“Get the blue guy!!! Caw, caw, caw, caw, caw, caw, caw, caw…”
Now doesn’t that bring back memories? (at about 4:00 into the video) With his trusty buster gun and many other weapons in hand, Mega Man, an archetypal hero in blue pad armor, first got on my gamedar (or game radar for you civilians) when I received Mega Man Legends 2 as a gift during the twilight of my Playstation 1.
So I started playing it, and five minutes in, I quickly got frustrated at first with the tight and awkward controls and gameplay. I’m sure that those of you who have played it know what I’m talking about. Even now, after having completed the game in 2005, or sometime around that year, I still suck, relying on being able to run around fast enough while using my unremarkable, underpowered, and ultimately weakly-upgraded buster gun to slowly, but surely, bring the enemy health meter down. You’d all be old and wrinkly before I could get any more patient with the side missions and events in the game that would have given me more than enough money to buy better weapons and armor.
Regardless of my skill level though, what this editorial really aims at is the lasting effect of what Mega Man represents and what he taught, at least in my opinion. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about the element of heroism in the face of death. Willingly throwing yourself into danger so that the lives of others are safeguarded. I’ll be honest, this is something I think I absorbed in playing Mega Man Legends 2. I used to love to help people, going out of my way to assist those who never asked for it, so much so that my parents started to worry about me being taken advantage of. And I was, for a time, stepped all over daily in my middle school years by a “friend” of mine who was a WWII buff, constantly telling me that I had to learn to be “social,” insisting that I had to learn to vocalize myself. Of course, I was growing up at the time, so I didn’t know any better. I even earned myself a undeserved kick in the shins from him for doing something I forgot now. But like Peter Parker as Spider Man, I’ve learned since those days. And what I learned is that you can’t afford to be a pushover in the real world.
I hear you asking, “What does that little anecdote have to do with Mega Man?” Well let me tell you how. Replaying Mega Man Legends 2 has taught me something that I think represents the viewpoints of the majority of people in the world: we should balance our concerns for others and ourselves. Mega Man did this. In the game, selfless actions out of concern for others’ well-being is Mega Man’s daily agenda. And yet, in the real world, most people tend to care mostly for themselves. Sure, you get people who feign kindness and caring, but once you put those same people in situations where their lives are threatened and must make a choice between saving themselves without a scratch or attempting to save another life while risking your own, and I’m pretty sure most of them will choose the former.
What ends up being the dominating world view today is the middle ground between those two choices, a morally-grey area, devoid of the usual black-and-white. I understand that yes, scenarios playing like that might seem cynical, maybe even pessimistic, but like many apocalypse-themed movies, books, and games portray, they can and have happened. The choice is tough, and either are equally difficult to choose.
Where do you draw the line? How can you consciously make a choice? That’s where Mega Man tore apart my moral compass, at least in my opinion. Whatever you choose, you have to live with the choice. As many movies and books and series also portray, choices are often double-edged swords, resulting in irreversible consequences. Mega Man makes these choices so easy, always choosing the harder route that puts him in danger, hence the armor. But what about us? What about our unarmored flesh-and-blood? Most of us aren’t skilled in martial arts or weapons, and I’m sure none of us are real-world Rambos. And yet, as always, the choice must be made.
In my time here on Earth and with Mega Man, I have come to the decision that the path of righteousness is the way to go. Yes, it’s cliche. Yes, it’s predictable, even boring, as the archetype of good triumphing over evil plays out yet again in this very editorial. But peace would reign supreme, should we ever be able to achieve such ideals. Let us not fight anymore, let us not repeat our species’ past mistakes with war, famine, and treatable diseases festering without any medical care for the mere reason that care couldn’t be afforded.
We are not at the same level as animals. It’s high time we stopped acting like them.