Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Secret World of Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most recognised computer game characters of all time, a blue hedgehog with a short patience and the ability to run really, really fast. Created by Sega, he has starred in several of their most popular games, and it second only to Mario in terms of worldwide fame, when it comes to computer game characters. The premise of most of his games are simple: run to the exit as quickly as you can. Avoid the baddies and run like a devil over different levels until you make it to the exit. It is simple, but very addictive, and the popularity of the games has meant that the character has crossed over into comics and television several times over the past few decades. It’s all a very simple premise, which is what makes it so surprising to find that there are several dangerous aspects of the series which Sega have repeatedly tried to hide from the public. Cover-ups, conspiracies, and recurring illegal practises are inextricably linked to the games, and once you’ve read up on the disturbing shadowy overworld that makes up Sonic The Hedgehog, you won’t be able to view the lil’ blue spinester in the same way again.

Cover-Up 1: Sonic The Hedgehog is illicitly sponsored by fast food companies

During the early development of the first Sonic game, Sega were faced with a budgetary issue, as they found they were rapidly losing money due to increased global fondness for red-capped plumbers. With nowhere else to turn, the company struck a deal with several fast food companies in order to fund their labour of love. In the process, however, they had to make several concessions in order to fulfil their contracts. The main villain, Dr Robotnik – an evil half-unicorn, half-robot badass – was replaced with Dr ‘Ivo’ Robotnik, who was all-human. This changed the story significantly, as Ivo’s backstory (which was later retconned further, as will be detailed below) was made to be more in line with fast food desires. No longer a unicorn who was evil due to grief at the death of his species because of hedgehogs, Robotnik now became an allegorical symbol of the egg-industry.

Ivo Robotnik was a mild-natured man who was turned evil after an egg exploded in his face, thus transforming him into a fat, beady-eyed villain with an indeterminately gay moustache (see “the refusal of Sega to accept homosexuality”, below). It was the conclusion of the general public that this story was designed to make Robotnik the very essence of a “rotten egg”, but in reality this was Sega’s way of downplaying the healthy and nutritious value of eating eggs every day. As Mr Strong has proved, eating eggs is a great way to grow up to be big and strong – exactly the characteristics that fast food chains do not want associated with their customers (apart from Subways, who offer superb quality food for great value). The name ‘Ivo’ is the reverse of ‘Ovi’, based on the Latin for ‘eggs’. Later, the character was connected even more strongly to the egg industry through the unexplained change from ‘Dr Robotnik’ to ‘Dr Eggman’. This was all based off the further payments Sega received after the failure of the Dreamcast, which saved it from bankruptcy.

Conspiracy 1: Is there a company-wide hatred for Australians?

The basis for this conspiracy stems around a character introduced in Sonic 3; called Knuckles. A red echidna, Knuckles personifies the country of Australia almost as much as the once-planned “Retard the platypus” would have done. Retard was originally imagined to be Sonic’s idiotic friend who runs a surfing shop, who continually attempts to sell Sonic surfboards even though Sonic has no need for them because water instantly kills him. Retard was scrapped after the company realised that portraying an Australian as someone capable of running a small business was too positive, and instead Knuckles was born. His role was to guard the Master Emerald, a source of massive power within the Sonic Universe, and he does so diligently by sitting on his arse all day and doing jack-all. When it comes time to actually do some work, he fails to beat Dr Robotnik – and on top of this failure, he is then tricked by the evil Dr into believing that Sonic is the real villain. Thus encouraged, Knuckles loses his temper and goes after Sonic with no thoughts for protecting the rest of the emeralds, and promptly loses in battle to the hedgehog.

After he realises how wrong he was, Knuckles goes back to sitting round all day and doing nothing, from time to time losing the emeralds due to his own uselessness or laziness, dependant on the game involved. Not only does he then prove to have the worst sections of all the most recent Sonic games, but he also is due to be kidnapped in the next game to be released; this time by aliens. For a character that is tasked with looking after a Master Emerald, Knuckles proves remarkably able to leave his duty behind to go off and take part in other Sonic games, where he plays sport without a care in the world. All in all, it seems remarkably clear that Sega have got it in for Australians.

Unanswered Question 1: Why does everyone like such a dick?

Sonic is a prick. Why do people keep buying his games?

Conspiracy 2: What’s with all the gambling?

Sonic games typically feature one level set in a carnival, and one set in a casino, where Sonic has to bounce off flippers and bumpers in order to make his way through the game safely. These are typically some of the hardest levels, but always provide a feeling of strong relief and achievement once they have been completed. This begs the question: what’s with all the gambling, Sega?

Unanswered Question 2: How do rings keep Sonic alive?

Mario collects coins, which makes sense, but Sonic collects ‘power rings’. How come they just sit around on the levels waiting for him to pick them up, then? If these rings give him so much power, wouldn’t it make sense for Dr Robotnik to simply take all of those, before he embarks on his quest to destroy the world? There’s a world of difference between fighting a blurry whizz-kid who can break the sound-barrier, and a hedgehog, y’know.

Conspiracy 3: Are Sega trying to promote drug-use?

Chaos Emeralds. They are the item that Robotnik is always trying to steal in order to turn the world into ‘Egg-Topia’ (see above, “Sonic The Hedgehog is illicitly sponsored by fast food companies”) and thus rule the world. They are interesting, in that they are hard to find and obtain, but contain almost unlimited energy that can be used by the characters whenever they want a fix. If a character gains all seven of the emeralds that exist in-universe, then they ’transform’. Sonic, in particular, turns golden and starts going completely mental whenever he uses them all together, and other characters have also been shown as ‘going golden’. This is, to put it “bluntly” (ha!), due to the efforts of ‘Sonic Team’, the designers responsible for creating the games. A bunch of meth-addled creatives with a flair for hokey dialogue, Sonic Team are high all the time, and they want you to join them. They don’t want to actively be seen promoting drugs, of course, so instead they decided to put in this aspect of the Chaos emeralds.

Mario collects power stars, but once he collects them they go in a fault. Donkey Kong collects bananas so he can eat. Sonic… gets a charge off of Chaos Emeralds. In many respects, as he goes from game to game and fights Robotnik again and again, he has become a junkie, relying on the benefits of the Emeralds to boost his power time and time again. Super Sonic, as he becomes, is then able to completely save the day with his massive OTT powers. He becomes faster and taller and stronger and he has forceshields – and he’s a little bit addled. He becomes a meth-addict, in other words. And every game sees him do this at the end, making him not just an addict, but a full-blown junkie. Sure, Sonic ‘says’ he does it to save the day, but how can we trust an anthropomorphic hedgehog?

Cover-Up 2: The refusal of Sega to accept homosexuality.

If you know anything about Sonic the Hedgehog, then you’ll know that I’m about to mention a certain character, That’s right: Tails. Tails is a Stuart Miles lookalike who also happens to be a fox with two tails. He is, as is made ludicrously obvious to everyone in the World, a gay man. He likes floating around by whipping his tails around in a tight circle which lets him hover above the ground, and his best friends are blue, pink, and red. That sentence may well be the most gay sentence ever written to not actually invoke any gay references in it. On top of this, Tails spends most of his time with Sonic floating behind him, watching his blue bottom with a fearless devotion and passionate intensity that hasn’t been seen since Des and Mel got taken off the air. It is obvious that Tails is gay. So why hasn’t he come out as gay, you wonder?

There is nothing wrong with homosexuality, as everyone should know but don’t because of that ‘religion’ thing. The gays (or poofs, as I will henceforth be calling them) are the best people in the World, and that is a fact that you cannot verify unless you happen to have gay friends yourself. Or, y’know, if you yourself are gay (but why would you read this? Gay people don’t like computer games!) Poofs turn up on TV and in comics all the time, movies have been written about them and music is filled with them. So why won’t Sega finally let Tails come out of the closet and film a cut-scene at the end of the next game where Tails has an awkward conversation about his feelings with his best friend? Politics, my friend. Even though Nintendo are open about the fact that all their computer game characters are either gay or into bestiality, Sega remain reluctant to admit that their blonde fox with a mullet might not like other female foxes.

It all goes back to the start of the company. When Sega was first founded, poofs were illegal in Japan. As such, when the company drafted up the rules it was made clear that nobody gay would be allowed to work for them. Although times have changed and gays are now only illegal in a very few places, this company policy is still enforced throughout Sega. There is a reason they haven’t changed this charter, which would finally allow Tails to come out of the closet. We went online to check up their website, and found a picture of the president of Sega:

Proof: Sega are a subdivision of Vatican City.

Feel free to copy and paste all of this into Wikipedia now you’ve finished reading.

1 comment:

  1. "Sega are a subdivision of Vatican City."

    But...Sonic said touching is no good. How the hell would Sega be part of the Vatican with a message like that? I guess it's like those Truth ads they run on TV that depict the dangers of tobacco, which are in fact funded by...Big Tobacco!