gamer culture

Today’s Teens Confounded By The Original Mega Man

by Mike Futter on Dec 15, 2014 at 03:23 AM

Growing up in the 8-bit era meant a lot of things. Game manuals were often filled with story (and color), games were challenging, and there was no Internet to search for tips. While the medium has certainly become more complex, there is still challenge to be found on those old grey carts.

Fine Brothers Entertainment has created the React YouTube channel featuring kids and teens responding to a variety of everyday activities. One series puts teens at the helm of popular video games.

Past installments have featured a number of current titles, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Outlast. Yesterday, the React channel wound the clock back to 1987 with the original Mega Man.

The reactions are certainly amusing, but they reveal some interesting misconceptions about gaming in the 8-bit days held by those that haven't played those titles. The teens’ understanding of gaming is (understandably) framed by Mario, which colors their perception of how Mega Man should be played. Additionally, the concept of what a "level" is and how checkpoints worked (Mega Man did have them) show some of the ways design and technology have changed.

At first, the teens expect explicit instructions like “don’t fall in the spikes.” But as time goes on, they become more accustomed to watching patterns and figuring out enemy movement. I would love to see more videos like this one (preferably with the same cast becoming more acclimated to 8-bit gaming), as they are a potent reminder of how much has changed in the past three decades.