Video game mascots aren't what they used to be. Mario and Sonic now withstanding, mascots have had steady falls over the course of the last two decades in gaming. Ristar, Gex, and Blinx The Time Sweeper all say hi from the edges of obscurity, but there's still hope yet for some sweet fan service. Sony's seen great success with their HD revivals of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon respectively, and now Capcom's joining the fold with the long-awaited eleventh installment in the Mega Man franchise.
The years haven't been kind to the Blue Bomber. Fans were tossed bones in the form of lesser versions of Mega Man in games like Tatsunuko vs. Capcom and Street Fighter x Tekken and the less said about the debacle that was Keiji Inafune's Mighty No. 9, the better. After waiting so long to really revisit the world of platforms and tough-as-nails bosses, is the world ready or even willing for a new chapter in the series? The fan reaction has been fairly positive so far, but only time will tell. In the meantime, here are some fun facts about the Blue Bomber, one for each iteration of Mega Man proper.
Mega Man's trademark color is blue (more on that in a minute), but all the different powers - and colors - he picks up over the course of each game almost warranted a different name. Mega Man came very close to having "Rainbow" somewhere in his name because of this, and the very first game was even on the verge of being called The Battle Rainbow Rock Man, a reference to his Japanese name.
The color is iconic and instantly recognizable, but Mega Man is only blue because of the software limitations of the NES. Since the system had a relatively limited color palette, the original game's designers built the sprites around it because they wanted as much detail as possible. If I could imagine Mega Man any other color, it would probably be bumblebee shade. Or maybe hot pink. You can quote me on that.
When was the last time you listened to Guns N Roses? Mega Man X5's bosses were all named after members of the legendary rock band, thanks to voice actress Alyson Court. When she dubbed the game's dialogue for English, she named bosses like Axel the Red and Iggy Glow because of her husband's obsession with the band. Is this somehow better than Jojo's Bizarre Adventure's obscure rock referencing character names?
Robotic children are apparently all the rage because Mega Man's origins can be traced back to another small boy robot. The first Mega Man game was originally supposed to be an Astro Boy game, but complications arose and that idea was scrapped. I'd still like to live long enough to see a proper crossover between the two
Yes, you read that right: Mega Man has his own soccer game. You could choose up to eight characters per team - from bosses to Proto Man and friends - and have them kick a ball around and use their powerups to dice each other into metallic chunks. It was released in the states and Europe in April 1994 and in Japan in February 1994. Yes, it's just about as much fun as it sounds, even though the controls were clunky.
The small blue bomber we all know and love was introduced to many as a much bigger middle-aged man on the original game's cover. How could the artist have gotten things so wrong? Whoever Capcom and creator Kenji Inafune hired to do the artwork had never played or even seen the game before; all he had to go off of was the title. And a man in a leftover sci-fi movie costume with a Party City plastic blaster was the first thing that came to mind, apparently.
If you were diligent Mega Man Xtreme player, you're bound to find some secrets. One of those secrets is an unlockable hadouken powerup, cribbed straight from Street Fighter. Street Fighter never gave any of their characters Mega Man powers in return, but they did include chubby cover art Mega Man in Street Fighter x Tekken as a dig at Inafune for not letting them include the regular version of the character.