Sonic the Hedgehog Full Series Analysis
Project Length: 4 Days (12/9/11 – 12/12/11)
My Roles: Critical Deconstruction, Writing, Copy Editing
End Product: Dissertation-Length Analysis
Original Post Date: 12/13/11
In the early winter of 2011, 1Up.Com held a contest focused around the Sonic the Hedgehog series. I first found out about this contest by way of a tweet from Sega, which referred me to the 1Up blog detailing the contest. On the surface, it seemed to be a very basic call for ideas on what the next Sonic title might be, but the following caught my eye in the contest details:
“We want to know your ideas on where Sonic is going to go next. What features should be added to the next Sonic game? What direction can the franchise take to stay true to its roots, but also attract new fans?”
That’s exactly what I do, so I made a 1Up blog specifically to participate. Winning the contest wasn’t even necessarily about the prizes (although the Sonic statue is something I’d love to have). It was about taking a chance to get my name out there, and letting people know what I’m capable of. Writing is what I do, game theory is what I know, and Sonic is what I love. I decided I had to try, and I produced roughly 40 pages of work in four days.
I chose to talk more about game theory than the specific plot of any one game (although there are several game ideas sprinkled throughout its entirety). My ideas are more guidelines that could stretch across any of the games to come for this series. I spent four days furiously working on my entry so I could make it as complete as possible before the deadline — only to discover I would ultimately be disqualified due to the fact that entries were limited to one blog post and no more. I hadn’t written it in the blog itself, but rather in an off-site document. It was only when I tried to post my work on the last day that I discovered 1Up’s blog system had a character limit. Since my entry ended up being approximately 40 pages long, there was no way I could edit it enough to fit within 1Up’s restrictions. It was a crushing setback, but I decided to post my work anyway. Even if I couldn’t win, I still wanted my work to be seen.
It turned out to be a good idea, because despite having been disqualified for length, my ideas were sent to Sega anyway. The contest administrator, J. “Jsauce” Kartje, was just that impressed that he forwarded my entry along with the winners. I may not have won any prizes, but to me, that’s a prize in and of itself.
This was a huge amount of work and an amazing exercise for me to engage in. Before this contest I’d never actually produced this much content in such a short time, and it was kind of exhilarating to pull it off. Even without being able to place in the contest, it was still completely worth it to get my words forwarded to Sega themselves. For all I know Sonic Team might’ve wiped their ass with my analysis, but the fact that it was sent at all is what matters to me. I’m just going to sit over here and quietly imagine that some of what I said might have actually resonated with them, and could ultimately help produce better Sonic games in the future.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG characters © SEGA, SEGA, the SEGA logo and Sonic The Hedgehog are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Corporation. All rights reserved.