It was kind of a love-hate thing, really. People saw it on his resume or on the internet that Simon Mullins had worked on Megabot 3, the third and best-received in the long running Megabot series, and they invited him to conferences and other events, often with an honorarium. It was tough for someone who only made web design money to turn the offer down, even if the same thing inevitably happened.

Someone would ask a specific question about Megabot 3: “Did you know about the endless hitbox bug when using Seabot’s Salt Trident on Professor Wild’s third boss robot?”

Simon would answer: “Well, I worked on the PC version of the game.”

“There was a PC version?” That was the most common response. If anyone had actually heard of it–which, thanks to the internet, an increasing number did–the comments were usually along the line of “The PC version sucked.”

And that was it. The actual designers of Megabot 3 lived in Japan and spoke no English (in addition to using pseudonyms like “Pan Pan” or “Nobuo-Kun’s Daddy” in the credits). So there was no chance they’d ever show up at Nerdicon. And the PC version of the game was notorious for its perceived low quality, if anyone had even heard of or played it.

No one ever asked or wanted to hear about how Simon had wrangled the Megabot license out of Kapcami Ltd by spending half a day on a long distance phone call to Honshu and sending a cashier’s check for ¥49,065 (about 500 bucks). No one wanted to know how he had carefully, and legally, copied assets from a frame-by-frame study of a Megabot 3 cartridge. No one wanted to know how he painstakingly coded–by himself–an engine that would produce a comparable effect to a console game, with original levels and Botmasters that would work on DOS-based machines.

In that era before multiple platform releases and emulators, the Mullins Laboratories Megabot 3 had been the only thing close to a Megabot game on the PC. It had even reaped about $10,000 in profits, enough to pay off one of Mullins’ student loans. But that wasn’t enough to keep him from being tarred as the “guy behind the crappy PC port.”

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