Category Archives: Analysis

Wizards and Warriors: The Turmoil of Geoffrey St. John

SO, anyone out there excited about the upcoming release of Lost Hedgehog Tales? Who am I kidding, of course you are! This blog turns up in LHT search results at least once or twice a week, and I doubt it’s due to Ken Penders gnashing his teeth. At this point, I think we’re all in a tizzy over the unofficial sort-of-a-book due to another teaser tweet last month, courtesy of Archie’s lead Sonic the Hedgehog writer, Ian Flynn

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Well, my friends, August is drawing to a close, which means we could see a release any day now! In light of the impending euphoria, I’ve decided to share some thoughts I’ve waxed upon with regard to a particular character. This isn’t the same as my comic page investigation; it’s merely the personal hunch I always had while reading the pre-reboot (preboot?) Sonic comics.

One character that has never failed to hold my attention under Flynn’s pen is Geoffrey St. John. After having abandoned the comics over a decade before, I got back into them purely because I was fascinated by the sudden developments surrounding this skunk and wanted to know more about where he was going. Once a particularly bland and frequently unlikable character, Geoffrey managed to gain a significant foothold in the preboot story with his unexpected alliance swap. Despite having spent the history of the comics as one of the kingdom’s highest-ranking soldiers, Geoffrey shocked everyone with the revelation that he had been training in wizardry all along — under none other than Ixis Naugus, one of the most powerful villains of the entire series.

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Had Geoffrey really abandoned his former allies in their darkest hour? Was he ever really an ally to begin with? For someone that had always been mercilessly anal retentive about procedure, justice, and fulfilling his duties, how could he pull the rug out from under so many people like this? Didn’t it go against everything he’d ever stood for?

Actually, none of those are the real question. Those queries can be answered by figuring out an even bigger mystery: What really happened to Hershey St. John?

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Dawn of the Rise of the Queen of the Planet of the Apes

(WARNING: Major spoilers ahead.)

WELL, in the midst of trying to start a new game design project, taking inventory of my collection, and barely avoiding an apocalyptic-level flood that Michigan hasn’t seen in 86 years, it’s only by the grace of Caesar that I’ve managed to go to the movies lately. Since the film’s release, I’ve now seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes twice. The first time was purely out of excitement and zeal for a continuation of the story, and the second time… Okay, I admit the second was mostly to relive the first, but also to double-check for a detail I was convinced I had missed.

As it turns out, I didn’t miss anything; it just simply wasn’t there.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHY I SHOULD’VE HAD TO CHECK WIKIPEDIA…

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…TO FIND OUT THIS APE’S NAME.

(It’s Cornelia, by the way.)

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Father’s Day: Blood vs. Electricity

Father’s Day is often characterized by imagery of backyard barbecues, early morning fishing, and two little kids hugging their daddy from either side. Candies, golfing equipment, barcaloungers, and ties that will never, ever be worn to work make for popular gifts. Department stores slap the phrase “#1 Dad” on just about anything that can be imagined, guaranteeing that you can remind your father of his status no matter what his interests are.

I, however, did not engage in any of those things Sunday. I bought my father a card, as I do every year, but that was the extent of our activities for the day. My relationship with my father has always been very… iffy. Between his intimidating, military presence and my meek and people-pleasing childhood outlook, we never really had a strong foundation to start out on. He came off as cold, judgemental, and clearly favoring my brother. I couldn’t make him laugh when I tried to entertain him, but boy did he laugh anytime I was embarrassed.¬†Rather than telling me he loved me, the phrase I heard at the end of every conversation was, “Keep your grades up.” As for video games, I never felt so much disapproval as when I dared to bring games to his house, and he and his wife called my decision to study game design “stupid” two days before my first class. As of an argument over a series of lies he’s been telling for the last four years, my father and I rarely speak anymore.

Which is why I chose to spend the holiday with this guy — and learned a few things about myself.

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(Warning: Major spoilers ahead.)

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The Secret Legend of Princess Zelda

Well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you by now that the interwebs are buzzing like a hive of fangasming hornets about the plethora of reveals made at E3 so far. Gamers around the globe have been inundated with so much new information that many folks can’t even pick a topic to squeal about, which I quickly noticed when a friend of mine IMed me as soon as I got online and covered three different topics in a single sentence.

Among the many reveals Tuesday was Nintendo’s announcement of a new collaborative spin-off for the Legend of Zelda series. Partnering with Tecmo Koei, Hyrule Warriors offers a departure from the typical LoZ dungeon crawl and keeps a much tighter focus on the combat. Between the Dynasty Warriors-esque gameplay style, the abundance of playable female characters, and Link’s decision to partake in the trend of protagonists sporting rad new scarves, there’s been a lot of chatter in the last 48 hours.

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Leaving that much vital chest area exposed doesn’t seem very wise for the person the holding the Triforce of Wisdom.

Zelda in particular has been getting a lot of the attention. While this isn’t the first time she’s been playable, one would think that the series’ title character would’ve had a lot more active roles by now as opposed to spending the bulk of the last 25 years as the proverbial carrot on a stick. Furthermore, the only two games in which Zelda is¬†actually the protagonist are sorta… well… they’re not quite… they… okay they suck. For this reason, many a fan is celebrating the news that we’ll all be able to assume the role of the iconic princess without having to bother with possessing phantoms, entering a fighting tournament, or obtaining outrageously rare hardware and software that isn’t even fun to play.

But perhaps the bigger news is the fact that we’ve all played as Zelda plenty of times before without even realizing it.

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Obscure Observations: Parasitic Twins

Metroid: Zero Mission, released by Nintendo for the GameBoy Advance in 2004, is a title that rarely needs a formal introduction. It retold and revamped the original 1986 NES game by introducing graphics, controls, powers, and storytelling in a manner highly reminiscent of Super Metroid. It payed homage to several games in the series while still managing to stamp its own unique fingerprint on the Metroid canon. Needless to say, the game was a huge hit.

But I’m not here to talk about popularity today. I’m here to talk about bugs.

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Yeah, these little shits.

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Easter Bunnies and Banned Hedgehogs

Ahh, Easter! Today is the day whereupon millions of people celebrate spring fertility, crucifixions, and candy. This year in particular, there are also a lot of celebrations revolving around enough marijuana to choke an egg-delivering rabbit. Yes, Easter has fallen on 4/20 this year, the American “holiday” in which stoners unite to get high as a kite and keep quickie-marts in business. This year they’ll be bringing a whole new meaning to “getting a sugar high.”

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That’s not what we meant when we said we needed grass for our baskets, guys.

Unfortunately, this day is dampened by another major event: The 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre. I can’t imagine it’s easy for any of the families in Littleton, CO to enjoy their Easter baskets (or pot) with those memories looming over their heads. In addition to the tragic deaths of 12 students, one teacher, and injuries to dozens of others, the incident was also a major catalyst in arguments over the possible negative influences of video games.

At this point in the article, I’m sure a lot of you are predicting that I’ll talk about the games that took the blame for the Columbine shooting, or debate whether or not Jack Thompson can argue his way out of a paper bag, or maybe even the controversy of the game Super Columbine Massacre RPG! Actually, I’ll be doing none of those things. Instead, I’m going to puzzle over how Disney believed that this…

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…was enough to provoke children to shoot up their schools.

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Lost Hedgehog Tales: Leedzie’s Sneak Peek

Never one to quit while he’s ahead, Ken Penders clashed with Sonic’s comic book fans yet again last weekend. After singularly taking credit for the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series (going so far as to call himself its “savior“), he then went on to downplay the roles of his fellow writers, invoking the fiery inferno of many Archie fans’ collective rage.

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Coincidentally, Ian Flynn had also tweeted just a couple hours earlier that night — and in such a way that indirectly referenced Penders’ unrelenting ego.

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The screenshot shows Flynn’s current progress on his Lost Hedgehog Tales project, a behind-the-scenes look at the storylines forcibly abandoned in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics due to Penders’ copyright battle. The document’s release is highly anticipated by Archie Sonic fans, both for curiosity and for closure, as several plot points received hurried and unsatisfying resolutions. Others never saw a resolution at all.

As one of the folks eagerly awaiting Lost Hedgehog Tales‘ release, I’ve decided to give you all a preview. No, I don’t have any direct contact with Ian Flynn, but I do have clues as to what was intended to happen in one specific arc of the story. All it took was some attention to detail and a little investigation.

Well, and $45.

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The Deception of Gender-Neutrality

In the wake of the Dec. 9th announcement of Dina Abou Karam as Comcept’s community manager, the gaming community is still feeling the aftershocks of screeching dudebros splitting the earth. Outcries range from simply not getting along with her personality to demanding that she be fired from the team and/or refunding donation money. Karam’s big crime? Suggesting on the Mighty No. 9 forums that the female audience receive more acknowledgement. Oh, and being a woman herself.

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The unanticipated backlash of Karam’s appointment has once again raised the issue of the grotesque amounts of sexism and misogyny present in the world of video games. Discussions have fired off over the harassment of female gamers (such as what’s happening to Karam) as well as the under-representation of women in games themselves (which was Karam’s original point). I was going to write an article that examined these issues as well, but my attention shifted to something more subtle — and more insidious.

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Leedzie’s Loopholes: Fallout New Vegas Lonesome Road Bug Bypass

(Warning: Spoilers and in-game jargon ahead.)

I’ve never been one for RPGs. For me, having to deal with so many stats for so many different people and objects tends to detract from gameplay, so much so that I have yet to ever complete a game in this genre. Despite this, my best friend bought me a copy of Fallout: New Vegas last year, insisting that it was an RPG that I would enjoy much more than the others I’d tried.

For the most part, she was correct. It wasn’t long before I found myself deeply invested in the storyline and adjusting to the various weapons, but again, the stat system was killing my enjoyment quite a bit. To resolve this, my bestie put my save file on a flash drive, disappeared for about half an hour, and then returned to tell me that my file had been hacked and I was now essentially a god, courtesy of TooTooBang’s Mod. With the stats eliminated, I happily resumed what I did best: Wrecking shit and completing dialogue trees.

This all came to a screeching halt, however, when I completed the Lonesome Road DLC chapter.

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As many gamers before me have woefully discovered, this menu pops up upon leaving The Divide and returning to the Mojave Desert. The game is trying to reward the player by offering a free point to one of the courier’s S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits, but as you can see, all fields are maxed out. Despite the fact that there’s allegedly an option to reset a given field, pressing the indicated button doesn’t actually change any of the values. The point can’t be added, the numbers can’t be lowered, and this screen can’t be skipped.

This was going to take some ingenuity.

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Countdown to the 12th Doctor: #1

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Along with the sketches of Mr. Needlemouse, the original set of Eggman drawings are one of the most important documents in Sega’s history. After all, a hero is only as good as its villain, and the proto-version of Eggman wasn’t even originally conceived as an antagonist. Without those initial drawings, I wouldn’t be writing this article at all. I feel obligated to devote the first segment of this series to this version of the character if just out of respect.

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