Category Archives: Feature Articles

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Snatching Our Attention

I love all types of games. Video games will always be close to my heart, but that doesn’t mean I have any less respect for board games, card games, sports, reality competitions, or game shows. And hey, on the note of those last two, Ru Paul’s Drag Race has finally kicked off season 7 this week! As the nation’s biggest competition for drag performers, the show has aired annually since 2009 and has become a staple of the Logo TV network. It’s been such a success that it even managed to find its way onto an episode of Jeopardy.

Although each episode contains its own brand of humor, creativity, and unpredictability as the queens duke it out in a test of showmanship, one particular task keeps fans talking every year, even before it airs. It is perhaps the hardest challenge in the game, and is definitely one of the greatest tests of skill and focus.

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Halloween Special: Playing with Dolls

Today is Halloween! Those of you that were here last year might recall that I celebrated by discussing a spoopy spooky head canon concerning the game Sonic & Knuckles. Since this series has been a hobby of mine for well over three quarters of my life now, I have no shortage of head canons to talk about, and today we’re going to explore the one you’ve all been waiting for. The one that every Sonic fan mentions at least once every October.

Oh yes, my friends. Today, we’re going to discuss the infamous Tails doll, and what exactly makes it tick.

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Treat it like a weeping angel: Don’t blink.

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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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Yoda’s Species Finally Revealed

For a series with as much lore as Star Wars, it always amazes me when certain details are left undefined. Don’t get me wrong, I do see the appeal in leaving bits of data blank; the imagination of writers often pales in comparison to the variety and scale of the fan theories that will arise in its absence. However, Star Wars is rarely the type of franchise that leaves stones unturned. There are entire encyclopedias of information about the Star Wars universe that never makes it into the movies, games, or other official media. The ridiculous extent to which the story takes its world building is part of what rocketed George Lucas into film and sci-fi history — and why it seems so odd to me that no official name for Yoda’s species has ever been established.

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Until now, that is.

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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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Respawn Point Returns with Metal Gear Marathon

Well, it’s been awfully quiet around here for the last month. Between being sick for two weeks, sojourning to the Motor City Comic Con to meet John Barrowman, cleaning the basement, and getting a ton of hours at work, I’ve had a difficult time getting around to articles lately — and not even for lack of content, since I was dying to comment on Microsoft’s latest backpedaling or the fact that I found a complete and in-the-box Sega Master System at a yard sale for $20.

Luckily, charity is usually enough to motivate me to do just about anything, and our friends over at Respawn Point have given me just the push I need to get back into writing for you guys. As I type these words, the familiar faces of Zack Harrot, Jay Zeach, and Ash Blackledge are running the Metal Gear Marathon to benefit Special Effect.

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…Well, as familiar as they can get with the camera so far away.

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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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Jazwares releases Classic Amy and Metal Sonic anyway after cancelling them

Collecting Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise is an interesting hobby because I find that, for whatever reason, there are some characters that just remain rare no matter how popular they get with the fans. Certain characters can have appeared in multiple games and have a strong following among players, comic readers, TV show audiences, and yet for some reason Sega shrugs its shoulders and designs another Sonic figure in a slightly different pose.

Of course, it’s hard to say whether or not all of this is directly Sega’s fault; last fall Jazwares, the toy company that’s been producing the bulk of Sonic’s American product line for the last few years, announced that they were cancelling production of the Metal Sonic and Classic Amy plushies that had been spotted floating around their booths at toy fairs. This came as a major disappointment to the Sonic fandom, as these two characters (Metal Sonic in particular) had been highly anticipated for months. Sonic Stadium marked the occasion with a particularly emotional lament over the issue last September.

Which is why I’m still trying to figure out how the hell I’ve come to own these.

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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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