I subscribed to Nintendo Power for a while, as I'm sure many of you have. One of my favorite features was a contest to design a new Mega Man robot. I didn't enter the contest (really, looking back, I probably should have), but I remember being enthralled by the four-page spread of submissions. Two of the submitted robots (I think it might have been Knight Man and Wind Man) even ended up in Mega Man 6. Here's a site that pictures (and mocks) some of the submissions.
I've heard before that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Mega Man's nemesis, Dr. Albert Wily, definitely fits that definition. Every time, he has the exact same plan: to take over the world with a set of themed Robot Masters. Sure, he sometimes has a scapegoat or a decoy to temporarily distract Mega Man, but no one is ever surprised when it turns out to be Wily behind it in the end. I mean, who ELSE would build eight master robots with themed stages? At least Wily is a CREATIVE evil genius. True, some of his ideas are rather derivative of earlier ones (take Fire Man, Heat Man, and Flame Man, for instance), and his insistence on putting "Man" at the end of every robot's name (well, aside from Splash Woman) shows that he might be as bad as Leonard da Quirm at naming his creations. But each one gets his (or her) own fortress full of themed minions, and even the ones that go down in a few hits feature some great attention to detail. And Wily apparently builds everything from scratch, not taking the shortcut of roboticizing cute woodland creatures like that lazy lard-ass Robotnik.
Mega Man was known as Rock Man in Japan, and I believe the translators were considering "Rainbow Man" before deciding that made him sound like a total wuss. Still, I kind of think they should have gone with Rainbow Man. He could have been the hero of gay robots everywhere!
But they ended up using the name "Mega Man," which sounds bad-ass and rolls off the tongue quite easily, but unfortunately is also the name of a product sold at General Nutrition Centers.
Okay, their product name is plural, but it's still awfully close. I hope no kid ever took these pills for official Capcom merchandise.
Anyway, since I've been mentioning television adaptations of video games pretty often as of late, I'll do the same with Mega Man and his arch-nemesis. I believe they first appeared on TV as regular characters in Captain N: The Game Master. For some reason, they decided to give Mega Man himself the voice of a chain smoker, and make him green.
I came across a rumor that this was due to the people who made the show playing the game on a TV set with the colors set incorrectly, but that sounds like the kind of thing you want to be true but really isn't. I mean, do you actually think that NO ONE would have said, at some point during the design process, "Hey, isn't this guy supposed to be blue?" Don't forget that they also made King Hippo blue, while Dr. Light looks like an elf with a cucumber for a nose, so I don't think accuracy to the game designs was a major factor for them. And hey, at least they didn't make Mega Man look like this:
The super fighting robot eventually got his own show, which aired in my area on Sunday morning (so you KNOW they had high hopes for it :P). Some of the same people worked on both this and Captain N (in fact, the guy who did Wily's voice on Captain N was Mega Man's voice on this show), but I get the impression that they were trying to get pretty far away from the earlier depictions. Wily still had a German accent, but I guess it's hard to think of a mad scientist who looks like an evil Einstein NOT talking that way. In the cartoon, Mega Man didn't have to defeat the Robot Masters to gain use of their weapons, but simply to touch them. And every time, he said, "Ha! Now I've got your power!" Pretty obnoxious, really.