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Several Japan-only Mega Man cellphone games were dumped and made playable by preservationists (UPDATED)

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Rockman Pinball? You have my attention.

Image: Capcom
Image: Capcom

Update 12/29/2023:

As it turns out, both Rockman EXE games are actually the full versions! It was found, after some additional tinkering, that the Java emulators unexpectedly bypassed the subscription checks and players were able to continue past the expected cutoff points. Some extra elbow grease also unlocked the rest of the Rockman 1 port, making that fully playable as well, including the Roll mode!

The team working on this also noted the microSD card includes the rest of Rockman DASH, Rockman Tennis and Rockman Diver among other encrypted materials. So, there could be more updates to come! The original article has been updated with this new information.

Original Story:

Remember what cell phone games were like before smartphones? Probably not, save for the occasional classic game ports like Snake or Tetris. Some of the sickos out there, myself included, had some deeper cuts and weirder software featuring modern and classic gaming icons in our collections. 

In Japan, “feature phone” games were much more popular, and the occasional “weird” ports like Final Fantasy, Double Dragon, or, in this case, Mega Man, were a big deal. Look no further than the infamous “lost” piece of the Final Fantasy VII Compilation, Before Crisis, for a big example.

Capcom was a huge part of the feature phone market alongside Square Enix, and that meant a variety of Mega Man-themed games were made. In North America, we got a small taste with ports of NES titles and the occasional oddity like Mega Man Rush Marine. Japan got wild stuff like Rockman Pinball, bespoke entries in the Rockman EXE (Battle Network) series, and even a spinoff of Rockman DASH (Mega Man Legends).

Considering 87% of classic games are lost to time, serious game preservationists have been working overtime, and several of those titles have been dumped from an old phone to be made playable with emulators. Some of them are demos or only one level for now, as some games were subscription-based. But, as this piece on Rockman Corner detailing everything notes, even those small workarounds are huge steps forward in this corner of the emulation scene.

The games you can play are Rockman EXE: Phantom of Network (first three chapters), Rockman EXE: Legend of Network (first chapter), Rockman DASH: Great Adventure on 5 Islands (the fifth island), Rockman Pinball, Rockman GP, Rockman Bug Sweeper, and a trial for a distinct Rockman 1 port that includes Roll as a playable character.

These games are playable due to a Java-based emulator with a heck of a UI. If you’re a youngster who has never seen a “dumbphone” before, well, you’re in for a time. Check out the Rockman Corner article for the full rundown on the work that had to be done to make this happen, and of course how to try these games for yourself!

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