I took a break today, and decided to fire up Cave Story for a little while. While playing I was reminded of how ambiguous a lot of the game's characters are- who are those men dressed as snakes, for example? What the hell are those things that look like white skateboards with red eyes meant to be? If Balrog's a robot, why does he look exactly like Pooh Black, a ghost? IS Balrog a robot?
This last question is never addressed in the game, and players have wanted to know for a while- in 2005, Derek Yu asked the game's creator
TIGSource: By the way, what is Balrog, exactly? And what is his relation to Pooh Black, since they look so similar?
Pixel: I leave that to the player's imagination.
So, it looks like the official explanation of what Balrog is going to remain under wraps, but- remember when I said Pixel rejected my t-shirt design because, in his words, it didn't have enough charm? Well, that's not the full story. See, I sent Pixel the following image:
And he said:
I think that says:
Can anyone offer a better translation?
Now, at this juncture, Pixel might have said 'Hey, that's wrong! He's not a robot!' , but in fact he was totally ok with Balrog being depicted as a robot on an officially-sanctioned Cave Story shirt. I guess it's a stretch to take this as a confirmation, but it's somethin'!