Being such a fan myself, it didn't escape my attention when the show went on the air and Arda was seen sporting a Mega Man t-shirt (seen at right; click to enlarge) for the second time in recent memory. That, plus a tweet during the recent Royal Rumble pay-per-view ("I was playing Mega Man 3 and I thought it would be nerdy and cool to let people know I was"), prompted us to catch up with and talk to the man who has given our favorite Blue Bomber (sorry, Winnipeg-- you're second, if anything) some much welcome exposure.
The Mega Man Network: When did you first get into Mega Man?
Arda Ocal: My first experience was Mega Man 3, so I guess I got into the game later than some. After that, I discovered 2 (for some reason it took me a while before I could find and rent 1), and followed along until 5 when SEGA Genesis came along for me.
MMN: Are you just a fan of the old school NES Mega Man, or do you like newer games as well?
AO: I'm a big fan of the original 6 Mega Man games for NES... any given day, if I'm bored at home I'll just pop in any one and play them. I've always been a fan ever since I was a kid... It was the perfect game for me, and I think it's because I have ADD and at least the first part of the game doesn't restrict you to one level you have to beat before getting to the next, which I think has always been one of the best part about the series. (This is before I learned about cycles and what not.)
Later I downloaded 9 and 10 for Wii and enjoyed those a lot as well.
To be honest, I'm not a high level player - you'll never see me posting Time attacks on YouTube of trying to beat the game over and over, but they are tremendous fun to play. I think my absolute favourite part of the series is the music - I would put the music in the game against any music in any video game... the melodies are off the charts. I actually downloaded a medley of them all and it's part of my MP3 rotation #ProudNerd
MMN: Any favorite games from the series?
AO: I liked all the games for different reasons - I thought it was funny Mega Man 1 had a points system which in so many video games doesn't even really matter all that much. Mega Man 2 was the one that started it for me so it will always have a special place in my heart, and Air Man is probably my favourite level music (other than Dr. Wily Stage 1 in Mega Man 9).
Mega Man 3 got rid of that annoying involuntary semi-slide after you stop moving (that Mega Man 1 and 2 had) which was welcome, and was probably the hardest one in terms of levels for me. Mega Man 4 was fun because of the weapon charge. Mega Man 5 definitely had my favourite charge up, because the range was bigger. Mega Man 6 had "Yamato Man" (i.e. we may be starting to run out of ideas).
MMN: Do you like Mega Man Legends? (Sorry, folks; I just had to ask this one)
AO: I actually haven't explored this yet but I think I will soon - I bought Mega Man Anniversary Collection for Xbox a couple years ago and kind of got into Mega Man 7 and 8 (but prefer the 8-bit graphics, which is why I was happy to see that going into 9 and 10), and the two 2D fighting-style games the collection also came with.
Shamefully, I haven't explored Mega Man X or Zero or any of the other games in the series, as much as I should. I typically stick to 1-6 and 9-10.
MMN: Which character is your favorite?
AO: To play, Mega Man for sure... my favourite boss is Wood Man, just because he made leaves into a fierce weapon... who woulda thought!
MMN: Any thoughts for Mega Man's upcoming 25th anniversary?
AO: Just that he's the best and I proudly wear a Mega Man shirt on national television. :) And I would be a happy kid at heart if Mega Man 11, 12, 13, 14, all the way to 50 were made with 8-bit graphics and awesome cheesy campy music!
Our thanks go to Arda Ocal for taking the time to talk with us about Mega Man; keep wearing that shirt proudly!
If you're in Canada and have cable, you can catch Arda (with and without Mega Man) on Aftermath Tuesdays at 6-ish pm EST and Friday nights at 10pm EST, as well as on Aftermath Radio Monday nights from 11:05pm to Midnight, EST. You can also find Aftermath on Facebook, while the Baltimore Sun hosts his column.