Monday, 12 December 2011

Guest Article - "Nostalgia is Gross"

I'm happy to play host to something a little different today: the first guest article written for the site, penned by my friend radixius. It ties in to the topic from last week a little, but also works nicely as a stand alone article. Enjoy! If you would like to read more of rad's writing then you can stop by his blog, or if podcasts are more your style he does those too. He's also musically inclined if you wish to give him a listen.

Sonic, what the crap happened to you? You used to be a mute, blue blur that seemed to rush from point to point in mere seconds. Faster, even, than the screen could pan if you hit those declines in Chemical Plant Zone just right. We had a lot of fun in the 1990s, I hold you with such esteem that I am willing to make egregious remarks against a certain red clad plumber in your name. You were my childhood, friend, and for that, we shall always be acquainted. But time changes us all, some of us for the better, some of us for the worse, and some of us can be hit with the worst circumstances imagined and those situations just serve to show that the most terrible things can happen to even those of us who do the most good.

However, I would be remiss were I to ignore the ridiculousness that you've allowed to envelop you. I mean, I can take a slightly less pudgy, longer-legged redesign. Something slick, more streamlined, it makes sense. It certainly suits you, but why are you talking? What's with all this drama? I mean, honestly, why did you kiss that human princess or whatever? Why are you turning into a werewolf thing? I don't get it. Why are people doing this to you? Is it my fault? Is it because I support them because your grinning face is plastered on the cover?

In days passed, you would let your actions speak for you. I'd have you jump on an enemy, and they would be destroyed. I would have you attack that boss' weak point because that was the thing to do. I would see Eggman and his vile deeds and make him pay in spades all with your skills. But now it doesn't matter. I'm force fed your motivations when they are pretty clear. You're a hero, you're trying to save the day, or save Mobius or whatever planet it might be. Why do you need to tell me? I recall back in Sonic 3, when you and Tails were coming down from the Death Egg down to Angel Island? Then you got that red echidna delivered unto you a haymaker of substantial proportions. It was clear that he was an antagonist, he hurt you, gathered your emeralds, laughed at you and split. No one needed to say anything, I saw it with my own eyes. Remember in Hidden Palace, where Robotnik, as he was then known, stole the Master Emerald, and Knuckles felt betrayed and tried to get it back. Robotnik was just using him to get at that giant gemstone, he was being misled, and he saw that afterward and helped you get to the evil doctor to finish him off once and for all. I don't remember being told that. All I had to do was watch the events unfold before me.

But during and after Sonic Adventure, there's always some kind of ridiculous conversation taking place between you and any number of secondary and/or tertiary characters, and I just wonder where it all went wrong. Let's look at one of the opening scenes of Sonic's Point of View. We see Sonic relaxing on a beach chair next to a pool. It seems clear to me that he's relaxing from thwarting the latest scheme of Dr. Eggman, I guess Robotnik legally changed his name for some reason. But then he sees Tails crash landing somewhere in Emerald Coast. Problem is, they're babbling incessantly throughout the entire thing. Sonic explains how he's relaxing, Sonic says how he sees Tails, Sonic observes how Tails is crashing, Sonic decides to save his friend. Apparently Sonic can't do anything anymore without talking about it first. It seems to me that Sonic is being affected by early onset Alzheimer's.

I can understand some taunts between Sonic and a boss character, I mean, that makes sense. Clearly there will be some sort of dialogue between foes if they pose a significant challenge, but I don't need every action narrated, just fill in the gaps if you need to. If there's something you can't pantomime, or that reactions just won't succeed in informing us. That's the only time it's necessary. That's a way we can skip out on the unnecessary angst that just seems ridiculous considering the source.

You're a speedy blue hedgehog. You are a snarker, a smart-ass, and above all, you are a hero. Even if some insidious puppeteers are pulling at your strings and making you do out of character things for the sake of over-dramatizing a series that is about a bunch of humanized, multi-colored animals besting and otherwise destroying robots created by a genius madman, there's really nothing I can do but stare, slack-jawed and insulted.

But always know, friend, that I'm right there with you. I have been from the start. You just keep hopping from act to act, zone to zone. And I'll guide you along as best I can, like I always have.

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