-by Dylan DiBona
I’ve got an imaginary wheel in my head spinning with tons of Sonic the Hedgehog topics. Do I ask if the original Genesis games were ever that great? Do I talk about the bizarrely terrible Sonic Underground cartoon? Do I compare the series to its old competitor Mario? I’ll just do them all right now.
Except Sonic Underground. I love and hate that show.
If there was ever a Lindsey Lohan of video game mascots, it would unfortunately be Sonic. What was once a trusted face that acted as a seal of quality soon became a living meme on the internet. Bug-ridden games, awful concepts and controls and for some reason early 2000’s rock. Only the most dedicated of Sonic fans could find something to enjoy (granted there were the accidental two good games: Colors and Generations).
Don’t let the nature of my writing fool you though; I’ve only played Sonic 1 (beaten), half of Sonic 2 and currently Sonic Mania. I’m no scholar on the topic. But what happened? I like my Sonic old-school: chubby, stumpy legs and with loads of attitude. Why did he grow an extra two feet and change into some selfless good boy?I’m at odds with myself. I should really not like Sonic. There are much better platformer series out there to play, but the times I do play Sonic (the older 2D games), I like it. Even though the main concept of going fast is NEVER utilized by the player and only triggered by environmental objects, Sonic has this charm and overall feel that is unique to the genre.
Levels are big with tons of pathways, gathering a bunch of rings can be a dangerous mission and finding those Chaos Emeralds is tricky! I find myself thinking a lot differently when I play Sonic compared to other platformers.
Even though I may not be a genius at Sonic, I do consider myself a prolific and knowledgeable player of the Super Mario games. You see, Mario isn’t as exciting as the blue blur, but he’s always been there and he’s always been pretty decent at his worst. In the past twenty years while Sonic has continuously tripped, we’ve gotten Super Mario Sunshine, both Galaxy games, 3D World and Super Mario Maker. I’m avidly disapproving of the New Super Mario Bros. series, but even those games can be solid with some friends. To me, a level in Mario is all about getting through a set path of obstacles with my skills and maybe finding a secret. A level in Sonic is all about running through a giant landscape and seeing what’s present while also going towards the end. If you look at it like this then I think it’s safe to say that Mario is almost objectively better as a platformer series. I came to a realization. Super Mario is Chipotle: quality ingredients, good taste and other than giving some people Ebola twice (New Super Mario Bros.) it’s trusted. Sonic the Hedgehog is Taco Bell: questionable ingredients, absolutely delicious, emphasis on aesthetic and flavor.
I love platformers. They are synonymous with video games in my head. Give me a handful of abilities and then test my skills to complete levels and find secrets: perfect. I thought I knew what I like and didn’t. I told myself that Sonic was trash and nostalgic icons such as Crash were infinitely better. Well guess what? After tons of hours with the Crash N Sane Trilogy, I realized I hate Crash! I guess what I’m saying is you’ll never know what you have a hidden affinity for unless you try it. I love Taco Bell.
Thank you guys so much for reading. Have a great latter half of the week!