Michael Jackson has always received mixed reviews, some people hate him, some love him, and some only like his older music. Others such as myself, are fascinated by his weirdness or more tactfully, his eccentricities. Without a doubt Michael’s greatest contribution to society was the creation of the Moonwalker video game for Sega Genesis. I know there are other versions out there but the Genesis version achieved a perfection the others could only dream of. Here are five examples of why Moonwalker achieved 16 bits of pure unmitigated perfection.

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April 18, 2012

5. Mr. Big

He captures children, employs a legion of bizarre impractical robots, attack dogs, and gangsters. He also goes by the name Mr. Big. His extreme super villainy is never fully explained and he is only introduced through brief appearances taunting Michael, telling MJ he’ll never catch him and laughing before he scurries off. Deep down inside Mr. Big wants Michael to catch him. Why? Because Mr. Big is a crazed fan and as he says in the last battle “I love you Michael… to death.” Consumed and confused by his love for all things Michael, he has to kidnap children to get MJ’s attention. Maybe if Michael had been more accessible to his fans, this whole disaster could’ve been averted.

4. The Epic Cut Screen

When the cut screen hits, moonwalking time is not far behind and my hands tremble with anticipation. At the beginning of every stage there is a cut screen that cut downs Michael’s normally placid and soft spoken demeanor. You can see the intensity in Michael’s eyes, his blood boiling at the sight of a chubby, middle aged, pony tail clad thug manhandling a child. Punctuated by Michaels’s trademark “ow!” you know MJ means business. This effectively builds the tension and sets the stage for most of the moonwalking action. In fact Michael is planning to moonwalk all over his enemies, not with fisticuffs of course but by shooting magic and dancing because he does not take kindly to any crime syndicate that arbitrarily kidnaps children and leaves them tied up and scattered all over five levels for no discernible reason.

3. Bubbles the Chimp

Remember Bubbles? Michael’s beloved pet chimp is back and in video game form, complete with overalls and a red shirt. Chimps really do make everything better and Moonwalker is no exception. In the midst of all the chaos, Bubbles randomly pops out of nowhere and catching him will transform Michael into Robotic Michael for a short duration of time. Robotic Michael can shoot lasers and his damage threshold is considerably higher. This unique power up is easily one of the most effective and sought after in the game. I’ve always loved Bubbles the chimp ever since his appearance at the Grammy’s but I love the one-two punch of Michael and Bubbles in Moonwalker even more.


2. The Thrusting Robot

As you can see in the diagram, the robot has a metal shaft in between its robot legs that retracts and extends, creating a thrusting motion. Although lasers have been employed in the game, the designers felt that thrust bot would be more effective than any laser. Although it’s not very mobile, having legs instead of wheels it is quite effective if it gets Michael cornered or is in a situation where Michael cannot move right or left. Somehow it seems more painful, at least emotionally to have a large robot thrust you into submission, as opposed to being shot with a laser. How this never made into Exhibit A at one of Michael’s trials, I’ll never know.


1. Dance Magic

This is the ultimate special attack. When you hit the special, a dramatic pause ensues, a spotlight beams down and Michael takes over with his arsenal of dance moves. The enemies (aside from the bosses) are powerless to fight against it and are compelled to dance. Every minor enemy is equipped with a set of dance moves of their own, albeit nowhere near Michael’s level. The once vicious attack dogs get up on their hind legs and dance, the thrust bot thrusts at a rapid speed, and the violent gangsters are softened by busting out some impressive choreography of their own. However in the end no one can keep up with Michael and they all dance themselves to death. That can’t be good for any gangster’s street cred. Getting shot or locked up can only improve a thug’s reputation, dancing with another man until you die, not so much.