To celebrate Mega Man's 25th anniversary in style, I got together with my longtime friend (codename Dash Jump) and my wife (alias Z-Saber) to stream over 20 continuous hours of Mega Man over the Internet, with viewers from all around the world tuning in at various times to join in the fun. What began as a televised second helping of my 2010 Mega Man marathon soon became a more massive undertaking and learning experience than I had ever expected.
- Dash's Twitch TV channel
- Dash's Megathon playlist on his YouTube channel
- My Collaborations playlist on my YouTube channel
I also was pleased and grateful to have my wife there throughout the first nine games; she, too, kept on top of the chat room, and was even a good enough sport to play a stage or two when the fans requested it. Additionally, she volunteered to make pizza from scratch when dinnertime drew near. (It was delicious, I might add.)
What went well:
- Technology! We actually managed to pull this off with no significant technical difficulties, unlike the first time I tried to record Mega Man videos. This is why Dash is the man. [Dash's note: Agreed; he is also handsome and single.]
- Publicity! Not only did Dash find numerous opportunities in the chat room, in the commentary, and in the video footage (with pre-created images posted between games) to advertise our Twitter accounts, but my efforts to plug the marathon on Exfanding, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were very successful in drawing more of a crowd to advertise to in the first place. [Dash's note: We love you; please follow!]
- Breaks! When one of us needed to eat or step out of the room for whatever reason, the other could keep playing to cover for us, so there was seldom a break in the action. This also helped limit the amount of down time between games; aside from swapping out cartridges and systems, we rarely needed more than a minute or two until we were ready to roll again.
- Responsiveness! Between the three of us, someone was always monitoring the chat room, and we tended to be very good about responding to the questions and requests of our viewers.
- Gameplay! There was a solid mix of impressive success and hilariously embarrassing failure in our playing, with plenty of fun, tense, and enlightening moments interspersed between the biggest highlights. [Dash's note: I have a keen sense for dodging into pits and spikes.]
- Participation! All three of us were frequently and meaningfully involved in various aspects of the marathon.
- Completion! We actually beat all ten games. How 'bout that.
What could have gone better:
- Starting! We told everyone we'd begin around 8:00 AM; we started closer to 8:20 AM. That's not too far off when you're talking about an all-day marathon, but we probably could have put up the "preloader" screen in time for the people who showed up early to be reassured that this was still happening.
- Alertness! I was apparently still groggy and especially off my game through Rockman 1-2, and it took Dash a few hours until he realized he hadn't had his coffee. Needless to say, our performance at the beginning, while still entertaining, often left something to be desired. It took us 25 minutes just to beat Ice Man's stage—which, I might point out, is how long it took us to beat all five of the preceding robot masters combined. This prompted our favorite recurring gag of the marathon, a series of Zelda II-inspired "GAME OVER RETURN OF ICE MAN" images that stemmed from the chat room's response to our world-condemning failures. [Dash's note: Ice Man has haunted my dreams since Monday.]
We ended at 4:00 AM. Our breaks between games were almost nonexistent, we skipped half the bolts in Mega Man 8, and we finished three hours later than the latest I was prepared for.
- Understand the person or people with whom you're collaborating, and be attentive to their mood, playing style, and gaming ability. Create a plan, agree on the plan, stick to the plan. Clearly communicate your expectations to each other, and clearly express when things aren't meeting your expectations or going as planned. [Dash's note: Is this marriage advice?] I could go into more detail here, but suffice it to say that almost everything that could've gone better with the marathon was the result of us doing the opposite of everything mentioned above.
- For future marathons, Mega Man & Bass should be played in place of Mega Man 8. Unrelenting difficulty be darned! Anything's gotta be better than...well, pretty much everything about that game.
- Unless it's an intentionally blind playthrough or a spontaneous decision to play a particular game, spend a little time before the marathon/livestream practicing or reading up on the game(s) you're going to play. This is especially important if there are known trouble spots—dodging the shots of Mega Man 7's final boss, for example, or the labyrinth sections of Astro Man's stage in Mega Man 8.
- Never forget how awesome your viewers are. A handful of people spent the entire 20 hours with us. Some of our viewers went to bed, and came back seven or eight hours later to see if we were still playing. We had people digging up articles, video links, and even creating custom images for us on the fly. It didn't matter that we scored dozens of Game Overs or accidentally had to replay half of the castle stages in Mega Man 9; our viewers were there for us, and that's a magnificent feeling.
Now, to start planning that Mega Man Game Boy marathon...