1. At what point did the design of the first level force you to learn a new skill to progress through the game?
2. Was it difficult to observe the design of the game while playing it?
3. What mechanics were important enough to be used as the primary commands? What mechanics were less valuable, and could be pushed to less accessible buttons?
At the very beginning. You are forced to learn a couple of things. You need to learn how the controls feel and what they do. You also need to learn the strategy in order to progress through the level so you can progress to the next one. Each level requires you to adapt and learn the new items and character moves in order to become better at the level and game.
No because it was pretty simple. Jump and shoot, pick up health packs and kill enemy's. Also the level designs were pretty basic so there wasn't much to see. Granted the designers were limited to the amount of items able to be in the game it was still a little dry. It was good for its time but now there are better games of mega man and those are the ones a person should play.
The buttons of jump, shoot and move around were all in the first level. These were the commands that were the most valuable and used, as well as moving around. The other buttons that were a little less valuable were the start and select buttons. You really don't need start and select passed the start menu so they are placed in places that aren't bothersome.