Mega Man, in love and death

I get why Mega Man fans are insatiable. Even after 10 games to the main series’ and at least double that if you include spin-offs and variations, it wasn’t enough for me as a child. I remember browsing the game rack at Bonanza Video and being unable to taper the thirst for more of the series’ Robot Masters. It didn’t matter if I could actually beat any of the Robot Masters, those meat shields made of metal for the nefarious Dr. Wily. I’d have my ass handed to me by every Frog, Skull, and Air Man. I just wanted to…


In praise of Mega Man X

Going fast is easy—the challenge is in reacting to the unwritten near-future while maintaining environmental awareness to avoid running into shit. For all the risks to life and limb, the human brain and body craves the thrill of speed. As such, even relatively primitive virtualized acceleration titillates. In the 16-bit era, games like Sonic the Hedgehog and F-Zero managed to create a placebo of velocity; my muscles tingled at every near-miss and last-second pass, or more often my ears throbbed with the rage of repetitive crashes. A lack of larger peripheral vision is what held back the otherwise stylish and…


The story behind Downwell, one of this year’s most delightful surprises

Downwell might be a perfect game title. Not only is it short and pithy, but it serves as a perfect summation for what developer Ojiro Fumoto has created. It’s a game in which a young boy is continuously falling down a well, avoiding enemies and purchasing upgrades along the way. But it’s not a hopeless endeavor. Armed with Gunboots firing from his feet, the boy is able to defend himself during his descent. The result is the type of sweat-inducing adventure that threatens to do water damage to your smartphone or controller, a game whose red and white character models…


Cave Story follow-up Kero Blaster sure looks cuddly and challenging

Cave Story was kind of like Mega Man, but artistic and free-roaming and free. It was released as freeware on the net before being HD-fied and deified by plenty of players who thought it was pretty much perfect. We’ve been waiting awhile for how the enigmatic Japanese game figure Pixel would follow it up. And it looks like Kero Blaster will satisfy the bloodthirst for brick-hard, old-school shoot-outs among incredibly cute pixel objects. The trailer looks pretty intense, as a friendly looking frog does not-so-friendly-things to bad guys such as worker moles, fire-blowing flowers, mud-men, and swooping bees. The game…