The lights are on
I was a young gamer when my brother and I first played Mega Man X. We tackled it without any help from the Internet or even word of mouth from friends who were playing the game at the same time. We worked on it for weeks, tag-teaming bosses and frantically writing down 12-digit passwords whenever they appeared on screen.
The Super Nintendo was our first console so we never played Mega Man on the NES, and we never spoke with others who had. We didn’t know the bosses had weaknesses, and I remember when my brother and I figured it out.
For whatever reason, we had switched over to the Storm Tornado weapon to take on Flame Mammoth. Storm Eagle, from whom that weapon was won, was one of the few bosses we had been able to defeat with our simple X-buster. I fought the fiery elephant as I always did, but my brother noticed Flame Mammoth was taking more damage than usual. We counted the damage delivered with the tornado, and then switched back to the X-buster and figured out it was doing less damage. It was a revelation, and we quickly dispatched a boss who had been giving us trouble for days. It didn’t take us long to figure out every other boss weakness once we unlocked that door.
It’s a memorable moment for me because it’s a feeling I rarely experience in video games anymore. For every subsequent Mega Man X game, I went in with the knowledge that every boss had a weakness, and the fun was figuring out the pattern, rather than discovering there was a chain to begin with. It’s rare that I have a true revelation in a video game anymore in that way, for better and worse.
In a good way, I spend less time on singular video games, but still get to enjoy and experience them in their entirety because I am better at recognizing tricks and patterns. In a bad way, I don’t achieve feelings of spectacular revelation changing the course of an entire game nearly as often as I used to. It’s moments like figuring out Mega Man X’s bosses had weaknesses that made me fall in love with video games. Chasing that feeling of revelation and discovery keeps me playing and will continue to keep me playing video games for a long time.
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