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January 2017

Mega Man Stumbles To Mobile Platforms

Mega Man 3

Capcom's classic Mega Man titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System have certainly been around through most of the past twenty years in different formats (and were just re-released last year as the superb Mega Man Legacy Collection for modern consoles), so it makes sense in a "tick off the checkboxes" sort of way that the company would want to bring the games to mobile app stores for iOS and Android.  The problem with this idea is that Mega Man titles demand pixel-perfect precision and controls that a touch screen interface just cannot provide.  A number of critics have weighed in on the mobile ports and the verdict is seemingly in: avoid, avoid, avoid (or maybe tolerate).  Here's Shaun Musgrave at TouchArcade being savage:

Do not buy these. Just don't. Not even for a laugh. Not even because they're only a couple bucks a pop and what harm could it do? I am sitting here trying to imagine how these ports of the 8-bit Mega Man games could have been worse, and I'm coming up dry. Nothing is right about them. Nothing. It's like someone was given the graphic and audio assets of the games and were told to re-create everything else on their own. The gravity is off. Enemy behavior is off. Hit detection is weird, and even the recoil from getting hit doesn't work properly. The games are crash-prone. The framerate is awful. The default speed is absurdly slow and choppy, and while the faster speed setting makes things a little better, it's too fast, still choppy, and messes with the games' fundamental workings even more.

I'm sure there's a way to bring the Mega Man franchise to mobile, but porting these old games (beloved as they may be) is certainly not it.  I'll stick with the Legacy Collection on my Nintendo 3DS when I need a blue bomber fix when on the go.  Some games just require a control pad and actual buttons, and no two dollar quickie touch-based port can provide that.  Capcom should take a page from Nintendo and develop a new game based around touch controls, not try and cram an unsuitable game into the touchscreen mold.  I'd be up for a hypothetical Mega Man Run over these sloppy ports.

(image via The Mega Man Network)

Health Update

MarioI've been away for a few weeks, but I wasn't on a relaxing holiday vacation.  Long-time PTB readers are familiar with my ongoing difficulties with Crohn's Disease and my multiple surgeries over the years, and while I'm happy to say that my Crohn's is in remission, unfortunately I do have other organs that can fail.  For instance, this time around it was my gallbladder which was kicking out gallstones into my pancreas, causing an excruciatingly painful infection.  What was supposed to be a simple outpatient laparoscopic surgery to remove my gallbladder turned into what my surgeon called the most challenging surgery of his year as he discovered that all of the organs on the right side of my abdomen — gallbladder, liver, etc. — were fused together into a single mass along with the major blood vessels that serve those organs. 

My surgeon spent several hours carefully separating everything and then removing my gallbladder which, as it turns out, was  difficult to identify because it was lost in the organ mass.  He eventually found it and removed it leaving me with a twelve inch-long horizontal incision wound and four small puncture wounds.  Five days in the hospital over Christmas later and I was back at home where I've been resting ever since.  Naturally, you can understand why everything here at PTB came to a halt.  I'm back up and moving around the house now though, my surgical staples have been removed, and I'm able to sit at the PC for a while, so I intend to get back to writing and podcasting.  Thanks for your patience as I recover from my fifth surgery.  There can't be many more of these in my future; I'm running out of removable parts!