enjoy this game with everybody else.

Title of the Year: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late

pure chaosI played all the way through that fighting game filled with forgettable characters (barring anyone from Melty Blood), and I still have no idea what that title is supposed to mean. I’m not certain a single one of those words belongs anywhere near the others. All told, though, I am looking forward to the sequel, Over Day Outside Death DMG:Early.

System of the Year: WiiU

If I was twelve and had the same taste in video games, the WiiU would be my nirvana. Nerdvana.

I am, at this point in my life, a hopeless maniac that buys new video games at the drop of the hat, whether they are digital or physical, because I’m desperately addicted to whatever endorphins get released when I “unwrap” a new game. As a result, I have a backlog that’s simply absurd, and I’ll be lucky if my grandkids ever make it through my PS2 collection alone.

That said, I still remember being a kid (say, pre-16 or so) when I only received a new video game for holidays, and that was about it. Granted, I could probably milk my different family members for a new game each, but past about April, I likely wouldn’t see a new ‘un again until Christmas. This is likely why I gravitated toward JRPGs and their hours and hours of gameplay, A moment in timeand why I initially rebuked games like Donkey Kong Country that would present the final boss inside of an afternoon.

But if I had a WiiU back then? Oh boy.

Mind you, DLC practically didn’t exist when I was a child, nor Amiibos, so I don’t know where they’d fall in the whole “no more games for months” spectrum, but assuming I was allowed a digital wallet, the WiiU’s library would have been pretty amazing for getting the most bang out of any given game’s buck.

Within this year…

  • Hyrule Warriors gained new maps and characters and Amiibo support, granting multiple reasons to return to an already huge game. The last map was released in, I believe, February, but the Ganondorf Amiibo didn’t hit stateside until September.
  • Mario Kart 8 saw new track releases in April, and its last compatible Amiibo, Olimar, was released in September.
  • Super Smash Bros 4 received DLC characters and stages all year, and will continue into 2016. Practically every (over fifty?) Amiibo released was an excuse to fire this one back up again.
  • Splatoon didn’t even require a dime for its myriad of updates, apparently still going into 2016 as well. Combine this with random Splatfests, and it’s hard not to pop that one in every week to see what’s “happening”. Gotta stay fresh.
  • Mario Maker offers infinite content, and has specifically been releasing Nintendo approved courses every week with fun new prizes.

Even though some of these games were released in 2014, there seemed to always be a reason to return to “completed” games for new and exciting content (or at least a neat costume). Compare this to some of the “big” releases of 2016 on other systems that begged you to purchase a “season pass” for maybe one new map or a handful of new characters, and you can see why I find the WiiU’s offerings so endearing.

Game of the Year: Super Mario Maker

WinnerReally, from the Nintendo World Championships on, there was no way this wasn’t going to be the victor.

Despite cursing reams of paper over the years with my own Mario level creations (and a host of unique Mario powerups best never mentioned), I was initially tepid on the concept of Mario Maker. After all, Wario Ware DIY seemed like a wonderful idea back when I purchased the game, but then I learned that I’m an adult now, and simply don’t have the time to create my own fun. Like, I’d love to sit down and design the “perfect” Wario Ware game… but I’ve got so many other things to organize, create, and vacuum… and then it’s six months later and I haven’t done a thing past the tutorial. My time is precious, and when I want to play a video game, I want to play a video game, not tax myself in pursuit of some impossibly perfect creation.

But then came the Nintendo World Championships, which I decided to watch on Youtube for no greater reason than a general boredom on a Saturday night. And there, months before the game’s release, it clicked. Yes, creating Mario courses of my own would be fun, but even more fun would be the host of Nintendo created stages, and, eventually, stages created by people who also knew what they were doing, and then, finally, there would be infinity Mario levels.

So, yes, I’ve created a number of Mario stages, and I don’t think they’re that great, just fun little obstacle courses. But that’s not what has held my attention these past few months; no, what keeps me coming back are all the amazing levels created by people so BARFmuch more innovative and imaginative than myself. I can now fly through advanced levels that require perfect Mario-manship, or saunter through a stage or two with odd, inspired mechanics (like a goomba that releases traps), or new and interesting spins on encroaching buzzsaws. And there’s something new every day, which is perfect for a play session that is ten minutes or ten hours.

There’s a reason I’ve unlocked all those amiibo costumes… and am still begging for more.

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Undertale

Look, I’ve been playing a lot of Xenosaga recently, and I don’t want to get entrenched in another Xeno game before that project is completed. I realize it may be a while, but I don’t want to confuse my chaos’s with my Emma’s, as that could only lead to disaster.

As for Undertale, this is literally the game that, this past December, I picked up a dedicated “gaming PC” to play. I figured that, if I’m going to write about video games, I may as well actually play some of those “third column” PC games, and Undertale seems like a wonderful start. All that said, I’m set up, the game is in my library, but I still haven’t had time to actually sit down and play the dang thing… but soon!

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2015

2015 is the year I started this site. I’ve given a thousand “reasons” that I started this thing over the last year, almost all of them valid, but it boils down to the fact that I wanted to do something Because it's 2015!“creative” with my favorite hobby, and, like a hundred posts later (combining FGC, Kingdom Hearts, and Xenosaga posts), I’m kind of amazed I haven’t lost interest or started loathing the project yet. Maybe it’s the random nature of the FGC, but I actually look forward to Random ROB’s choices, and, like with next week’s Zool 2, I enjoy the challenge of “now how am I going to get a story out of this turd?” I like writing about the games that I enjoy because I enjoy those games and want to share the experience with others (see the entire Gaming 5 series of these past weeks), and I enjoy writing about games I don’t enjoy because they offer a creative challenge to transform into an article. Famous last words, I know, but I keep waiting for this to stop being fun, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Related, it was towards the end of 2015 that I started the Xenosaga Let’s Play, and I’m downright astonished at how much I’m enjoying that project. Like, seriously, I thought it would be grueling, but it’s like I’m playing the game in an entirely different way, and, while it’s not like you are watching me play the game as I’m actually playing it, I’m playing the game with the LP in mind every step of the way, and it’s led to some of my favorite video game writing I’ve ever produced. I like me creating a Let’s Play.

All that said, here’s some favorite articles from 2015:

Christ, I’ve got five and I’m not even halfway through the list? Leave your favorite articles in the comments, I’m turning in for the day before my ego gets any bigger.

What’s Next? Random ROB chose Zool 2 a couple weeks back, so I’ll finally tackle that Atari Jaguar “Classic”. Please look forward to it!

FGC #003 Mega Man V

Victory!It’s easy to define yourself as a “gamer” when you realize milestones in your life have significant video game associations, but nobody likes to be pigeon-holed, myself included. When people claim I should be buried with a controller or some such joke, it bothers me, because I am a special little snowflake, and I believe I’m much more than my hobby. On the other hand, my first great crush and my first “real” girlfriend are both immortalized by renamed protagonists on old saves for Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 (and, Heather, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry about Sephiroth shivving you. I didn’t know!). I’ve had relationships with friends defined by Marvel vs. Capcom 2 win records. And if I mention my college years without getting into a long discussion about Super Smash Bros Melee, there is a good chance I’ve been replaced by a replicant.

Perhaps out of fear of this timeline dominating my future, my parents did not allow me to own a Gameboy until I was 15. The excuse (“You’re just making excuses, mom!”) went something like, “Bobby, you play video games so much as is, we’re afraid that you’ll play them all the time with a Gameboy.” At the time, I hated every word in this meaningless, trite parental excuse. As an adult? Holy cow, yes, that is completely accurate. I used to play my NES and SNES with another, separate television on behind me blaring The Simpsons while I stomped around the Mushroom Kingdom. It’s absurd, and a gentle reminder that 90% of being an adult is looking back on anything you did as a child, and claiming that any mother (but your own) that would allow such a thing must be a terrible parent.

Slide, SlideThough, in the immortal words of the Fresh Prince, “parents just don’t understand.” I didn’t want a Gameboy so I could escalate my video game playing into a full waking coma; I wanted a Gameboy so I could play Gameboy games. It’s an unusual “gamer culture” thing that I’ve never understood: the console wars. I didn’t buy a Playstation (1) because I no longer believed in Nintendo, I just wanted to play Final Fantasy 7 (and, coincidental to this article, Mega Man 8). I didn’t get an Xbox 360 to join the Microsoft Revolution, I just wanted to mow down zombies with a shopping cart. And the Xbox One looked like the dumbest thing ever created from its introduction, but, God help me, I will follow Killer Instinct straight to hell for another chance at rad Ice Alien vs. Raptor battles (and, in my defense, I did dodge that system until Riptor was announced. I have standards). So, yeah, I never gave a damn about Gameboy’s unparalleled portability or amazing puke-smeared graphics, I just wanted to play through that sweet Gameboy library that Nintendo Power was bragging about every month. There was a sequel to Kid Icarus that I could never know!

I had a few flirtations with the Gameboy, chief among them was when my dad was painting his new home and everything electronic (fun) was disconnected, and I was allowed to borrow my friend’s Gameboy and his copy of Metroid II: Return of Samus. As a result, to this day, the smell of fresh paint makes me want to commit genocide against alien lifeforms. Final Fantasy Adventure was another biggie that I had to play, and was able to experience it secondhand through that same friend. If I had a resume in fifth grade, it would have proudly extolled my ability to decipher the “figure 8 palm tree” riddle when everyone else was Mosesing around the desert forever.

Salvation finally arrived in something no one would have ever expected: the Super Gameboy: a “large” cartridge for your Super Nintendo that allowed one to play Gameboy games on a television in a randomly chosen, limited color palette. All of the disadvantages of the Gameboy, with none of the portable advantages! And, finally, a way for me to play Gameboy games and keep my parents content. To this day, it would take a written statement from Miyamoto himself to convince me this device wasn’t made exactly for me.

And my first Gameboy game was Mega Man V.

(Finally, he’s going to start actually talking about the game… Nope!)

This Sphinx don't StinksWhile I had never been allowed a Gameboy, the same was not true for the adults in my life. My maternal grandfather was always a man fond of games (first member of my family to own an Atari due to his crippling bout with Pac-Man fever). Granddad taught me how to play chess at four, mainly so he’d have an opponent that wasn’t sick of him, and if there’s a genetic component to my obvious addiction, I’d claim he’s the origin. He also obtained a Gameboy some Christmas not too far from launch, as the extended family was experiencing “Tetris dreams” and wanted another one of us to gooble gobble at. For a time, and that time would be 1990 to present, my mother’s side of the family was fairly obsessed with Tetris. My mother didn’t allow a Gameboy in her house, but anytime she was visiting her parents, somehow one found a way to her hands. Perhaps her own Gameboy restriction was not made exclusively with me in mind…

Perhaps because I liked games with a clear win state, Tetris never really did anything for me (Not to say I never enjoyed it, but I didn’t dream about it, while I can literally describe to you a dream I had about Super Metroid twenty years ago [it mostly involved attempting to space jump out of lava “in real life”][it was horrifying]). This was important, as I was allowed to use my grandfather’s Gameboy on long family car trips, presumably because to not allow that would be akin to child abuse, and it wasn’t until I had my own Gameboy library (one game) that I could truly enjoy such a privilege. One Gameboy-based recurring trip was a journey to Willow Valley in Lancaster, PA.

I never understood the Willow Valley vacation, but this is likely because the entire “point” of the outing was pretty much antithetical to my complete existence. For those of you that are unaware, Lancaster is the local heart of Amish country, and if that doesn’t mean anything to you, the Amish are a people that live their lives nearly completely devoid of electronics. Please view this documentary for further details. It was true then, and it’s true now, I would have an easier time joining a cult that believed one could gain sustenance from licking the sidewalk than joining an Amish community. Suffice it to say, while I enjoyed being with my family and staying at a five star hotel for a few days, the average Amish experience (Quilt shopping! Beard gawking! Finding a copy of Bibleopoly!) left me cold.

Allow me to outline exactly what I remember from our multiple trips to Willow Valley:

  1. The trip was about three hours. Round trip: The entire span of my childhood.
  2. There was a pool that allowed one to swim from inside the hotel to outside. It was, for whatever reason, never open when we were there. Never.
  3. The buffet was pretty alright.
  4. Shockingly, despite all the shopping opportunities, there was not a single decent electronics store in all of Amish Country.
  5. The hotel arcade featured four games: three were completely forgettable (sports, hunting, racing trifecta) and the fourth was World Heroes 2 Jet. Despite having spent a lot of time in arcades as a youth (… and adult), this was the only place on Earth I ever saw this game in the wild. It was, without hyperbole, the only reason I looked forward to ever returning to Willow Valley.

Never forgetNumber six is number five, aka Mega Man V, my Gameboy game that I was allowed for a few days to actually play in a portable manner. One way or another, the downside of the Willow Valley trip was that basically nothing was centrally located, so everything, and I mean everything, required hopping back into the car or on to a tour bus to get anywhere, and couple that with the travel time involved in just getting there, and, well, let’s say I burned through a number of Stardroids as well as batteries.

Without exaggeration, to this day, my greatest memory of Lancaster is the backseat of my grandparents’ car and Mega Man V in all its pale green glory.

(Oh man, he’s back on the topic of the actual game! I bet he’s actually going to…. ‘fraid not!)

As my first Gameboy game, and a member of a very small collection (eventually including Final Fantasy Adventure, Tetris, Wario Land, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Gold), you’d expect my copy of Mega Man V would be safe and living in a prized part of my collection, but, no, my copy of Mega Man V had somehow been lost by the time I started “inventorying” my collection. To be clear, for a number of years, I didn’t really think too much of my growing pile of video game cartridges, and just left them all in my “playroom” and grabbed whatever I wanted to play when it surfaced. It wasn’t until my college years, and when I effectively had “my own place” for the first time in my life, that I started to really sit down and put all my games into a “collection”. At that time, Mega Man V was missing, and, considering it was one of the few games I could remember actually taking out and about, I assumed it had just become wedged into a car seat somewhere, and that was that, it was lost, the end.

And don’t get me started about, “Oh, I guess I’ll just have the game again when Mega Man Mania for Gameboy Advance drops.”

A few years later, our first Electronics Boutique opened in my hometown. I was already friends with one clerk there, and quickly became friends with the entire staff, as, let’s be real, I had nowhere else to be. One night, I noticed Mega Man V on the shelves, and bought it. Approximately ten minutes later, I discovered that it was a mislabeled copy of Mega Man I, and wound up returning it to a very contrite clerk whom I would mock relentlessly for the following decade about trying to sell fake games. I’m a horrible person, but I really wanted a copy of Mega Man V back in my life!

Slide, SlideSometime later than that, I finally found another copy without much fanfare at an EB that was clearing its stock of Gameboy games. In all honesty, I likely barely played that copy of Mega Man V, it was more about having that game back again more than anything. Granted, it wasn’t “my” copy, but it was good to know it’s available and there with Tiny the Mewtwo and Bob the Hero of the Mana Tree again.

Well before all that, my grandfather, holder of the Gameboy, had a stroke on Mother’s Day… I want to say 2000, but that might not be correct. Thereabouts. My grandfather survived, but the right side of his body was paralyzed. He struggled against it in all things, but Gameboy just wasn’t working out. At some point, he packed up his Gameboy in its carrying case with all his games, tucked it away, and put that all behind him. Later, I tried to rig an emulator on his computer so he could play Tetris easily with one hand, but, in the end, he didn’t seem to enjoy it, and that was that. Gaming, like so many things in his life, was over for him.

A little over a decade later, and fifteen days after his wife passed, my grandfather died. Within the span of less than a month, both of my mother’s parents were gone. My mother was devastated (and if I’m being honest here, nearly four years later, she still is). My mother was an only child, and so am I, so, for all intents and purposes, it was up to me to sort through the material possessions accumulated over a pair of lifetimes that combine to 180 years. There was a lot of stuff. Protip: please, just throw out greeting cards you receive, your kids will thank you. And somewhere, buried deep in a closet, was the old familiar Gameboy carrying case I had dragged all over Lancaster.

And in that case was Tetris, Dr. Mario, 4 in 1 Fun Pack (featuring Chess), and Mega Man V.

My life isn’t defined by video games.

My soul might be.

Or the giant skull?FGC #3 Mega Man V

  • System: Gameboy (Super Gameboy!)
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Can recite the proper order for Robot Master disposal? This is one of those weird ones where there isn’t a perfect loop, presumably due to the 4 then 4 style. That said, nearly the entire cast is weak to Rock’s Rocket Punch, and kind of makes “bothering” moot.
  • Is there something sexist about how Venus’s weakness is Mars? Probably not
  • Proud of myself for not making a Uranus/Deep Digger joke? Yes
  • Did You Know? This is one of the few games to feature Tango, Mega Man’s cat. While I understand the popularity of Rush the Robodog, I refuse to believe more people want to see Beat the Birdbot than Tango, the cat that can turn into a buzzsaw of unending destruction. Actually, that’s a redundant description for a cat.
  • Would I play again? I played through this again in its entirety just to write this article, and I just played the game previously about a year ago when it was released on 3DS. Okay, once a year doesn’t sound that often, but trust me, it means something.

What’s Next? Random ROB has chosen… Mortal Kombat Trilogy for the N64. Now there’s a game where no philosophy is necessary! Please look forward to it!