I’ve written about Mega Man’s amazing world of robots at least twice before, but I think it might be time to return to the Blue Bomber and his compatriots. Today, I focus on the setting of the games. As has been mentioned quite a bit as of late, the series begins in the ambiguous year 200X, which I guess would mean it’s now in the past. So where are the humanoid robots with “Man” in their names to make our lives easier? There’s also the question of where the games take place.
It seems to be commonly thought that Dr. Light’s lab is outside Tokyo, but I can’t find an actual citation on this. The American instruction booklet for the first game refers to its setting as “Monsteropolis,” which still sounds pretty Japanese (well, not Japanese language, of course, but the sort of English name the Japanese would come up with). So why do Light and Wily not look at all Japanese? Wily was apparently modeled on Albert Einstein, which means he’s probably German. It’s stated in the Wikipedia discussions here that Mega Man 8 shows the lab in the midwestern United States. The Captain N cartoon referred to the robot’s home world as “Megaland,” but Captain N was always doing things like that. There was also a world of Castlevania, despite the fact that the actual games are said to take place in Eastern Europe.
It probably would have made more sense if they’d limited Videoland to games that take place on imaginary worlds, but that would have meant leaving out some popular characters. Besides, I don’t think making sense was a high priority for the makers of Saturday morning cartoons. Speaking of cartoons, I believe the later Mega Man cartoon placed Light Labs in New York City.
The location of Dr. Light’s base doesn’t necessarily tell us where the action in the games takes place, though. According to this, Wily builds his killer robots at a secret factory in the Pacific. I suppose it would make sense for him to construct the Robot Masters’ stages on deserted islands or something. If he built them in inhabited areas, you’d think someone would notice.
YOKEL 1: Hey, you know what they’re puttin’ up in that there field outside town?
YOKEL 2: Nope. Prob’ly a Walmart.
YOKEL 1: I dunno. Can’t say as I’ve ever seen a Walmart with disappearin’ blocks and spike pits.
I also have to wonder how Wily gets the funding for all these robots and traps, but since he IS a villain, it’s probably through some illegal means. Maybe he has Bass selling drugs to the inner city youth of Monsteropolis. Regardless, it looks like he only ever has the resources for eight Robot Masters and their bases at a time. Hey, getting all that metal is expensive!
And that goes mega for the metal used to construct Met caps!
There are still a lot of questions related to the series that I haven’t addressed. For instance, was Mega Man modeled on Mario? Why can Mega Man only teleport to a specific location in any given stage? And what’s that tower he’s standing on at the beginning of Mega Man 2?
These questions will just have to wait for another day, though. See you in 20XX!