Apologies to all those ralph-fans out there(only lying to myself), I missed my post yesterday, to be honest I was a bit stuck for something to write, then I read a couple of things from which I found inspiration. The first was an article on the escapist regarding games fanatasism, with particular focus on a certain spikey, blue mammal. The second was Neil’s piece which linked to one particular fictional gem</lie> which excellently highlights the point I’m about to make.
Starting with an admission. I am a Sonic the Hedgehog fan. Since christmas 1991when my buddy Craig brought round his imported Japanese Mega Drive, I was hooked on the adventures of the speedy, blue one. It was a whole year before I received my own Mega Drive along with both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2, still the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received, If someone gave me the gift of world peace and an end to all war, it would still slot in at no. 2 behind that Mega Drive.
Sonic was a departure from every other game I’d played up to that Christmas, about the most visually impressive game I’d played up to this point had been in an arcade, something like maybe wonderboy, or possibly the TMNT arcade game. I’d never considered recreating this at home possible, not on my Spectrum anyway which offered impressive art if you didn’t mind it monochrome, and with little or no sound. Sonic completely blew everything before it out of the water, Green Hill Zone Act 1is in my opinion the best designed level for any game on any system, and a perfect showcase for what sonic games should be all about, speed. Playing Sonic on Xbox live acade my best run through time for act 1 is 29 seconds, I’m pretty sure that when I was a kid I hit 27, but that might be youthful exuberance (or out and out lying). That doesn’t mean though that you had to complete the first level quickly, If you meander through the level it’s no less rewarding but with so much speed to hand it seems like a shame not to use it.
Later games went on to add further characters from the good ((though confusing) Knuckles the Echidna, Miles”Tails” Prower, Amy Rose(sometimes)), the bad (Charmy Bee, Shadow the Hedgehog, Silver the Hedgehog, Big the Cat, Cream the Rabbit (Oh god it’s like yiffy paedophilia!)) and the Ugly (Big the Cat, again).
Right that’s the potted history out the way, what was I saying? I love the whole Sonic franchise, unfortunately only in the same way that I love the whole Star Wars franchise, or the whole Indiana Jones franchise, that is after the first three entries I zone out and pretend that nothing else happened. Deep down there’s a small, grey sinkhole in my heart where I bury all the bad things that happen to a franchise that meant something to me as a child, every time George Lucas sticks his dick into my childhood (thank you South Park) I just bury it away and pretend it never happened. The same is true of Sonic team, following Sonic & Knuckles (the last of the 2D series on the megadrive) came Sonic 3D, it wasn’t fast paced and the concept of roaming an isometric 3D plain looking for birdies was like playing a re-skinned version of Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, only more disapointing what with the original being about ten years old by this point.
Sega, realising their mistake at setting Sonic in a 3D environment, went on to completely ignore it, with all of the main cannon games being made in 3D, and all but Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast receiving anything other than a critical mauling. Meanwhile on the GBA and DS all of Sonic’s continued adventures in two dimensions have been praised by both fans and critics alike.
Mind you do I really expect anyone to take note of criticism, when the BTOC’s in town? No of course not, the fact of the matter is that despite well deserved criticism Sonic the Hedgehog is not just a mascot for Sega anymore, but a mascot for the industry, Sonic is not only recognised by gamers but by people on the outside, particularly parents, grown up gamers who remember Sonic from before but no longer pay attention to the industry. It’s this sense of a “safe bet” which has given Sonic a critic proof sales dynamic.
That and (Welcome to the dark places) Sonic fans that didn’t abandon the blue one when it was a sensible time to jump ship. I’ve never understood the concept of fanboyism, of the Otaku, of the fanatic until I saw Sonic the Hedgehog fans. If Sega’sefforts to force me away from the series hadn’t worked then the fans themselves just might. Not that I’m critical of all fans, I’ve already said that despite Sega’s best efforts, I’m still a fan, thing is though as a fan, I’ve never really considered it necessary to produce badly spelt yiffy porn. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve never revved up a Sonic game and thought “Y’know, this is good, but imagine if Sonic was taking Amy Rose roughly from behind while Tails tickles his balls.” I just… seriously I’m lost for words. I know for a fact that I don’t have to look very hard online to find hundreds of grotty fan-fictions of this very scene. They’ve even got celebrity endorsement of a fashion thanks to Excel Saga creator Rikdo Koshi, who has in the past produced Sonic dojin. This being Rikdo though I’d like to think that there was some reasoning behind his art, even if it was just one of the BTOC’s stop offs.
I found this handy venn diagram on google images and I can’t help but think that this isn’t something only I’ve noticed, the internet’s saturated with it, possibly more-so than any other franchise (with the possible exception of Final Fantasy, though the quality of FF games has remained high, almost inspite of the garaunteed sales and obsessive fans)
I stated in my title he’s already dead, and I can’t help but think that in my mind Sonic is just that, I still remember the good times, I’ve got the original Sonic game on Live Arcade, and I’ll continue to enjoy it, will I ever buy a new Sonic the Hedgehog game? no probably not, I can’t help but feel that Sega has long since rendered the franchise, and to that end Sonic himself dead to me. It’s just sad that that hasn’t stopped others who proclaim to love him from repeatedly raping his spikey, blue, attitude filled, corpse.