These wondrous naturally occurring loop-de-loops Sonic runs through mean so much more than the game lets on…
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I don’t really feel like rambling about how inactive this blog has been, I’ll do that at the end of this post.
At work today, for some reason I felt the urge to write a blog post about a video that I really, really love: SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS by hbomberguy. I recommend you watch that video and then continue reading this post.
Ever since I discovered Patricia Taxxon through her video about Undertale near the start of this year, I’ve taken an interest in media that serves its purpose in unusual, unexpected ways. Taxxon and hbomb are both fond of this topic and have both analyzed and created their own unconventional media. Unconventional media can include:
- media generally regarded as bad that ended up being good in a completely different way from how the artist intended (most famous example would be The Room)*
- media that is intentionally poorly made
- media created using unusual formats
- media that edits other works to transform them into something completely new**
- media that is created by taking an existing entity, giving it a new context, and calling it your own art (Taxxon notably did that with the song “I’m Not Famous” by AJR)**
- other things, probably
* hbomberguy made a video about such media that’s even better than the one this post is about
** Patricia Taxxon has numerous videos about these kinds of media
In SERIOUS SONIC LORE ANALYSIS, hbomb analyzes the 1991 video game Sonic the Hedgehog in intentionally absurd ways, taking it far more seriously than it was ever meant to be. I would argue that his analysis of the game counts as an unconventional work of media; the main point of this post is to explain why that is.
Throughout the video, he goes through numerous minor details in the game, most of which are obviously just simple game design choices, and interprets them to have subtle messages hidden within—messages that supposedly reveal that the game portrays a dystopia home to a lonely, depressed blue hedgehog who can do nothing more than fight the horrific world he has to live in. If you followed my instructions and watched the video I’m talking about, you’ll know that hbomb’s interpretation of Sonic the Hedgehog is a completely different work of media from the game itself. It may be the exact same game, but this recontextualization twisted the game into something totally new.
When I was thinking about writing this post, I realized something about the absurd ways hbomb hunted for “clues” in the game. I’ve always hated when people overanalyze media and try to explain little things that obviously have no reason behind them or are just coincidences; I’m quite sure I talked about my dislike of such analysis multiple times in my Homestuck posts. However, hbomberguy flips the concept of overanalysis upon its head. His huge leaps of logic connect with each other in such a way that he uncovers (or rather, creates) a completely different work of media in the process.
The video culminates in an outrageous claim: through Sonic defeating Eggman, leading to a triumphant ending where the world is saved, the game’s ultimate moral is that unleashing bloody war against authoritarians is good and leads to success. Although hbomb makes numerous insane claims throughout his video, this is the one that certifies the point of the video. Through giving this game a new moral that it never had before, he cements this as a completely new, much darker interpretation of an innocent game about a cool blue guy.
I should note that analyzing a work of media in absurd ways is not a new concept by any means. There’s plenty of people that have dissected media (especially media for young children) in a way that seems to give it much darker or just plain ridiculous undertones. However, there’s just something really, really good about the way hbomb did it. The other types of unusual media I brought up in this post have a similar story. While some edits of other people’s work can end up absolutely hilarious or turn them into something completely new, there are plenty such edits that are not funny or transformative at all. Similarly, not all bad media (intentional or not) is bad in an enjoyable way. In general, all the types of “unconventional media” I talked about in this post are actually very common; the reason they are unconventional is because it’s rare for such media to be this good, but if done right it can be some of the most spectacular media I have ever seen.
In the future, I’ll probably make blog posts whenever I feel like making one, which probably won’t be that often. I’ll announce these posts (along with pretty much anything else I make) on my Twitter and on my Discord server, so that you’ll know if they do happen.
I don’t know if I’ll ever finish my Homestuck post series. At the moment, I still have this weird thing where most of the comic is still firmly ingrained in my head, so rereading it isn’t as enjoyable of an experience as it would have been had I not gotten this obsessed with it. It’s especially weird because I wouldn’t really say I’m invested in the comic’s franchise (is that the right word?) anymore. Maybe many years from now, rereading Homestuck would be a fresh, nostalgic experience for me, but for now I unfortunately don’t really want to make those blog posts at all.
3/24/2019:I made a followup to this post!