Gender and Class in Mega Man 9October 21, 2008
A few words on Mega Man 9:
That said, there are a few interesting things that stood out to me. (Spoiler alert!)
There’s a bit more storyline in Mega Man 9 than I remembered in the older MM games, all delivered through cutscenes. Basically, the premise in MM9 is that several utility robots who were soon nearing their expiration date (where they would be cast off into the dump, apparently) were incited to rebel against society by Dr. Wily, who had convinced them that they deserved to live past some arbitrary cut-off date. I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds like a critique of capitalism if I ever heard one. Cast off your chains, robots! Overthrow the oppressors! When I saw this, I thought, “Hey, why aren’t I helping them?”
Then I rememberedthat I was controlling a white guy who dresses in blue, carries a gun, and sees fit to destroy hundreds and hundreds of robots who look different from him without compunction.
Somehow, despite destroying each robot master twice, they’re still alive and ticking by the end of the game, and instead of consigning them unto the scrap heap, Mega Man happily returns them to household slavery (chores and such). Way to break a strike, Mega Man. The proletariat will rise yet! Maybe after I get By Any Means Necessary made, my next project will be a labor organizing simulator with a Mega Man motif.
Also: anyone who grew up alongside Mega Man during the NES days will immediately notice Splash Woman sitting alongside Mega Man’s usual assortment of robot dudes. Yes, women have broken through the glass ceiling in the year 20XX, so much so that little girl-robots can one day aspire to be one of Dr. Wily’s henchbots.
However: Capcom, why’d you have to make the woman robot weak to the Mega Buster? That’s some sexist shit. And you know what her “useful function” is in the ending? Sexy photos. Yep, the first woman pioneer in Mega Man does cheesy idol DVDs.
At least they didn’t make her weak to the Jewel Shield, I guess.