The Mega Man In Me

Recently I’ve been playing through the first few Mega Man games (via the MEGA MAN LEGACY COLLECTION). I never finished one of them when I was a kid, mainly because they are notoriously difficult. I’ve currently beaten 1 and 2, with a little help of “save states” that the digital versions have, which allow me to save in the middle of levels if I want to, instead of having to start over from the beginning of a level every time I die. They were still hard even with this.

But now I’m on Mega Man 3. This was the game the kids in the neighborhood had when I was young. It has a special aura to it for me. It’s the one that takes me back to my youth. And I decided I’m not going to use save states to beat this one; I’m gonna beat Mega Man 3 as intended, through punishing difficulty. I’ve beaten the first 8 bosses, and now I am trying the next 4 levels that appear after you beat those bosses, and they are kicking my ass.

I haven’t fallen to temptation yet to save state it. But every time I die in the game, I find myself flustered in a way I haven’t felt in a while, back when anger was a real issue for me. It’s almost as if while playing Mega Man 3, I’m playing my past as much as a hard-ass game. It makes me wonder what kind of person I would have been, if as a youth instead of quitting Mega Man when it got tough, I pushed through until I ultimately conquered Dr. Wily. Would that have bled into real life? Would I have learned a valuable lesson on perseverance? Did the fact that I never finished what I started with Mega Man 3 subconsciously tell me that it’s ok to quit, or worse, that I’ll never be good enough, that some things will just be too hard for me?

There have been things in my life that I quit, or didn’t give my all, because in my mind if I wasn’t a master from the beginning it meant that I never would be. Somewhere in the last 10 years, when life went completely insane for my family, I learned that this wasn’t true, because I’ve survived hard times I never imagined I’d go through when I was young. But maybe if I beat Mega Man 3 when I was in my single digits, that would have jumpstarted my tenacity.

Of course that is ridiculous to some extent, but if I can persevere with Mega Man 3 now, over 20 years after my first encounter with the blue bomber, I can at least put to rest the small voice that reminds me I never finished it. Even though I’ve beaten Dark Souls, which is considered one of the hardest games ever made (which gave me a similar satisfaction that I can persevere even with the small stuff like video games), that won’t hold a candle to when I’m finished with Mega Man 3. I might throw a freakin’ party or something. Then hell, maybe I’ll give Mega Man 4 a whirl.