Toot toot Sonic warrior
Lots of complicated feelings here too. I was right at the gap of growing out of Ninja Turtles and while I was already firmly planted in the Nintendo camp for gaming, I still remember being shocked by playing Sonic 1 at a friend’s slumber party where he rented a Genesis and I was introduced to the Sega brand.
While at the time , you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise that it wasn’t all about the gameplay and character, I think it was also level design wise just so different looking (and colored) from what the NES/SNES were doing that it stuck with me and I was hooked. I remember (and still think I have it in a box somewhere) the EGM issues w/ the “origin” comic, was able to convince my mom to let me subscribe to the Archie comic (I think I hung around for a year or so only) and do remember the Jaleel White cartoon as well. (The other one was on cable or satellite or whatever, which I didn’t have access to)
My neighbor ended up being so enamored that he went with the Sonic bundle Genesis and never looked back. (Though his brother did eventually get an SNES) So I was able to take advantage of his kindness and take advantage of Sonic Tuesday, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and even Sonic CD when he got his Sega CD.
We even went as far as using an old hi-8 camcorder and created our own video game show review where we had ads for EGM/Gamefan, Sonic the Cereal (think Lucky Charms w/ Ring “O’s” and Chaos Emerald marshmallows, how original, right?) and even recorded each other while playing the game and voicing Sonic as he played. Looking back on it, we were streamers before it was even a thing! So lots of good memories. (Glad that tape never got on the internet though, can’t think of all the blackmail that could be used for now…)
As for the games themselves, I’d say I bounced off them after Sonic CD. I didn’t like the direction 3 went with the graphics and character sprites (curse you Donkey Kong Country!) and admit that while I did finish Sonic Adventure and picked up Adventure 2, I never finished the latter. I tried Mania and it….just didn’t click. I love the music and design but I just wasn’t having fun 3-4 levels in and that was it for me. I do still go back and play 1 & 2 (The M2 3DS ports) as well as the PS3 port of Sonic CD on occasion.
As much as I enjoyed time attacking certain levels and playing the 2P sections of Sonic 2 with my friend, I never minded the slower levels in Sonic games that much and I always enjoyed the verticality the levels had as well and how it felt so rewarding to learn the level well enough to be able to navigate the top route or simply explore as needed.
Sonic 2 fell apart for me at the end, Metropolis Zone didn’t need a 3rd level and the Sky Fortress was just kinda… odd? (It’s also the only Dreams Come True track I genuinely don’t like) as crazy as the levels in CD were, they were my pinnacle for Sonic levels and I think the way the design for the game in general shifted in 3 and on were the bigger factors in my dislike as opposed to the mechanics themselves. (I do recall specifically not enjoying the mechanics for the special stages in 3 though. Not my idea of fun)
Looking forward to the Origins release and hoping they pull an M2 on them and put all the fun little features and tweaks in. (like the stuff from the Sonic Jam Museum/Theater on the Saturn) Would love to have both the US and JP OST’s for CD and all the other fun stuff like that.
While I don’t think I’ll ever get into another 3D Sonic myself but can’t help but thank him for expanding my horizons with gaming and giving me the chance to also grow up with Streets of Rage and Treasure’s catalog as well.