The History of Mega Man on Nintendo Consoles
Seven years after the release of Mega Man 10, Capcom has announced the series’ return. Mega Man 11 is coming in late 2018 on all major systems, including the Nintendo Switch. Not only that, but both Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 are coming to the Switch in spring 2018, and that’s still not the end of the Mega Man news. All eight Mega Man X games are also on their way.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Mega Man series, and many of its past entries have appeared on Nintendo consoles.
Now, let’s take a look through the years at Mega Man’s history with Nintendo. (Note: for simplicity’s sake, we’ve used the names NES and SNES even when referring to Japan-exclusive titles.)
Mega Man began with the release of the first game for the NES in 1987. Mega Man 2-6 followed for the NES, after which Mega Man 7 was released for the SNES in 1995.
Meanwhile, 1991 saw the start of a portable Mega Man series with Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge on the Game Boy. This would be followed by Mega Man II, III, IV, and V.
Although the next numbered Mega Man game skipped Nintendo consoles, a new Mega Man game came out for the SNES in Japan in 1998. It was called Mega Man & Bass. It was eventually ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and localized the next year. Although this was arguably a spin-off rather than part of the main series, it had classic Mega Man gameplay in many ways.
With Mega Man 9 in 2008, the main series again appeared on a Nintendo system. Available as Wiiware for Nintendo players, it was a digital-only entry with a retro style that called back to the series’ roots. It was a success, and Mega Man 10 was released similarly in 2010.
And that would be the end of the main Mega Man series until this year’s announcement of Mega Man 11!
Mega Man X
Although Mega Man 7 eventually came out for the SNES, Capcom’s initial move with the SNES was to create a new Mega Man series set in the future. Mega Man X came out in 1993, followed by Mega Man X2 and X3.
Many years would pass again before another mainline Mega Man X game appeared on a Nintendo console, but in 2000, a portable Mega Man X game called Mega Man Xtreme came out for the Game Boy Color. It was followed by Mega Man Xtreme 2 a year later.
Mega Man Zero
Set 100 years after the events of Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero came out for the Game Boy Advance in 2002 and started a new series. Mega Man Zero 2-4 were released for the GBA in the years that followed.
In 2006, a new spin-off series started from the Zero games. Mega Man ZX for the DS played similarly to the Mega Man X and Zero games, and it was followed by Mega Man ZX Advent in 2007.
Mega Man Legends
Only one game in the Mega Man Legends series has appeared on a Nintendo console. The first Mega Man Legends was ported to the Nintendo 64 in 2000, although when it was localized in 2001, it was renamed Mega Man 64. Starring a new Mega Man incarnation, it was a 3D action-adventure game.
Mega Man Legends 3 was planned for the 3DS, but the game was cancelled, much to fans’ disappointment.
Mega Man Battle Network
Meanwhile, Mega Man Battle Network for the Game Boy Advance came out in 2001 as the series’ first venture into the real-time tactical RPG genre. This was another success and launched a new series: Mega Man Battle Network 2-6, some of which were released as multiple versions, followed on the GBA over the next few years.
A GameCube game called Mega Man Network Transmission also came out in 2003. It combined the tactical RPG elements of the Battle Network games with the action platforming gameplay of the main series to moderate success. Two additional Battle Network spin-offs were 2003’s Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge for the Game Boy Advance and the Japan-exclusive Rockman EXE 4.5 Real Operation, also for the Game Boy Advance.
The first game was also remade as the Japan-exclusive Rockman.EXE Operate Shooting Star for the DS.
Mega Man Star Force
When the DS came out, Battle Network got its own spin-off series with Mega Man Star Force. This real-time tactical RPG played similarly to the Battle Network series and had three different versions. It was followed by two sequels, also for the DS.
The first Mega Man spin-off came out in 1993. It was a Japan-exclusive business simulation game called Wily & Right no RockBoard: That’s Paradise in which players could compete against each other in a Monopoly-style board game as Mega Man characters. It was not a success.
A year later, in 1994, Mega Man Soccer came out for the SNES. As the title suggests, it was a soccer game featuring Mega Man characters. It was better-received than Wily & Right, but still wasn’t a big success.
In 1995, Capcom released an arcade game in Japan called Mega Man: The Power Battle. Although it wasn’t available for consoles at the time, this game and its sequel (Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters) eventually appeared on the GameCube as part of the Mega Man Anniversary Collection.
Mega Man X got a new spin-off in 2004. Mega Man X: Command Mission, which appeared on the GameCube, was a turn-based RPG. Its combat system was praised, but overall it received mediocre reviews.
The Mega Man Anniversary Collection in 2004 brought 10 Mega Man games to the GameCube. It contained the first 8 mainline Mega Man games (making this the first release of Mega Man 8 on a Nintendo platform) as well as the two arcade games.
Next up was the Mega Man X Collection in 2006. It brought the first 6 Mega Man X games to the GameCube, as well as the racing game Mega Man Battle & Chase (previously unavailable on Nintendo systems).
In 2010, the Mega Man Zero Collection brought all four Mega Man Zero games to the DS.
Finally, in 2016, Mega Man 1-6 came to the 3DS as part of the Mega Man Legacy Collection.
This collection, along with Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 (previously unavailable on Nintendo systems) are both planned for the Switch in 2018. At this time, we don’t know if a new Mega Man X collection is planned, or if the games will be ported to the Switch separately. Either way, it’s a great time to be a Mega Man fan!
Mega Man has had a long history on Nintendo platforms, with main entries, spin-offs, spin-offs of spin-offs, and many other games released over the years. Which Mega Man game or series is your favorite? What are your hopes for Mega Man in the future? Let us know in the comments.