More 1UP Features & Retronauts Lunch Break Takes on Legends

Continuing our coverage of 1UP's Cover Story this week, our suspicions have been confirmed: Retronauts Lunch Break will be taking on Mega Man Legends, "the series' three-dimensional debut that didn't receive the critical reception it deserved." For those unfamiliar, Retronauts Lunch Break (which debuted with the NES Mega Man games) is a video game livestream which takes place on Fridays at 12pm PST/3pm EST. Plus, you can interact with them as they play by tweeting to their Twitter account. So join us and feel the love!

As for the week's main Cover Story, "Mega Man: 25 Years of Theme-Park Levels and Stolen Robot Powers," four new articles have been added since our last update on Tuesday. The first of these is "Fights for Everlasting Peace: Mega Man's Greatest Debates," wherein they attempt to "settle some of Mega Man's biggest controversies once and for all." From score systems to 3D graphics, and from the Mega Buster and Slide to sequels and 8-bit graphics, there is plenty to talk about here.

"Mega Man's Metamorphosis from Character to Tool" looks at "how the weapon copy ability transformed Mega Man into a something else entirely," and will no doubt inspire some fans of the Blue Bomber to speak their minds on a mildly disturbing trend within the series and the value of our heroes' character.

The title "The Curious Case of Mega Man Legends 3" is rather self-explanatory, as Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Parish gives us on a partially pleasant (those designs and screens are still lovely), partially painful (for obvious reasons) look back at the long-awaited sequel that almost was.

And finally, "4 Ways Mega Man Legends Beat Ocarina of Time to the Punch" looks at some truths that fans of the 3D Mega Man series have long known: "Link might have done it best, but Capcom did it first."

While that's all for now, that's not all for 1UP's Cover Story; there is at least one more article waiting in the wings to be posted at some point later today. In the meantime, don't forget to tune in to Retronauts Lunch Break for some loving Legends nostalgia!

Well, That Was Quick: More From 1UP

If I might be allowed to break from the third-person for a moment: Wow, that was quick. I knew when I posted about the 1UP Cover Story yesterday that I a few of my own writings would come up, but I didn't expect them so soon-- much less two on the same day. If you read 1UP with much regularity, you might have seen an article I wrote back when New Super Mario Bros. 2 was coming out about about "The Many Versions, Ports, and Re-Releases of Super Mario Bros." Well, I gave the original Mega Man the same treatment-- and please note that I turned this in before this story broke here. That's what happens when you don't add "as of this writing" to your works.

The other piece is a little more editorialized. "The World View of Mega Man" basically looks over the duration of time where it felt like we were never quite able to get "in" to the world of Mega Man, a period where it felt like Capcom was happy to show you the front lawn and the backyard patio, but never to see inside of the house of the Blue Bomber. It's where I felt some titles, such as Mega Man Legends, felt particularly welcoming.

That's not all for this week, though-- I'll be back on 1UP with one other piece, and I won't be alone. You can continue to keep up with the week's articles here, and I'm going to wager that this week's Retronauts Lunch Break might (no promises) have something to do with this week's cover story as well.

1UP Cover Story: Mega Man: 25 Years of Theme-Park Levels and Stolen Robot Powers

This week, 1UP.com is running a new Cover Story called "Mega Man: 25 Years of Theme-Park Levels and Stolen Robot Powers." As you might guess from the title, this is a look back at the quarter-century reign of the Mega Man franchise in its many shapes and forms. As of this writing, there are only two stories available: "Why Mega Man Matters," which gives five reasons why we (or at least the broader gaming audience outside the diehard fan community) still care about the Blue Bomber "amidst cancellations, controversy, and cookie-cutter sequels." The other is "The Origins of Mega Man: Anime and Manga," which looks back at the cartoons and comics which helped inspire our favorite robot hero.

More are still to come throughout the week, so keep your eyes on that page for more (and we may update periodically with them as well).

1UP Explores One of Our Favorite Gaming Mysteries

The cover story featured this week on 1UP is all about Gaming's Greatest Mysteries, and none other than Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Parish chooses to ponder one which has remained near and dear to many of us over the years: "What Happened Before Mega Man X?"

We've all had our theories, and as the article points out, the whole thing may go unanswered-- assuming it ever would have been answered-- due to the departure of Inafune and other staff key to the series from Capcom. Sure, someone could take the ball and run with it, but then that presents another question: Will fans accept it? As it is, there are even games created under Inafune's watch which fans disavow, so would someone else filling in the gaps be any more accepted?

1UP Examines the Mega Man Community

This week's cover story over at 1UP is about "Community in Games," and kicking things off is a feature by Nadia Oxford which focuses on the Mega Man community, noting that the Blue Bomber has "fallen on hard times, but that's only brought the remnants of the community closer together."

"Mega Man: A Community with Blues" looks back to the humble beginnings of our online fandom and stretches into the modern day, when fans everywhere are all wondering the same thing: What's next? Click and read to see what some of the early pioneers of online Mega Man fansites as well as more modern figureheads have to say about the current state of affairs, plus some words from Capcom Unity's Brett Elston about where things are going.

Mega Man 2 Makes 1UP's Essential 100

This week, 1UP is continuing with its countdown of what its readers consider "The Essential 100." This week's portion covers numbers 75 through 51, and to the surprise of no one, Mega Man 2 has made the list, beating out such titles as BioShock and Earthbound for its spot of prominence on the list.

Written by 1UP Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Parish himself, you can read all about how this "8-bit action game whose seeming simplicity belies its rich sophistication" earned its spot with fans and readers here.

1UP Praises Keiji Inafune as One of Their "Daring Designers"

1UP has posted an article about Mega Man father-figure Keiji Inafune as a part of their "Daring Games and Designers" cover story for this week, one which looks back at some of Inafune's comments about the state of the Japanese video game industry and Capcom from his time working at said company. If nothing else, it gives us something to reflect on as we ponder the cancellation of Mega Man Universe and Mega Man Legends 3 while considering the future of the Blue Bomber.

And while we know that Inafune isn't involved with Mega Man much any more (save for special occasions), part of the reason we chose to post this is because of its relation to another Mega Man founding father. That is, Steve "Reeve" Watts, founder of this very site, wrote the piece, and so we wanted to spread the word for him a bit. So please, put the pitchforks away.

Mega Man Legends is Hayao Miyazaki

...along with every other game, according to a recent 1UP feature written by Jeremy Parish. As part of the site's week-long cover story about "How Comics Shaped Games," Parish takes a special look at the influence of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and how-- despite rare involvement with games himself-- his work has inspired many a video game title, from Square's Final Fantasy II to SEGA's Skies of Arcadia and Valkyria Chronicles to Capcom's Mega Man Legends series.

Check out the article for yourself here and see what other games have felt Miyazaki's influence and how.

1UP's "What If?" Week Looks at Hypothetical Mega Man Scenarios

Over the past week, 1UP has run a series of themed articles under the common theme of "What If?: Gaming's Alternate Realities." In these hypothetical situations, we get an idea of how the video game industry might have been different had it not been for certain influential factors and events taking place. Naturally, as you've no doubt figured out by the fact you are reading about this feature on this very webpage, there are some articles included which look at Mega Man. In particular, two come from MMN alumnus Nadia "Red Draco" Oxford: "What If Every Game Sequel Was Like Mega Man 2?" is one question posed, while the other is "What If Zero Had Been the Main Character in Mega Man X?" Additionally, a third bit of Blue Bomber is featured in artist Rusty Shackles' "Cover Gallery: Box Art from Another Reality," where it provides a sad bit of closure to the feature.

Of course, these are but a mere handful of subjects covered. For more, just click here (and check back for updates, as not everything has been added there yet).

A Tribute to Mega Man Battle Network

Earlier this year, Mega Man Battle Network turned ten (and made us all feel a little bit older). Now on 1Up, writer Jeremy Parish has a feature running commemorating the series, with a focus on how it saved Mega Man, if at least for a time. I don't know if I agree with all of Jeremy's points myself, but it is certain that the game was successful in generating a new audience for Mega Man while still managing to appeal to a degree of the original fans, thanks to its liberal use of characters and themes from the classic games. It definitely was meant to be aimed at kids but it managed to tie together fun gameplay (gimmicks aside) and an amusing tale.

Personally, I still think there's a lot of potential left in the concept. Battle Network may have eventually been mishandled and petered out, but its high point is proof of the success it's capable of.

Retronauts Blog Returns with a DASH of Mega Man

I have mixed titles just to make a catchy headline, and for that, I apologize. With that out of the way, the newly-crowned 1UP Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Parish has at last resurrected the long-dormant Retronauts classic gaming blog, and has done so by posting an article about one classic game near and dear to many of us: Mega Man Legends.

"Halcyon Days: Mega Man Legends and the Lost Art of Sincerity" takes a look at the first game of the series and the "heart" is possesses, a quality its author feels is lacking in many of the contemporary games of today:

And don’t bother complaining about how nebulous a term “heart” is. Even the lousiest video game is a creative work, an artistic endeavor by people who aspire to express themselves, and such things can’t entirely be dissected into quantitative elements. You can break a game down into its components -- its graphics, its sound, its mechanics, its story -- but in the end, you still have to go with your gut. That’s what heart is. It’s when a game grabs you by the innards, inspires you, and leaves you thinking to yourself, “These guys, they get it.”

The article also notes how history has short-changed the game by almost ignoring things which subsequent games from other companies did second, but also arguably did better. Things such as the in-game cut-scenes of Metal Gear Solid, or the lock-on targeting popularized by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which while perhaps not performing these feats as well as its peers, managed to make up for it in other ways.

Though it does not go so far as to vouch for the need or desire for the game's Nintendo 3DS sequel, it does position the game as one which is arguably even more enjoyable in retrospect now than it was upon its release. Hopefully, Capcom-- Capcom USA, specifically-- will find a way to make it available to everyone in the West once again so they can more easily find out for themselves.

1UP Hosting Mega Man X Retronauts Livestream Tonight

Just a heads-up, for those of you who like watching other people talk about games while playing games: 1UP is hosting a Mega Man X edition of their Retronauts call-in program tonight at 3:45 p.m. Pacific time/6:45 p.m. Eastern. Following their podcast, Jeremy "Toastyfrog" Parish, Christian Nutt of Gamasutra, and Scott "Solid" Sharkey will talk about the original game and the series it inspired for an hour, and will proceed to play the first game for another 30 minutes after that. Details are as follows:

  • Where to call: 415-547-8778. It's a U.S. number, but VOIP telephony shenanigans and other such trickery can help you keep international call costs down.
  • When to watch: Tomorrow (Friday, April 29) starting at 3:45 p.m. Pacific time (which, obviously, is 6:45 p.m. Eastern). We'll start taking calls about 15 minutes later! (If you're watching the show, you'll be able to tell when the phone lines open.)
  • Why to watch even after the podcast is over: Because Mega Man X is great, and we want to play it for you.
  • Why to watch: Because, like X, you can't help what wonder what you're fighting for. And we have the answers.

When the time comes, this is where you'll want to be for the show.

1UP Salutes the Nintendo DS with a Look Back at Mega Man ZX Advent

In about a month and a half, Nintendo will unleash its new 3DS handheld upon the masses of North America and Europe (with Japan getting their first batch in just 12 days). To that end, 1UP.com's Jeremy Parish is taking the time to look back some of the best games the system has to offer, be they his personal preference or due to their general importance in the grand scheme of the system's life. One such salute takes a look at none other than one of Capcom's own Mega Man titles, specifically the seemingly unloved Mega Man ZX Advent. Of this game, he notes:

An extension of the Mega Man Zero series (in turn a sequel to the Mega Man X franchise, which was a spin-off of Mega Man), Advent is very much rooted in the old-school way of doing things. It's a 2D platformer, and it iterates on the template of 1987's NES classic Mega Man -- though many times removed, of course. As its annoyingly arcane title indicates, it's the direct sequel to 2006's Mega Man ZX; it is, however, the better game by far.

The short article goes on to praise the game's improved map system, used for exploring the title's vast network of interconnected areas, the dual-protagonists and their ability to go one better than taking their enemy's powers by becoming their enemies, and of course, paving the way for Inti Creates to go on to develop Mega Man 9 and 10.

But is it really the better game? To say it is or is not is purely subjective, of course, but despite the improvements in the map system and the *ahem* advent of the return to 8-bit style, this writer personally preferred the original ZX for its less-cumbersome transformations and less-bothersome final level. To not even be able to find anyone in a large gathering of Mega Man fans at Otakon up to the task of tackling that part would seem to speak volumes.

Either way, however, it seems that Capcom has no immediate interest in picking up the loose threads left hanging by the game's cliffhanger conclusion. With Mega Man 9 and 10 now a wrap and Legends 3 on its way, could ZX the new series everyone waits an unthinkably long time to continue? Will 2017 mark the return of Mega Man Model ZX and the Guardians, fighting to prevent a future which we know to be inevitable?

Only time will tell.

1UP Previews Mega Man Universe at TGS

While we've seen and heard increasingly more about Mega Man Universe since it was announced two months ago, we learned that the game would not be playable until the Tokyo Game Show. You know, the one going on as we speak. So naturally, one would expect at least one journalist from this side of the pond to be in attendance and putting their "Mega-fied" world through its paces. And in this particular instance, the one to step up and see what the buzz is all about would be none other than 1UP's own resident Retronaut and Mega Man fan, Jeremy Parish.

So, what does he think of it?

Well, the title of his preview is very telling: "Mega Man Universe Offers Imperfect Fan Service," it says, adding "Its heart is in the right place, but this odd new Mega Man game doesn't quite hit the mark."

As this is the only Mega Man title announced (that isn't exclusive to Korea, anyway), some may find this disheartening. But what exactly are its failings, according to Parish?

Something about Mega Man Universe seems a little bit off. Maybe it's the graphics, which hover somewhere between the bobble-head look of Mega Man Powered Up, cel-shading, and classic bitmap Mega Man without ever quite committing to any one style. Or maybe it's the controls, which feel slightly sluggish and imprecise -- not cripplingly so, but still enough to throw me off my game after two decades of conditioning my reflexes with classic Mega Man adventures.

He adds that the game is "a fun idea based on a beloved franchise," but notes that this in turn "makes its failings downright agonizing."

For those concerned about his statement regarding the controls, this could easily be a case of "your mileage may vary." Parish has been known to express concerns over the accuracy of a "2.5D" game's controls versus those of a strictly 2D game. We've seen some people express similar views, while others never seem to even notice, perhaps even preferring the newer form in some cases.

The preview goes on to say that "there's a lot to love about MMU," and talks about the TGS demo's features, which include three stages based on each of three difficulty levels (Easy, Normal, and Hard), and around half a dozen characters to choose from, many of them different takes on the classic Blue Bomber. There is also a description of how one mixed-up Mega Man manages to come together:

One possible character variant features the head of Mega Man-MU on Metal Man's shoulders and Quick Man's body. The resulting character concoction has Quick Man's speed and can fire Quick Boomerangs and Metal Blades in addition to the standard arm cannon.

For fans of agility and heavy firepower, however, it appears that the rules of Mega Man 9 and 10 are still in play; that is, no sliding, and no charging your Mega Buster. But by the sound of things, those abilities may not be missed-- at least, among the FrankenRockman bunch.

Parish notes that the devil is in the details, with the "base model Mega Man characters" not playing right, "with a slightly sticky feel to their actions." These are apparently worsened when you begin to tweak the models.

It's the little details that have always set the best Mega Man games apart from their competitors, imitators, and even the less worthy chapters of the series itself. MMU fumbles the little things, and as a result it doesn't quite feel like a "true" Mega Man game.

Parish closes by expressing his desire for Universe to excel, as it follows an "excellent" premise, but notes that as a fan of the series, he carries expectations which the game is so far failing to meet. Fortunately, with the time for its release still a ways off, there is hope that such niggling issues ("namely, its sluggish controls") will be remedied before it is unleashed upon the Blue Bomber-buying public.

To see Parish's preview in full, check it out at 1UP here.

1Up Pillow Gives You Sweet Dreams

Following Capcom's Mega Man 10 promotion with the E Can pillow, the e-Capcom store will be receiving yet more merchandise you can rest your head on. This time it's the 1Up cushion, a rounded orange pillow with the Mega Man 1Up smiling brightly at you. It measures close to 14" in diameter, nice and big, though I still don't think it's as cool as the E Can. The pillow is on pre-order now for ¥2,100 (roughly $24.46 US), and will release on September 30th for you import hounds. And disregard BD's earlier post about the E Can. He lives in Canada and just gets the news slowly. Hahahaha.

News Credit: Capcom Unity