Thursday, September 6, 2012

Top Ten Platformers: Revisiting The Top

at 3:59 AM
I'm sure you're sitting there right now, wondering what the best 2D platformer of all time is. You've probably been planted for days, face inches from your monitor and index finger tapping out the drum line to "Shadows in the Rain" on your F5 key, otherwise frozen with anticipation. Your life can't go on without my opinions, I know. Mine can't either. Or I guess it kinda can. My opinions are sort of a burden, a cross I must bear. An Atlas on my shoulders. To always be right, yet know I have to somehow find a way to go on among the ignorant self-righteous charlatans of the world.

Whew. Okay. I'm back. It's Mega Man X. Megan. Mna. X.

10.) Mega Man X
Mega Man X deserves to be called the greatest for you and for me, for time and for time again, because X is a true hero. He's what Joseph Campbell would call a "myth in the making". I could call on my friend Ezio and his never revisited "column" about Joey C. to explain this to you, but I know more than him and he's lazy.

X is a robot fighting against other robots. Campbell considered this to be the first indicator of a "myth in the making": an artificial life-form of equal or superior to human intelligence locked in an eternal, indissoluble conflict with an indefinite beginning and end. Because Capcom will never stop milking the same few intellectual properties, we can definitively say that the X series will never have an end, and since the original Mega Man games strictly precede X and are also ongoing, there will never be a concrete beginning, as each Mega Man is essentially an adjustment of X's backstory. The artificial life aspect is pretty clearly spelled out in the game, when X uses a fake toothbrush and has a helmet instead of hair.

It's not enough to show that X is part of a machine war - so was Terminator and also The Matrix, and neither of them are the greatest platformer of all time, as per Campbell's definition of myth in the making. We need to prove that X is adaptable. Yes, adaptability is a key element of myth, and platforming. If X couldn't turn grey and start throwing boomerangs, no one would remember him. Though his blue-green scheme stuck with him through the worst of times (X6), X was as much a chameleon as Sting Chameleon. Seems like there's a pretty good chance they were brothers. Was this the unspoken twist of the game? X, too, is a chameleon?

That's shocking, but convenient too, because Campbell has it down here that a myth in the making has to have killed his brother. This is the point where many debate Mega Man X; who is X's brother? Is it Zero? Zero dies, but X doesn't kill him. That doesn't make them brothers, even if red and blue are matching colors that look nice with that outfit. X rises from his brother's grave to continue the eternal battle against whatever the hell Sigma is. A dog I think. A dog that rules the world! Or is making plans to. Mega Man X: Kill a dog who has big plans. Sounds bad. I see why they didn't make that the tagline. Never know with the Japanese.

A myth in the making is something that impacts our daily lives as we go to school, work, robot school, robot work, et al. If that's not Mega Man X, I don't know what is. It can be approached a million different ways, but always has the same presence. It's always there, just around the bend, behind that barrier, under the streets, within the river, the river of I'm done

1 comment:

  1. I think its pretty obvious the Protomen came into existence in a jam session directly following a reading of The Hero with 1000 Faces (and thereby 2000 eyes)