Sunday, June 1, 2014

Now you're reading with power, Worlds of Power


If you've never heard of Worlds of Power, it was a series of books published by Scholastic that were based on various Nintendo properties. They were basically just a way to get kids to put down their controllers and, you know, actually read a book or two. Apparently it worked, because over a million Worlds of Power books were sold before they went out of print. I only ever owned one of them, a novelization of the game Mega Man 2.



All the books in the Worlds of Power series used the same artwork as the game carts on which they were based. There was one minor difference though, all guns were airbrushed off of the covers. That's why it looks like Mega Man up there is just angrily shaking his fist at Quick Man, rather than trying to blast him in the face. There were some liberties taken with the story as well. In the game, Mega Man was invented by Dr. Light, and is one of the most powerful robots in the world. He was built to battle against the evil robots built by Light's rival, the insane Dr. Wily. The games pretty much all play the same; you battle the individual robots, then you end up fighting through Dr. Wily's castle until you face the mad scientist himself.



The book starts off with Dr. Light trying to clone Mega Man, thinking he can kick twice as much ass. It turns out the good doctor doesn't even know how to work his own machinery, and instead Mega Man is turned into a human. Since some of Wily's robots lived underwater and in lairs full of lava, you can see where this might be a problem. Still, Mega Man steps up to save the day, even though he has to deal with all these "emotion" things. This particular book was considered a "junior" edition, so the writing is very simple and easy to understand. A story about a machine changing into a human is just ripe for all kinds of philosophical arguments, but they mostly dispense with that, and focus on the robot blasting.



There are game hints at the end of most of the chapters, but I imagine most people that had actually played the game already knew most of them. Interestingly enough, the order in which Mega Man fights the robot masters in the book is actually the recommended order you're supposed to fight them in the game. Actually, it was thanks to this book that my friends and I were able to beat this game. My neighbor and my cousin had played the game for months, trying to get to the end. We could always get to Wily's castle, but we could never make it all the way through. There were a limited number of lives in the game, and if you died, the password you were given made you start back at the beginning of the castle. It led to many thrown controllers and lost tempters. Thank goodness Nintendo controllers were built tough. Then, one day my neighbor finally got to the final boss. It starts out looking like Dr. Wily, but he suddenly changes into the form of a green alien. Then he flies around  the screen, blasting at you the entire time. We tried everything we could think of to beat him, but it wasn't enough. We'd end up running out of energy for our weapons, or we would  lose all of our lives. It didn't make any sense; how were we supposed to destroy an enemy that wouldn't take any damage?

It wasn't until I reached the climax of the story, that I discovered Mega Man's secret weapon against Dr. Wily's final form; the Bubble Lead. As soon as I finished the book, I rushed over to my neighbor's house and told him what I'd read. He didn't believe me at first, but since nothing else we had tried worked, he gave it a shot. So, he started up the game, put in the password for Dr. Wily's castle, and rushed through to the end. As soon as Dr. Wily's green form starting floating around the screen, we let him have it with the Bubble Lead. Incredibly, it worked! He actually took damage, though it took a little finesse. You see, Wily never touched the ground during the battle, so you had to be right next to him when you wanted to use the Bubble Lead. A few shots later, and Dr. Wily was at Mega Man's feet, begging for mercy. We couldn't believe it at first, and I'm sure we sat there with gaping jaws for a couple of minutes.


At the end of the book, the author provides some recommendations for other books the reader might enjoy. It has to be the strangest mix of books recommended to children that I've ever seen. I haven't read Have Space Suit, Will Travel or I, Robot, but I can't imagine how they're anything like the novelization of Mega Man 2 in any way, shape, or form. I'm not sure if they're even appropriate for this book's age group. Tossing How to Eat Fried Worms in there just completely confuses me. What's that have to do with robots and blowing stuff up?


Finally, the last page was an entry form for the Worlds of Power giveaway. I never did send in my entry form, even though I would have loved to win a Nintendo Game Boy. Up to this point, all I had were Tiger LCD games, so the Game Boy looked like some high end, space age technology to me. Since I'm sure most kids were probably like me and didn't send the entry form in, I might have had a chance to win one of those 10 Game Boys. At the very least, I could have won a video game carrying case, though I have to question just how cool a case could actually be. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever get a chance to find out.

So, that's the story of a lame ass book that helped us beat a cool ass video game. It's also a lesson about reading, or something. I forget.


8 comments:

  1. I didn't get into Mega Man until the PS1 release of Mega Man x5.I loved that game.I now play Mega Man Ann. on my original XBOX.

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    1. I keep seeing it for the PS2. I really need to pick it up, since I don't have an NES anymore.

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  2. I was an older Atari kid. I never had a nintendo.

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    1. I started out as an Atari kid. It's funny how much better the NES used to look to me back then.

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  3. I run across these books once in a blue moon i guess i should start picking them up for you Chris as i find them.

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    1. Nah, don't worry about it John. I've had the chance to check out a couple more over the years, and I've found they have not aged well. lol

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    2. Ok no problem buddy but if you need them or are looking for anything else let me know. : )

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    3. Heck, I'd grab one if I saw it at my local DI! I'm a huge Nintendo fanboy. :D

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