Re(?)Considered: Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge

Today's special: Efficient chips.

It's an exciting time to be a Mega Man fan. Mega Man 11 is on the way, and the new Mega Man X Legacy Collections are offering some quite overt hints at an upcoming Mega Man X9. We're coming back to those halcyon days when a new Mega Man was released every week from the Classic, X, Legends, Battle Network, Zero, ZX, Star Force, Top Chef and Chronic Smoker sub-series'.

In its heyday, a total of nine hundred Mega Man titles were released every quarter. And almost all of them had the same problem: You had to do stuff. Yes, like most videogames, the Mega Man series is cursed with player input. You press jump, he jumps, You press shoot, he shoots. You have to do everything, and it's exhausting. After a quarter-century of gaming, I'm over it. That's why Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge is such a breath of fresh air.

The Battle Network series (to which Battle Chip Challenge belongs) was praised for its innovative action-strategy combat system. You picked a loadout from your "deck" of battle chips, then used them in real time against enemy viruses. It was clever, sure, but required split-second timing, adept dodging, and clever planning. As I've already established, this is a complete arseache.

In Battle Chip Challenge, you don't have to do anything. It's incredible. Okay, you pick out a loadout a la Battle Network, but that's it. You slot your chips into your loadout, then watch a battle play out. You don't even choose your moves. It's totally random, and therefore effortless. All you need to do is press A to skip through the dialogue and battle commentary. Then you find out you can just press B to switch on "auto text skip" and things get efficient-er still. Start battle, press B. Watch battle. You don't even have to watch it. You can press B, go and boil up some ramen, come back and see if you won. You could even make sport of it. Put money on it, with friends. Though that would, of course, be illegal, so definitely don't.

Purists will insist that your actions prior to battle have some measure of effect on its outcome, but I think that's bollocks. I've lost a battle, retried without making a single change to my loadout, and won easily. It's completely and totally random. It's absolutely wonderful. All the stress that comes from burdening the player with responsibility — gone. You may as well not even be there. It gives me the impression that when I'm away from the game it is simply playing itself, elsewhere.

And that's the ideal for me. I'm a grown man and extremely busy. I don't have time for video games. I need a title that requires neither my input nor my proximity. Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge is that title. I can’t wait to not play it again!