I’m not all that musically inclined. I can’t sing that well, and I’d rather spend my quiet times listening to podcasts than music on my headphones. But even I am not deaf to how important and impactful music can be when contributing towards a moment in a movie or a video game. A well executed moment with the appropriate piece of music can make a good moment great and a great moment stick in your mind for years to come.
It’s no secret that I loved Sonic Mania when it came out last year. I mean, I just got finished talking about how great it was yesterday in my Mid-Week Review of Sonic Mania Plus. A the end of last year, amongst all of my gushing during my Game of the Year posts; I also had something of a revelation. It was a liberating experience for me. It was the realisation that I didn’t have to be a Sonic apologist any more.
I didn’t have to accept the bad/mediocre Sonic games that came out more consistently than the good ones. To comb through them to find any nugget of something worth praising and focus solely on that aspect like a laser beam, acting as though that little thing made up for what was, in reality, oftentimes a mediocre game. As if to remind me of my moment of clarity, Sonic Mania Plus came out and made me start to wonder: What does the success of this game mean for the future of this series?
Sonic the Hedgehog means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some he is a punchline, an opportunity to laugh at those who still seem desperately cling to a ship in the midst of being sunk, repeatedly. To others he is a constant source of frustration, a tease who seems so close to redeeming himself only to make them feel the fool once again. Then there are those that see Sonic as a terrible game series, one that was never really as good as everyone seemed to think it was.