Looking Back on 25 Years of Mega Man: Tony Ponce

poncemanWelcome to the next installment of seeking thoughts on Mega Man from notable people around the community. Today we speak to Tony Ponce of Destructoid. I think it goes without saying Tony is one avid Mega Man fan. We're often trading cool stories back and forth, and you might have per chance seen the awesome collaboration between Destructoid and TMMN the other day. He's also an extremely big aficionado on game music, which alone awards him a big place in my heart. Anyway, we'll let Tony take it from here!

What are some notable memories you’ve had getting into, and otherwise playing Mega Man? Alternatively, what ways has Mega Man factored into your work?

Ahhh, where do I begin? I remember waking up the day after my dad returned from a trip to Japan to find a copy of Rockman 4 on my night stand. I remember sleeping over at a childhood friend's house and getting my first taste of Mega Man X. And I'll never forget the Monday I was downsized from my IT job, since it happened to be the same day Mega Man 9 dropped -- I was consoling myself with pizza and a little pew pew pew that very evening!

The Mega Man series is like comfort food, there for me when I'm on top of the world or when I'm feeling down. Not a day goes by that it doesn't cross my mind in some fashion, even if it's just humming a few bars from a game track in the shower.

I've established myself the resident Mega Man nut over on Destructoid, posting an inordinate amount of Mega Man-related stories week in and week out. I'm glad no one seems to mind, because Mega Man is such a big part or who I am. I love having long discussions with site readers and fellow editors about the games, the music, the comics... you name it! I find it easy to connect with others when you wear your passion right on your sleeve.

What is your sentiment on the current standing of Mega Man, and what do you want to see for the future?

It's obvious that Capcom has no clue what to do with the franchise anymore, which admittedly had been in deep decline for years. With a multitude of sub-series that pulled further away from the simplicity Mega Man was once known for, it was only a matter of time before consumers simply gave up.

I appreciate the attempts to recapture the original fans with Powered Up, Maverick Hunter X, and the 8-bit revivals, but if the series is to have any kind of resurgence, Capcom needs to throw some serious muscle behind a massive home console reboot. Scrap all the branching sub-series, return to basics with a lone robot fighting other rampaging robots, but also make a concerted effort to bring the gameplay out of the retro ghetto -- and this is coming from a guy for whom 2D side-scrollers are like digital crack!

As crappy as many Sonic games this past decade have been, at least Sega TRIES to keep the hedgehog relevant. Unless Capcom is willing to go big for the sake of one of its oldest, most popular icons, Mega Man will rot forever.

What is your all time favorite Mega Man game?

Mega Man 2, easily. Yeah, total cop-out answer, I know.

I've been with the series since the beginning, introduced to the original at a friend's home, but the first Mega Man I actually owned was the sequel. It shaped my expectations of what video games could be and ignited my lifelong love affair with the little blue dude.

I certainly consider later games to be "better" -- I can't praise Mega Man 6 and Mega Man X enough -- but Mega Man 2 will always occupy the warmest spot in my heart.

Tony Ponce is an associate editor for Destructoid. He's in charge of the site's offbeat culture content, which includes fan videos, toys, art, music, and everything in between.

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Many thanks for giving us your thoughts, Tony! Stay tuned to see who we harassed next in our quest for opinions on Mega Man!