why i want an arm-blaster

•April 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

When I was little, plenty of kids had heroes.  Sports stars were always popular, but I never was much of a sports fan.  I didn’t―and still don’t―understand why so many people wanted to be “just like Ken Griffey Jr.” I mean, I have nothing against the guy, I’m sure he’s a great person, but if someone made me pick between him and, say, I don’t know, basically any superhero or super-villain, I’d have to go for the one with super powers.  It’s honestly not a difficult choice.  On one hand you have a guy who is able to hit a ball a pretty decent distance with a stick and run pretty fast when he needs to, on the other hand you have someone who can―let’s just use Magneto for example―manipulate all things metallic and use them in any way he pleases.  Sweet.  No contest.

I did it one better, though.  While I loved superheroes as much as the next geek, I loved one thing more: video games.  And of those video games, one has stood the test of time, one has risen to the challenge of astounding me as a child and as an adult, one has left me wishing that I too could be the proud owner of an arm-blaster.  That game is Mega Man.  I figure they work as a series, but if anyone wants to get technical, I prefer the post-Mega-Man-One Mega Man.  Let’s be honest, the first game was good as far as gameplay goes, but Mega Man was nowhere near the bad ass that he became for the second installment and beyond.  In-game, the Blue Bambardier looks as great as he does in any later version, but the game’s cover leads me to believe that the arm-blaster that shows up in-game may have been the product of little more than poor graphical technology.  The box depicts a dude wearing a rather hip looking yellow and blue suit holding what appears to be a normal pistol.  Let me see if I can get a file photo:

apparently he's a southpaw

apparently he's a southpaw

I wasn’t kidding.  Of course, this lack of arm-cannon could have easily been the result of a completely inept or inattentive graphical artist.  Maybe the guy in charge of the box just stayed up way too late watching the premier of COPS and decided that no one would be able to tell a difference between a character with a gun in his hand and a character with a gun as his hand.  You were wrong, sir.  You were dead wrong.

Gun-mishaps aside, Mega Man worked with what he was given and became a hero.  Beyond the first game in the series, Mega Man is still expected to single-handedly destroy the army of evil robots forged by the sinister hand of his creator’s arch-enemy, Dr. Wily.  Talk about an evil son of a bitch.   Let’s get into the meat of things, shall we?

Why Mega Man is so freakin’ sweet:

  • Arm-Blaster

There aren’t a whole lot of things cooler than having a gun for an arm, especially if it is able to be modified with bits of defeated bad guys to produce situationally-powerful effects.  I mean, it isn’t always useful to shoot a floating platform out of your fist, but when you need to traverse a massive chasm and going around just isn’t an option, it might come in handy.

chainsaw-arms are so 1987

chainsaw arms are so 1987

  • A fully-functional robot dog

Rush is the perfect companion for the Blue Bomber.  It stands to reason that if dog is man’s best friend, then cybernetic dog is cybernetic man’s best friend.  But Rush is more than just a buddy, he’s a means of transport.  I wish that my robot dog could transform into a jet-powered surf board and fly me to class, or into battle, as it were.

good luck riding this thing anywhere important

good luck riding this thing anywhere important

  • Single-handedly defeating that many robotic bad guys

When put up against throngs of heartless, bloodthirsty killing machines, Mega Man doesn’t choke.  It doesn’t matter if he is up against just one Sniper Joe unit or thirty.  He just steadies his blaster and blows them all to bits.

he doesn't have an arm-blaster, but imagine if he did

he doesn't have an arm-blaster, but imagine if he did

  • Single-handedly defeating that many robotic bad guys to the best soundtrack that I have ever laid my ears on

I’ve heard good midi music before, but nothing can top the beats that Capcom throws down in Mega Man 2.  Every stage’s theme is an instant classic.  I would be completely fine being stranded on a deserted island with any of these tracks, but one in particular is head and shoulders above the rest.  That track is Dr. Wily Stage 1:

  • Mercy

When the creator of the evil robotic army is finally cornered, Mega Man could simply blow him to bits as he did the seemingly-endless throngs of his minions, but he doesn’t.  He allows Wily to escape.  I suppose that Mega Man just loves his job, who wouldn’t?

I suppose that covers all of the major points.  All of this writing about Mega Man has made me want to rock out to Wily Stage 1 on loop for several hours.  And I intend to.  But before I go, I challenge, no, I dare these newfangled “next gen” consoles to come out with a game even half as epic as the Mega Man series.  Go ahead, X-Box and Playstation 3, show me what you’re made of.

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the bucket’s origin: a mission statement

•April 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

Allow me to begin by introducing myself.  My name is Lance, and I am an English major at the University of Kentucky.  As an English major, I feel obligated to do my best to not butcher this great language, but I often find myself doing exactly that―mainly because I have a nasty habit of writing by ear.  I am interested in all sorts of writings spanning every genre that you can imagine, but I am, at the moment, rather far from what I would consider “well-read”.  I’m working on that, though.  I also enjoy a good video game, a good adult beverage and a good movie―if you can find a way to combine the three, we’ll be friends forever.  

Having read a sizable―though not even beginning to approach exhaustive―amount of Wendell Berry’s work this semester, it is near-impossible for me to not be influenced, even in such a small way, by his words.  In his essay “The Work of Local Culture,” Berry speaks of a galvanized bucket that hanged, unmoved, for several years on a fencepost that he passed frequently in his daily routine.  After such a long period of time, the bucket accumulated various debris; leaves, bird droppings, dead bugs, bits of animal fur, and anything else one might expect to find in an outdoor―non-urban, mind you―setting.  Over the course of the years, a singular event took place:  Berry noticed that the bucket, making use of all of the bits of the natural world that it had gathered, began creating soil.  While this may not be the most astonishing occurrence a human has ever witnessed, it is certainly not one to shrug off as less-than-important.  I have envisioned this blog through the lens of knowledge of what took place in that bucket―the forming of a new whole based upon the parts provided by the outside world.  For my purposes, the bucket is not constrained to a lonely fencepost on a farm in Kentucky; instead, it is allowed to travel at its own accord, hanging itself wherever it sees fit and picking up whatever debris it finds along the way, so that I may (I hope) use its contents to create a new “soil” for my readers.  

As for what this blog will eventually contain, I can’t really say.  I suppose that I’ll post whatever strikes me.  My mind tends to wander to all sorts of strange places, sometimes with startling frequency.  I do intend to post original writings of my own that I find to be among my best work.  These writings will come in many forms, but will most commonly be short stories or poetry.  I also have intentions of reviewing, in my own way, video games, music and movies that I find to be particularly good or bad.  This introduction feels a little stiff, I know, but it covered what needed to be covered.  Now no one can ask me, “Bucket?  Wat?” or some equally awesome question along similar lines.

I think that it’s time to get into the important stuff, the real stuff.  It’s time to move on to my first real post.  It’s time… for Mega Man.  Stay tuned, or whatever exactly it is that you do to keep track of a blog (stay RSS’d?) for a less-stiff, more-awesome post about everyone’s favorite blue bomber and the impact that he has had on my life and, I’d wager, yours.