Megaman as Malware
April 8, 2012 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Any critical analysis of MegaMan might just conclude that MegaMan was malware.
posted by barnacles (29 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
with roots going all the way back to the NES era.

I've also heard that The Beatles have roots going all the way back to the Rock and Roll era.

posted by ShutterBun at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2012


OMG WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
posted by fuq at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2012


Don't invoke Sheepleman, fuq. His powers are... disturbing.
posted by m@f at 7:23 AM on April 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


A proper deconstruction must take into account the historic context, in this case the economic bubble taking place in Japan during the time of Megaman's development and release in 1987. The flood of easy credit made possible by deregulation and monetary easing by the Bank of Japan in the late 1980s made acquisitions of smaller entities a tempting prospect for large corporations, allowing them to enter new markets by absorbing new, highly specialized, and underdeveloped industries—in effect, "stealing their powers" and concentrating them into more powerful and increasingly-predatory organizations. The Megaman series presents this allegorically and in an uncritical light, which is especially telling because the first three games were released prior to the inevitable market collapse in 1991, leading to the so-called Lost Decade.

Haha, no, actually Megaman was just a video game.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:28 AM on April 8, 2012 [29 favorites]


Well, all the these analysis lack a full discussion of Megaman's gender performance in the context of cultural masculinity and constructed sexuality. For instance, we know Megaman is partially defined by his acts of penetration into the receptive robot bosses' chambers, Megaman must constantly "fire" his "gun" to proceed onward. However, at the critical moment of victory Megaman does not penetrate the defeated robot boss but rather incorporates or subsumes the robot boss, gaining their essence. If we consider this in light of Foucault...
posted by fuq at 7:47 AM on April 8, 2012 [26 favorites]


Of course MegaMan was evil. He only defeated other robots and absorbed their powers to give himself an edge.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Megaman series presents this allegorically and in an uncritical light, which is especially telling because the first three games were released prior to the inevitable market collapse in 1991, leading to the so-called Lost Decade.

Lost decades being commonly referred to in the "20XX" format.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Megaman...no no. You're thinking of Dr. Wily.
posted by Fizz at 8:20 AM on April 8, 2012


In actuality, the Megaman games are really about two competing robot designers, Dr. Wily and Dr. Light, and Megaman’s role in sabotaging one on behalf of the other. While Dr. Wily focuses on creating multiple robots for a variety of purposes, Dr. Light has a much more efficient, though underhanded, approach. Dr. Light created a single type of robot who has the ability not only to hunt down and destroy other robots, but also to steal their functions. Is it any wonder that Megaman always allows Dr. Wily to live at the end of each game? This isn’t mercy, Megaman needs Dr. Wily alive to create more things for him to steal later.

PARASITE MAN VS. DR. GALT.
posted by codacorolla at 8:29 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]



At least, that’s how it’s presented to us in the instruction manual and the opening scenes to each game. However, the reality on the ground is drastically different, as Megaman’s actions make him seem less like the savior of mankind and more like an assassin hell-bent on destroying Dr. Wily’s creations and sabotaging his work.

Oh fun! Let's ignore plot and context! Let me try!

Contra isn't about defending the earth from alien invasion, it's about going to another planet and fucking their shit up. Shirtless. Wait! Why are they shirtless? Don't they need armor? Oh my God, when they're shot, they just magically reappear! They're magic marines! God bless America.

Mario repeatedly attempts to commit goomba and troopa gencide to get laid. His real name must be Leisure Suit Hitler.

Kirby is clearly an allegory extoling the benefits of binge eating and purging.

Link is clearly just a child who likes to explore and save Hyrule... Uh oh. It looks like my snark hit a snag. The author actually makes an important point about immersion and tone in video games. In movies, you are supposed to show, not tell. But in video games, you are supposed to do, not show. The Legend of Zelda does a fairly good job of this, while the other above game don't. If what you are doing isn't matching with the plot, themes, or tone of the video game, it's going to seem like a disjointed experience. It can break immersion.

That said, the author of this article never explicitly makes this point, so I'll just assume he's someone just trying to seem clever to an internet audience. But be warned, throw shit at Megaman, and he will throw shit back at you when he has to face you a second time right before he has to beat Dr. Wily again.
posted by Groundhog Week at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That said, the author of this article never explicitly makes this point, so I'll just assume he's someone just trying to seem clever to an internet audience.

This may come as a surprise to you, but 'trying to seem clever to an audience' is also sometimes called 'comedy writing'. By phrasing things in a way that is ridiculous, or a subversion of the normal order, it can cause the audience to 'laugh'. If one takes a look at the Over Thinking It about page one could even surmise that over thinking popular culture for comedic effect might be its intent. However this would require a large amount of non-literal reading, which is dangerous, and I can't recommend personally.

Mario repeatedly attempts to commit goomba and troopa gencide to get laid. His real name must be Leisure Suit Hitler.

This is essentially true. Not to mention all of the indigenous populations he wipes out in his quest for Peach.
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Doom is about a space marine who suffers space madness on Phobos Station, hallucinating stranger and stranger horrors, he begins firing on his fellows. In many ways, a spiritual sequel to the 1982 classic: Berzerk.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


So anything with an unreliable narrator, or anything that can be re-imagined from a "what if the hero is really the villain and vice versa" is now malware?

I don't think that word means what he thinks it means.
posted by Naberius at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Naberius, he's using it as, "this is an actual robot whose purpose is to destroy other systems and copy their code for itself." That can probably be called Malware.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:11 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The comedic use of absurd over-analysis, I realize at this juncture, makes actual analysis seem absurd. Given the increasing quantity and quality of critical work made on the structure of our society, economy, and culture; it would appear that what we are witnessing is an immune reaction. What observations may have at an earlier time been induced curiosity and serious self-reflection, will instead be handled with comedic distance. Oh ho, we'll laugh, they asked us to think about it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This may come as a surprise to you, but 'trying to seem clever to an audience' is also sometimes called 'comedy writing'...

I know. I know. You're right. I was attempting to be dismissive for the sake of humor. Didn't work very well. I'm in a sour mood this morning.

Also, Dr. Robotnik was just an innocent industrialist who's livelyhood was destroyed at the hands of eco-terrorist Sonic.
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:15 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chris Sims recently wrote an article about how current Megaman comics are all about his guilt over robot-on-robot violence.
posted by painquale at 9:23 AM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Dr. Robotnik was just an innocent industrialist who's livelyhood was destroyed at the hands of eco-terrorist Sonic.

While there are important differences, this resembles some elements of the SatAM/Archie Comics version of Sonic Canon.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:26 AM on April 8, 2012


Ohhhh, Megaman the character, not Megaman the game.

Okay... that makes more sense. I'll just go stand over in the corner there.
posted by Naberius at 9:33 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Megaman must be pronounced with the final syllable unstressed; Me'gamən; as in Hu'mən. This technique can and must be expanded to Spi'dermən, Su'permən, and He'mən. Repeat until enlightenment is achieved.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Mega Man costume my mom made me was the best Halloween costume I ever had.

Cool story, me.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah.

A while back a friend and I came up with a similar spin on this - we wanted to do a game that borrowed Megaman's basic idea of "you are a robot who upgrades by pulling parts out of defeated boss robots" and makes it a bit less two-dimensional; our opening would have been a tutorial level that shaded into your first real mission when the facility that built you was under attack by the baddies. Which was then revealed to actually have been you brutally slaying pretty much everyone with your super-fast time-stop targeting abilities (ala VATS in Fallout 3 though this was before that) after being haxx0red, thus setting things up for the kind of massive guilt/vengeance issues that drive Megaman in the X games.

I think one of the bosses was going to involve playing a rhythm game until you'd danced close enough to slip a "fire blaster" into the dance sequence instead of a normal move.
posted by egypturnash at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do you know what it's like to be built this way?
posted by Countess Elena at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Megaman was created in the days when Japanese-to-English translation in video games was especially poor; the correct translation was Ubermensch as a direct reference to Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This explains why the title credits often have him standing on top of a skyscraper, hair blowing in the wind. This is his modern mountain as he surveys all of humanity. Megaman powerfully confronts the question: "I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?" With the answer: "I acquired his powers and used them against him. While powersliding and shit."
posted by naju at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


This post is missing the 'plateofbeans' tag.
posted by spitefulcrow at 11:59 AM on April 8, 2012


We have to consider the author and the intended audience. After doing so, it's easy to see that Megaman is an anti-imperialist tract, at once a critique and propaganda against individualistic American capitalism vis-a-vis Japanese culture of conformity and community. From the Japanese point of view, Americans take what they like from the world, absorb whatever they dislike, and lay waste to absolutely everything else. The Japanese, on the other hand, work together as a collective. Dr. Wiley simply wants to strengthen his society, to make it more harmonious.

This interpretation explains why Megaman games were incredibly tedious and completely fucking impossible to finish. Remember those boss battles? The jumps that required perfect timing? The gigantic passwords? The game was incredibly frustrating. The only way to win was not to play. The Japanese developers knew that Japanese would intuitively understand the message and appreciate their art for its message. Americans, as is typical, saw the games as challenges--competitions--and were rewarded with frustration. Indeed, Megaman caused many Americans to throw their controllers across the room, requiring replacement from Japanese factories--all part of the design.
posted by smorange at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lost decades being commonly referred to in the "20XX" format.

Technically, you have described the "Lost Century" format, as I believe Lost Decades are generally (or specifically, in the case of Megaman) "199X".
posted by graventy at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This may come as a surprise to you, but 'trying to seem clever to an audience' is also sometimes called 'comedy writing'...
I wouldn't say it's humor 'per se', as in "this is a totally pointless article about mega man" but rather the site is entirely about philosophical musings about pop culture. The topics don't need this level of analysis, but they get them anyway. Take, for example this article about Super Mario brothers and the Anthropic principle, although in this case the game angle is really just a framing device.
posted by delmoi at 12:48 AM on April 9, 2012


There are serious articles on overthinking, but this particular article is pretty obviously comedy, and a lot of the other ones are too.
posted by codacorolla at 6:54 AM on April 9, 2012


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