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Showing posts with label Sonic the Hedgehog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sonic the Hedgehog. Show all posts

Blue Stinger: On a Hello Market Slay Ride


"And when those blue snowflakes start falling

That's when those blue memories start calling

You'll be doing all right

With your Dreamcast of white

But I'll have a blue, blue, blue, Blue Stinger"

- Elvis Presley

Every year, I must indulge in a series of holiday rituals before I can even think about getting into the Christmas spirit. First, I’ll string up multicolor lights around my living room. Then I’ll help bring cheer to the folks of Twin Seeds City in Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams. Inevitably, I’ll watch Clark Griswold be an irredeemable asswart to his neighbor Julia Louise-Dreyfus in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a process.

With those nostalgic boxes checked, I’ll then turn to more subtle, personal ways of rediscovering the holiday magic. That can include taking a simple reprieve from the stressful work season with my puppy. Or I’ll stuff my gullet with my mom and aunt’s dueling Christmas cookie platters. My girlfriend and I also tried hate-watching Lifetime holiday movies until we realized we were really just regular-watching them. BTW, shout outs to the one about the family's struggling fruitcake company and the one with Reba McEntire. By this point, I’m really starting to feel the Christmas spirit.

Then – just when the time is right – I’ll pop the star atop the proverbial tree: Climax Graphics’ Christmas-adjacent Dreamcast classic, Blue Stinger.

Here comes Santa Dogs, Here comes Santa Dogs...

Whether the Dreamcast fan community regards it as a brilliant cult classic or a survival horror(ible) jankfest, Blue Stinger doesn’t much give a fuck what we think of it. What it is, though, is an absurd and campy holiday action game that makes my cup runneth over with Yuletide cheer.

How Sonic Adventure Blue My Mind: Reliving the Hype

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch – 9.9.99 – I’ve been thinking a lot about my earliest impressions of Sega's final console and the reasons why I saved up my meager allowance to bring one home that day.

Sonic Adventure was undeniably the catalyst.

It was the game that jumpstarted my interest in Sega’s swansong console and in video gaming as a serious hobby. Over the subsequent decades, my sharp criticisms of the game have grown starkly at odds with my enduring fondness for it; yet neither sentiment has undermined, nor ceded ground to the other. 20 years onward, I continue to appreciate Sonic Adventure for a multitude of reasons but more for how it sparked my passion for the medium – and all the incredible experiences that would follow – than for the game it ultimately was. I’ve come to terms with the idea that, in a weird way, perhaps I'm nostalgic for a game that never truly existed.

Spoilers ahead for Sonic Adventure and Sonic 3 & Knuckles...and my childhood, for that matter.
Thanks to this magazine, I've been living the dream(cast) for the last 20 years. – EGM, Issue 112
In the beginning, 13-year old me was casually perusing the Electronics Boutique video game shop at a local mall. My mom was off shopping for shoes, or books, or circular saws, or whatever it is moms buy and I just wanted to kill some time. I wasn’t at all serious about video games; I still went outside back then. The nine-year-old Sega Genesis was the newest console I owned, and I had fallen completely out of the loop on what was happening around the then-modern gaming scene. Gazing at the rows of unfamiliar game boxes and jewel cases lining the store walls, I was bewildered. It’s like I had suddenly warped into gaming’s cynical, dreary future:
  • Tenchu: Stealth Assassins? Turok 2? Apocalypse starring Bruce Willis? Looks like all the games are trying to out-badass each other these days. How edgy.
  • Spyro the Dragon? Guess anthropomorphic dudes with ‘tude games will never die, huh? Oh, but this one breathes fire? Radical.
  • Glover? Jeez, brand tie-ins must really be out of control if the Hamburger Helper mascot has his own game now.
I was largely detached from the newfangled games of that era and honestly, it didn’t seem like I was missing out on much. But then I finally noticed something a bit more…let's say, familiar?

It was the November 1998 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. As I peered closer, I noticed the cover image looked vaguely like Sonic the Hedgehog. Hold on, it was Sonic the Hedgehog…except...was it? I recognized the blue spines and iconic red shoes – check and check – but this Sonic was staring at me with creepy green eyes and pointed coolly with his massive cartoon hands, inviting me to open this magazine to find out just what he’d been up to in the years since we last destroyed the Death Egg and returned the Master Emerald to Angel Island.

And so I did...
Beautiful. Glorious. Bullshots. – Also EGM, Issue 112
Turning right to the cover story, I was bombarded with a spread of gorgeous screenshots. Yep, it was Sonic the friggin’ Hedgehog alright, along with his furry pals Tails, Knuckles, and...other critters. The gang was all here and apparently they were poised for a triumphant return. And boy did their new game look amazing. To my untrained eye, these screens looked like some high-grade, expert Pixar-level stuff. I was already sold. I knew then and there I’d be buying this Sonic Adventures game and whatever platform it would…wait, Dream…Cast? Uh, Dreamcast? That sounds like some Engrish shit. Is Sega serious? 
The Sega None of the Above seems like an odd choice for a console name – but then again – so did the Dreamcast back then. – EGM, Issue 112, once again
But then the hype got real.