Dear The Escapist

Please train your writers to recognize the difference between “desperately trying to explain” and “flamebaiting with tongue in cheek.” Honestly. And maybe you could do something about your print-publication fetishization. The neat thing about the Internet is that layouts don’t have to be constrained by the limitations of physical media!

Anyway. I’ve much more recently written a thing, and it’s making people far less angry than I had feared — although unlike the FFVII piece it wasn’t actually intended to annoy but rather to redeem. Apparently the bulk of gamers are on board with this perception of Sonic the Hedgehog as gaming’s Marlon Brando (a one-time bad boy turned into a sad-sack self-caricature) so that’s good. Now if only people would follow their hearts with their wallets and stop buying crappy Sonic games, maybe Sega would actually pay attention.

This week’s Bonus Stage hasn’t gone up yet, but for once I’ve missed a recurring deadline and it wasn’t my fault. I had the episode wrapped up Friday but there’s been some manner of complication on GameVideos’ part. Sadly, posting videogame boobies really is better for traffic than Bonus Stage, which makes me feel awfully dopey.

Maybe I shouldn’t have asked them to blur out the breasts (seen briefly on the back of the box of Hot Slots for Famicom) in this episode.

And speaking of naked girl parts! This week’s One Credit Challenge (hosted by djSyndrome) is Kid Icarus. If you think you’re completely rad, get a Talking Time account and chime in with the results of your own no-continue, no-save-state playthrough of the game in the appropriate thread. This is hardcore honor system stuff, so don’t be a jerk.

36 thoughts on “Dear The Escapist

  1. Personally, I woudln’t so much mind the needless barrage of coattail-riding second-stringers in Sonic — I always prefer Knuckles over Sonic, to tell the truth — were it not for the fact that their inclusion often destroys the break-neck pacing of the games.

    That being said, however, Shadow the Hedgehog (as well as, good lord, there’s a Silver the Hedgehog now? Him too) should die in a fire.

  2. I’ve seen that screenshot so many times. Definitely more than I’ve actually seen through the use of my skills and a copy of the game. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the picture, I never would have known that Pit eventually used his wings to fight the one-eyed Medusa. And, keeping with Mr. Parish’s other posts, I’m going to assume that since I am older now than when I actually played the game, I’m far less capable of getting any closer to completing the One Credit Challenge.

  3. So, is Kid Icarus worth my $5 or will it just frustrate me? On the flipside, I do like Kirby’s Adventure–the one Kirby game I’d never previously played! Man, that’s some bass-y music for NES.

  4. I was never that big a Sonic fan, honestly, but I can certainly enjoy his older games. Not so for recent titles that aren’t called “Sonic Rush.”

    Kid Icarus is pretty much only good if your perceptions have been addled by nostalgia, so I’d skip it.

  5. I’d rather play the Gameboy version of Kid Icarus for the same reason I’d rather play the GB version of Milon’s Secret Castle, because they are way better :P

  6. That’s twice now I’ve seen that “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.” reference. I’m watching you.

  7. Yeah, you got me. I wrote the Sonic thing a couple of months ago, so when I made the remark for Bonus Stage #1 I had totally forgotten about my previous use of the reference. I won’t do it again, honest.

  8. Great article, but I can only partially agree with the first point. It’s a sin to take away the ability to play as Sonic, yes, but Tails as a playable second character puts Sonic 2/3 near the top of any list of co-op games. Now that online is fairly common and there’s no need to rely on split-screen, I would love to see a new 2-player Sonic game in that mode (not to mention it would be nice to have a modern co-op console game that didn’t focus exclusively on blowing up crap).

  9. What developer created Sonic Rush? I doubt it was Sonic Team or even any team at Sega. It didn’t have that “Dimps feel” that the Sonic Advance games did, either. Whatever the case, Sonic Rush sure had some trippy, killer music… if it wasn’t by someone who worked on Smilebit games (especially JSR and JSRF), I’d be surprised.

  10. Well, to answer my own stupid questions with 30 seconds of research… Dimps *is* credited with development of Sonic Rush (their best game? I’d say so). And Hideki Naganuma is credited for music… so that explains that.

  11. “I’m pretty sure Sonic’s novelty wore off after Part 2 for Genesis. ‘Did for me anyway.”

    No–they were followed by Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Although the splitting of the games was lame, the results were still excellent.

    I wouldn’t exactly consider Sonic 1 “great”. Just good. The game didn’t really deliver on its promised speed for nary a full zone and a half. Whereas Sonic 2 onward had huge, fast-paced levels the whole time. Sonic 3 was the first Sonic game to have a water level that wasn’t slow and horribly dull.

    Sonic Pocket Adventure was great, too, although it was just a remixed Sonic 2, basically.

  12. Sonic’s never really been that great a platformer. (Although I will admit that the Adventure games were much more satisfying and less blocky than Mario 64.) It was full of cheap deaths unforgiving bonus stages. At least Rush lets me save my progress.

  13. To be honest though, I doubt anyone who is actually reading this site (or even 1up, IGN, etc) is really buying the Sonic games. My guess is that most people who grew up with the Genesis games (and even up to maybe the first Sonic Adventure) realize it’s a shitcanned series at this point – I’m guessing it’s mostly parents who vaguely remember the series from their youth buying it for their kids (see also: all those mediocre Mario sports spinoffs).

  14. Here’s my thoughts on Sonic:
    1- Sonic’s 2D outings have one major flaw: you can’t do a game that represents a super-fast character in 2D very well, because you can’t see far enough ahead.
    2- Sonic adventure was a great idea. Put the camera behind, and you can go as fast as you like
    3- Sonic’s levels in Sonic Adventure 2 were flawed (mostly to do with camera and running into wall issues) but the gameplay was, at times, inspired. City Escape and Final Rush are about 80% of what a sonic game should be.
    4- If they made a game like Sonic Adventure 2’s sonic levels, the entire game, it would be good.
    5- They ruined the physics with Sonic Heroes (everything was just too slippery), and kept the ruined physics in Shadow and Sonic 06. The level design in these games was also terrible.
    6- Sonic And the Secret of the Secret Ring Secrets of the Secret Sonic Rings is superficially what we want (speed-based, only sonic, looks to actually be good) but it’s still not the ideal (sonic adventure 2’s sonic stages, the entire game, only better)

    This sort of mirrors what happened to Star Fox:
    Two really, really good games. (Starfox and 64) Then two games that screw up the entire point of the series, (Adventures and Assault) and then a good game which is sort of a left turn from the ideal (Command). Also they star animals.

    What Nintendo and Sega need to do, is go back to the game that was GOOD, and do that AGAIN. That’s all we really want.

  15. Who’s Marlon Brandon?

    Marlon Brando was the guy who played Jor-El in Superman Returns. (That movie is going to so totally jump-start his career)

  16. 1- Sonic’s 2D outings have one major flaw: you can’t do a game that represents a super-fast character in 2D very well, because you can’t see far enough ahead.

    The speed factor in the 2D games was perfectly well-realized. Since the level design didn’t suck back then, not being able to see everything ahead of Sonic wasn’t an issue. You were free to speed down huge ramps and fly off the edge of the screen without ever needing to worry about whether you’d end up in a bottomless pit or a spike trap.

  17. Nice episode of Bonus Stage. It does kind of irk me that the Japanese copy of Dragon Quest IV is 500 yen whereas I had to pay over $40 for mine, though.

  18. Honestly, at this point I wouldn’t mind seeing Sonic just get crazier and suckier. I mean, he’s now got a human girlfriend who is also a princess or something and can summon Satan, right? Didn’t he also kill God? I think they can top that. Probably with something involving Tails marrying a young human boy who is also a clone created by combining the DNA of Hitler with Buddha who wants to destroy the sun with the help of an evil hedgehog who is purple. But then the twist is that he only wants to destroy the sun to save mankind. In the end Sonic stops him and dooms the world, but we learn things.

  19. The Sonic article gets a thumbs up, aside from the generalisation of all Sonic fans as pathetic fetishists only in it for the Tails porn. There’s enough of that on /v/.

    Everyone will be contributing their suggestions for the series so I’ll do mine quickly – series needs a drastic reboot, new 3D engine/controls/camera, new artist and musical direction, more quality control on characters/plots, less voice acting, more streamlining/focusing of the current cast, more 2D or 2.5D games and less being influenced by idiot fans who don’t have a clue what’s good for the series (“More Shadow! He’s soooo cool!”).

  20. that makes me wonder, should Harpies cover their upper torso? I recalled Ys III on the SNES also had bare brested harpies.
    But then again Mike Mignola came up with an inspiring design of harpies who were more Bird like then “Bird/mermaids” which is what we commonly see for Harpies.

  21. webrunner: Gonna have to disagree with you on Starfox. Adventures was a better interactive experience than Luigi’s Mansion, while Assault had better writing than I’d expect from a series ripping off Bucky O’ Hare.

  22. Isn’t Sonic a rapist? Just play those stupid games. The idea is to collect wedding bands… Isn’t that a nice G-rated presentation of adultery? I mean come on people!

  23. The speed factor in the 2D games was perfectly well-realized. Since the level design didn’t suck back then, not being able to see everything ahead of Sonic wasn’t an issue. You were free to speed down huge ramps and fly off the edge of the screen without ever needing to worry about whether you’d end up in a bottomless pit or a spike trap.

    People say that, but I just get the same confused look on my face I get when someone talks about how great the first Tomb Raider was and how much the sequels sucked. There’s plenty of time where you’ll be going forward full tilt and then just BAM lose all your rings because of an enemy or a spike or something. When moving at full tilt in a 2D game you either have to design the levels such that:
    a) there’s no hazards in the path you’re going at all
    b) the hazards will be unexpected and cheap

    At the speed sonic needs to go, for someone with normal reaction times, there’s no way to hit a happy medium. There’s just not enough warning. SA2’s levels had GREAT challenge levels- some levels were such that someone who was good could struggle through a level using checkpoints, but someone who was great could rush (pun intended) through without problems. Very little times in SA2 do you die regardless of skill, just because you haven’t played the level before. The same is not true of the 2D titles, or Sonic Heroes.

    Also the 2D sonic games put you underwater far, far, FAR too often.

  24. Kid Icarus is pretty much only good if your perceptions have been addled by nostalgia, so I’d skip it.

    So not true. I didn’t play Kid Icarus until 2003, and I love the hell out of it. (I did play the GB version when it came out, dunno if that counts).

  25. I downloaded KI on the Wii, mostly because I had heard it was like Metroid, and Metroid kicks ass. KI is nothing like Metroid, and furthermore it sucks on its own merits. Like, if a platform scrolls more than a tiny bit off the bottom of the screen, suddenly I’ll die if I fall down? Or how about how fucking weak you are at the beginning? Oh, oh, and you only get more powerful arrows if you kill enough shit before entering the upgrade chamber?

    What really steams me is that everyone was all “OMG OMG GIV US KID ICARUS PLZ!!!!”, and yet almost nobody bothered to ask for Mischief Makers. Fuck all of you.

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