Blog Project 2012 Personal Video Games

Topic 1: Mega Man X

Topic 1: A First…

That was all it took. One screen.

I was around six at the time, in love with video games (how things have changed), and really into one game series in particular. Mega Man.

Let me indulge you with a small backstory to give context. All you want to be when you are a little kid is cool, like your older cousins. I was the youngest of my cousins (until my sister came around in 1990 and my other cousin years later). They were all about video games and thus I became enraptured while young. I got my first NES from one set of cousins when they upgraded to the Super Nintendo. I would try games like Zelda and even though I knew there was more to the game, I couldn’t figure it out. This resigned me to easy to comprehend and play games such as Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man. Now while Mario was fun, you pretty much only jumped, but with Mega Man you could jump AND shoot. I mean, no contest. Even as a youngin’ I made it to the Wiley Stages, but never beat them.

This brings us to that screen. Now, in my mind I want to say it was a Blockbuster commercial. I keep thinking it was some generic Blockbuster commercial showing the latest games to rent, but I can’t find evidence of this anywhere on YouTube (I looked for hours). I did however find two old SNES commercials for the Play It Loud advertising push by Nintendo which illustrate my point swimmingly.

If you watch carefully they contain minute traces of Mega Man X sprinkled in with other games from the time. This is about as long as the potentially, figment-of-my-imagination, Blockbuster commercial showcased Mega Man X.

When it first came on I was like, “Was that Mega Man? It kinda looked like a more modern Mega Man.” I would wait for the commercial to come on just to get the chance to examine that one second clip. You have to understand, now it’s super easy to find this stuff out, but this was pre-internet and pre-me-having-a-subscription-to-Nintendo-Power.

I finally did find out from my cousins that there was a NEW Mega Man for the SNES and it was out NOW.

Here is an accurate account of my reaction.


I proceeded to pester, bug, annoy, and terrorize my mother until we figured out a way that I was going to bask in the glory that was this game. It was decided (yes, let’s make this sound like there was a choice) that I was to get a SNES for my birthday. Here is the nuts part, I was so crazy obsessed that I actually went out and purchased the game before I even had the system.

I remember holding that box, trembling with excitement as to what adventures lie within.

I read that manual cover to cover just about 100 times. I read it about every day until my birthday when the day of reckoning would be upon all of us.

The game turned out to be magnificent, even by today’s standards. It remains one of my favorite games ever and many hold it up as a pinnacle of great game design.

This video exemplifies exactly what I mean:

I have to say it, if you haven’t played Mega Man X. Play it. Now.


*UPDATE 8/31/2018*

I found the commercial! This post popped back into my head the other day when I was listening to a podcast about Blockbuster. So, I opened up Netscape 1.0 and started looking at YouTube and lo and behold, there was the commercial. I modified it from the original post to restore it back to it’s proper aspect ratio, but here it is. It is almost exactly what I described about six years ago. My memory isn’t that bad yet.

Video Games

On Peripherals That Never Made It Over (Part 1).

If I haven’t mentioned it, it bears mentioning. The reason I study what I do (engineering, computers, Japanese) — it’s all due to video games. When I was growing up Japan was the country that was the mecca of all video gamedom. Almost all the bests and classics came from Japan, not to mention the god to which I prayed, Nintendo, was a Japanese corporation. So, in tandem my interests in both computers and the Japanese culture grew into the obsessions they are are today. They sometimes manifest them in ways as we see today, where I am going to gush about an experience I never got to have (really, as you will learn, not many did.)

That brings us to the Satellaview.

Now what in the world is a Satellaview. Well, it’s an add-on for the Super Famicom (SNES) that was released only in the land of the rising sun. Great! It was basically a satellite driven modem that was stuck on the bottom of the Super Famicom. Who cares?? Well, let me do some name dropping, Zelda, Mario, Excitebike. Excited? If you are not than maybe this article isn’t for you (please, don’t stop reading). Here is a little photo just so you can stop wondering what the danged thing looks like.

Check out that chunky thing! Sexy, thy name is Satellaview. This system used a broadcast technology already in place in Japan aptly named “Broadcast Satellite.” This was one of the many precursors to the modern day Xbox Live or PSN. It offered games, tournaments, news, and magazines to subscribers. It’s nearest cousin was the Sega Channel (another sweet add-on I missed out on). Come to think of it, there were basically the antithesis of each other — Sega Channel was on Sega Genesis (Mega Drive for everyone else), only in the USA, and through cable; Satellaview on the other hand was on Super Famicom (SNES), only in Japan, and was received through satellites. Weird revelations! Anyway, the Satellaview was released in 1995 and ran all the way until 2000 which is longer than I expected. It had specific times in which you had to play due to the other broadcasting that happened on the satellite system. It’s claim to fame was in the fact that it had versions of games that were only available on the Satalliview such as BS Zelda no Densetsu, and Excitebike Buzz Mario Battle Stadium (What a translation!). These were exclusive to the platform and drove sales and interest in the system years later.

BS Zelda no Densetsu was a subsection of games for the system called SoundLink. In addition to this being a 16-bit remake of the original Zelda title because it was a SoundLink game it would broadcast full audio which would often consist of narration for hints and clues.

Now why did this not get widespread adoption?

Well, partly due to this tangle of rediculosity. The above image is a diagram of the item’s need and wires need to play the Satellaview. Yowza! Let’s do some quick math, because we all love math.

(all costs are estimates)

BS Tuner: $330.00

Satellaview: $140.00

6-Month Subscription: $50.00

BS Dish: $75.00


Total Upfront Cost: $600.00

That quite a large upfront cost. I can tell you that there is NO WAY that I would have been a happy subscriber even if I was in Japan in ’95.

Luckily, some of the experience has been preserved thanks to the emulation community. Many roms are available for satellaview games with minor hitches. For example, any SoundLink game does not contain the broadcasted audio because that was a direct feed and was not embedded in the remaining memory packs.

I will leave you with some videos of the Satellaview and gameplay. I hope this was even a little bit enjoyable. I enjoy gaming history thoroughly and passing it on is the best way to keep it alive.

All images were taken from Wikipedia and are sole copyright of those owners.