Looking Back at 25 Years of Mega Man: Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante

spazIt's time for another round of "Looking Back at 25 Years of Mega Man," wherein we bring three questions before different people who have actually worked hands-on with the Blue Bomber over the course of their careers and find out their thoughts on the Titanium Titan's past, present, and future. This time out is a name many of you will no doubt recognize: Longtime friend of The Network (can we call it that? It just sounds so hip and trendy and cool, doesn't it?) Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante, whose art of Mega Man has graced everything from the cover of Diehard Gamefan magazine to the pages of Dreamwave's comic book, and from the special inserts of the Artbox trading card set to both the covers and interiors for a number of issues from Archie's Mega Man comic book, including the upcoming "Worlds Collide" story arc (which conveniently also brings him back to his old stomping grounds in Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog series).

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?

I've actually been into Mega Man since the first game. It was kind of an accident, as my buddy had traded a friend at school for a game to try, (I forget what the game he had traded was), but in return, he had received a used Mega Man 1 cartridge, with no box or case, and no semblance of a booklet. Thusly, my friend and I were left to decipher this "mystery" game on our own. We had never heard of Mega Man before, and decided to give the game a go, and although it was, at least in my opinion, one of the most difficult games of that generation (Ghosts'n Goblins not withstanding), we were hooked.

As far as being a factor in my work, Mega Man has been a property that I have been fortunate enough to be involved with (on and off) for the past 10 years or so. The games are always a source of inspiration when dealing with Rock and the crew. Some of my favorite game experiences have been with the Blue Bomber (2 and 8 being personal highlights). MM8 (the SEGA Saturn version), especially for its leap forward in both art and sound, spoke to me as both a game, as well as a source of artistic inspiration. Its "CPS-2 Capcom Arcade board" style of art, following the likes of Nightwarriors, and the Street Fighter Alpha series, as well as many others, seemed to me like the perfect look for Mega Man. This also included the Rockman: The Power Battle/Fighters arcade games (more so for the art, as I prefer the traditional platform based Mega Man game-play). And not to be left out, the often forgotten Rockman & Forte (from which I still use the character art as a reference point).

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

I'm hopeful that a new Mega Man game is on the horizon. I know that a lot of gamers feel that Mega Man has gone by the wayside, but I still hope that Capcom can pull something out of its hat. I did like the retro looks for MM's 9 and 10, but I would love a sequel done in the style of MM8, or (dare I dream) an HD evolution of that look, but I'm pretty sure that if a new game is in the works, it would probably be 3D, or pseudo 2.5D, but hey, I love Mega Man, so I'll take what I can get!

What is your all time favorite Mega Man game?

As I had mentioned previously, 8 is my top as far as art and gameplay coming together, but my all-time favorite is tough to narrow to just one. Like many others, I believe Mega Man 2 is one of the absolute best in the series, but the original Mega Man is also right up there for me (I did mention that it is tough for me to narrow it down to one, didn't I?).

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Thanks once again to Patrick Spaziante for taking the time to participate in our survey-- and moreover, for offering us the awesome sketch to share with you all at the top of the article! Have a look at a larger version:

spaz