Coder Cracks Mega Man 2’s Password System, Makes 1988 Less Difficult

In the olden times of video game history, consoles didn’t have built in storage. Some games had to be beaten in one sitting or not at all. A primitive method of saving one’s progress was for games to offer passwords to players. Some game passwords just brought the player back to a point in the game’s time line, but the Mega Man games were more complicated. There wasn’t one set order of levels, so passwords had to mark which levels were or were not beaten. Now, almost 25 years later, someone has cracked the code used to generate Mega Man 2 passwords. My five-year-old self just got very excited.

Recommended Videos

The passwords in the game were entered into a five by five grid, and each password consisted of nine dots being placed on that grid. Each of the eight levels had one box to check if it had been beaten, and one to check if it had not. That means that of the nine bits in each password, eight of them are used to keep track of which levels still need to be beaten. The last piece of each password keeps track of how many E-tanks, which fully recharge health, Mega Man has left.

Kevin Shekleton figured out which spaces on the grid control which aspect of the game and wrote a generator allowing people to create passwords for different game configurations. It wasn’t as simple as just marking which box deals with which level, this is a code after all. It turns out that the number of E-tanks changes which squares on the grid deal with which levels. It’s a little complicated, but you can check out his generator on GitHub.

The Mega Man games each had a set order in which players were supposed to defeat the bosses since some acquired weapons were particularly effective against certain opponents, but being able to take out any of the bosses you want means I can finally start with the Crash Bomber equipped. Thanks, Mr. Shekleton!

(GitHub via Geek.com, image via RedHerring1Up)

Relevant to your interests


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article We’re Getting Free 5-Star Characters in ‘Wuthering Waves’?!
Wuthering Waves featured five stars.
Read Article Is ‘Wuthering Waves’ Coming to PS4?
Wuthering Waves sneak peak, spider lilies
Read Article Meet the ‘Wuthering Waves’ 5 Stars Characters
Male Rover falling in the trailer of Wuthering Waves
Read Article This Upcoming Game Is Like ‘The Sims,’ but Better
A young woman and a cat stand against blue sky in "InZOI"
Read Article Breaking Down Ellie’s Character From ‘The Last of Us 2’
Ellie in The Last of Us Part 2
Related Content
Read Article We’re Getting Free 5-Star Characters in ‘Wuthering Waves’?!
Wuthering Waves featured five stars.
Read Article Is ‘Wuthering Waves’ Coming to PS4?
Wuthering Waves sneak peak, spider lilies
Read Article Meet the ‘Wuthering Waves’ 5 Stars Characters
Male Rover falling in the trailer of Wuthering Waves
Read Article This Upcoming Game Is Like ‘The Sims,’ but Better
A young woman and a cat stand against blue sky in "InZOI"
Read Article Breaking Down Ellie’s Character From ‘The Last of Us 2’
Ellie in The Last of Us Part 2
Author
Glen Tickle
Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.