Community Discussion: Blog by Mike Moran | Groundhog Day: Can you feel the sunshine, Sonic?Destructoid
Groundhog Day: Can you feel the sunshine, Sonic? - Destructoid

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Episode 07: Duke Nukem 3D - PC
Episode 06: Resident Evil 2 - PS1
Episode 05: Deus Ex - PC
Episode 04: Mega Man Legends - PS1
Episode 03: Jet Grind Radio - Dreamcast
Episode 02: Mega Man 4-6 - NES
Episode 01: The Neo Geo Pocket Color - NGPC

Nostaljourney is a retro gaming podcast that features an new cast every episode. Each episode is based on discussing a particular game or series, then finding people who are nostalgic for it and people who have never played it before. If need be we go so far as to donate all the necessary gaming hardware to the newcomers. We compare the experiences of the two groups to find out how well a game has really aged as well as discuss its history.

For younger community members it may be a chance to learn what gaming was like in the past. For older community members it may be a chance to discover what games are truly classic and what games are not. In general the show exists to evaluate and discuss the nature of nostalgia and for everyone in the community to get to know each other better. Because the show involves giving out free games, it only records once every couple of months.

Recent changes to the game plan will hopefully entail the show recording every 2 weeks.

Shadows of the Damned - Multiplatform
Alice: Madness Returns - Multiplatform
Dead Rising 2 - Multiplatform
Radiant Historia - Nintendo DS
Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - Nintendo DS
Ace Attorney Investigations - Nintendo DS

Wryviews are my personal review series where I try to do things different from the norm by asking myself how well the game achieved its goal, instead of if I liked the game or not. Wryviews are a personal challenge to stay objective and identify who would enjoy a certain game, rather than complain about who wouldn't. I feel that being a good reviewer entails being able to identify each game's audience.

Mega Man and Bass - Gameboy Advance
Maken X - Dreamcast

Gemnalysis is a series where I hunt down lesser known or neglected games and make a case for playing them despite the fact that they're older. Instead of flat out reviewing these games I look at them from the perspective of a collector and go over the game's history, and special trivia it may have.

Boss Battle - Mark of the Wolves
Boss Battle + Final Match - King of Fighters 98

Fatal Impact is a series of community tournaments revolving around SNK fighters; rather, it was. I happen to host the tournaments, but only once in a blue moon when I have the free time. I accept any and all callers, though I am not an entrant. Instead I am a trainer who organizes my entrants and helps to improve their game while introducing them to new and lesser appreciated fighting games.

The Fatal Impact tournaments will likely not continue until SNK releases games with better netcode. With recent promises from Atlus, King of Fighters XIII is likely to become the next big Fatal Impact game.

King of Fighters 94
King of Fighters 95
King of Fighters 96
King of Fighters 97

The King of Fighters Love Letter is a series dedicated to the storyline and history of SNK fighting games. Many people don't know anything about SNK in general, and with King of Fighters XIII on its way I'm going to bring everyone up to speed on the story in the series thus far.

Now that King of Fighters XIII has an actual release date this series may continue beyond the first story arc (Orochi Saga), but it's difficult to find solid information on the series' backstory.

Podsumaki Episode 09: Mortal Kombat Special
Podsumaki is a fighting game podcast that I hosted on and organized. There was a lot of random smack talk but it was a fun show. Currently it's on hold and none of the hosts are sure if it will ever come back. Our last episode was our highlight, where we spoke with three of the best Mortal Kombat players in the US and discussed the Mortal Kombat community and the upcoming game. If you were to listen to any one episode of Podsumaki, I'd recommend it be this.

The Top Three Things "Gamers" Should Care About Less
Somebody on Call of Duty: Black Ops screamed at me for not being good enough at the game, even though I wasn't on his team. Thanks to that I decided to write an article on some of the biggest problems with the gaming community, mostly their inability to care about things that actually matter.

Tainted Beauty: The Death and Rebirth of a Genre
What we have here is an article revolving around the 2D fighting game genre, the path one must go through to become good at the games, and all the obstacles in the way of this that I feel eventually led to the temporary death of the genre prior to the release of games like Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue.

Wry Guides: Goozex Training Manual
Wry Guides are a series where I try to educate the people of the community by writing about something that I in particular know a lot about. More than anything else though, it's just me unleashing a bad pun upon the world.

Top 11 Dreamcast Games You Probably Didn't Play
In this article I recap my experience as a guy who loved the Dreamcast, because he grew up with it as one of his primary forms of entertainment. The games listed aren't the popular and trendy choices so much as the lesser played B-list and C-list games that only true Dreamcast veterans touched.

Hey, I liked it: Mega Man VII
Hey, I liked it was a series where I reflected on games that I'm fond of that weren't appreciated by many people. As opposed to Wryviews which are meant to be impartial, this was a much more personal series. This series might continue some day but I could really not think of a bigger black sheep game than Mega Man VII.

Wry's Dreamcast Homebrew Guide: Pre-Brewed
There was a time when I was extremely, extremely into my Dreamcast. I didn't just play tons of regular games that I found on sale, I also researched the wealth of bootleg Dreamcast programs. These days I'm a collector and I'm not concerned with unofficial software. I'm too busy playing games I actually own. Still I created a quick guide to some of the easiest and best programs available for the Dreamcast that can be used with no hassle.

Untapped potential: Stop breaking my balls
I suck at games: But not forever
My Expertise: The Grand Jackass of Obscurity
Nothing is sacred: Sequels
Groundhog Day: Can you feel the sunshine, Sonic?
I started writing about games roughly a year and a half ago, and since then my viewpoints and my writing style have changed. Destructoid's Monthly Musings were a good way for me to get started when I didn't have many article ideas. These are all the ones I wrote that were promoted to the front page. I'm not super proud of them anymore, but if you want to see my writings evolve a little bit you can compare these to my more recent articles.
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When I was a little kid I was a pretty huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan. I don't know what it was about the guy that I loved so much, but I did. I watched both of the cartoons and would get VHS copies when possible, I read and owned all of the comic books up until about issue 65, and obviously I played the games. All the games. Every single one I could get my hands on. These days I still appreciate Sonic quite a bit but I don't keep up with his games like I used to. I just play all the handheld Sonic games. It's probably got more to do with the fact that I'm a big handheld gamer than anything else. I used to be pretty big Mario nut too but the same thing happened there. Still, I've been pretty curious about the console Sonic games considering all the controversy they spur.

I feel really bad for the Sonic fans of the current generation. I meet with young Sonic fans very frequently and they seem perfectly happy in the same way that I was at their age, but I know when they get older there's probably going to be a variety of haters who give them shit for it. When I was a kid it didn't really matter that you loved Sonic. These days it's the cool thing to act like every Sonic the Hedgehog game is a failed abortion. You just need to play one Sonic game and not like it, then say every Sonic game sucks. Congratulations! You're a gamer now! Commence not letting people enjoy themselves!

To the haters out there: You guys played Sonic 2 every single day when you were kids and now you get pissed off because Sonic isn't like that anymore. Your idea of a day well spent is making an angry Youtube video about Sonic 4's physics. That's cute that you call yourselves fans. I never knew that only liking one or two games made you a fan. Hey. I liked Final Fantasy IV and VII. I guess I'm a Final Fantasy fan even though I don't like any other ones!

No, really. I'm serious. It's awesome that you try to dig through Sonic's back catalog for a game like Sonic CD, then turn around and proclaim it the greatest Sonic game of all time, then provide no real reason for why aside from the fact that it looks and plays like Sonic 2, then go on about how every other Sonic game sucks. Honestly. I feel your pain.

Sarcasm aside, I'm not pining for the return of Sonic. I loved both Sonic Adventures. I loved both Sonic Rushs. I even somewhat enjoyed Sonic Battle. When I was younger I absorbed Sonic like a sponge. I appreciate most Sonic games for being ambitious and trying out new and interesting things. I don't expect a Sonic game to be perfect. I expect it to be fun and for the most part they have been. I always find myself returning to Sonic. This even translates to handhelds long before Sonic was on the Gameboy Advance and DS.

One of my fondest Sonic related childhood memories was in Meridian, Idaho. Meridian was a weird combination of a rural and urban town, just outside of the state capital of Boise. It was my home for the majority of my elementary school years. This was the age of childhood fads like virtual pets and pogs. There was a shopping plaza down the road from my house that got frequent use. There was a tiny comic shop my Father would take me to frequently in order to fill a giant binder full of trading cards as well as a little chinese restaurant we both liked. Between those two locations was a local pawn shop, and there I discovered a Sega Game Gear that had three Sonic games: Sonic Chaos, Sonic Triple Trouble, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. There was a pretty badass Mickey Mouse game too, actually. Just recently my Groundhogs Day relationship with Sonic has compelled me to buy a Game Gear off eBay once more. I have no idea how I even held that machine when I was a child. It's gigantic, but Sonic Triple Trouble is still just as fun as it ever was. Knack the Weasel remains one of my favorite character designs in the Sonic universe.

It actually doesn't end there. I recently acquired a Neo Geo Pocket Color and a copy of Sonic Pocket Adventure. I bought my Neo Geo Pocket for SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millenium, but I'll be damned if I wasn't gonna own that Sonic game I read about years ago in The Official Dreamcast Magazine. In my youth I was a total little Sega kid. My relationship with Sonic will probably lead me to eventually play every one of his games. My curiosity has even led to me hunting down a copy of Sonic 360. Memories aside, there is one specific Sonic game that I always return to on at least an annual basis. Sonic R for the Sega Saturn. Why? Because for a select few Sonic fans it was something they'd always wanted. Sonic's fast on his feet, yeah? Why can't there be a racing game where he just runs?

Sonic R is actually the first game I ever wrote about on Destructoid. That goes to show you how much I enjoyed this game as a kid. It was the most bare bones, low-key Sonic game you possibly could have gotten. It was a Sonic racing game with 5 tracks and some unlockables and it could last maybe 2 hours at the longest. It wasn't even made by Sega. Despite that this game has carved a niche for itself. There are a lot of underground fans of this game. Check out Youtube videos of the game you'll see a plethora of comments that show how dear this game is to a select few peoples' hearts.

To many people this game will just look like trash. To the ones who can accept this game for what it is, it's a unique and fun experience. Sonic's characters practically begged for a game that pit their abilities against eachother competitively. Their unique abilities like Tails' flight and Knuckles' gliding were something I always wanted to see in some sort of racer. Nevermind games like Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. I've heard the game is actually great, but that's not the point. I wanted a racing game that felt more like an actual Sonic game.

See, the basic idea behind Sonic R was that you needed to explore the 4 main tracks in order to unlock the final one. You needed all seven Chaos Emeralds scattered around those tracks. Each emerald was hidden behind a door that requires you have so many rings to unlock. You would need to gather rings around the course, take the long way around the track to the hidden door and still place first to keep the emerald. Now for a little kid that's actually kind of complicated to do and still get first place. If you needed help you could unlock the game's hidden characters. To get them you needed to find 5 hidden tokens spread around any individual track, but you only needed to place third in the race. The hidden character would challenge you and if you won, you had a superior racer to help you get the Chaos Emeralds. For a young sonic fan however, those hidden characters were an amazing piece of fanservice: YOU COULD PLAY AS MECHA SONIC AND KNUCKLES. The comic books had recently made me really wish I could play as Mecha Knuckles, and this game delivered that. Awesome.

That's really about all there was to it. Simple as it was Sonic R is exactly what I wanted. I was young and innocent. I wasn't begging for the Next Generation Sonic Game that everyone else was at the time. I wasn't bitter at my Sega Saturn for not delivering Sonic Xtreme or any other such game to me. I had plenty of Sonic games already. It never even occurred to me that I needed more for my Sega Saturn aside from Sonic R and Sonic Jam (which was in itself quite incredible for a Sonic fan.) I was content to run around Sonic R's stages finding shortcuts and getting the unlockables over and over again. I pop this game in at least once a year to play a couple times, just because I still think it's good clean fun. This was a game that captured my imagination, and when I say that I'm not joking. The game had a "tag" mode where you would race around and tag other characters on the course. Me and my friends converted that into a "hide and seek" mode. We would play split-screen and divide the screen with a blanket so we couldn't see the other person's screen. One player would hide and the other would look around the course.

Sonic R in essence was nothing more than a fanservice game but it remains fairly unique and has a sort of identity to it. It was the only Sonic racing game that really still felt like it was a Sonic game and it had the most insanely cheerful soundtrack imaginable. The songs were so cheesy it was embarrassing, yet they got stuck in your head and kinda put you in a good mood. Sonic R's soundtrack lives on to this day via cameos in Super Smash Brothers Brawl and Sonic and Sega's All-Star Racing. Some of you may be surprised to hear that Sonic R's developer went on to make games like Lego Star Wars. It's composer went on to develop the soundtrack to Mass Effect. Either way there will be many people who see absolutely nothing about Sonic R that's appealing. These will be the sort of people who play it for a short period of time, never learn how to actually play the game, complain that the controls are terrible and decide it's the worst Sonic game ever made. These are the sort of people who lost their innocence a long time ago. The kind of people who don't actually want to enjoy anything. The kind of people who aren't genuinely fans of anything.

If the game is too flawed for you to enjoy, there's nothing wrong with that. Objectively the game really isn't all that good, but it was still creative. For me that's a lot of what makes the Sonic the Hedgehog games interesting. Chances are unless you're a really big Sonic fan you're not gonna have all that much fun with Sonic R. Just don't go pissing in other peoples' milk. That's my point. Let the young Sonic fans of this generation enjoy the same kind of innocent fun that I had. Sonic has never been perfect no matter how much you want prove it and you'll never have a genuinely objective argument for it. Admit that much to yourselves. Whatever you want to say about the quality of Sonic games, they're still better than most games aimed toward children. If you really think people deserve better, find something better and turn them on to it. Just let people enjoy Sonic if they want to, though.

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