OH Mega Man, where art thou?
Think back to 1987: A year of TMNT, cabbage patch kids and GameBoy. Capcom’s Mega Man was released for NES in the US (with crap sales), and most of you probably didn’t even know it existed. Mega Man is probably one of the first ever sleeper hit games. Its originally granted it numerous installments (all of which we thoroughly enjoyed), but sadly its debut was a flop.
Oddly enough, people agree that the box art is largely to blame for it. If you look at it, it looks like a cheap version of Tron (and is by no means a near accurate representation of the actual game). The lead character also kind of looks like an ape in a space suit. On a tropical planet.
But beyond that, what makes Mega Man a distinction is that it’s one of the first games to allow players to select their levels in any order they want (as opposed to a predetermined order), and at the end of that level, they fight its respective boss. YOU HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. Upon defeating that boss, you can take his special ability as Mega Man’s. While the levels can be played in any order, once you get the hang of the game, you can learn what abilities other bosses can be weak to so it can give you an idea on how to strategize your own personal order.
It’s probably this freedom that keeps us craving the game. It’s the gaming representation of “Mood“, and it allows for a layer of gaming strategy that, to this day, is unsurpassed by any other franchise.