Megatak first appeared in a 1983 Thor issue. He’s themed after the video games of that time.
1983 is a key date in vidjagames history.
- It’s roughly the end of the golden age of video gaming arcades, which started in the mid-1970s.
- It’s when the sales of “second generation” video game home consoles crashed hard. The emblematic second gen console was the Atari 2600 .
So, as often, the comics’ use of emerging stuff in society was late to the party.
But most importantly, it comes months after landmark movie TRON. Which did a striking, perhaps definitive job of expressing the atmosphere of early 1980s games.
Blow into the cartridge
One of Megatak’s powers is to summon video game enemies to fight at his side.
So if you want to use such critters in a super-hero game, Megatak’s your friend.
- Real Name: Gregory Nettles.
- Other Aliases: Warrior of the future, Megatak 4.5.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Hood’s gang (specifically the Deadly Dozen), Savage Six.
- Base of Operations: New York City area.
- Height: 6’3″ (1.90m). Weight: 350 lbs. (158 Kg.).
- Eyes: Glowing, solid electric blue. Hair: Unrevealed.
Powers & Abilities
When he became Megatak, Mr. Nettles was turned into a hulking brute.
His physiology cannot be human. But his nature and properties are unclear. Still, it took “enough power to melt a city” to electrocute him.
He could also fly… but see below.
Nettles was an experienced industrial spy, and seemed to have a background in electronics. For instance, he could assess the sophistication of then-contemporary circuit boards just by looking at them.
Megatak’s “electro-kinesis” power was used to :
- Remotely take control of electronic equipment. This is limited to their normal functions, but he can crank the power to 11.
- Summon video game creatures and characters from gaming equipment displays. He can have at least a dozen of those fighting on his side.
- Manifest tangible “electronic energy”. This isn’t unlike solid energy from the likes of Darkstar or Green Lantern. But limited to simple forms without moving parts, and with an electronic gaming theme. Megatak usually uses this as a bludgeoning force.
The solid “electronic energy” cannot be used if summons are present. He needs to reabsorb the energy of these creatures into himself first.
Originally, he wielded a power rod which shot energy blasts. This was seemingly lost after his death. Since Megatak hasn’t flown since losing this rod, it seems likely that it was what let him soar.
After his 2009 resurrection, Megatak manifested further abilities :
- Microchip (David Lieberman) updated him for the late 2000s software environment. He thus became Megatak 4.5.
- His extremely fast processors can run massive, complex online searches. They also can break complex encryptions within seconds.
- He can digitize himself or another to teleport from one IP-connected device to another. It looks like the traveller is physically merging in and out of the device’s display.
A good trick is to chain “teleport” from cellphone to cellphone in the street, having his massive fist surge out of the small screens to punch his enemies.
- He can jam and/or trace electronic communications, particularly smartphones.
He can still manifest “electronic energy”. Observed applications :
- A blast of bludgeoning force. It is now launched with a punch, like some Street Fighter energy attacks. A solid holographic arm and fist often surround and prolong his actual ones.
- A wall of virtual force. It looked like a Tetris game screen. Megatak once attacked with a similar construct, with the pieces falling guillotine-like onto his opponent.
- A transparent force shield in front of his torso, not unlike a virtual riot shield. From a 1983 detail, it is possible that the playable character in Megatak had a shield power-up. It might also refer to the ablative bunkers in Space Invaders.
- Being accompanied by sparrow-sized, pixelated space invaders. These fly in formation around him and shoot stuff. It’s much less powerful than the big blast, but it can be done in conjunction with his force shield.
It is certainly possible that he has other powers channelling other vintage video games. I’d offer ideas but this profile is getting long.
(I’d start with the bombs and hyperjump from Defender.)
For atmosphere. Though you… don’t necessarily want to leave it playing as you read.
History (part 1)
In 1983, industrial spy Gregory Nettles was at a consumer electronics show in New York City. This was his last chance to steal the chipset for the revolutionary game Megatak before its release.
Although video games were a young industry, Pac Man had already made $3 billion in the previous year. And Megatak’s revolutionary technology promised to dwarf even that.
Nettles paid the costumed mascot guy to leave and give him his costume. Now disguised as the Megatak character, he could slip behind the giant screen to steal the chips.
However, as he did the demo was launched. Nettles was electrocuted – then disintegrated and sucked into the machine !
Nettles came back from his TRON-like ordeal minutes later. He now was completely mad and possessed with great electronic power.
The goddess Sif defended onlookers against Megatak’s 8-bit creations. She held the line until Thor arrived.
(“8-bit” is popularly associated with third-gen consoles. But the Atari 2600 already had a 8-bit CPU, so that never quite made sense.)
The thunder god was initially surprised by Megatak’s abilities. But he soon recovered. Absorbing the electricity from the entire convention, Thor floored Megatak with one bolt.
The Odinson then drained all electricity away from Megatak and into his hammer. This saved Gregory Nettles from electrocution, but also removed all his powers.
Insert coin to continue
Two years later, Nettles — in his Megatak costume — attempted to make his return. And perhaps have his revenge.
My sense is that he no longer had powers, but his rod still had its blasting and flying capabilities.
However, he was murdered by a Scourge of the Underworld.
History (part 2)
In 2009, Megatak was among the “deadly dozen” of criminals resurrected by the Hood (Parker Robbins), using Dormammu magic. Robbins enlisted them in his mob, and tasked them with killing the Punisher (Frank Castle).
By this point, Megatak’s abilities and nature seemed a bit different. He likely was among those resurrectees who now had demonic powers.
It may be that his abilities are now a techno-magical version of his old powers. Perhaps derived from a place of electronic demons, such as Twitter .
Megatak primarily associated with master hacker Microchip. Microchip was fascinated by his nature – and his computing power.
Together, they located the Punisher anew. Microchip then specifically sent Megatak to kill Henry Russo, who had succeeded Microchip as the Punisher’s tech guy. However, Russo narrowly survived his wounds and fled.
Megatak teleported in his colleague the Blue Streak (Don Thomas), to chase Russo.
He wasn’t seen with Hood’s crew after that. It is possible that he was specifically partnered off-panelNot directly shown in the comic. Off-screen. with Microchip. But Microchip was later killed by the Punisher.
After the fall of the Hood, Megatak was among the Deadly Dozen resurrectees who came to work for the Crime-Master (Bennett Brant). His colleagues were Death Adder (Roland Burroughs) and the Fly (Richard Deacon).
They were joined by Jack O’Lantern VI, then Toxin (Eddie Brock).
Megatak saved the Crime-Master from an attack by Agent Venom (“Flash” Thompson). He also helped Jack stalk Bennett’s sister, Betty Brant.
Megatak engaged Agent Venom solo. He was dominating the fight. But Toxin came in, suddenly seized Megatak from behind and bit his head off. That was so that Brock would get to kill Thompson.
When slain Megatak de-rezzed, all TRON-like.
Post-resurrection, Megatak seemed larger, but it’s not quite consistent from panel to panel. Maybe 6’7″ (2 metres) ?
Also post-resurrection, Megatak’s speech had frequent, random spurts of binary code in it.
Nettles seemed completely unhinged by his experience. He apparently considered that he was now the game.
That means he considered other video game characters to be his brothers. As the best and most hi-tech game, he should be their rightful king and take power.
The huge marketing blitz around the Megatak game also got to his head. As the incarnation of the Megatak game, he considered himself the pinnacle of electronic power, the most formidable arcade assault, an unstoppable technology taking the world by storm.
And the like.
After his resurrection, his behaviour was different. My impression is that he now longer considered himself to be the game, but Megatak’s playable character. Presumably also called Megatak.
Now, 1983 games weren’t exactly deep on characterisation. So he seems to be some sort of generic overbearing future soldier, or militarised police. There’s a vague Judge Dredd vibe. He didn’t speak much.
Writer notes in the back of a Punisher issue state that he is highly intelligent, but has little drive on his own due to being emotionless. His electro-kinetic abilities have taken over him, leaving no humanity — and little trace of Gregory Nettles — within Megatak.
On two occasions, he suddenly launched into a diatribeForceful and bitter verbal attack. Rant.. About being the herald of a new computer reality that would overwrite the current one. That might be a hint about where his restored, post-mortem power comes from.
“I am electronic energy personified… and I command my brothers !”
“What ? Who is this – daring to attack my phosphor armada ?! I cannot permit it ! I am the revolutionary new program of total electronic assault ! The female must be stopped – by Megatak himself !”
“And now, Thor — now you shall face the entire force of Megatak’s armada — coalesced and focused into a single unconquerable WARRIOR OF THE FUTURE !” (goes FSHOOM !! with Force Manipulation)
“You face the power of actualized programming. The binary language of the cosmos collected, made real.”
“Surrender yourself to the fury of new reality ! There is no escaping — humanity is completely surrounded by new reality ! Flesh is weak. Flesh is afraid. But the code is clean. The code is merciful.”
DC Universe Adaptation
(This section proposes ways of using this character in stories set in the DC universe).
I mentioned General Electric earlier, and it’s prolly the simplest approach.
- A company attempts to reuse parts of the Commander Video technology.
- There’s a clash as some people try to prevent that – since it’s too dangerous.
- Megatak is accidentally created.
He might have died during a 1980s Suicide Squad mission. This used to be one of our go-to hypotheses for this section, but we have barely used it in the last 12 years or so. So let’s dust it off.
Megatak then returned as a Black Lantern, except he seemed to somehow absorb part of the power ring into his computerised mind. Then broke free and left.
Some sort of demon with computer magic and an unknown relationship with Nekron (no, not that one) likely is to blame.
No man escapes the Manhunters
Megatak’s colour scheme, power rod, visual signature, etc. are faintly reminiscent of the Manhunters.
Perhaps there exists an undead Manhunter android somewhere in a hell dimension. Who became a sort of digital infernal lord and is trying to invade the DC Universe.
Maybe this hell lord is Facebook .
DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 04||Str: 09||Bod: 06|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 03|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 03||Spi: 03|
|Init: 012||HP: 020|
Animate image: 20, Enchantment: 02, Interface: 04, Lightning immunity: 06, Mental blast: 15, Split: 12
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Animate Image only from screens (TVs, monitors, smartphones, etc.).
- Animate Image is limited to video game characters, monsters, etc..
- Animate Image cannot produce an Attribute or Power above 7 APs, barring GM approval.
- Enchantment can only be used on devices that Interface is controlling.
- Enchantment lasts as long as Interface is active, can use its Range, and can be Combined With it.
- Interface is Ranged.
- Mental Blast has a Range of but 05.
- If Mental Blast is used, Megatak cannot use any other Power (save for Lightning Immunity) during this Phase and the next four Phases.
- Split can only be used on Animate Image creatures.
- Split doesn’t lower the Splits’ APs.
Accuracy (Mental blast): 06
Bonuses and Limitations:
All Skills are Powered.
Expertise (Second-generation console and arcade video games, Electronics).
None in this state.
Creepy Appearance, SPI (Irrational mania about being an overmarketed breakthrough video game).
POWER ROD [BODY 06, Energy blast: 09, Flight: 06].
Stats are speculative, given the low amount of material.
STR is a thorny one. My sense is a 10, in that I don’t see Spider-Man (Peter Parker) punching Thor with that much effect. So, one AP more than Spidey.
But it’s also a good STR score for after his resurrection. He could hit Agent Venom hard, but Henry Russo could still survive being stomped once. And I want an AP of Growth to mark the difference. So, heh, 09 after all.
*Technically* he has a very limited form of Force Manipulation. So limited that writing it up as Mental Blast is clearer.
I’m assuming that most of his Hero Points during the Thor fight went into the Mental Blast attack – AV and (especially) EV.
Design notes (cont.)
Animate Image is a relatively compact, intuitive solution. But I’m not a huge fan of the AP pool Powers. Like the character creation system, it is trivial to abuse.
The amount of APs is also deceptive – 20 sounds huge, but once assigned across three Physical Attributes and a Power or two…
Normally I’d go for a Pet approach to provide specific numbers. But since there are multiple Limitations, it would look too clunky.
In 1983 he produced evil Pac Mans (Pac Men ?) with a laser cannon in their mouth, and knockoff Space Invaders or Galaxians. DEX 03 STR 04 BODY 06 Flight: 03 Energy blast: 04 are reasonable values for those 8-bit menaces.
|Dex: 05||Str: 10||Bod: 08|
|Int: 04||Wil: 04||Min: 03|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 03||Spi: 03|
|Init: 012||HP: 035|
Energy blast: 06, Force shield: 05, Force wall: 11, Growth: 01, Mental blast: 15, Mind field: 06, Superspeed: 06, Warp: 12
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Energy blast has a Range of but 04 APs.
- Force Shield, Force Wall and Mental Blast are mutually exclusive in any given Phase.
- Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
- Mental blast has a Range of but 02 APs.
- Mind Field is Self Only, Form Function and Always On.
- Mind Field only to resist attempts at inducing emotions (including fear). But this works against Mental, Mystical and Character Interaction means.
- Superspeed only for computationally heavy tasks such as data parsing, encryption breaking and brute force hacking.
- Warp can only be done between two devices with an electronic display.
Accuracy (Energy blast, Mental blast): 06, Military science (Crypto): 12, Scientist (Computers): 09, Scientist (Research): 11
Bonuses and Limitations:
All Skills are Powered.
Expertise (Second-generation console and arcade video games, Computer science, Electronics).
Removed the Powers he didn’t demonstrate during this era, if only for clarity. But he might still have them.
If you decide he can still summon video game enemies — which is the right and proper approach — you can simplify with a Dimension Travel (Summoning) approach, then simply using the stats for those mobsVideo game slang for a generic enemy.
You could simplify Force Wall and Mental Blast as Force Manipulation: 12, limited to simple and themed objects. That’s extrapolating from the material, but if you wanna lean into the constructs aspect rather than the supercomputer aspect…
Design Notes (cont.)
Throwing a punch through a cellphone’s screen likely gets Blindside Attack bonus. I say “likely” since we don’t have numbers for Agent Venom, to verify this.
Jamming and tracing comms is assumed to be done with Scientist (Computers). Comic book characters hack phones to do that all the time, and Megatak has enough Superspeed for those Tasks to make it look like a Power.
Source of Character: Marvel Comics.
Helper(s): “Press Start 2P” font by CodeMan38.
Writeup completed on the 11th of August, 2021.