MegaMaster Musings

The Meaning of Fun
February 3, 2004

Of the last three or four Mega Man games released (not including Mega Man X7 as I haven’t played that one yet), every single one of them has been more irritating than fun to play. Well, okay, Battle Network 3 is more or less okay up to the Alpha battle, which is a pain in the behind. (You know it’s bad when you find yourself staring at the screen thinking, “If this game doesn’t end now, I’m throwing it in the trash compactor...”) The Alpha battle is much like the Gospel one, because Alpha is invulnerable during much of it, leaving you unable to damage him at all half of the time.

(Screen shot of MegaMan saying, 'Yeah, I can feel them! It gets more dangerous up ahead!')
Translation: “You are about to throw your controller out the window.” Hey, at least they warn you.

And this is supposed to be fun?

Then of course is Mega Man Zero 2, which added 1-Ups but did not in any way reduce the frustration level from Mega Man Zero. And Mega Man Network Transmission, which was fun for about the first two hours and now it’s getting tedious. When it isn’t being irritating.

I think Capcom and their second-party commissioned companies which are developing these games have completely forgotten what makes a fun game.

It didn’t always used to be like this. Sure, Capcom has produced their bout of obnoxious games in the past (Mega Man X6 springs to mind), but there have been many more which were sheer fun to play. Mega Man V, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man Battle & Chase... I could go on and on.

Has Capcom lost sight of the purpose of playing a game to begin with? Or is the problem in the fact that they have out-sourced a good 75% of all of their recent Mega Man titles? Certainly other companies are still making fun games. I can name any number of recent titles that I would rather be playing than the current crop of Mega Man games. And that is what is truly sad.

It seems to me that Capcom’s developers have gone completely off the deep end in their misguided quest to create difficult titles. Rather than presenting a reasonable challenge, the games tend to be either entirely unfair or too unforgiving. A player who is playing for fun does not want to have to jump through a bunch of stupid hoops just to finish the game, and a player who is looking for a challenge does not want to have to go through the last 30 minutes of a stage that he successfully navigated just to take another stab at that one section that gave him troubles.

Wracking up the motivation to keep spinning my wheels on these games in the limited amount of time that I have available to begin with is getting more and more difficult. And I think that is the root of the problem.

- The MegaMaster