Podcast 004 - What Do You Think of the MMN/AF Merger?

WARNING: This Podcast contains suggestive language and may upset you if you're Anti-TMMN. Listen at your own discretion. Recorded October 6th, 2007 - Around the end of September, Atomic Fire webmaster Heat Man approached LBD "Nytetrayn" about a merger of some sorts. Atomic Fire wasn't as fun to keep maintaining like it used to be, and with other issues abound, he wanted to finish off the site. He didn't, however, want the work that was put into it to go to waste. Which is why in the end, we at TMMN decided for the merger, and here we are. We spent about a half hour going on about other's comments about the merger, and even of our own. We kinda veered off to a "@#$% yeah, TMMN rock" near the end, even going as far as saying some things about some affiliated MM sites, but we mean no harm, it's all in good fun. ;) Enjoy, and make sure you keep your eye on us. Today Atomic Fire, tomorrow THE WORLD! ... *cough* TMMN does the undo-able and sees the unsee-able: ROW ROW FIGHT DA POWA!!

.... Sorry, I have to say it. We are The Mega Man Networkwe are always made of 40% Podcast Members This Session:

  • comicchaser
  • Goten X (Podcast Host)
  • John (Host)
  • Jowy (also known as Sixteen)
  • magic
  • Maverick-jin8
  • TheDivine
  • theory C

Special guests include:

  • YukiOnna, a fairly new IRC goer (she was just in the Skype call and decided to stay to listen to the podcast)
  • A barking dog (only barked during the intro, didn't bother to ask who's dog it was, though :P)

TMMN Podcast #004 - What Do You Think of the MMN/AF Merger? - Right Click and Save! (29.3 MB)

A Wayward Hero

We've reached a turning point in the progression of the Mega Man X series, so it seems. At this point, it's pretty much common knowledge that Mega Man X5 was intended to be the end of the X series, to close it off and lead into the Zero series. And of course we all know from that informative interview that Inafune was surprised when he heard of X6. So let's analyze this now - is the recent fumbling of the X series (X6, X7, and the seemingly incohesive X8) the result of it spiraling down the rabbit hole trying to search for a plot?

Perhaps. There are those who take a defensive stance and argue that X6, X7, and the upcoming titles (Command Mission/X8) shouldn't be included as canon for a simple reason, and that reason is this: Inafune didn't supervise the games, so they shouldn't be counted. I'll sit back and let you, the reader, digest this.

... Done? Good.

Now, those who have seen me post about this on our own MMN Community know that I've often shot back at this with my examples of the Metroid series, how the creator (Gunpei Yokoi) was killed in 1997, and how the series still went on - after an admitted eight year hiatus - but it's coming back stronger than ever. To imply that a game shouldn't be counted as canon simply because the creator didn't oversee it is faulty logic at best, and foolhardy at its worst. If anything should be learned from this example, it should be that even without the creator at the helm, it's entirely possible to make stunning games (I reference Metroid Prime and the gorgeous remake of the first adventure, Zero Mission). But, could the Metroid series have continued the way it has if the Yokoi's last contribution (Super Metroid) had seemingly put an end to the series? Sure, they could've made Prime (between the first two games) and Zero Mission, but Fusion would've been impossible. And hence we reach the core of this editorial.

The X series, as of late, has been desperately trying to search for some form of a plot to latch onto and go with - and the best thing they seem to be able to do is go with "Zero's resurrected and we'll keep him around until he decides to seal himself in a capsule, then we'll end it, we guess". The newly-revealed details of Mega Man X8 frankly have me worried because they claim to see the final end of Sigma - and the way in which Sigma goes out is explicitly outlined in the second Zero game. What will happen if the team for X8 offs Mr. Clean in some other fashion? A major continuity gap, that's what'll happen - far bigger than ones they've already managed to establish.

And this is almost assuredly a result of X5 having been designed to end the series. In that game, Zero dies a noble death, and X continues to fight for peace, carrying his friend's Z-Saber into battle. Perhaps the city in the background of X's ending is the eventual Neo Arcadia - after all, this ending I'm describing does take place three years after the ending in X5. Theoretically, it's still possible for us to reach that point, but Zero will of course have to die or become inactive again in such a way that he leaves X his Saber (for X is the one who returns it to him in the first Zero game). But X6 was a mild disappointment (primarily for the gameplay, to be fair), and X7 almost completely deviated from what X4, X5, and a wee bit of X6 did to establish to the plot. Suddenly we have nothing whatsoever to do with Dr. Wily, the world has been mostly rebuilt (yet it's in shambles again in X8... odd), Dr. Light seemingly acts like a recorded hologram instead of the obviously-sentient entity he was in X4-X6, and X comes off as a pacifist baby instead of his usual "I don't like to fight, but I'll do it because I have to" attitude. X7 did a lot to alter the series, and it came off as worse in a way. One can only hope X8 does something to reverse this trend, or at the very least, follow the events laid out in Zero 2 for the end of the Maverick Wars, the onset of the Elf Wars, and let the X series die in relative peace.

Does this mean I want the X series to end? Of course not, no more than I want the Classic series to end. All I would like to see is them cement the plots together more than the new teams have been doing lately, and not take their own radical departures simply because it's their property now.

-Tim, not redefining his definition of "canon"

-Insert Company Here-: In it for the Money, part II

We've all (I think) read this little editorial (if not, get cracking) here, so perhaps it's time for a follow-up. Only this time, we'll focus on the larger realm of gaming. So, it's apparent that the companies that design video games are, in fact, in it to make money. While this no doubt came as a shock and surprise to many people last time, it just might again. So for the majority of this editorial, you won't have to listen to mine or Reeve's (occasionally) nonsensical babbling - instead, take some time to listen to the opinion of someone actually in the industry, namely Robert Johnson* from Capcom Co. themselves.

There are many misconceptions in the gaming world about video game development. The misunderstanding isn't on the developer end - it's on the gamer end. For the most part, gamers think development is fun; they think that you play games and, at the end of the day, somehow, the title gets done. In reality, making games is a lot of hard work. But those of use who have a passion for this would have it no other way. It takes a lot of sweat, effort, and headaches to make something to from a concept to a shrink wrapped package. Things can go wrong from the moment you start until the last minute of development. Whether it's crash bugs, having your key programmer hospitalized with pneumonia, or needing to change the schedule by three months because the sales department wants to ship the product earlier; something is always there to keep you on your toes. We are in the business to make the greatest games possible. It doesn't always happen, but we always strive to do our best. No one ever sets out saying, "Let's make a piece of s---!"

With that said, even the best games aren't perfect. No matter how good a game is, it will never meet everyone's expectations - it's just impossible. Think of a game - a good game - and you can probably still find something you didn't like about it or that you felt the developer could have done better. Even some of the best games suffer from the harshest criticism. I think everyone within the industry can relate to comments like "If only they would have thought to add online play," "With all the space on a DVD why couldn't they add more content?" or "Why did they make this game for one system and not another?" From a developer's standpoint, "If only we had more time" is probably the most relevant reason, because with more time and money almost anything can be accomplished. However, the game has to come out eventually, right? Not everyone has the luxury given to Polyphony Digital or the Warcraft team at Blizzard.

Arguably, the biggest challenge to overcome in development is balancing the product budget with the schedule. The growing cost of development makes it harder and harder to get budgets approved. These are all challenges most people are aware of, but some of the struggles not everyone is aware of are issues like potential licensing problems (when working with a franchise or intellectual property), localization, external development, management hassles, and other random gremlins that no one expects or wants.

When proposing titles to management or decision-makers, sometimes your concept gets approved but not with the requested or desired budget. So, what do you do when you get the green light for the game you want to make, but don't have the cash to do it justice? Well, less money means less time to do the game. Instead of having 24 months to do an epic, the team might have 18 months to do a pretty-good game. Some producers might argue that balancing between a given budget and schedule could be one of the biggest challenges facing development teams. The producer wants to make a great game and the designers want to make a great game, too, but people have to get paid.

During the planning phase of each title, the team will brainstorm tons of ideas for features. Some are more feasible than others. Our team, for instance, will take all the ideas and rank them into categories like "Must have," "Should have," or "Would be nice to have." In the end, corners are cut, entire levels and ideas are left on the cutting-room floor, and the only thing to look forward to is a sequel where adding online play or using more of the DVD becomes a reality and not just a collective dream on the part of the team. It might sound blunt and a bit like back-peddling or excuse-making, but the truth is that the video game industry is a business. And, just like Hollywood and any other industry, it's about being profitable.

Even beyond hands-on design and concept issues, there are other facets that we face when working with international developers. For games developed overseas, U.S. publishers not only have to submit the games for first-party approval, they have to carefully consider the localization of each game. Once the game has been translated into English, we then must make it appeal to an American audience. Sometimes that's as simple as cleaning up the translation and making it readable. But many games have social commentary or cultural references that need to be literally localized for a specific region. Add to the growing list marketing needs like screenshots, product information, press tour materials, special trailer footage, and you'll see that making a game is only one aspect of creating a game. All these factors must be carefully planned and well executed because, if not, they will directly affect your schedule and budget.

Ultimately, we are in this business because we love making and playing games; otherwise we'd have real jobs. Yeah, it's true that there are many ups and downs, but very few jobs compare to the creation of a video game - whether you're a tester or an executive producer. We have to tread that fine line between dealing with budgets, schedules, and managing internal and external teams while worrying about the most important aspect of development: the overall fun of the game. A little thought, effort, and love for your title goes a long way. This is our passion and we love our games like they are our own children."

As a site administrator who prides himself on quality over quantity, the line that stuck out most to be was "...but the truth is that the video game industry is a business. And, just like Hollywood and any other industry, it's about being profitable." I'll freely admit that I had issues with such titles as Mega Man X7, or even the Mega Man Anniversary Collection. Anyone who has seen me in our IRC channel can attest to my frequent rants on the Battle Network series (it irks me quite a bit). But at the end of the day, Capcom (or any other development company out there) is in the business to make a profit, and as the author here stated, "no one ever sets out saying, 'Let's make a piece of s---!'".

And despite my well-voiced issues with the most recent entry in the Mega Man X series, it's always a forgivable offense. After all, I've been following Mega Man for close to 16 years now, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

- Tim, still planning on buying Command Mission and X8, regardless of any "sux" factor

* Robert Johnson is a Senior Project Manager at Capcom, and was a Producer on the recent Mega Man Anniversary Collection.

Note: this article originally appeared as a publication in Game Informer Magazine, Issue #137 (Sept. 2004). Game Informer holds all applicable copyrights to this article, and Mega Man Network makes no claim of ownership.

Capcom: In It For The Money

Yes, in this top-secret document I am here to tell you the news that so many have suspected for so long. I've heard it said high and low, over message board and chat room, in great disgust. "Capcom is in it for the money!" they yell, bringing to light a grave injustice. What are we to do when Capcom is obviously out to make money? How can we let this injustice go on? For those unfamiliar with Capcom they're a video game company that... wait a minute. Okay, let me try this over: for those unfamiliar with Capcom, they're a video game compan--there's that word again. They specialize in many series, including our beloved Mega Man series that this site focuses on. They are one of the foremost and eldest video game companies... why does that word keep coming up?

Company...? Hm, this puts a whole new spin on things, it seems. Just what is a company? According to the dictionary, it's a business enterprise. And of course, business thrives on capitalism. The goal of capitalism is: make money. So, by definition, doesn't Capcom's place as a company make them, as accused, out to make money? I sincerely doubt that Capcom representatives would even deny this allegation. "Yes," one might say, "we are out to make money. We're a company. That's what companies do."

That's what companies do. Interesting statement, is it not? Pepsi-Cola, Nabisco, GE, Dell; they're all companies. They all do their best to please the customers, but probably not because they have an intense love for the customers and their wishes. This isn't meant to be accusatory, simply bluntly realistic. The desire to please customers is a means to an end; if the customers are pleased, they will buy the product, and therefore the company will make more money. Pleasing customers is an unavoidable part of the goal of a company, and it is therefore focused on, but it is not the ultimate goal. It is the means to get there.

Now consider, for a moment, if Capcom weren't out to make money. Consider with me, if you will, that Capcom got a new CEO who decided their ultimate goal in existence would be to please us, the hardcore fanbase. They use manpower, have to pay people to do polls and ask questions and see what we want. Then they release what we want. But what we want, unfortunately, is not always what the public wants. Our desires, as hardcore fans, are much different than the public desire. And while we are devoted, and while I'm sure we are appreciated for our devotion, we still only make up about 5-10% of the total buying members of the Mega Man games that Capcom releases. Our devotion notwithstanding, this simply would not do. Consider a little further, that Capcom does release games that cater to our wills, but they don't go over well with the general population. Suddenly, Capcom consistently makes only 5-10% of the amount of money it usually makes. The company dies. We have no more Mega Man games. Ever.

Those who want Capcom to cater specifically to us simply aren't seeing in the long run. Sure, it'd be nice to have a game or two with the plotline, the graphics, the play control, exactly as we'd like it. But they'd only manage one or two games before they died. No one wants that.

This isn't to say that Capcom throws our cares aside, of course. We've seen evidence in the past of them truly listening to our concerns and making choice decisions based on them. Mega Man X7, which is looking more and more to be a potentially great game, is evidence of this. But we cannot blame Capcom for not taking all of our suggestions and requests, and we cannot blame them for not wanting them all the time. They are a company. They've been doing this for years, and they know how to make the most money to stay profitable (the goal of a company) while also trying not to isolate the fans. Some, who insist on having their way, have felt isolated regardless. But I say, we can't blame Capcom for this. They're a company. They're doing their job. I, for one, won't fault them for it.

-Reeve, who recognizes that capitalism isn't a four-letter word

Anime Ethics

We live in a rather questionable time as far as ethics go. The internet has made everything digital, and everything accessible. It's hard to distinguish what is right and wrong in the view of the law, and more so what is right and wrong in the view of our own personal moral structure. The two do not always conform to each other. The buzz this past week has been the Rockman.EXE anime, which premiered in Japan this past Monday the 4th at 6:30 PM. Personally, I was amazed by the speed at which it hit the internet full force. In two mere days, the anime was up on the internet and available for download. Another day saw the translation of the script, and immediately teams went to work in making an unofficially subtitled version for download so American audiences could watch.

Of course, American audiences already had been watching it. Many didn't understand a word of what was going on, and I was amongst them. But the point is that it was Rockman anime, with very impressive animation and an easy-to-follow plot, even if the words were indecipherable.

Is it legal for us to have downloaded this cartoon for our viewing pleasure? To this I answer, who cares? The law is not the issue here. Despite countless net denizens who have claimed to know the full legal ramifications of this particular issue, the point is overall moot. Chances are unless one of our readers is also a lawyer, no one fully knows the law of it. That is why I don't mean to argue the legality. The question here is, is it ethical? That's a completely different issue.

For one thing, the only reason that many fans were downloading the cartoon in the first place is that they knew there was no other alternative. When it comes to more cut-and-dry black-and-white issues such as ROM distribution, or handing out episodes of a show that's easily accessible to an American audience that's willing to simply cough up the money, the answers are much simpler. But this particular cartoon is impossible for American audiences to view. The crime, if there is one, is a crime of passion; the passion behind a little blue bomber that people love enough to wait for hours to download a 25 minute movie of.

More so, not only are no profits being made by the distributors of this anime, but it seems implausible that any profits are being lost by Capcom from the distribution of it. The TV is shown on a public channel; no one in Japan has to pay to see it. The only profits made by Capcom in the airing of a TV show broadcast on a public station is through advertisement. Considering those downloading the anime were mainly Americans, it seems unlikely that we'd do anything to contribute to the products and services advertised for during that 30-minute block. If we would have no plausible way to contribute to these advertisers, then the advertisers in turn would not suffer and therefore Capcom would not suffer.

And an unfortunate fact of bootlegging is that, for all intensive purposes, nothing can be done. If it is in fact illegal (which I'm not disputing one way or the other), little can be done to stop it. As stated before, everything is accessible. There will always be a way, somewhere out there on the far reaches of the internet, to grab it. This isn't a proclamation of pride, it's merely a fact. ROMs are very illegal and have been for some time, but despite the efforts of many game distributors to shut them down, they are still spread like wildfire across the net. Piracy will always exist, a grim fact that companies must come to terms with and think of alternative solutions to.

There are no easy answers, legally or ethically, to the questions raised in this column. They must be searched and decided on for each and every one's own self. One thing that must be remembered, however, is the importance to not push your personal convictions on others. You will do no good to your cause, and will most likely simply make yourself a social pariah.

Our hope now is that this anime is brought to the US in some more traditional form, such as being aired on our TV stations with official dubbed voices, or being brought over in DVD form as has been done with many other popular anime series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trigun, or Cowboy Bebop. One thing that can be tried is to fill out the Mega Man Manga Petition, in hopes that Capcom will see the interest in America for these kinds of treatments to our favorite little blue bomber.

-Reeve, seeing various shades of gray

Animated Personality

Thanks to the fine folks at Megaman Outpost, an episode of the American Mega Man cartoon is available for download. Naturally, this excited me. I remember getting up at 6 in the morning for the sole purpose of watching that show. As the 45-meg download trickled along, I was nostalgic, hoping that the show would remind me exactly why I got up early on Saturday mornings. After watching it, though, I can only conclude that I must have been a big fan of lead paint, as well. The show is just so laughably bad that it hurts. I'll save you the long download by giving you a synopsis. I can't promise that it will be any good, but you know what they say, a humorist is only as good as his material. Or not. Just read. Let's start with the opening, which is usually where you'd begin anyway. Now, the animation here is pretty good, actually. It shows Mega Man being put together originally, and shows what he looks like under the armor. There's lots of little motors and metallic gizmos and wires. This is very cool.

And a little scary.

Still, all in all, the intro promises several good things, what with the epic blaster battle between Mega Man and Proto Man, and the nice shots of Light, Wily, and Roll, all set to some of the worst theme music ever. Then the episode title shows up, "The Mega Man In The Moon" -- a pun that awful assures that ill doings are afoot. And only seconds later, our suspicions are confirmed.

Obviously, that girl is talking to Mega Man. But look at Dr. Light. Sure, it appears that he's acknowledging her speaking about her father being a shuttle captain. But look closer, into those eyes, and there's something eerie there. Something not kosher, something odd. A sort of lust-filled gaze, inspired by Light's perversion. Or maybe it's just drawn awkwardly. Hey, if Jerry Falwell can do it, why can't I?

So, basically, this girl's dad is the shuttle captain on a flight to the moon. Fair enough. Mega Man, Roll, Rush, and Light are all there as well. Fair enough, though no explanation is given as to why. I mean, do they just like rockets or what? She is apparently friendly with them. No explanation is given to why she is friends with Mega Man and crew, but again, this is a kid's cartoon.

Of course, Wily's robots have to come in and muck things up. They do this with incredible aptitude, and even more incredibly awful puns, like this little gem from Cut Man. Mega Man decides to go investigate, as the girl's (I am not sure if she even has a name) dad is acting suspicious. Of course, he finds that Wily, along with Proto Man (huh?), Cut Man, Guts Man, and Crystal Man are plotting something on the moon. Naturally.

I am not sure why Proto Man is a villain in this cartoon. Perhaps the writers needed an evil sibling figure to balance out the boy scout nature of Mega Man, or perhaps they've never played the damn games. I am more inclined to believe that it is the latter, because the former requires a degree of psychological acuity and intelligence that this show quite simply is not capable of.

By the way, has Mega Man been working out, or what?

Anyway, the bad guys escape, and Mega Man gets some sort of jetpack to fly to some sort of space station, or something. There he gets into an altercation with the Robot Masters, who hold that one girl hostage, or something, and he backs off and flies back to some other place like a total moron. We then find out that Dr. Wily wants some sort of laser lens for a gigantic laser cannon he has built to hold the world hostage for ONE MEEEELLLION DOLLARS.

Sorry, that will be the last Austin Powers joke for this column.

So, anyway, Wily names this cannon the Alan Parsons Project...

OK, I promise, that was the last one, I swear. Anyway, he invades the base to find the lens, and does so. Mega Man shows up a little too late, and is informed that a bomb is placed on the base. I think. I realize that my summary is jumping around a lot here, but I frankly could not care less. Anyway, he sends for Rush and Roll to come up and help him find the bomb. Or they're sent, anyway. Of course, Rush gets "space-sick" on the way there and is temporarily unable to do his job, with twenty or so seconds left until the bomb goes off.

Never mind that Rush is a robot dog, with no digestive system and no nervous system designed to invoke feelings of nausea. He is here simply to be Scooby-Doo-esque comic relief. That's what the kids are into nowadays, I hear. So, anyway, with ten seconds left, Rush finally finds the bomb. The only problem is that he does this in much longer than ten seconds. And then Mega Man hucks it out into space, where it explodes. Did the bomb want to do this? Probably not, but bombs in television and movies have a lousy union.

So anyway, Wily and goons have made their way to the lunar base by now, bringing along their trademark lousy dialogue with them. Cut Man makes this poetic little comment after knocking a satellite dish onto some cybernetic soldiers. I know Cut Man and the rest are just robots, but even the one in Short Circuit had some range. Wily takes the lens and attaches it to the laser, deciding now is the time to make the prerequisite villain ultimatum to the United Nations, headed up by Rainier Wolfcastle. Meeting with refusal, he fires into... get this... a lake. Whoopty doo. He then threatens to fire at cities next. I am sure this paralyzes the U.N. with fear. Also, laughter.

So, Mega Man and crew arrive on the moon. Megaman flies in on his jet pack and is shot out of the sky. Wily commands Roll and the one girl to land their space shuttle, which they do. Cut Man and Guts Man attempt to thwart them by advancing on them with the terrifying battle cry of "Let's take some prisoners!" Roll tells the girl to run along, and she can take care of this. The robots let the girl by for no apparent reason and go after Roll, only to be held back by... her HAIR DRYER. I swear I am not making this up.

Luckily, Proto Man comes by and stops this idiocy. Then, some stuff happens, and Light tells Mega Man that he can recalibrate a satellite nearby to reflect the laser blast back at Wily, blowing up the cannon. He runs to the satellite control room to do just that, but Guts Man and Cut Man chase after him. Guts Man starts pounding down the door, and Mega Man decides to stop him the only way he can. With metal bars.

I would like to take this time to point out that Guts Man is a robotic war machine capable of smashing tanks like aluminum soda can, and he is getting stopped by a few steel rods. Thank you.

Some other stuff happens, I think Mega Man fought Crystal Man and won somewhere along there, probably before he recalibrated the satellite, but he does that, Wily fires the laser, and it reflects back, destroying the cannon. Wily, Guts Man, Cut Man, and Proto Man all escape. Mega Man just lets them. And that's pretty much it.

There were several times I thought this might be a decent cartoon, if the Robot Masters didn't talk like surfers using words like "dude", "bro", and "sis", if Rush wasn't so stupid, if Mega Man wasn't such a putz, if they had actually named the girl, if the theme song hadn't been so obnoxious, if the writers had put one millisecond of thought into it, you know, it might have been OK. Even so, I can't say I completely hate this show, because it is Mega Man, and if they post another 40-meg episode, I will download it, because I am a Mega Man fan, and my motto is "Baaaa".

- DarkMoogle, who isn't sure he'd like the idea of a Legends anime after this little trip down memory lane

P.S. - Next week is another reader mailbag week. Send me anything. What you did on Love and Peace Day, what you think about what happened on September 11, what you'd like to see in Mega Man X6, cash... just about anything your deranged little minds can come up with, I'll most likely print. I expect some good stuff from my little Fiber junkies, so make me proud.

A Marriage Wrought In The Fires of Whatever

(Plus DM's Ultimatum) By now you've no doubt heard the news of the amazing merger b'twixt Mega Man Network and Megaman Outpost. I'm going to set the record straight here, just to make sure there are no more wild rumors.

First off, the merger did not come about as a result of an illicit tryst between Slash and Reeve. Yes, there was an illicit tryst, but very little business was discussed (actually, very few words were spoken at all).

Secondly, there's been some rumor that the merger is just a legitimate front for a underground drug trafficking ring. Nothing could be further from the truth, actually. We're dealing in counterfeit Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Huge market. Bob's your uncle.

Thirdly and finally, yes, I am disgustingly, irrevocably sexy. I know the rumor's been floating around out there for a while, but I figured that the brave thing to do would be to step out and openly admit to the world that I really am ridiculously attractive. While I'm at it, I suppose I should fess up to being a witty, brilliant genius. I only hope that society can accept me for what I am.[1]

OK. Now that the rumors have been settled, let's get down to what you can expect from the Network/Outpost merger. First off, all of the content from both sites will be married into one gigantic conglomerate of stuff. Basically, if there was something you wanted to see on the Network site, it will be there, along with a bunch of stuff from the Outpost site. For example, if you wanted some Metal Shark Player concept art, more than likely, you'd be able to find it on the new site. If you wanted a walkthrough for Mega Man 4, guess what? It'll be on the site. If you want Iris x Alia yuri? That won't be on the site, but you can click here if you want some. Basically, you'll get everything that the two sites provided and then some.

Another new feature of the site will be our renewed desire to be as completely, stupidly, excessively comprehensive as is humanly possible. To this end, we have extensively scoured the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Fanfiction.net for anything pertaining to the Mega Man series, so we can work it into our summaries and analyses. Some may argue that fanfiction is stupid and does not fit into the Mega Man canon, but we at Mega Man Network must take issue with that judgment. Besides, going through all that awful writing is making Reeve yell at things that aren't there and eat glass (he claims it tastes like chicken). I should probably intervene to protect my friend's sanity, but I've made thirty bucks so far on betting what he will and won't eat (so far, Heineken bottles and garbage cans have been his favorites; Slash thinks he can get him to eat a slug, I'm not so certain), so I'm not about to give up this little source of entertainment. I bet if he really starts to go over the edge, we can get some table dances.

So I hope you see that this merger will be a fantastic opportunity for all Mega Man fans to continue being what they are.[2]

Now, I'd like to address you guys personally for a moment, humor columnist-to-...uh...you. I realize that I've been busy eating sushi off of the taut, toned stomachs of countless beautiful Asian women, and as such have not had the chance to write anything that might be construed as a Fiber column. Sure, Reeve calls it "finding a fill-in" for when I'm "too busy". But I see the writing on the wall! I know this is just a clever attempt to oust me and infuse new creative blood into this institution I have created!

Well, the hell if I'm going to let him do that! I'm laying down the law right here and right now. I'm not going to let someone just take over what I've created! There's nobody he could hire that could outfunny me on the funniest day of their life if they had an electrified funny machine! Yeah, I'll grant that I haven't been keeping up with things the way I should. But come on, people! That sushi isn't going to eat itself! And you have to see the looks on those girls' faces when "Moogle-san ^________^" doesn't show up for lunch. It'll break your heart.

Plus, there just hasn't been a lot going on in the Mega Man world as of late. With no new material, I'm forced to drag old jokes through the mud until they're gasping and decrepit, and that's when I hit them in the head with a hammer. I just can't bring myself to do that every week, which is why recent installments of Fiber have been so few and far between. Well, that, and the aforementioned Asian girls, but largely it's been due to the lack that there's not really a lot of new jokes I can make. Also, there's not a lot of new Mega Man games on the horizon. Until we know more about Mega Man X7 and the Battle Network sequels coming out, it's kind of hard to crack jokes about them without resorting to the aforementioned half-dead running gags.

So, yes, I know that Fiber has been a barren wasteland as of late, and I apologize for that. But, quite frankly, you get what you pay for. I mean, if you all sent me a thousand-dollar check, I would probably be able to churn out the finest humor column ever...daily, even. Hell, I could probably work out something every hour or so.

Not to say that I'm completely bereft of new ideas. For example, I just got this one:

===

Since Capcom is never entirely sure as to whether Reploids are robots or humans, this begs the question: are there Reploid children? Logically, we can assume so, since some Reploids are built to be older, or at least look older. Following that flow of thought, we can assume that some Reploids are built to be childlike. Ignoring the possibility of pedophiliac engineers (that's Xenosaga's territory), one must wonder that if there are Reploid children, are there Reploid parents? And if so, are there parenting magazines available for them? I'd imagine they'd read like the tech section of Computer Gaming World:

My son is having difficulty concentrating in school. What do you recommend to help him?

Sounds like the problem is a memory issue. If your son is running on anything less than 512 MB of RAM, lockups can occur, which would explain his behavior. I recommend adding another 256 MB of DDRAM to whatever he's got now. If that doesn't work, you might be better off buying a new son.

I'm having difficulty weaning my child off of the breast and onto the bottle. What do you suggest?

You might need to upgrade your kids' motherboard. If his mobo is outdated, software and hardware conflicts can be expected. You should be able to find something reasonable on Pricewatch.com, but don't be afraid to spend a little extra for a high-end model, to make the teenage years a little easier on the both of you.

I'm worried about my daughter. Her grades have fallen drastically, she's dressing in black and smoking, and she's writing really bad poetry about the dark void that is her life. I'm at the end of my rope. Help me!

It sounds like your daughter is suffering from severe hardware conflicts. Perhaps a hard reboot is in order. I hear that the Hunters' Re-Education programs are excellent. Most kids love it so much that they never come back, and there's no dropout rate!

===

So that's why updates have been slow. I imagine when more information is known about X7 and Mega Man news in general picks up (or at least gets more interesting), you can expect more regular (har) Fiber updates. If you want a nonstop fountain of comedy, though, send Reeve your bad Mega Man fanfiction. He really loves Dragon Ball Z crossovers. Trust me, it's good for endless amounts of hilarity - heck, probably more than I could ever provide. It's amazing how funny desperate insanity can be when it's not you who's dancing on tables.

-DarkMoogle, WHO IS ALL THAT IS MAN!

1. ↑ Really, really good looking 2. ↑ You don't want me to finish this sentence.