Mega Man 2- An Amazing Sequel

Every villian has to try again sometime, but with Dr. Wily it didn’t seem like he would. After getting mediocre results on Mega Man 1, Capcom hasn’t given the Blue Bomber a sequel yet. But after a while, they decided to make a sequel. And It’s good that they did because Mega Man 2 popularized Mega Man with it’s better level design and more content. When you boot the game up, there’s actually music and a story! This game is actually a lot easier than most Mega Man games, so maybe that’s why so many people liked it. Anyway, the story is as follows, straight from the game: In the year of 200X, a super robot named Mega Man was created. Dr. Light created Mega Man to stop the evil desires of Dr. Wily.

However, after his defeat, Dr. Wily created eight of his own robots to counter Mega Man. So, that’s the story. See anything wrong? Yeah, for some reason, the story for Mega Man 1 in Japan is different from the one for the U.S. I have no idea why that is, but it explains why the story is a little messed up for Mega Man 2. Anyway, there’s two difficulties to play the game on. Normal and difficult. Most people play on difficult mode because it’s more in line to other Mega Man games, but I prefer normal mode so that’s what mode the screenshots and videos were taken with. Anyway, when you select the mode it brings you to a menu saying stage select or password. Luckily in Mega Man 2 and onwards there’s actually a way to save. Thank goodness. At the stage select screen, you’ll see that this time, there are eight evil robots, not just six.

Stage Select
The eight robot masters in all of their glory.

Nice, now I can die more! Actually this is kinda off-topic but I have a joke to tell to somebody who plays Mega Man. Ask them, what robot have you killed the most in Mega Man? And tell them the robot you have killed the most is Mega Man when they get it wrong. Anyway, back on topic. The robo butt I usually start with is Air Man but for newcomers I’d recommend starting with Metal Man because his stage is easier. Here’s my usual order: Air Man, Metal Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, then finally Quick Man. Anyway, I’ll be going through the game as if you’re doing my order, okay? Lets go!

Air Man’s stage is actually pretty tough for a first stage to tackle but trust me, you want to take him on first. Air Man’s stage contains Kaminari Goro’s which are little guys in thunder clouds that you can shoot to take their sweet ride and Goblins which have raising and lowering spikes on their head and produce smaller versions which home in on you and are annoying as well.

A lot of people struggle with Air Man’s fight for some reason but I find him to be one of the easiest bosses in the game. He shoots little tornadoes but the catch is, if you don’t get lucky, he will shoot an array of impossible to dodge tornadoes which makes no- damage running his stage a pain in the butt. After you beat his stage, in true Mega Man fashion, you get the robot master’s weapon! In this case it being the Air Shooter. But, what’s this? A message from Dr. Light? He informs you that you get the Item 2… What the heck is that? Well, you know how Mega Man 1 had the Magnet Beam? Well, in Mega Man 2, instead of finding the assist items inside the stage, you get them for completing certain stages. More on that later.

Air Man’s fight is almost entirely luck-based when it comes to no damage running him.

Up next on the chopping block is Metal Man. Metal Man’s main gimmick is the conveyor belts which (of course) pull you in different directions based on which way the arrows are pointing. But, what’s this? There’s a little blue object with and E on it. Well, for anyone who wants to know, COLLECT. THEM. ALL. They refill all your health so they’re very handy to have and with the order I’m using, you will be able to get them all. You can only hold four and there’s more than four in the entire game so you might not need them so I skip out on some.

Up next are these presses that do a lot of damage and, ignoring all logic, the chain hurts you. Yep. There’s also little drills called Moles that are a good way to grind after those crushers but doing a no-damage run is super hard on this stage as well because of them.

A little video of Metal Man’s stage. Apparently you can’t go through the chains on the presses.

Compared to the other stages, Metal Man’s stage doesn’t have many enemies. Why did I want you to do Air Man’s stage first though? Item 2 functions as a jet board to get you over gaps and what-not, so you can use it to get an extra life (or an extra guy if you prefer the old version) as well as an extra E-Tank! Metal Man isn’t too hard so he’s a good first boss to tackle if you don’t care for E-Tanks or Extra Lives. From him you get… THE MOST BROKEN WEAPON IN THE ENTIRETY OF MEGA MAN. The Metal Blade. The Power Pellets are basically useless now because you can fire the Metal Blades in all eight directions, use barely any weapon energy, and can pierce through multiple enemies. (I personally like to call it the Broken Blade because it’s just so dang over powered.)

Avoiding damage in this fight is pretty hard because of Metal Man’s fast throwing speed.

Up next is Bubble Man’s stage. The first real water level in the Mega Man series! Yay, lots of death spikes! The water changes Mega Man’s physics to make him more floaty and able to jump higher. Bubble Man is allergic to the Metal Blade… Wait hang on a second…

Notes:

Robot Weaknesses:

Air Man- Leaf Shield

Metal Man- Metal Blade

Bubble Man- Metal Blade

Heat Man- Bubble Lead

Wood Man- Atomic Fire and Metal Blade

Crash Man- Air Shooter

Flash Man- Metal Blade

Quick Man- Flash Stopper and Crash Bombs

Freak’in four bosses are weak to Metal Blade! The most over powered weapon in the game! What the heck!? I guess even the designers realized that the Metal Blade was too over powered and just made a bunch of weaknesses to be the Metal Blade. Wow. Anyway, after beating Bubble Man, you get the Bubble Lead. Don’t even bother using it except for the one time you have to and to beat Heat Man, the next boss, super easily. Oh yeah, fun fact, hold down the jump button when selecting a level. Then, little bird- like enemies called Pi Pis fly across the screen instead of stars. Anyway, select Heat Man next to take him on with your newfound ability… To create bubbles… His stage’s main gimmick is- DWOOOOOOP! Wait what’s that sound… IT’S THE SOUND OF PAIN AND TORTURE. Yep. Yuko Blocks. Yippee… They’re disappearing and reappearing blocks so you have to time your jumps or you’ll fall down. Sometimes into a death pit, spikes, or lava! They were used a little bit in Ice Man’s stage but there’s more where that came from in Heat Man’s… There’s a really long section of them near the end of the level. DON’T TRY IT YOU WILL DIE! Just use Item 2 to fly over the pit. Piece of cake. Don’t go for the extra life. I’ve died there many times trying to get it. After beating this actually pretty hard boss, you get the Atomic Fire. One interesting thing about this is, it is actually the first chargeable weapon in the Mega Man series! It’s not too good though…

No-damaging Heat Man is pretty hard, but if you get him into a pattern like I did he’s a lot easier.

Next up is Wood Man who literally looks like a big tree stump. His stage is pretty easy with it really just being a straight path with lots of enemies and not too much platforming. There was actually a scrapped version of this stage where if you use Atomic Fire in his stage, the trees would burn and start a forest fire. Sadly, this was scrapped due to time limitations. But this idea did get used in Mega Man 7! If you use the fire weapon in the forest section of Slash Man’s stage, the trees will burn away and a ladder will be revealed that hides a secret! Anyway, once you beat him you get the Leaf Shield which is meh. There’s only really one place in the game I use it.

A lot of people struggle with Wood Man’s fight. There’s a lot of things to watch out for! Oh, by the way, if you get into his personal space, you can shoot through his Leaf Shield somehow. Don’t ask me why.

Time to take on Crash Man who’s allergic to air. How does he breathe!? Oh yeah, he’s a robot never mind. His stage is a really long climb up with all the most annoying enemies… Tellies, Pi Pis, and Fly Boys! This stage really isn’t too difficult. His bossfight I find is actually really hard! He jumps when you shoot so you have to plan it out carefully if you’re going for a buster-only run. His weapon, the Crash Bomber seems pretty useless at first until you realize you can open certain barriers with it.

In Flash Man’s stage, you can get a lot of stuff with it! Flash Man’s stage is pretty straightforward. His stage has ice physics which are pretty annoying. His tileset looks like it’s flashing lights but really, I think that they were trying to make it look like ice but due to the limitations of the NES, all it looks like is flashing lights. Use the Crash Bomber to get some extra goodies! As long as you spam Metal Blades, his bossfight is pretty easy! Not much to talk about in his stage. After you beat him you get the worst utility item in the game. Item 3. All it does is climb up walls so it’s basically just useless because Item 1 can already do that. Heck, you can beat the game without using Item 3 at all!

Alas, I was not able to no damage Flash Man so please enjoy this video of a bit of his stage.

Up next is… Probably the hardest Robot Master in this game- Quick Man. His stage’s main gimmick is the Quick Beams. Man a lot of people hate these. But with Flash Man’s weapon- The Flash Stopper you can skip some of it. Don’t use it at the first set of the Quick Beams though! Later in the level there’s another set which is a lot harder. His bossfight is hard too! He’s very spazzy and hard to avoid. He’s allergic to the Flash Stopper so if you want to try and beat the Quick Beam section without it, you can use it on the boss. But he is pretty weak to the Mega Buster so I usually just use the Mega Buster to beat him. After beating him you get the Quick Boomerang. It’s actually a pretty useful weapon but I barely use it because I just defeat everything with the Mega Buster.

Man, the stupid Quick Beams are super tough to dodge. I was able to do them without the Flash Stopper though!

In true Mega Man fashion, once you beat all the Robot Masters it’s time for Dr. Wily! Dr. Wily flies by in his saucer and wiggles his eyebrows and brags to Mega Man that he has a brand-spankin’ new castle this time.

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Woah, Dr. Wily has a pretty cool castle!

In his first stage, you climb his tower and awaiting you at the top is a giant Mecha-Dragon! Funnily enough, he’s allergic to the boomerangs. Don’t ask me why. His second stage starts off with you using Item 2 to fly over a huge spike pit. If you’re brave enough to stay on and see what’s beyond the first ladder, you’ll get an E-Tank! And another E-Tank. And an Extra Life. So, if you didn’t go that path, the next few screens are basically there to rub it in that you can’t get those E-Tanks and Extra Life! The boss of this stage is.. The Room. Like literally it’s just the room attacking you. Pretty creative.

Oh no! The room is attacking you! Totally not ripped off by A Link To The Past! (Coming soon… maybe.)

Anyway, moving onto Wily Stage 3 which takes place in the sewers. Yuck! After passing some large fish, there’s a spike drop! Yay, everybody likes those! I actually don’t find it too hard. This stage is actually really short now that I think about it. The boss of this stage is a giant Guts Man Tank! Wow, Dr. Wily must really like Guts Man. I guess they’re friends or something. Anyway, his weakness is the Quick Boomerang. Again.

Guts Tank

The next stage is pretty weird. We have these fake blocks that make this stage super annoying! Use Bubble Lead to find where the holes are but if you don’t even trust Bubble Lead, just use Item 2 to zip by. The boss of this stage is my least favorite one in this game. There’s these little bubbles that can only be defeated with the Crash Bomber as well as several barriers. But the catch is, you can’t break every single barrier or else you won’t have enough weapon energy left. This boss is super tedious and annoying.

Boobeam Trap

After beating that boss, time to re-fight every Robot Master in this game again. There’s not really much to mention about this. The folks at Capcom must be running out of ideas. It’s just- here fight all these bosses again. That’s it. Except… when you get to Metal Man, use the Metal Blade on him. See what happens for yourself. With all the Robot Masters defeated again, time to take on Dr. Wahwee. He just shoots at you in his jet.

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After beating him, you beat the game! Actually no, there’s another level!? You walk down a long hallway filled with Acid Droplets that try to damage you. By the way, hold right when you’re falling down the hole at the start to make your timing a lot easier. Just walk right and keep moving and they will never hit you.

Final Boss Tension

If you want to experience the ending for yourself, go right now! Play the game for yourself and once you’ve beaten it, come back so I won’t spoil the ending for you. Or you could just stay if you don’t care about spoilers. Your choice.

………..

……………………………….

Are they gone yet? I think they are… Okay, so here’s the ending. Turns out Dr. Wily is an alien!

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A very easy to kill alien at that. You HAVE to use Bubble Lead on this boss. If you use a weapon that’s not Bubble Lead, It will just completely refill his health again. After beating him, turns out he’s not an alien after all! It was just a hologram! Silly Dr. Wily!

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With Dr. Wily begging for mercy and the world saved, this quest has come to an end. Hopefully Dr. Wily will actually learn his lesson this time and not be evil again!

*Looks on shelf and sees Mega Man 3. Welp, guess not.

PlantPoweredGamers
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Homeschooling – Level 1

Our first official month of homeschooling is in the books. The way is twisted and full of tricky steps, but so far we are weathering the transition as best we know how at this time. I found Khan Academy to be my anchor as it provided a very simple platform from which to set up both math and computer science studies. They offer so much more that we may eventually look into, but we are taking it slow for now. We are using  Crash Course and Extra Credits for a lot of our history and social studies and if you have never given those two a look then I cannot recommend it enough. They really do a great job of making learning fun and entertaining – as it should be. We tried a few Ted Talks and although I personally love them Grant thought they were a little less engaging and preferred the other two, so I suppose we will stick with that for now.

Creative writing is one of the areas we really hoped to focus on. Currently the main project is writing some articles for Plant Powered Gamers, mostly game reviews and musings on video game material in general. Don’t be surprised to see our blossoming little writer posting quite a few times this year. Please encourage him if you have a chance and leave him a note of anything you’d like him to try out, review or ponder!
For Foreign Language studies he decided to try learning Japanese and we are using Duolingo, Japanese from Zero! and Japanesepod101 as well as some simple printable sheets I have found on the web to work on the lettering system. I have some experience with this language and though I’m far from fluent I think we will likely make great progress working together. Eventually I will look into some of the English-Japanese speaking connection programs and apps out there. When I last studied Skype was the only option but I know this has expanded.

We have a fresh sketchbook which Grant has begun working in already and I’ve encouraged him to pretty much doodle anything he likes in it. So far he has designed a few game layouts and of late that is his favorite subject to draw and create. We are also working on sketching some of his favorite enemies and characters from games he likes. We both agreed this would be great to work on so that he would be able to better put his ideas to paper when he is designing things for games. We are working on ideas for a little comic strip as well which we may finish up and use as a web comic. I’ve always wanted to give that a try anyway, so it’ll be a fun project. Painting is a hard sell with Grant. I really hope to work on it through the year and perhaps as he becomes more familiar it will become more enjoyable. He currently struggles with frustration but aren’t all things a little frustrating in the beginning?

Grant is also tackling several chores around the house to help out. This is one of the places I feel like homeschooling really shines – to teach basic life skills. We are pretty light on the chores for now but I really hope to emphasize a lot of these as we go forward. He hopes to learn to cook several basic meals and help with a lot of the house cleaning by the end of the year.

There has been a lot of focus of course on game design, which was one of the things Grant was most excited about adding to his school day. We have only touched on some fundamental computer science and programming but I really hope to bring the percentage of work in that area up pretty high. He is currently working his way through the basics of Java and HTML and we agreed that when he has finished those initial courses we could look into Game Maker Studio 2. We already have and use Construct 2 but it seems that while Construct 2 is good for simpler “mobile-style” games that the Game Maker Studio would be more appropriate for larger scaled PC or Console games. We shall see and perhaps we can even do a comparison/contrast article for the benefit of others who might be headed down this road after us.

Wish us luck as we continue forward!

Mega Man – A Truly Hard Game

The Mega Man Series tends to be harder than most other games. But none of the other games in the main series get as hard as Mega Man 1.

When you start up the game, there`s no story at all. There`s no music or movement either. Just the title and “press start”. For story you`ll have to look in the manual of the game. The story is as follows: Dr. Wright and Dr. Wily make the very first near- human robot, Mega Man along with Roll, A housekeeping robot. Encouraged by their results, Dr. Wright and Dr. Wily make six additional robots to perform everyday tasks. But Dr. Wily reprograms the six helper robots to make them evil. With Mega Man still functioning correctly, Mega Man sets out to defeat the six evil robots.

When you press start, you are brought to a stage select screen highlighted over the robot named Cut Man. A lot of first time players do this stage first because you usually don`t know which robot to take on first. The levels of this game are run and gun sections ending with a hard bossfight. One of the best additions to Mega Man games is the ability to get the weapon of the robot master you beat. But don`t go taking on the coolest robot master you see, some of them are actually really hard. There`s a weakness order of which robots to fight first. My personal order is Bomb Man, Guts Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Ice Man, then finally Fire Man. Mega Man isn`t super powerful at first. All he can do is jump and shoot. But the later games add more options, such as a slide and a charge shot. But we`ll talk about those later when we get to them.

stage_select

These are all of the robot masters on the stage select screen.

As you go off on your crazy adventure, there are enemies and platforming challenges that serve as obstacles. But don`t think it will be a cake walk! The controls are a little bit slippery so it almost feels like Mega Man`s always on ice. And those platforming sections are pretty hard! Either the enemies shoot a bunch of bullets or they are placed so it`s easy to get hit by them and fall into a pit or spikes. (Which is instant death.) So you better be ready to do these stages over… and over… and over… and over again. Feel like you need a break from video games?

Well TOO BAD because there`s no way to save in Mega Man 1. (Unless you have savestates which weren`t in the original.) So, you probably get it now… This game is HARD! I`m not fooling around when it`s probably the hardest game in the main series.

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Some of the bosses in this really hard game.  Bombman, Gutsman and Elecman.

One of the game`s strongest points is the level design. Since you could potentially begin with any stage first, the level design has to accommodate that. But! The tutorials is where the game shines… Instead of Roll popping out all like: Mega Man! Mega Man! Those blocks disappear and reappear so you better time your jumps! No! That`s not how the game does it! Instead… It teaches you with gameplay. It shows an easier challenge first. Then, It gets harder. That`s how the game does tutorials. Smart.

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Lots of variety in level design.

Once you beat all the robot masters… Oh! You thought the game was over after that!? Well too bad! Cause now you have to go through Wily`s Castle! There are four more stages you need to do, each with their own hard boss… yay…

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Dr. Wily makes his appearance.

So, you start off the first stage with one of the most annoying enemies in the game! Big Eyes! These stupid little things jump around and do A WHOLE BUNCH OF DAMAGE! After that you use one of the robot master`s powers to break some rocks. One of my favorite things about the Wily stages is that you usually use the powers you got on your quest to beat them since you`re at least supposed to have all the weapons in the game now. You go through the first stage peacefully until… Wait what? There`s just a bunch of walls you can`t get over. Nothing helps. Nothing works. And here`s where the game throws a sucker punch. There`s a little thing in Elec Man`s stage which gives you a super awesome weapon. But if you didn`t have Guts Man`s power when you got to that stage well… You have to go back to it a second time. And yes, you can actually replay stages unlike some of the other Mega Man games. If you get this little… ummmm… I don`t even know what the sprite is supposed to be… Some kind of gun I suppose? Anyway, once you get that, you`re set. The Magnet Beam is actually pretty useful. It lets you make some sections easier. The boss of the first Wily Stage is infamous… The Yellow Devil. But… if you use the glitch to beat him by shooting the elec beam and pausing a couple of times, you can beat him pretty easily. (You can`t do this on the legacy collection version.)

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The Yellow Devil, the hardest boss in the game.  He disassembles and reassembles throughout the battle!

After that, It`s just basically more of the same until you get to the last stage that is… You have to beat the six robot masters again… Two in the second Wily Stage then the rest in Wily Stage four. After you beat all of `em again, you finally get to fight the final boss… And let`s just say… It`s underwhelming… Wily flies in his ship thingy and shoots at you… That`s it. With all the robots defeated and Wily in prison,the land is restored to peace once again… Or at least until Mega Man 2.

Like my article?  Come check out my YouTube channel: LinkPlaysGames

You can also find me on Twitch, streaming live! LinkPlaysGames206

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Grow Strong. Game On.

Corn Bread – Savory Southern Style

So I find it a bit annoying to have to scroll through a backstory of the recipe I am looking for before reaching the recipe so let us put that after the actual recipe.  Sound good?

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Vegan, Gluten-free Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 and 1/3 cups Cornmeal

1 cup Buckwheat flour (if gluten is no problem, Whole Wheat or Spelt also worked well for us)

1 Tbsp Oil (grapeseed)

1 Tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

1 Tbsp Flax Meal

½ cup plant-based milk

1 cup water (used as needed)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat a muffin tin with either cooking spray or give it a light oiling.  If using oil it will probably take about one additional tablespoon to get all 12 cups covered properly.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Stir in the milk and about half of the water.  The mix should be thick and scoopable but not quite pourable.  I’ve experienced life with 6 different ovens and I have come to learn that cooking times and the water/liquid of most recipes requires some adjustments so I suspect this is a universal problem.   Just add water until the consistency matches the description and be confident that cornbread is pretty forgiving.

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Bake for 25 minutes.  As with most baked muffins and breads, you should be able to poke it with a toothpick and it come out clean.  The muffins should be quite firm but not hard.

If you have much experience with cornbread it might be noted that this recipe doesn’t produce the bright light yellow color that was typical of my MeeMaw’s recipe.  The whole grain flours seem to bring it to a light tan to even medium brown, especially when using buckwheat flour.  Don’t fret, their taste is quite authentic.

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Now… Story time!

The Plant Powered Gamers have had mostly smooth sailing on our Whole-Foods Plant-Based journey as resources and recipes are quite abundant when one begins to do a little searching. I was taken aback a year or so ago when Grant requested I make cornbread. Now cornbread is a staple from my childhood, as my grandma (MeeMaw, specifically) regularly prepared this delicious baked delight and I had made it traditional style with buttermilk years earlier. As I scoured the internet for a plant-based recipe I was shocked at how much “sweet stuff” and sugar was being put into the cornbread recipes. What was this abomination that others were referring to as cornbread? It looked more like a recipe for cornmeal cake.. why not add frosting? Cornbread in my little corner of the world is always prepared as a savory bread with only enough sugar added to balance flavor and bake properly. Grant and I have since been experimenting with this recipe in order to rectify the sad lack that must sit firmly in the lives of others, having been misinformed that cornbread was a sweet bread, and introduce them all to the wonders of our Southeastern style savory cornbread. If you have tried sweet cornbread and decided it wasn’t for you, I don’t blame you. It tastes rather “wrong” to me too. Give it one more try with this recipe and don’t forget to enjoy your muffin with a glass of plant-based milk or you may not get the full experience.

One note, if you prefer the traditional bright yellow cornbread you may have to resort to replacing the wheat/spelt/buckwheat flour with white flour. That is not a compromise I would take on a daily use recipe but for a special occasion I might consider as the bread made with the whole grain flours does as previously mentioned come out a bit more brown and has the appearance of basic whole grain muffins (ranging from light to medium brown).

Second note, for an interesting twist, replace the cup of water with vegetable broth to deepen the savory flavor.

Enjoy!

PlantPoweredGamers
Grow Strong. Game On.

How I Got Mega Man 2

megaman2-Art

Mega Man 2 is my favorite Mega Man game right

now, and boy do I have a lot to talk about! This little fan game called Mega Man Maker single-handedly got me into Mega Man. I originally got the game while I was playing a lot of Mario Maker but, I really didn`t like Mega Maker. A few weeks later when I was getting tired of Mario Maker, I picked Mega Maker back up again.

I started to wonder, what are Mega Man games like?

So I watched a couple of videos on Mega Man and played some of the games and I loved it. So, that`s how Mega Maker got me into Mega Man.

One of my favorites was Mega Man 2, and I wanted to play some of the other games. One small problem…

I was playing them on an emulator and if you know, emulators usually are a little buggy. A and B flipped around so you have to press B to shoot and A to jump so that would make me have to keep my hand in an akward position. Mega Man 3 just wouldn`t run properly for some unknown reason. Also, all other games besides Mega Man 1 were in Japanese. So I looked on steam one day and found something magical: Mega Man Legacy Collection. It was a compilation of Mega Man 1-6 and played super smoothly. So, if you like old retro games then give Mega Man Legacy Collection a try.

Grit and Persistence – An awesome lesson one can learn from games

I received a text from my son Grant while I was at work today.  He was incredibly excited and wanted to let me know that he had finally defeated the “Yellow Devil” from Mega Man for the NES.  If one is not familiar with that game or the lore of older NES classics in general that could be easily passed over as a “that’s nice..” moment, but the amount of effort and practice and persistence it took for him to topple that monstrosity was enormous.  That doesn’t come naturally, grit and persistence is a learned skill and you better believe you can grow and improve that skill just like any other.  The cool “thing” about persistence is that it can help in learning and mastering other skills.

So let me take a moment to brag on my boy here.  I’ve been gaming since I first saw an Atari around age 6.  It was my aunt’s old, somewhat worn-out console which she had mostly lost interest in roughly a decade earlier.  I was avidly playing during Nintendo’s empirical run through the NES and SNES days and have never been able to topple that insanely tough Yellow Devil from Mega Man.  He was my roadblock that kept me from ever finishing that game, though I really did still enjoy the game.  It became very frustrating to make it to him each time and proceed to blow every life and continue on him before having to restart.  Additionally I’ve never known anyone else personally who could tackle that tower of terror.  I think that’s a 90’s wrestling reference.. In any case, kudos to Grant for his achievement.

It is pretty easy for one to disregard the achievements of others, especially if it is not in an area or field that isn’t personally viewed as valuable or interesting.  To a non-gamer that feat probably seems pretty pointless.  It is interesting when one starts to view all of life as a learning experience, seeing what is the value and takeaway.  Pretty much everything we actively do or experience has some potential for progress, learning and life.  I cannot help but feel like the level of grit and dedication it takes for us gamers to overcome the sometimes ridiculous hurdles that game developers set before us will at least have the potential to aid us in our journey whatever we pursue.

Now let’s talk some Mega Man!

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Oh little Stage Select screen, you’ve inspired many developers over the years and have certainly come a long way…  Grant likes to take on Bombman first as he is, well… a pushover.  Don’t tell him though.. he is a bit sensitive and can pretty much spawn infinite explosives so, bad combination.

This little NES gem is one of the classics.  I found Mega Man immediately captivating as soon as the first boss robot was defeated and Mega Man equipped the fallen bot’s powers!  How awesome is that?  You actually get to use the bosses’ weapons against the other bosses!  In this lies one of the other cool aspects of this game.  Each boss is weak against one of the other bosses weapons.  What fun it is to puzzle through the game, attempting it in different orders to try and decipher which boss weapon will aid the most against other trickier bosses.  That’s right, non-linear gaming.  The player actually gets to choose the order to tackle the initial bosses.  In this first iteration of the series (which spawned MANY more) the bosses are a bit vanilla.  Bomb Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Ice Man.. you get the idea.  It has also become the hallmark of the series to have at least 8 “Evil Robot Masters” and the original had only 6, but oh what a start it was.

met

Here we see the humble met, a long enduring enemy in the Mega Man series.  It hides in its helmet til do-gooder robots get close before spraying bullets in their direction.  These days Dr. Wily has promoted the Met race and allows them to drive heavy equipment and ride vehicles.  Progress!

The story goes that Dr. Light had created all of the robots to aid humanity, but the evil Dr. Wily stole the 6 boss robots and reprogrammed them to instead use their abilities as weapons.  Critique on humanity in general?  Perhaps.  We do have a tendency to weaponize practically everything that has ever been invented.  Maybe we will grow out of that habit eventually.  In any case, Mega Man is the only robot left with Dr. Light’s original programming to help, save and serve humanity and sets out to stop Dr. Wily’s evil plans for world domination.  Pretty short and sweet, just like the game if you can manage to get past a few tricky areas and opponents.  I personally always struggled with the slippery platforms in Ice Man’s stage and confronting Elec Man was always quite a challenge.  His attack hits a huge area and, while it is also awesome when the player gets it, it can be pretty daunting to take it away from Elec Man as he is pretty content to fry Mega Man and just keep his awesome electricity beam.

elecBeam

The elec-beam is awesome and probably the best weapon in the game in the opinion of the Plant Powered Gamers.  It sprays a large portion of the screen with shocky robot-busting destruction.  

As I mentioned the Yellow Devil was always especially tricky to me, even as an adult.  He is a weird combination of dodging mixed with a really small hit box topped off with a slathering of short window for actually damaging him.  No P-shooter spam here, it has to be very precise attacks that hit that beast.  His attacks, on the other hand, pretty much go everywhere so it is a real challenge to keep up with his very damaging attacks while trying to hit that tiny window of opportunity he presents all so briefly.  The game is really pretty smooth sailing after him, and Grant said it was practically a done deal after felling the big Yella’ beast.

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The jerk not only closes his “eye” which is his only vulnerable point, he also disassembles himself and flies back and forth across the room, much to the detriment of poor Mega man who is caught in the middle and has to dodge this nonsense.  Apparently Dr. Wily watched Star Wars before designing this guy and removed his ventilation shaft.  Good call, doc.

yuka

Those evil blocks may look innocent but don’t be fooled.  They are known as “Yuka” blocks and they appear and disappear in sequence.  The sound they make as they do their little magic act still gives me chills.  The still image just doesn’t do justice to their evil trickery.  

freezefire

Be ready for such logical usage of the various powers as freezing fire.  Hey, we are gamers after all.  We will be happy to create our own “version” of logic!

gutsman

Ah Gutsman, the first heavyweight boss to pull the ol’ Jump, stomp and make the ground shake maneuver.  Not sure if he was the first in gaming history but good luck finding a better known game in which it happens.  

While still pictures really cannot do a game justice, perhaps they give a taste of what this old but still very fun game holds in store.  It is essentially the same game in all of its iterations (1-10) as well as a few spin-offs on other consoles.  Give it a try if the chance presents itself, likely the feuding doctors and their zany creations won’t disappoint.

Images courtesy of Grant, our local Mega Man pro who can be found on YouTube (LinkPlaysGames)  and Twitch (LinkPlaysGames206).

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Progress Report – Backyard Remodel

Far be it from me to claim any particular natural skill in handyman-type projects.  I can, however, manage searching the internet for information and I also enjoy learning new things.  This coupled with a bit of a paradigm shift in my view of and approach to working in and around the house has really helped me begin learning to do a lot of these sorts of things and I couldn’t help but share my progress on the back deck.  We have a nice space out back but it was not well maintained when we moved in but a year ago.  I’ve been slowly doing what I could with it but have moved on to a more organized, task-oriented approach.  I don’t really multitask well and handle the process of finishing a project much more efficiently if I see each part of the whole to completion.  Thus after getting rid of all of the ivy that had managed to mix itself with poison ivy which was arduous and quite an itchy task, I set out to try to salvage the back deck.  After a bit of research I realized every time I have ever used water-sealant in the past was not applied correctly.  I have to attribute the credit to finally teaching me the proper process where it is due.  I do not know this fellow personally, but he had a great and informative video and the results hold true, though I think his estimation of finishing the project in a day might have been pretty generous.  He was incredibly thorough, which was fantastic for me at my level of inexperience.  One issue I find with many very knowledgeable people is that when they teach something that they are so familiar with, they leave out some things that they find obvious and simple but to the student it can seem to leave gaps in the instructions.  Not so with Mr. Hazelton’s video, it was just right, even explaining the tools used.  I wouldn’t have even know that such a thing as a “deck pad” existed had that not been pointed out and likely would have tried to roll or paint it on instead.

Ron Hazelton – How to Clean, Renew and Seal a Wood Deck in One Day

Perhaps my lack of experience is at least in part to blame for the longer work time, but I am quite happy with how it turned out.  In the past I’ve made attempts to simply “wing it” and clean up and water-seal porches and decks but had no clue there was such a thing as wood cleaner/brightener, having always used Bleach to little effect.  That cleaner/brightener was magical.  Coupled with a peaceful day of playing with our new pressure washer it already looked pretty good out there.  Now with new paint to cover and protect as well as to provide contrast for the flowers and plants we intend to set out I have some hope of creating a really nice space for us to hang out on cool mornings and afternoons.  It’ll probably be great for picnicking out back in the fall too!

A life-long love of learning is something I truly hope to impart upon Grant as he grows.  Hopefully things like this provide that example that one is never too old to seek advice on even what seems to be the most mundane project or idea.  It is amazing in the world we live in today to be able to seek out the advice of experts with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks and the cost of this information is amazingly free (unless you consider having to watch an add or two as payment).  Removing the fear and worry of failure is also very important to me and I hope as Grant and I approach this whole homeschooling thing we can recapture that understanding that one of the best ways to learn is to get out there and “mess something up”.  We learn best by doing, after all, and the doing is rarely flawless, so we might as well embrace and enjoy that process.

Now how about some before & after photos?  I cannot help but be eager to show off the final product.

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Here are my before photos, before we even began the cleaning process.  Yuck!

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Here are the after photos, after cleaning and staining.  I do believe Suzy snuck a kitty photo in there… not sure if it’s relevant.  Such a diva, that Niko.

Do you have any projects that you’ve been putting off out of either a fear of failure or lack of knowledge?  Cast that fear aside!  Seek out that knowledge!  Get out there and mess something up!  You’re bound to learn so much more than if you continue procrastinating.

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