Long overdue

Thursday, September 25, 2008
You were promised a second post about Mega Man 9 and it was not delivered. Until now.

It's now been released for two systems and has apparently done very well. Indeed the reviewers were quite kind to it. I didn't expect it to do poorly at all, after all, Mega Man has a solid following. Do I think the look and feel of the game helped drive the sales? Absolutely.

Take a look at previous entries in the Mega Man series. Almost every one has stuck to the same basic aesthetic and it's worked fairly well. Why then does Mega Man 9 garner so much attention? Simple; it brings together in one place, the two top conversation pieces among most gamers. The good old days and new games. Who doesn't love to recount the early days of his/her gaming life or telling unenlightened friends about the joys of a new game.

The vocal minority may say that MM9 isn't breaking any new ground. They're dead wrong. MM9's 8-bit graphics may have settled once and for all the graphics vs. gameplay debate. Most gamers already proclaim gameplay over graphics, but some developers seem unconvinced. Maybe MM9 will finally show some companies that graphics don't make a game successful anymore.

Some may argue that MM9's sales data is contaminated by those who are downloading the game, not for the gameplay but the shiny old coat of paint. They want to play a game that feels like the originals did. To some degree, the point is valid, but the game wouldn't survive past it's first couple days if it isn't fun to play. A game can look exactly like it's predecessors but if the gameplay isn't there, if there is no real depth of play to it, the gimmick wears thin pretty quickly. Take a look at the sales data by the end of the week and I think you'll see it stay strong.

Capcom has managed to make not a clone of early Mega Man games but an entirely new game with everything that made the originals great. It's difficult, nostalgic and above all, fun. The look may get a few people through the door, but the game is what makes them stay.