We've all done it. We've all been hooked by it. It starts off innocently enough, you think you'll just try it for a bit and you can quit any time you want, but before you know it, it rules your life. You've become a full-blown addict, and in waiting for your next fix, you might have even tried to make your own.
I'm talking, of course, about Mega Man. And who hasn't come up with at least one idea for a Robot Master of their own? Of course, the above description could probably work for something else: Drugs.
Fortunately, it was the former that had 12-year-old Kyle Rechsteiner hooked back in 1991. Enough so that when it came time to participate in a school project involving making anti-drug posters, he decided to combine it with what he knew and loved best.
"He wanted to tell a story about a child who became addicted to every drug in the world," says Polygon, "and how Mega Man went about releasing that child from the bondage of dependency by beating bosses based on each drug." This gave rise to such characters as Alcohol Man, Cigarettes Man, Heroin Man... you get the idea.
"I remember being bored of drawing 'Just Say No' posters and wanting to draw pretty much anything else," he says. "At that time, I was crazy into the NES and my favorite poster was a Mega Man 2 gatefold poster of Dr. Wily and his evil robots that I got in an issue of Nintendo Power. So I thought maybe I could make a poster like that but tweak it a bit to shoehorn in a drug theme.
"At some point, I had convinced myself that it was a solid enough basis for a game that I needed to get it into the hands of Nintendo. I wrote up a flimsy back story about a kid who was addicted to every drug that I could think of and Mega Man was the only one who could help him kick his addictions. By defeating each evil drug-bot, The Blue Bomber would help this kid get closer and closer to a clean bill of health."
And so he sent his idea to Nintendo, either not knowing or not caring that Mega Man and all rights therein belonged to Capcom. As such, it should come as little surprise that he received a rejection letter from Nintendo, a memento of his brush with video gaming greatness that he kept to this day.
"Obviously, I showed it off," he says. "Having a letter from Nintendo meant you could brag. Most kids that age love to brag and I was no exception. I remember having it out all the time. On my desk, holding it, re-reading it, whatever. I wanted to be able to look at it whenever the mood struck. The honeymoon period lasted a few weeks before I put it in my room and promptly forgot about it for years."
For the full tale, the recreated art of Kyle's drug-peddling Robot(?) Masters, more of Kyle's thoughts on this rediscovery, and even a scan of his letter from Nintendo, check out Polygon's full story here.
Side note: The story was posted on April 1st, so I held off on posting it in case it was some sort of strange April Fool's joke. Five days later, and there is no sign of it being such, so take that for what it's worth.
Thanks to GeminiSparkSP for the tip!