Musing: The Defense of Mighty Number 9 (And me)



Chance are this article will draw the ire of two kinds of people.   Fans that bash on it after being disappointed by Mighty Number Nine and fans rallying to its defense.   Let me tell you outright.  I’m not doing either.


Let’s get this out of the way.   By today’s standards of video games, Mighty Number 9 is a mediocre game.  When you consider the sheer amount of budget this game had to work with (a whopping 3.8 Million dollars minus Kickstarter fees), there’s no defending it.


Before I go on.   Let me address the elephant in the room.   It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged.   It’s been a long time since I’ve written B.O.S.S. stories.   I don’t have an excuse, but my reason is because I’ve been doing a lot of writing.


I reached a point where I plateaued.  My writing wasn’t improving with the short story a week format—I needed to change.


That’s where the connection comes in between my blog’s hiatus and Might Number 9.   How does a legendary game creator like Keiji Inafune trip so hard?   In a word?   Expectations.


What is Mighty Number 9?  It’s a game Kickstarted by the creator of the original Mega Man.  After Capcom abandoned the prospect of making more games, Inafune promised a spiritual successor.  That is Mighty Number 9.


Expectations are terrifying things.  It’s basically a brand of routine.   You do something enough times and you get comfortable.   The Mega Man games had that, a strong fan base and a formula that felt like it could do no wrong.   Ten games in the main series prove that—and the last two returned to the 8-bit style that birthed it.   (Mega Man 8 was poorly received despite having beautiful graphics at the time)


The thing with expectations is that you need to find a middle ground between doing everything people expect while maintaining quality.   You also need to find a way to keep something fresh— building the illusion that you haven’t just moved the pieces around slightly and tried to cash in on the same stuff year after year.  (I’m looking at you Call of Duty and Madden)


Mighty Number 9 has a ‘checklist’ that makes it match the Mega Man template.   Humanoid Robot with a fondness for blue?  Check.  Eight Robot masters running amok?  Check.  A Professor / creator to assist him?  Check.  These elements are like the ‘genre’ of a novel.   They are the base expectations.   However, things have changed greatly since 1987 and when people throw four million dollars your way to make a game they expect a lot.


Compare and contrast to a little game called Shantae ½ Genie Hero.  It pulled in three-quarters of a million dollars in funding.  The expectations for that game are fairly high, but the company creating it has done this song and dance before.


Mr. Inafune has been in the business a long time and had the backup of Capcom to bring the Blue Bomber to life.  Now in 2016, he’s manning the ship and tried to create his vision from the top, rather than the galley pulling an oar.


Maybe he was better off keeping it small.   There’s an old adage in writing:  Less is more.


Personally, I felt like I wasn’t moving forward as a writer.  And to improve, I changed up the formula.  Weekly short stories, published on the internet was an expectation.   Not a tool to improve.


That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing.   It simply means I can’t afford to give it away on a weekly basis.   Over the past year, I’ve been ‘radio silent’ on MoD, I’ve made great leaps and bounds on my main project and had opportunities I’m glad I could take advantage of.


I went to E3 this year.  Something I never dreamed I could do.  Largely thanks to a family friend.   I owe him a debt I couldn’t hope to repay on that front.


So with that in mind, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon of bashing MN9.  I purchased it, enjoyed it for what it was and felt the sting of disappointment and at the end of the day I’d hope it’s not the ‘failure’ that sinks Mr. Inafune.


Mostly because I can relate.  I’ve gone a little more than half a year without putting content on the blog and I’d like to change that.  The occasional short story, a weekly post (albeit a short one), whatever it takes to put myself back on track to becoming a writing hero.


All I ask, gamer or not, try not to be too hard on the things you love that bring you disappointment.  Because if you burn it at its lowest point it may never rekindle.


So put your two cents in the comments.   What kind of things would you like to see in the near future?   Want my two cents on E3?  Movie reviews?  Recent Game reviews?  With the amount of writing I do on a weekly basis, some weekly love for the blog is a drop in the bucket.


Thanks to those out there still listening.  -E

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