There’s something quite baffling about how, when we are younger, we can so often sit through the most dreary of games and play them through to completion. At least, I know that’s how I was. There are many old games I could play again and again that I can’t stand the sight of today. Many of us cite a lack of time as one reason why we become a bit pickier with what games we choose to spend our precious time with as we get older, but I also just wonder if we just had a greater tolerance back then. (How else do you think I beat Donkey Kong 64 so many times?)
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was one of those games, though I admit that it’s not the perfect example, as it hasn’t been with me for nearly as long as some of those dismal, old games I used to play. But at one point in time, I was able to play through the whole thing and generally appreciate it despite its many flaws. Somehow, I did. Now, you may be familiar with the fact that this game is considered by many to be one of the worst games ever made. I was strangely proud to have owned a game so infamous, to be honest, and I remember having some fun with it back in the day, so I kept it.
Not that long ago, I decided to play it again. I wanted to record my second playthrough for UWG’s Youtube channel, and I thought the game would at least be good for some laughs. Things started off quite well when Sonic began walking around completely without my input. I had promised our viewers glitches, bad animation (you should just see those dolphins in Wave Ocean!), and lagging framerates, and already, it seemed they were going to get it. An hour or so in, however, I quickly began to notice things about the game I had previously forgotten.
For one thing, the cut scenes were a bit more awkward than I realized. It was really hard watching an almost romantic scene between a human and a hedgehog. It was just…creepy. One scene in particular just dragged on and on, and the longer I watched in growing repulsion, the more I thought…I just…can’t do this. I can’t see myself sitting through another 20 hours of this…not to mention subjecting our viewers to it. ‘Twoud be a crime, I say!
Plus, the pace was just so darn slow. If I had been allowed to actually complete one stage after another, I think I could have tolerated it better. I didn’t realize just how much extra wandering and side questing they make you do. Some extra objectives are optional, while others are completely required. It was during one of these extra segments of wandering around that I, well, I kind of lost it a little. I was looking for the newer section of town, you see, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I started yelling a bit more than I probably should have, and I even took to the rooftops to see if a higher vantage point would help me.
After that, I had to look online to find out what I was supposed to be doing. Once I located the person I was meant to talk to, I then had to complete a pointless little mini game where I was told to guess which guy was the real captain of the guard or some such thing. After all, it’s definitely that sort of thing you think of when you start playing a game with the world’s fastest hedgehog, no? After that, I still wasn’t allowed to continue the game because I had to go find Knuckles. At that point, I turned the game off and gave up. I have a couple hours of footage, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to complete it. If you guys are interested, I might be able to figure out a good way to show the, um, highlights of my short-lived gameplay attempt. Maybe someone will get a kick out of Sonic running in circles after I put the controller down or hanging upside down at the top of a loop. Maybe.
I guess maybe the longer we’ve been gamers, the more good games we accumulate, making all the flaws in bad games all the more clear. Sonic ’06 just doesn’t make the cut anymore. It was just a weird experience, with the awkward relationship between Sonic and Elise, the excruciatingly slow pace, and even the rather terrifying looking human characters you see around town (they are like something out of a nightmare). I’ve played a lot of bad games in my time, but I guess my past self just had a lot more patience than I do now. I might still keep the game, though. Sometimes bad games are important, as they make me appreciate all the good ones that don’t make me scream. You know that when you start yelling like an enraged lunatic that it’s probably time to play something else.