Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

27 years old
from Brownwood, TX

    • Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

      1 month ago

    • Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

      1 month ago

    • Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

      What I Learned from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

      4 years ago

      Around the middle of September of 2010, when I was a junior in college, I began watching the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon. I began watching the show because of a somewhat shocking discovery of a DVD series formerly distributed by Shout! Factory and from several fan websites and hundreds of mashups on Youtube -- much to my surprise, given that I had been utterly unaware of the cult following for the show. My first exposure to the show was as a child in elementary school, catching bits and pieces on television before and after school, and at the time, I felt it was my social duty as a budding human being to detest this insane drivel -- so I did, with as much pretended passion as I could muster, all the while suppressing my tacit curiosity about the show: there seemed to be more to the show than for what I was giving it credit, but it would have been humiliating to express that, and I wasn’t nearly articulate enough to adequately defend myself if I came under criticism for it from family or peers. After all, this crap was made for preschool kids, right?

      At the time I am writing this, I have watched 66 episodes, which amounts to about 24 continuous hours of time spent watching an American cartoon about a chili dog eating hedgehog in the ‘90s. If in September you were to tell me that in three months I would have spent that much time watching a cartoon, which as a child engendered embarrassment for me to even stand in the same room as a television playing it, I would have said you were crazy and should have a CAT scan performed to investigate the possibility that a brain tumor was perhaps pressing on the part of your brain which keeps you from becoming utterly retarded. But that would have been the socially awkward child in me speaking.

      Yet here I am, able to tell you that the late Long John Baldry was a blues musician and that Jaleel White was the infamous Steve Urkel character from Family Matters. Apart from attributing my unexpected appreciation of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to severe mental illness and repressed childhood trauma, it is rather difficult to account for this course of events.

      But perhaps it’s not so strange that I ended up liking the show enough to watch all 66 episodes of it, buy all three DVD volumes, and spend enough time to learn the rudiments of a musical instrument on watching it. Perhaps the series isn’t bereft of merit. Perhaps with an open mind, it is possible to discern the value of a ‘90s cartoon about a blue hedgehog constantly foiling the diabolical plans of a fat mad scientist and his two dim-witted robotic minions. Perhaps there really is some redeeming quality to this crap. Or maybe I could benefit from a hefty dosage of ibuprofen after all – but I’m going to go with the thesis that there is a point to all this stuff, that there is a reason I love it, and as long as I allow myself to love it, it’s more fun than I would have ever guessed. There’s something about this show that keeps it from being buried irredeemably under its flaws and places it in one of the few warm places in the hollow chambers of my cold heart.

      There’s a charm about Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog I quietly detected as a child, and after watching it, I can better understand what it is that gave it the staying power of 65 TV episodes, a Christmas special, several Sonic TV series that followed and gave it the appeal to prompt me to watch so damn much of it. The series’ charm is the charm of having enough subtlety and enough unexpected twists to stay interesting, even while sticking to a fairly predictable formula. There’s no surprise when the heroes save the day, and no episode ends unhappily. Nevertheless, I find myself watching the show to complete the formula, to see what exactly happens, even if I know how it will ultimately end. It’s like solving a mathematical equation that I know is balanced or watching a movie I’ve already seen: I feel the need to finish it even if I know, in some way, what will happen; I just need the details.

      Let me be clear about this: I didn’t expect to enjoy the show. Despite my suspicion there was more to it than what I thought of it as a child; I approached the show with my usually high level of cynicism and skepticism. But I kept an open mind, and I was rewarded with an enjoyable experience. Being the brooding and introspective fellow that I am, I gave a great deal of thought to this unexpected turn of events, and I realized some key lessons that I learned about how to enjoy yourself when encountering new media, like a new show or film.

      The following are what I have come to believe is the key to having a good time with new stuff. It’s how I fell in love with Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and maybe it can work for you!

      #1: Do not mistake your preferences for an objective measure of quality.

      Remember that what you like is not necessarily reflective of the media’s objective quality. In fact, I would argue that media does not have objective, quantifiable goodness or badness; there are merely opinions and responses. If some media appeals to one person or group and not to you, it can be difficult to understand what the hell they see in it. Believe me, I have this trouble with fans of the Twilight series all the time! But if you accept the fact that people can feel differently about different things, you come to realize that nothing is good or bad in any real sense. This is not to say, however, that you should not allow yourself to get riled up about media. If you didn’t, things would get quite boring, now wouldn’t they?

      #2: Remember that nothing is perfect, even if you love it.

      This is closely related to #1. It is great to love your favorite shows, books, movies, and music and go on rants about how heavenly they are, but never - EVER - let that love blind you from the flaws of the media. By flaws, I mean elements of the media which prevent it from fulfilling its intention: animation flubs, poor sound quality, crappy editing, lousy voice acting, and dialogue that sounds like it was written by a first grader with a blood clot in the frontal lobe of his brain. But it’s okay to love something that isn’t perfect in every way. In fact, things, again, would be rather boring if what you loved were perfect. And this brings us to #3!

      #3: Love the good; laugh at the bad.

      While I think it’s great to be passionate about the things that work in your favorite media and also great to get riled about the flaws in media you don’t like, it’s important to be able to relax and remember that you’re probably not talking about something which will threaten the lives of millions or cause the bath-salts epidemic to worsen…probably.

      At the end of the day, you should be able lay in bed and to feel good about the way that Mark Hamill played The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, and you should be able to say to yourself, “My God, I hate the voice of Scratch, but dagnabbit, I will be able to sleep tonight without having nightmares of a robot chicken saying, 'And now that you're fluffed and dried.'" That is, when exposed to train wrecks such as the Dragon Ball movie, you ought to be able to laugh at how horrendous they are – and this goes for moments of gracelessness in your favorite media as well. When characters are off-model in your favorite animation or when otherwise good actors deliver their lines as if they have suddenly lost several points of IQ, admit that it’s bad and laugh at it. Letting you admit that things are not perhaps the way they should be is much healthier – and much funnier – than denying it and trying to make excuses for it. And this is why you should…

      #4: Be willing to laugh at yourself.

      Leave behind your strict, canonical standards and live a little. Letting you enjoy things that aren’t perfect is much more fun than being stuck up about them.

      A good deal of the animation in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog falls short of expectations, even by ‘90s standards, and it’s no secret that much of the dialogue can be stilted and formulaic. In spite of these flaws, I retain my appreciation for the show. I laugh at how many times the characters get injured in colorful ways and how the morals at the end range from fairly useful to downright pointless. It has gotten to the point where I enjoyseeing the trippy animation; it’s like being wrapped in a security blanket – only the security blanket is a spiky blue hedgehog.

      CONCLUSION!!! (finally) (See what I did there? ^_^)

      My point is that you should strike a balance between accepting the flaws of your favorite things and loving them madly; these things are not incompatible. Don’t take things too seriously, and you will do just fine. Love what you love, and don’t get too hung up on trying to defend it from all criticism. It is my suspicion that, at worst, not practicing the suggestions I’ve outlined here can lead to elitism and xenophobia. At best, however, you can have a damn good time not taking things too seriously, lying back and enjoying the way Dr. Robotnik says something.

      Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is copyrighted and belongs to DiC and Cookie Jar.
      Watch the Nostalgia Critic's review here.
      You can purchase the DVD series here.
      Be sure to check out the first episode rushes and the full pitch pilot!

    • Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

      Sonic the Hedgehog: Ten Years of Fun

      4 years ago

      This month marks the 21st anniversary of one of the most famous and popular video game icons of all time. As a former Nintendo fanboy who became a fan for over ten years, I have celebrated this occasion by reflecting on past memories, past experiences, both good and bad. As far as I can remember, I was a budding gamer growing up on video games from the NES and Super NES when I noticed Sonic the Hedgehog for the very first time at a Sam's Club. All of the television sets displayed gameplay of the Green Hill Zone. At first sight, around 1991, I was amazed at how fast and colorful it was, nothing like I had ever seen before in a video game - Not even Super Mario World, released in the same year, had this much velocity in my eyes.

      Because I was limited to only a few video game systems at the time, I could not experience Sonic the Hedgehog as much as I really wanted to. Although I was content to playing Nintendo games and systems throughout the years, I still retained my growing curiosity for the blue hedgehog, mostly through a cartoon show starring Jaleel White and the late, great Long John Baldry, and various merchandising. If I were to tell you then that I wanted Sonic to be on a Nintendo console, you would've laughed at me until my self-esteem hit rock bottom. Anyhow, I eventually got to play the games, though for a short time, and I only have vague memories of them, i.e. renting them once or twice at my local video store, and playing them at a friend's house on one occasion. I eventually diversified my tastes as a gamer; I began to experience the Sony Playstation and the Microsoft Xbox later on, but alas, I never got to play on a Dreamcast. At the time, the Playstation 2 was on its' way, and I only had one choice to make back then.

      However, it wasn't until the year 2002 when everything changed. I bought a Game Boy Advance with what little pocket change I had, and can you guess what game caught my attention at the store?

      That's right - Sonic Advance. A Sonic game on a Nintendo system! As a kid who grew up with Nintendo characters such as Mario and Yoshi, this BLEW MY MIND. I was now introduced to Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Dr. Robotnik, the Chao, and the Chaos Emeralds. From the very moment I popped the cartridge in, I was playing it nonstop! The levels, the music, the colors, the challenging gameplay, it was all a breath of fresh air for me. Within several months, I finished the game begging for more, much more. And then came my graduation present from 7th grade, the game that changed my life...

      If you thought Sonic Advance got me excited to see the blue blur, this game brought my excitement skyrocketing toward the heavens! This was the game I wanted, nay, desired when the Dreamcast was all the rage, and now, thanks to owning a Nintendo Gamecube, I finally have it. To this day, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle remains as my favorite Sonic game. The story, the stages, the 3D high-speed action, it was beyond satisfying after being used to sinking down green pipes and slowly jumping on Goombas for so long. Hours, days, weeks, months were spent playing this treasure; it was the best Summer vacation of my gaming life. And now that there's a distinct possibility for this masterpiece to be released on Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, I can only hope that people like me can experience my teenage years again. Because I found out last year that the Wii U will not be compatible with Gamecube discs, I sold my copy. It was the worst mistake I've ever made.

      Anyhow, after playing the game for months on in, came Christmastime. Not only did I get to experience the future, I got to experience the past as well! I have always wanted to play the Genesis games I kept my eye on for so long, and thanks to the power of patience, at long last, I get to play them!

      This made my Christmas - Sonic Mega Collection contained many games from the Genesis era, some that look EXACTLY the way I remember them as a child. On its' own, I would've been ultimately satisfied, but comic illustrations, movies from Sonic CD, Flicky and The Ooze, and even the add-ons from Sonic & Knuckles were included! It was truly a gift from the Gods.

      I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs on in, describing how I spent every Summer playing a new Sonic game from then on, and how some games were better than others, especially considering how grim things looked for Sonic during 2005 and 2006, and how I truly felt inspired again after playing Sonic 4 and Sonic Colors, but I wanted to express how that year made such an impact on me as a gamer. I got to spend ten years of fun with a blue hedgehog after his days on SEGA consoles were no more, and my love for Sonic has only gotten stronger as it's ever been.

      Which leads me to Sonic Generations - this game is wonderful. I can proudly say that it's the most fun I've ever had since Sonic Adventure 2 Battle with all the familiar sights and sounds of past games. It's like a trip down memory lane with sublime visuals, and that's what Sonic games mean to me; memories of my youth that will last forever.

      Which brings me to my main point. From a former Nintendo fanboy to a gaming enthusiast, Sonic the Hedgehog brought me to a whole new world of games and I couldn't have been more grateful for it. I don't know if it's the fact I wanted so much to experience every video game on the market as a child or how being patient, for longer than ten years, gave me the chance to do so, but the New Millenium allowed me to experience games I didn't have access to before. It all started with the Sony Playstation, but Sonic games left the most impact for me in terms of trying something different. Nowadays, we have HD Collections, compilation games, and downloadable content  giving every gamer access to nearly everything, but nothing felt more exciting to me than diversifying my tastes after waiting for so long and I don't think anything like that can ever excite me again.

      Sonic...Happy 21st Birthday. And thank you.

      Like the picture??? It's my ink and scan drawing of Sonic that I submitted to the now defunct Sonic Central website, when I was a sophomore in high school in 2004. I rescued it, thanks to Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. The World Wide Web is truly amazing.

    • Altair0115 Gentleman Adventurer

      Princess Zelda Was a Slut!

      4 years ago

      All right, g1s, bear with me on this one.

      According to the back story of the second Legend of Zelda game, Link's Adventure, the very first, original Princess Zelda is still around. Hundreds of years ago, when Hyrule was a single, united kingdom, the king died and his son, the prince, inherited only part of the Triforce. The prince looked everywhere for the rest of the Triforce, but couldn't find it.

      The court magician told the prince that the king had told Princess Zelda something about the Triforce shortly before he died, so the prince questioned her about it. She refused to tell him anything. Then the magician demanded the location of the Triforce from her, and she still refused.

      The angry magician then began casting a spell on her and the prince tried to stop him, but the magician fought him off and completed the spell just as he died. As a result, Princess Zelda fell on the spot and was placed in an eternal sleep.

      In his grief, the prince had her placed in her bedchambers and sealed the room, then decreed that from then on, all female children born to the royal family would be named Zelda in her memory. Which I suppose would get really confusing if you had, like, five sisters or something. Whatever.

      So. Second Zelda game ever. Link is back in action. In the original Legend of Zelda, he was twelve when he rescued the princess Zelda and found all of the Triforce of Wisdom, which is the Triforce fragment passed down in the royal family for centuries. I guess the prince never really made use of it. Link finds out what the original Zelda's backstory is when he's sixteen and discovers that not only is he the destined champion who will find the next piece of the Triforce (Courage) and awaken the princess, but he's also going to become king of Hyrule in the process.

      Seriously, he becomes king, it's in the manual.

      So Link, ignoring his girlfriend (Princess Zelda) of four years, sets off on another adventure to awaken the original Princess Zelda. Maybe she was hot or something, I dunno. So he goes through the seven palaces, stabbing monsters in the face, jamming crystals into the forehead of Easter Island statues, and eventually he makes his way through the final palace, beats up the Thunderbird, beats his shadow... or evil side... or Ganon... (whatever, it gets confusing on that point), grabs the Triforce of Courage that's been missing for centuries, and returns to the royal palace of Hyrule to awaken Zelda. And the first thing she does is sit up and kiss him.

      Now wait a second. Ok, she's been asleep for centuries. From her perspective, she was attacked by an evil wizard and passed out and just woke up. Now some strange guy dressed in tights and wearing a green sock on his head is standing over her in her bedroom. And the first thing she does is start making out with him.

      Holy crap, she moves fast. Zelda doesn't know Link, has literally never seen him before, has no idea that she's been asleep for hundreds (possibly even thousands) of years, has no idea what all he went through to rescue her, and DOESN'T EVEN SPEAK HIS LANGUAGE (seriously, the scroll written in her time was written in an old language nobody knew how to read any more, not even Impa, whose family was entrusted with the legend and care of Zelda's body.). All she knows is, she was attacked by a wizard, then she wakes up in her bedroom and starts making out with the first complete stranger she finds standing next to her bed.

      Well, congratulations to every Princess Zelda in every game since then, including the original game! You were named after a complete slut!

      Meanwhile, the Princess Zelda from the original game, who Link rescued when he was twelve, gets completely ripped off. Not only does she NOT get Link, but since Link is the destined one who becomes king after rescuing the original Princess Zelda, that means the original Zelda becomes Queen and the current Zelda remains a Princess forever. She loses her boyfriend and her kingdom in one fell swoop. Oh yeah, and she finds out that her namesake is a total hussy.

      At which point, she probably snapped and went on a spree of revenge and conquest that made Ganon look like an amateur. King Link, assuming he didn't die in the fire as the palace burned around him, was led to the execution site and beheaded along with his bride as the vengeful Zelda declared herself queen of Hyrule and began her reign of terror.

      See what happens when you ignore the good girl for a slut?

  • About Me

    I'm a gamer since childbirth - it's my ultimate hobby. I have a BA in Public and Media Communications, emphasizing in radio and newspaper media. I currently work as a part-time Production Assistant at a local radio station, but I hope to one day find a full-time occupation that will allow me to utilize my acquired skill. I'm fairly laid-back , though I tend to look ahead and accomplish what I must in life. I enjoy bowling, trumpet practice, movies, and reading. As casual interests, I love video gaming, web design, and audio/video editing, and thanks to many childhood commodities, I especially enjoy music.

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