$25,000 + 5 Questions for Salvatore Pane about Mega Man 3
Hope your week is off to a great start. Over the weekend, this campaign hit $25,000 and 600 backers! Thank you all for your time, attention, trust, and generosity.
When you keep sharing the campaign with friends, the deal is gong to get even sweeter: If we get to $30,000, everybody at tiers of $25+ gets free digital copies of Unwinnable. And if we get to $40,000, everybody at tiers of $25+ gets free digital copies of Kill Screen.
Below, check out our first author vs. author Q&A. Hope you enjoy it!
Alyse Knorr Interviews Salvatore Pane about Mega Man 3
1. Why did you choose Mega Man 3? Why that series and why that game?
I was obsessed with Mega Man 3 when it came out in 1990, but I only ever rented it. Something about those brief, intense sessions really stayed with me and was part of the reason why I started collecting NES games 12 years ago—I wanted to spend a little more time with games I only logged a few hours on as a child. Plus, Proto Man and Rush are two of my favorite 8-bit characters. I miss them too much whenever I go back and play the first Mega Man or Mega Man 2.
As for the series itself, I’ve always been captivated not just by the difficulty but the structure of fighting eight Robot Masters, then the endgame of Wily’s Castle itself. In the 8-bit Super Mario series, each installment feels tonally different, like the characters have been tossed into brand new worlds. The NES Mega Man games play more like different verses of the same song. I’ve always been drawn to that kind of repetition.
2. What's the most interesting thing you've learned during your research process?
I knew practically nothing about the development process behind the first three Mega Man games, and, like a lot of American gamers, assumed Keiji Inafune basically handled the lion’s share of the work. Learning about Mega Man’s co-creator, the all too uncelebrated Akira Kitamura, and what happened to him after leaving Capcom was really exciting for me.
3. What might the average gamer not know about MM3 that's worth knowing?
Too much to list here, but I will say that Proto Man’s design and whistle theme were based on the Japanese television show Kikaider, which follows the exploits of a tormented cyborg. Also: the development process for Mega Man 3 was so rushed that Capcom forgot to remove the debug mode from the game. Press Right, Up, or A on the second controller, and you can access a lot of bizarre features.
4. The question that 7-year-old me would most like to know the answer to is: What is the best order to use, strategically speaking, when tackling the different bosses?
One of the difficulties in Mega Man 3 is that there are two boss cycles. Needle beats Snake beats Gemini, then Top beats Shadow beats Spark beats Magnet beats Hard. So it’s a little more open-ended than other installments.
5. What makes Mega Man himself interesting as a protagonist? What sets him apart from Mario or Sonic or Master Chief?
There’s a sadness to Mega Man that’s all too rare for the plucky 8-bit platformers of my youth. His half-machine, half-man body really struck a chord with me in 1990. I was this devoted little Catholic school kid convinced I couldn’t feel the same range of emotions as my classmates, and I wrongly assumed that Mega Man was on a Pinocchio-esque quest to eschew his mechanical shell and become a real boy. There wasn’t much narrative to go on beyond a few vague paragraphs in the manual, and one thing I really miss about the NES era is how open the stories were to interpretation. Mega Man and Proto Man have this edge to them you don’t see in most 8-bit platformers. I wanted some of that darkness for myself.