Is Mega Man A Man?

Is the Blue Bomber really a Mega Man? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is some stepping out I would like to do combining my love of gaming with theology and philosophy. Thus, I would appreciate any feedback. Is this something you would like to see more of? Even if you’re not a gamer, do you get something out of this?

My introduction to the Mega Man series actually began when a friend of the family gave me Mega Man 2. Like many people, this one is my favorite game in the series. The metal blade is one of the best weapons in the game and it’s got enough challenge without being way too easy.

For those who don’t know, the series Mega Man is set in the distant future where robots are common. Mega Man, the Blue Bomber as his nickname goes, is created by Dr. Light to counter the evil plans of Dr. Wily. Wily will regularly produce a number of robots, typically eight, who specialize in one area with one weapon and Mega Man has to beat them, claim their weapon, and then use that weapon against the others. After beating all of the robots, he goes after Wily himself.

Now with a title like Mega Man, you would think that man is what he is, and mega is what describes him, but is that really so? Is Mega Man a man or not? If he isn’t, what is he? If he is, then is he really the same as us? (Note I am using man in the generic to refer to all of humanity.)

Mega Man is described as a robot throughout the series, but when we think of robots in our world, they’re not really like Mega Man is. After all, Mega Man is deciding which robot he wants to fight when and choosing how to fight all the enemies throughout a level and having to make typical athletic feats like strong Mario style jumps. He can apparently experience what looks to be some degree of pain when he gets hit by an enemy in some way and is knocked back slightly.

The free will issue is a major one. Mega Man behaves like he makes his own decisions. Now we could be pedantic and say he doesn’t make his own decisions but simply does what the player tells him to do, but by this standard every character in a game that is the main character is a robot. That would be another blog in itself.

Mega Man is also shown to often have emotion, such as at the end of one of the games where he is stopped before he almost finishes off Dr. Wily himself in anger. In most every case, Mega Man beats Dr. Wily’s final robot whatever it may be and Wily begs for mercy and Mega Man takes him to prison. This time, Mega Man nearly went against that.

The end of Mega Man 2 is a curiosity to me as you see Mega Man walking away and going through each of the seasons. When the scene ends, you see Mega Man’s helmet just lying on the ground. I always wondered if he somehow became a human or what. It’s never specified.

In the end, I do have to conclude that as much as he is like a human, Mega Man himself is still not really a man. Mega Man is still a robot who changes based on what tools he wishes to use and he lives in a world of robots. When he needs some work done, he still has to go to Dr. Light regularly. In Mega Man 11, he also gets the Double Gear system which changes his data to give enhanced abilities for a limited time to him. Also, whenever he dies, he pretty much explodes with parts of him flying everywhere.

A man is not programmed or mechanical inherently in anyway. I realize we can get parts put in us that are mechanical and I do know that there is talk of transhumanism coming in the future, but even then, we can question if we will cease to be men. We can’t beat our enemies and add parts of them to us really and when we have a problem to be fixed, it’s not inner gear or machinery normally, but rather physiology.

Now some of you might be wondering why as a Christian I am not mentioning the image of God in all of this. It is because I am seeking to go by general revelation alone at this point. You can know what a man is to a good extent without the use of Scripture. You can know that a robot is not a man and vice-versa.

Man also I hold has a soul, an immaterial aspect to him that gives him life. I think there are many good arguments for some kind of dualism and that NDEs have provided excellent evidence that there is some existence outside of the body. I do not see that being the case with Mega Man as he is simply apparently rebuilt and updated with machinery every time.

So Mega Man is someone who we can say is mega, but I don’t think we can call him a man technically. He’s still one of the best heroes that there is in gaming, but he is not a man. He is a robot.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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