Today marks the release of a much anticipated indie game from world renowned game designer Keiji Inafune: Mighty No. 9. After its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, the missteps of mid-development, and the year long delay, backers can now enjoy something they haven’t had a chance to do in a long while: play a new Mega Man game.

While most of us backers (yes, I am a backer) flooded the message boards and social medias with hate speech and empty threats, I decided to play some Mega Man games I hadn’t before: Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10. Released in 2008 and 2010 respectively, MM9 and MM10 saw their presence on the downloadable only side of gaming for the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. (Weird, playing Mega Man on something other than a Nintendo console).

The games were designed to be a return to form once seen in the 1980s, these new Mega Man titles feature everything you’d expect: 8-bit graphics, rocking chiptunes, spikes, lava, taking out bosses with other bosses weapons. Classic Mega Man action.

And it got me thinking: Capcom could have done whatever they wanted with these two new titles. It’s been ten years since the last iteration of a numbered Mega Man title and Mega Man has seen all sorts of interesting turns (Mega Man X series, Battle Network, Legends). It makes one wonder: what is Mega Man in this day and age?

Capcom was well in their right to reinvent the wheel of Mega Man but they didn’t. They simply created two more titles that slotted right next to the rest of the series. Playing MM5 and MM6 then 9 and 10 feels like there wasn’t a 20 year gap. And it works. The platforming feels natural, the difficulty curve is smooth, and the deaths are justified. I mean, it’s Mega Man in its purest form.

It literally is just another notch in the belt of Mega Man. Nothing new is introduced here with the exception of robot masters. And it works. MM9 received an average of 80/100 across the board. For all purposes a very successful set of games. And they did nothing new. They only brought more great content to the masses to enjoy.

Reinventing the wheel doesn’t have to be a pinnacle of your game’s design. Some of the most successful games, not just indies, are simply refined versions of games that already have a solid footing and success story. People want what they already know. They just want more of it. And you shouldn’t be afraid to give more of what people want.

I mean, it worked for Mega Man. How bad can Mighty No. 9 be?

Oh, that bad? Damn.

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Eric M Hunter

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