YouTube user Giraux has found and uploaded the original Japanese Mega Man, or Rock Man if you want to get technical, commercial for the 1986 Famicom release. Wouldn’t you know it? Our hero resembles how he looks in the actual game!
Granted, this is not the commercial we would have seen in America. Yes, we all know about the old man with the beard, his pistol, and his blue and yellow jumpsuit. There is no need to crack that joke anymore because here it is, horrendous as always. I don’t have to point out the differences between the two, but hopefully I can bring you over to the converted and explain to you why this box is awesome.
What I find so fascinating is how feelings towards the original Nintendo box art have evolved over time. It began as ignorance in the 1980s, since we did not know any better about video game marketing or Japan at the time. It was an ugly box and Mega Man was not a hit because of it, meaning not until Mega Man 2 did the series catch on.
Once comparisons began breaking out during the early days of the angry Internet, when nerd rage was not nearly as organized, this image became a beacon of why America is so horrible at marketing Japanese products. Anime was riding high at the time, and we were all lost amongst a flood of revealing secrets to come from the country now that it was a button click away. Everything about Japan was unquestionably gorgeous, and we wanted it all.
We didn’t know better at the time.
Now, we look at his image with a sense of nostalgia, and we give it a chuckle as we realize how silly we were back in the 1980s. No hatred, no anger. Just good old fashioned reminiscing. We even make reference to it in the posters for Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, and among the self-referential humor, do I sense of feeling of longing for a simpler time?
It’s a wonderful look back into the humble roots of gaming before it became the most booming entertainment market in the world. Before advertisements were so calculated and robotic. Before everything had to look like Hollywood.
The Japanese might have gotten more accurate advertisements back in the 1980s like the one seen above, but this is one aspect of Mega Man they will never understand. Fun nostalgia that America can wax about from the NES days that Japan can’t, a very rare happening. Looking back, I’m glad it turned out the way it did.
That commercial is still sweet, though.