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Why must you hurt me so?

I’m an old man. It’s kind of a relief to say that, given that five or six year ago I was convinced that I was going to be shackled to a Peter Pan complex as I aged. Thankfully, I now know I will age gracefully and not have to worry about being subject to mockery or sympathetic clucks as I desperately try to cling to my youth.

What’s behind this epiphany? Mega Man 9, of course. Since that puppy was announced, I’ve been salivating a over the chance to relive the glory days of blasting though levels of cannon fodder contraptions and taking down robot warlords, jacking their weapons and using them to mow down their robot warlord buddies.

But things didn’t go so smoothly as all that. Sure, the 8-bit graphical reconstruction and classic music is put together with such love that I was instantly tricked into thinking it was 20 years ago and I was about to waltz through the game. But it just wasn’t the same. It’s not you, Mega Man 9, it’s me. My reflexes must have faded. My eyesight must be going. Perhaps my fingers have become arthritic, getting in the way of navigating the pixel perfect platforming the game demands. But for the hour or so I spent with the game yesterday was an exercise in punishment.

I tried my hand at most of the stages, and made  it to only one boss who I dispatched with one bar of health remaining myself. I’m not going to give up, however. My glimmer of hope is that I can’t remember the first time I played through Mega Man 2. There’s no way I sashayed through Flashman’s stage as “quickly” (a little Mega Man 2 humour) as I remember and I can only imagine I saw the Game Over screen many times before finally forcing Dr. Wily to strike his familiar pose of begging for mercy.

So, I’ll keep strong and carry on. I’ll soldier through this unmerciful game and try my best to clear out those robot bastards. But if I can’t, I’m hanging up my skates and taking up Wii Bowling at the nearest old folks home.

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