Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Sonic the Hedgehog: Buster Keaton of Video Games

(courtesy of foglera)

Mario: Sonic
Chaplin: Keaton

Like Chaplin, Mario has been:

* the first bankable star (Pac Man was popular for a year) of his medium
* the most respected in the art community (witness the hacks, graffiti, sculptures)
* the symbol of the downtrodden (Chaplin as tramp; Mario as plumber).

Most important of all, Mario, like Chaplin, fared far better with the technological upheavals in their respective mediums. Though Buster Keaton was an imporant auteur, acrobat and storyteller, his art suffered heavily during the sound era of cinema.

Sonic became an artistic and comercial failure during the 3-D era. This failure threatens to obscure his importance in the history of video games. Not since Asteroids has a video game emphasized physics like Sonic the Hedgehog has. Hills had irregular slopes; corkscrews added momentum; underwater scenes had a different viscosity than the land scenes.

1Up is celebrating Sonic's birthday. Hopefully, this won't be the last time Sonic's importance is recognized.

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