Keiji Inafune's Got Some Stuff to Say at PAX

inafune110110Keiji Inafune's got some things to say, and the folks at PAX will be streaming it live. The presentation begins at 4:30 PM Pacific time, 7:30 PM Eastern (and 8:30 AM here in Japan). While Inafune is no longer with Capcom, he is bound to have some interesting stuff to say in regards to his past work and Mega Man. And who knows... he may also have news that readers here could find interesting as well. The only way to know for sure is to watch the stream!

Since the embed autoplays, hit the cut to join in on the action.

Christian Svensson Resigns Amidst Capcom US Layoffs

svenssonWell here's a real bit of unfortunate news. Word is out today via Polygon that Capcom US has had to lay off, according to their PR, several employees as the result of internal restructuring. As a part of this process, Capcom's senior vice president Christian "Sven" Svensson has voluntarily stepped down. Svensson stated in a post:

This departure is not a bad thing for me and it’s happening mostly because I’d suggested it during the early planning for today’s reorg. While I wish the company the best of luck, Capcom is going in a different direction and the need for people at my level, relative to other areas, is lacking.

Svennson had sometimes come off as devises with Mega Man fans, but I was generally keen on him. He was very frank and honest (to the extent his position would allow him to be, anyway), and I think he always did keep the fans' desires in mind, even if he couldn't always work with them. I had the rare pleasure of chatting with him at Captivate a couple years back, and our discussion reinforced that image.

As for what this means for Mega Man, well that's hard to say. He was a big proponent for getting the series running again, and continually assured that "top men" were looking into things. Of course I'm sure there are other voices still in Capcom that will keep the request going. If anything, I worry a little more about what this apparent restructuring means in the long term.

Incidentally, Svensson is pursuing efforts to find work for the others dismissed from Capcom. We certainly wished them the best, and with the talent Capcom generally has I'm sure they'll find new horizons in short order.

Thanks to Magnet_Man, megamanx827, Fernando and GeminiSparkSP for the tips. Original photo via IGN.

You'll Have to Drop Mad Cash for this Gold and Diamond Mega Man

jewelman Has none of today's slew of Mega Man merchandise been expensive enough or blingy enough for your tastes? Well jeweler TraxNYC has you covered with this custom made Mega Man pendant (yeah it's actually Mega Man X, a common mistake). The pendant is made of 10k white gold, and then adorned with 4.10 ct of blue diamonds, and a 1.5 ct red gemstone for the buster.

TraxNYC says such a fancy ode to fandom runs a retail $8,248 US, but they have it on clearance for a mere $2,620! Though really, if I had that kind of money to throw around on a single Mega Man item, I'd probably get the golden Rockman 4 cartridge from Super Potato!

News Credit: CAP Kobun (originally referencing its Japanese sale)

Original Mega Man Composer Joins Production of Shovel Knight

Manami MatsumeWow, you guys must really be excited about this news, given all the tips we've gotten. Never let it be said we don't live to please... For everyone else who doesn't know, Shovel Knight is a game being developed by Yacht Club Games, a studio formed by former employees of WayForward Technologies, including those who worked on such titles as Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob, Thor: God of Thunder, Mighty Milky Way, BloodRayne Betrayal, and most recently, Double Dragon Neon. The game itself is described as "a hot mashup of new and old that may remind you of Mega Man, Castlevania, or Dark Souls".

They've been working to fund their new project through Kickstarter, and have surpassed their goal of $75,000 with $107,109 and eight days left, as of this writing. Their most recent announcement (and the reason everyone's been giving us tips) is because their team has added Manami Matsumae to their ranks to compose two songs for the game. Matsumae has composed songs for the Classic Mega Man games, including the original Elec Man and Cut Man themes, and more recently, Nitro Man's theme from Mega Man 10.

"This is the first time I'm working on a Western game!", Matsumae says. "It's quite exciting! Shovel Knight and I are a good fit. So... let's get shovelin'?"

To learn more about Shovel Knight and the Kickstarter campaign surrounding it (and to contribute, if you so wish), just click on this link. Thanks to everyone who sent this our way!

Mega Man Music and Game Genie: Nostalgic and Hellish

Time for a little bit of story. When I was a kid, I used Game Genie. Call me a cheat if you like, but NES games were tough, and sometimes it was nice to have a crutch. But on top of that, it was just a lot of fun to goof around with the games and see what weird stuff would happen. You could make practically new (but usually unplayable) games out of your NES collection. And it was just fun to use; I still fondly remember the strange "bloink" noise when selecting letters for a code.

So a lot of the time, I played Mega Man with a Game Genie, gaining tricks like moon jumping and a super shot (which was really just all three shots firing at once). But because it was basically an intuitive way of hex editing, there were a lot of side effects too. In many cases, the audio would get a bit messed up. Funnily enough, I actually got pretty used to even (even the horrible squeals). It was so much so that, when I eventually got back into Mega Man in the later 90s and repurchased my collection, it was a little jarring to hear the true audio for a time!

Skip to today, and I come across this playlist by JoeRallyChampionship. It contains both the original and Game Genie altered music to Mega Man (like what you hear above). And in a strange, almost perverse way... listening to it is rather nostalgic! Especially the Wily stages; they gained an even more eerie and inhuman kind of sound. Makes sense since Dr. Wily turned out to be an alien, after all.

Do you think you could stand listening to game music run through a Game Genie? And do you have any memories of hearing the music like this when you played it? I'm interested to know.

Famous Last Words

Here's a scene from the Rockman 20th anniversary event Capcom held in Tokyo five years ago. I think it's safe to say right now that Capcom of Japan is probably not planning such an event for the 25th anniversary (although fans are, at least). The event was a veritable Mega Man museum, containing playable classics, a series timeline, and displays of production materials. There were also stage events, including the lauded father of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune, giving thanks to fans in place of the Blue Bomber.

Looking over Famitsu's coverage of the event and getting nostalgic, a particular quote struck me in a bitterly amusing way. A caption below a photo of Inafune reads "Mr. Inafune pledges to continue further with Rockman, stating 'I look forward to being able to meet the five-years-older you, at our 25th anniversary event five years from today.'" Granted, I'm sure Inafune would still be happy to see fans, but mainly to show them Soul Sacrifice.

At any rate, it just goes to show you how much can change in five years. Coming upon the 25th anniversary, though, I would definitely like to think of some happier things!

The Nightmare Zero You Haven't Seen

Following Mega Man X2's 1-Up trick, here's another X series secret you've likely not seen. This time, however, it's due to a glitch. In the not so revered title Mega Man X6, it's supposed to be possible to face an ultra-powerful Lv. 4 Nightmare Zero. Not only that, but beating him unlocks Black Zero, which otherwise is only available by using a code when starting a new game.

This doesn't turn out to work, though. Why? To reach Lv. 4 Nightmare Zero, you need to collect 5,000 Nightmare Souls. But the game is also set so that upon gathering 3,000 Nightmare Souls, the Gate stages open up and encounters with Nightmare Zero and High Max no longer occur in the regular stages. In other words, Nightmare Zero goes away before you can get the requisite 5,000 Nightmare Souls. The only way to access this battle with Nightmare Zero now is via hacking.

I'm supposing the unlock code is in the game at all either because a programmer realized this flaw, or because someone decided not to include the Lv. 4 encounter in the game. Or perhaps it really has been a huge oversight all along. Considering X6 as rushed out exactly a year after X5, it's certainly possible...

Thanks for the tip, Flame!

Mega Man's First Foray into 3D?

Well, not necessarily as far as games go, but here's a neat piece of merchandise I've not come across before. This is a 300 piece 3D puzzle for the game Rockman 6, released back in 1993. By 3D, I mean both the featured artwork is 3D, and the puzzle itself creates a stereoscopic image. The box front seemingly shows both frames used to create the 3D effect. Pretty cool, though I wish they could've made a more exciting scene...

Right now this puzzle is being auctioned on Yahoo Auctions and sits at a measly ¥350 (roughly $4.50 US) - a great value IMO, though I can't attest for its quality. And truthfully, I can't say with any certainty if this really is the first 3D image of Mega Man, but it's gotta be close!

News Credit: CAP Kobun

Ever Know About This Trick in Mega Man X2?

Because Redmage1987 thinks maybe you haven't. A lot of people know about the old style Batton M-501 in the original Mega Man X that drops loads of 1-Ups. But did you know the Rideroid G in Wheel Gator's stage does too? You just have to be able to catch it outside of its ride armor.

In the 17 years X2 has been out, I'll admit I never knew this one. Riding in the armor was too much fun, so I never got a chance!

Magicka DLC Lets You Be a "Mega" Villain

Hear about this one? A game on Steam called Magicka, where you play as a robed mage fighting against an evil sorcerer, added some new DLC this week that's, let's just say... a bit "Megafied." If you're anyone who considers themselves a Mega Man fan, you can probably recognize the references these special mages draw inspiration from.

Of course, this is no Mega Man game, but I did ask a friend of mine about Magicka. He said the best way to imagine it is a fantasy take on the game Smash TV. While it may look like an RPG of the same cloth as Diablo or Torchlight, it's actually more or less a flat out action game. There is no emphasis on leveling or loot, but instead building up your arsenal of magic spells and using the elements effectively. I'm also told the game has a pretty fun sense of humor - of course, Robot Master themed characters are evident of that, and in fact the game has a number of mage types that pay homage to other properties.

Although I don't think I'd pick up this game myself just for some Mega Man inspired goodies, it does still sound pretty fun. If anyone out there has given this a try, you ought to let us know what you think about it. But as you can see, it's not just us shmucks who love Mega Man. Game developers love him too!

You Are Dr. Wily!

That's how this advertisement for Rockman 2's boss contest sells itself. This apparently comes from a pretty old issue of Family Computer Magazine. Most of the text just tells the story of Rockman, questions what Dr. Wily's true form really is, promises some huge sized bosses, and uses the original game's boss characters to imply it could be YOUR bosses in the game.

Some interesting things to note. First, it doesn't actually say how many bosses they are recruiting for, at least as far as I can see on the page, so kids at the time might have suspected it to still be six (edit: it actually does mention eight bosses in the small text). Second, the game already has an established release date for December. The entry deadline itself is July 31st of that year. This means Keiji and crew had around four months to decide, design and program all eight bosses before the game came out! Finally, the logo seems to be a prototype design, with different coloration.

News credit via Protodude's Rockman Corner. Image credit via tin*1*rider.

DDT Pro Wrestler Kenny Omega Gets Megafied

I doubt a lot of you know much about Japanese pro wrestling - I certainly don't. But today the stars have aligned and we get to talk about Kenny Omega, a Canada-born pro wrestler in Japan's Dramatic Dream Team circuit. Kenny's character gimmick is that he's a big gamer and otaku, and even performs a hadouken as his special move. Well, he does the pose, and then smacks his opponent with the thrust.

Particularly, though, Kenny seems to be a big fan of Mega Man. He uses the well known Wily stage music from Mega Man 2 as his entrance theme. One of his moves, wherein he just holds up his hand and makes his opponent stop in their tracks, has the nickname of Flash Man's Time Stopper. And he seems to be good pals with Ucchy-san on Rockman Unity, and has appeared on the blog before.

Recently, Kenny got a special arrangement of his borrowed entrance theme by Capcom's own ROCK-MEN, the sound composers behind last year's We are ROCK-MEN arrange album. Having watched the debut of the tune in Kenny's bout last night, I was happy how many people got into. It was the only theme song I could recall people clapping too. I did my best to get a recording, though coming from a live stream it's not going to be great.


Perhaps the tune will get formally released on a new ROCK MEN album? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, Kenny won both his matches, and will move on to the King Of Osaka 2012 match July 8th. I... just might have to see this. Anyway, if you're really curious, I have some shots from the fight after the break. Whoo, wrestling!

Remember that Time Centaur Man Turned Out to Be a Woman?

While we in the west have done pretty well getting translated Mega Man manga these past few years, it still doesn't scratch the surface of all that's been made in Japan. One of the earliest and yet most prolific original Rockman series was by Shigeto Ikehara. Starting in 1992, he wrote episodic manga covering Rockman 4 through Rockman 7, as well as the first three Rockman World titles, all appearing in the monthly Comic BonBon manga magazine. I'm not super knowledgeable of Ikehara's series, but I have to imagine doing the same old stories of Mega Man beating reprogrammed robots and stopping Dr. Wily got a little stale, so he started making things a bit interesting. In the story for Rockman 6, it seems that all of the Robot Masters have their own interests as well as serving Mr. X. Wind Man, in fact, is helping Mega Man out to toughen him up for the inevitable final battle. But the biggest twist of all wasn't when Mr. X turned out to be Dr. Wily, but when Centaur Man turned out to be a woman.

Not only a woman, but Knight Man's lover as well. In the story, Centaur... eh, Man, falls in love with Knight Man for his strength and chivalry. She fears for Knight Man in his fated battle with Mega Man, but at the same time respects his honor and lets him fight. However, when Knight Man is vanquished by Mega Man, Centaur Man doesn't take it too well and angrily seeks our vengeance.

Up to this point, Mega Man has no idea that Centaur Man is a woman, despite her feminine tone (he is a little slow, you know). The light bulb doesn't click until Mega Man breaks her helmet in battle, and her long, blond hair sweeps out. She curses Mega Man for destroying her dreams, and vehemently attacks him. But in the end, despite reluctance, Mega Man finishes her off... using her lover's own weapon.

Even though the series has yet to be officially translated, some western fans have known about Centaur Man's gender bend for a while. The really funny thing is, not having access to a lot of the resources we do today, many fans tried to argue that Centaur Man's womanhood was actual game canon. I recall it being a matter of hot debate, and at times I wasn't even sure myself. But sounder logic prevailed; namely Centaur Man's clearly male voice in the Power Fighters.

At any rate, I am left to wonder what other interesting plot points lie within Ikehara's old manga series. Perhaps some day, a certain noodle-loving comic company will show us. Let's hope!

Game Center CX Interview with Inafune Translated

Back before Keiji Inafune worked on games where giant spaceships wore his face, and magician's pulled their spines out of their mouths, he was a high up guy at a certain company called Capcom. One of the games he was known for was this game Mega Man. Maybe you've heard of it.

The above video is from one of the original episodes of Game Center CX back in 2003, when Arino focused more on game companies than game challenges. Inafune pops up pretty much from the start, and they get to talking about Mega Man right away. Topics are covered like how Inafune got started and moved up, inspirations behind Mega Man, and of course his love for Zero. The episode is split into four parts, and you can see the rest on Shady0311's channel, where Inafune goes into talking about what games are to him.

One of the most interesting things to me was, for the time, how much Inafune saw Mega Man as strictly a children's game, seemingly. Too bad this translation was a bit late; the staff of this site never got the memo.

Thanks for the tip, Magnet_Man!

Ciel and the Birdbot: Newlyweds

This is pretty offbeat for Mega Man news, but then what isn't these days? Over the weekend, voice actor Koichi Yamadera announced on the internet that he became wed to Rie Tanaka. Ms. Tanaka (or, perhaps Mrs. Yamadera now) of course is well known to us for providing the voice of Ciel in the Mega Man Zero games and the numerous drama tracks in the Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero albums.

Yamadera isn't quite so prominent in the world of Mega Man voices - he served the role as a Birdbot in Tron ni Kobun, and even more obscurely, at least according to Wikipedia, the narrator for the Rockman 5 commercial.

Of course, I doubt their involvement in Rockman is a big discussion point between them. But hey, might as well toss some congrats to the happy couple!

Fan artists and shippers, please pretend that the top image doesn't exist.

News Credit: CAP Kobun

Homage to old-school gaming on Community tonight

Cult favorite TV sitcom Community is renowned for doing stylized and spoof episodes based on all kinds of popular culture and tonight's three-part season finale is no exception. The first episode of the night, Digital Estate Planning, will have an old-school gaming segment which sees the Greendale 7 take sprite form. IGN's Youtube page has a preview clip of the episode, which is available after the jump.

Jeff Winger, self-proclaimed "leader" of the Greendale 7 group, moves an awful lot like a character in classic Mega Man games. He has the run and jump, though the slide seems to be from none other than Shadow Man. That's obviously the least of the homage content in the clip and likely the tip of the iceberg for the entire episode. Can you name all of the others?

This episode of Community airs tonight, May 17th, on NBC at 8PM EDT/PDT, 7PM CDT in USA and on CityTV at 8PM in Canada.

Tonight is also a special season finale event which sees two more episodes of Community starting at 9PM EDT/PDT, 8PM CDT in USA. CityTV has not confirmed airing the two additional episodes in Canada.

Sources: IGN Youtube, Capcom-Unity

Mega Man Games Part of Viral Nostalgia in "Go Right" The viral video "Go Right", a compilation by RockyPlanetesima of over 130 videos of gaming through the ages, is getting attention throughout the internet. Whether or not this proves games are art will continue to be debated, but it's good to see Mega Man (0:23), Mega Man X4 (0:59), Mega Man X (1:20) and Mega Man 8 (2:20) included in this nostalgic look at our favorite hobby.

Source: CNET (among others)

Hey that looks like...

Meet Chapit. This assistant robot developed by Japanese robotics company Raytron in 2007 has since appeared at various robotics and technology expos in Japan. But really, I can't help but feel it looks a bit familiar somehow...

Designed to be small, simple, and easy to use, Chapit can recognize people, communicate via voice with a vocabulary of up to 10,000 words (which is programmable), and can remotely turn on household lights and appliances. No word yet if it can dance, start a fire in your kitchen, or back up your memory to prevent it from being scanned by an oppressive computer system installed in a dead artificial paradise.

Sadly, Chapit is still just a concept and awaits an investor or two before it can go into production. I think Legends cosplayers definitely ought to hope it does! Just needs hands and a little brown paint. You can see Chapit in action here.

Thanks for the tip, Auto! (via Akihabara News)

Surprise Character in Smash Bros De-make!

What do you get when you combine Super Smash Bros with the GameBoy...? Why, a retroesque, low-resolution, greenish de-make called Super Smash Land of course!

This PC fan-game, which has been in the works for quite a while, is now finally available free for download, featuring six playable characters, eleven stages, 4-player mode and more!

The character roster may be small for a Smash Bros game, but do mind that creator Dan Fornace finally fulfills the one wish that many fans had since the initial announcement of Super Smash Bros Brawl...

That's right, now you can smash your thumbs sore with the Blue Bomber... or should I say Shades-of-Green Bomber? Anyway, his inclusion comes complete with a fitting Skull Castle Stage.

Watch the trailer to see the game in action: