Looking Back on 25 Years of Mega Man: Chris Hoffman

TheHoffToday, we continue our roll of 25th anniversary Mega Man Q&As with Chris Hoffman, who has been writing about Mega Man in various gaming publications for several years. This includes the massive article "The Best Damn Mega Man Feature, Period" in Play magazine and, more recently, numerous pieces for Nintendo Power magazine, such as breaking the news of the announcements of Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10, and a full hands-on preview of Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. Without further ado, it's time to Hassle the Hoff!

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

I was introduced to Mega Man in late 1988. I got Zelda II for Christmas that year, and my neighbor got this game called Mega Man. I kinda felt sorry for my neighbor, since I got Zelda freaking II, and he got some game with terrible box art, a nonsensical story blurb on the back of the package, and a title that I thought sounded pretty darn stupid. Needless to say, I quickly changed my tune as soon as I played the game, and I spent several months trying to find a copy at retail. I finally bought one second-hand from a kid at school.

As far as professional Mega Man memories go, I hardly know where to begin. I’ve had the chance to meet Keiji Inafune several times, one of which resulted in a Mega Man sketch that I keep framed on my desk as if it were a photo of my family. I also spent a few hours with Inafune as I picked his brain about all things Mega Man for “The Best Damn Mega Man Feature Period.” That, in turn, led to me asking for Inafune’s opinion on the Mega Man box art, to which Inafune somewhat famously exclaimed, “Bull***t!” after being presented with the image. Incidentally, during the same interview, Inafune told me that Mega Man Legends was set in a universe completely separate from other Mega Man games.

In addition to that, I’ve had the pleasure of helping Capcom announce both Mega Man 9 and 10 in the pages of Nintendo Power (I saw screens of some pretty cool stuff that never made it into Mega Man 10), and feel extremely lucky to have played through the ill-fated Mega Man Legends 3: Prototype Version. To put it succinctly: my career would have been a lot less interesting without Mega Man around.

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

While I’d naturally like to see Mega Man getting more prominence, sometimes taking a break is a good thing. When Mega Man was an annual series, people took it for granted and decried the lack of innovation; when Mega Man 9 showed up after so many years, it was new and exciting once more, and I think something similar could happen again. Likewise, the Battle Network/Star Force formula grew stale pretty quick, and I’d always wished the developers had spent more time between installments to refine and improve the series.

Clearly there’s been some baggage at Capcom when it comes to Mega Man, but hopefully management has put that behind them and the company will be able to turn it into a top-tier franchise under the guidance of a producer who cares about the property.

Aside from a console version of Street Fighter X Mega Man and a Virtual Console port of Mega Man: The Wily Wars, I’d love to see the series get a Sonic Generations-style treatment that combines the best of past Mega Man games and have Mega Man team up with his various counterparts.

What is your all time favorite Mega Man game?

Mega Man 2. I suppose it’s obvious, but it’s the truth. I love everything about the game—characters, level design, controls, visuals, music. Someone once asked me what I’d pick if I had the choice of being deaf or hearing nothing but the Dr. Wily stage music nonstop for the rest of my life; of course I said I’d pick the Wily music!

Speaking of Dr. Wily, the final battle in Mega Man 2 is one of the greatest things ever created. First of all, having the extra skull icon appear on the map to signify a new final stage was an awesome swerve, and second, seeing Dr. Wily (spoiler alert) turn into an alien just absolutely blew my mind. The fact that it was also a swerve didn’t lessen the impact. While I momentarily loved the thought of Wily secretly being an alien, I also loved the thought of him being an evil genius who would come up with such a crazy illusion to attempt to outwit his foes. Epic stuff.

Chris “The Hoff” Hoffman (@ChrisTheHoff on Twitter) is the former senior editor of Nintendo Power. He was just a regular guy until duty called and he was upgraded to become the super fighting robot Hoff Man. He is weak to Pie Man.

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Our thanks to Chris Hoffman for the interview!