GUEST EDITORIAL by @bahmofairfield

Over two decades ago now, Sega’s (then) newly-created mascot flipped his way into mainstream game culture, and presented, however briefly, a legitimate challenge to Nintendo’s hegemony in the market. There was never anything subtle about it; their campaign rode hard on the free-spirited, proudly irritating ethos of their blue mascot. From the very get-go, Sonic was presented as a new breed of gaming hero; one who eschewed the straight-and-narrow image of Mario, who had become seen as the standard up until that point. Going to save a princess from a hulking beast is all well-and-good, but let’s be real; doing our civic duty to the arbitrary, widely-discredited mores of monarchy isn’t a theme that’s been relevant to most people for a long, long time. Sonic the Hedgehog modernized the struggle of good vs evil into one more relevant to liberal-democratic culture (not to mention gamers); moving the depiction of evil from the trite fire-and-brimstone lands favored by Bowser Koopa to the polluted industrial wastelands of Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik, looking not unlike the environmental degradation that decades of mechanistic totalitarianism had actually unleashed on the world, and reimagining the ideal hero as a perpetually kinetic extreme-sports-esque athlete whose mere idle animation indicated that he hated to stand still. In essence, Sega had tailor-made a video game that understood why so many played video games—because they liked having fun, and people who wanted to stop them from it could fuck right off; the character stood for them by standing for himself.

Granted, it wasn’t too different from the standard 1990s style of rebellious and edgy. Sonic was ultimately just another product of corporate marketing, edgy but totally kid-friendly, and as the Console Wars heated up, Sega’s constant Nintendo-shaming in ads would grow increasingly mean and pretentious. Ultimately, they’d fall out of the console race around the turn of the millennium; blatantly admitting defeat by porting multiple Sonic games to Nintendo Gamecube, and by that time, the Sonic series had become infamous for constantly seeking to revamp its image at the expense of quality; in a desperate attempt to capture the trendy status it once had. Unbelievably, this year their widely-panned darker-and-edgier spinoff, Shadow the Hedgehog, turns a decade old. I’ve aimed several harsh criticisms at the series in the past, and plan to aim more soon.

Still, Sonic the Hedgehog matters. He, his series and his company busted into mainstream gaming culture with a gloriously audacious attitude that celebrated reveling unabashedly in one’s basest pleasures and flipping off those squares offended by it; this approach to gaming would become an omnipresent spikey ball that, even when Sonic himself would stumble and drop it, would have plenty of Lara Crofts, Duke Nukems, Sweet-Tooths, Conkers, Tommy Vercettis and Dantes to pick it up and keep running. Just recently, we’ve seen one of the boldest attempts yet at taking deliberate aim to offend squares by pursuing pleasure, as the ultra-audacious Realm of the Flesh is revealed on Steam. Long before Sonic became a dated gaming icon, he was ahead of his time.

You look familiar, Madame HAG
You look familiar, Madame HAG

So perhaps it’s little surprise that Sonic is the first major general-audience gaming icon to deliver a beating to the repressive new politically-correct culture of our era. If you’re not following the new Sonic Boom cartoon on TV (Cartoon Network in the US), suffice it to say it’s basically the Sonic series reinvented as a self-aware sitcom; rather one-note and repetitive but frequently a great laugh in small doses.

In the recent episode, Just a Guy, the initial butt of its jokes is precisely the sort of intentionally-offended, thin-skinned “progressivism” that people like us have been fighting. Sonic, in a moment of impassioned heroism, declares an unremarkable sap of a bovine to be “Just a Guy”, and is boohooed by the other unremarkable saps of his tight-knit sitcom community, which lands him in Sensitivity Training and dogmatic language policing by his would-be-girlfriend Amy Rose; who’s all new levels of pretentious new-age yuppie in this series. Predictably, pleasing all these booboo-kissing, finger-wagging flakes soon proves impossible for the original Dude with a ‘Tude, and after multiple failed attempts, he is literally banished from his community. Soon after, the town is under attack, and perhaps unsurprisingly, all of the sensitive saps are too wimpy to save themselves, and Sonic, being the conventionally-altruistic guy he is, comes in to save their asses.

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These guys suck at being villains. Actually, everyone does in this show, but these guys also suck at everything else.

The show goes out of its way to attack the culture of perpetual-offense-taking and show how it wrecks the integrity of communities, but as if that wasn’t enough, this episode also threw in a dig at another maddening philosophy SJWs have introduced to progressivism; the idea that inferiority is an absolute myth. This culture fetishizes underdogs to ludicrous levels; scarcely ever blaming the low for their own lowliness, and always eager for a chance to claim that the high and mighty are oppressing people outside their circle and keeping them out of power. I hope I’ve debunked this myth adequately in this essay; namely the section on music, but it remains the go-to excuse for those who can fit it into their zealous identity politics, as we’ve seen with all the recent hipster sabre-rattling at the cold shoulder given to unconventional “art” games. SJWs jump to blame overall indifference-to-derision to such anti-classics as Depression Quest, Revolution 60 and Sunset as proof of widespread gamer hostility towards women and exploration of socio-political themes; never mind the success of Tomb Raider, Bayonetta, Civilization, SimCity and Deus Ex! The notion that their new pet projects fail because they’re simply inferior to other efforts of the same type simply doesn’t gel with ultra-leftist political-correctness, but Sonic Boom is totally unafraid to dust off Occam’s Razor and remind us that yes; some people simply suck at what they do.

Is it inevitable that these people keep sucking? Probably not, but it simply doesn’t help them improve by pretending they’re fine just the way they are, and that it’s everyone else who must adjust his or her standards. These people should instead be told that they must, as Jennifer D’aww says, “Git Gud.”

So once again, Sonic the Hedgehog has landed right on the pulse of the defiant, pleasure-centric nature of popular culture; proving that the people behind him know both what we love and what we hate. At the time of this publication, you legally watch Just a Guy here, so head on over and support companies with the balls to stand with us against professionally-offended fruitcakes!

You can follow @bahmofairfield on Twitter, and read his own thoughts on popular culture at his blog, Entertainment Examiner.

37 comments
    1. Hah, the whole column I’m just wondering what his reaction is, especially since he’s been banned from their facebook page and keeps sharing their posts while ranting.

  1. It’s not the only kid show doing this. My Little Pony had an episode making fun of “equality”. Good to see the creators given the SJWs the finger. Especially given how SJWs treat some of the fanbase. Oh you want girls to enter boy spaces but when it’s boys entering girl spaces well we can’t have that can we. Gee hypocrisy much.

    1. This is why I have a really hard time forgiving LW for the attack on WizardChan. It was basically a safe space for clinically depressed men.

      1. She took a shot at a group she felt would be the least likely to retaliate at her and destroy her for it.

      2. That was how Quinn got her game funded didn’t it? Where she said she was harassed by Wizardchan but they came out saying it was complete bullshit. Sucks no one believed them.

        1. She used the publicity to get her game trough Steam greenlight.
          I have no doubt it was met with negativity on WC, since those people had real depression, and LW’s game is basically a parody of dealing with depression. But the reports of them harassing her seems to be a complete fabrication.

    2. MLP DESTROYED then entire notion of “SJW Equality” with that episode. It actually made some of the more autistic bronies a little pissy because even though it was logically/philosophically FLAWLESS, it didn’t mesh with their political views. Seriously, people getting dramatic and emo over a show with an almost exclusively female cast of fucking ponies. -_-

        1. You don’t have to be psychic to know what happens in the future. Sometimes it’s pretty easy to make an educated guess seeing how one thing leads to another. If someone throws a glass across the room, you know it will break when it connects with something, likewise with these progressives, they will only get worse and worse and more and more demanding the more people cater to them. It’s an effect where they go after something that might be genuinely offensive at first and they keep working away at it until they perceive the most simplistic things as offensive (Batgirl comic cover? The Fable III asset? The Limerick in Pillars of Eternity?) and they campaign against those too. The more you give into peoples demands, the more the will demand. Especially those hungry for power knowing they will never have any real large scale power (such as being a president) so they instead use what little power they have and rally the likeminded against trivial bullshit because they personally don’t like it.

    3. “Oh you want girls to enter boy spaces but when it’s boys entering girl spaces well we can’t have that can we”

      Actually chum what I am concerned with is anyone other than pre-teen girls having any awareness at all of My Little Pony.

      Call me intolerant, uncool, or a rotten black hearted old curmudgeon, but I think that anyone other than pre-teen girls who admits to liking MLP needs a visit from the party van and a sit down session with Chris Hansen.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iPC_HhGfAI

      1. I have friends that are bronies and they are really cool people. Sure there are a few bad apples but that is with every fanbase.

        1. You’re friends with brownies? I love brownies, but I prefer cookies! On a serious note, everyone ought to be able to enjoy whatever they like, that is, that’s how it ought to be, but everyone also has to learn how to deal with assholes without crossing the line into being censorious douches, it’s a precarious balance.

      2. Aaand there’s the pedo card. You types love to yell at how bad girls and women who like “guy”- and “boy”-oriented media are treated, but the minute the tables are turned, you’re the first to scream that they’re “invaders” and “pedophiles”. Never mind that the entire cast and crew is pretty much fully accepting of them.

    1. Some people are too thin-skinned and proud of it, some people make excuses for staying mediocre, some are both, and Sonic called them all out on it.

  2. I will celebrate with great schadenfreude the day the modern sonics DON’T rescue the fainting couch feminists and the white knights whose only sharp weapon is their tongue from the barbarians.

    Some people Just want to see the world burn.
    Others will fight against those who would prevent or extinguish the fire.
    At some point people will sort themselves out on either side of a fire-break.

    Exile? Banishment? From SJW land? Or entering the promised land of milk, honey, reason, (real) justice, and reward.

    I hope John Galt meets Sonic in the next episode.

  3. Sonic the Hedgehog….edgy. Oh my fuckin sides. What next? Bronies and furfags are brave defenders of individual expression? The kek…….

      1. After this last year it’s usually the things actually happening that don’t sound completely and utterly insane and retarded as concepts that seem the most unreasonable. And that scares me just a little bit.

  4. — this started as a comment on your article, and then, without me noticing it, became the occasion to write out some thoughts I have carried within me. Excuse the exaggerated digression (you already found my tweets going far beyond #GamerGate’s field) and the mistakes that being not an English mother tongue I am sure to make 🙂 I didn’t stop myself from writing it all also thinking it may give you something new to think about for your battle. Yes it’s “just games”, but universal values are involved, where art and respect are).

    Something your fundamental politeness prevented you from pointing out (perhaps it’s a little out the scope of this article, also) is this. I am talking of the Pedercini-TaleofTales type of salespeople.

    They should be asked why, if in other fields of art the audience is thoughtful and learned, while videogame users are ignorant and symian, why, why, why they choose the videogame media to express their “art”.

    The truth is that they (more or less consciously) know their small value and talent, and choose the video game media because (as light-minded and ignorant of video games they are) they see it as an easier, lower ground on which achieve success. In other words, they think they aren’t writers, painters, sculptors, architects, cinema directors, musicians, but, because video game are inferior (as to both their authors and “users”) that’s where they can get a chance.
    It is easy to see how cowardly this attitude be.

    But there is more. You should check Tale of Tales’ twitter account. They reached the extent of saying that they made games because “they wanted to make gamers smarter” :))).. As I told them, if gamers were smarter and more culturally learned than they are, they would for first despise prattle mongers like them and the colluted mediatic circle that co-operates with them in their frantic sale activities. Instead of ignoring them and their weightless meaningless vanity wasters as they currently do, they would despise them.

    In the words of a friend of these persons (please, notice how learned and thoughtful these words are) “Gamers are just bad at the whole art thing. They are capable of repetition rather than interpretation.”
    This symian talking like a symian (because if one thinks like a symian, they will express themselves likewise) patently is in blessed ignorance of whatever art can be, with the addition that, unlike “gamers” [by the way: note how silly-minded is it, to attach a single tag to many million people.. one must be really prone to self-illusion, to believe in such tagging operation], this symian also ignores his ignorance.

    So, we have seen why these people choose video games as their line of .. occupation.
    Then, they realize they have no hints about how gameplay works, and games are made. And like always, they draw the wrong conclusions, blindfold by their engulfing vanity, driven by their exquisite self-deception skills.
    Let’s make games that are not games, is their puerile proposition. They also assume that this will mean make “art games”, which is also simplistic and puerile.

    They are unaware that furthering games into more artistic games would evidently require perfect understanding of games, plus artistic talent. It’s not something that can be achieved by subtraction, it’s something reachable by addition and even deeper comprehension of the medium. A comprehension that can not lie where frigid selfish vanity-fed interest lies, but only sincere passion: exactly what they are alien to.
    They are unaware that each form of art is a new form of art. Thinking of it as another already-known form of art with some modifications is misleading, and something that requires deep ignorance of both arts, the new and the already-known one, to be thought.
    Any equation such as Art Games = Traditional games + (literature/cinema/art critics/any other artistic content) is laughable, and astonishing the unawareness behind it.

    Street Fighter II Turbo, Ikaruga, are highly fine art pieces. “What art?!”, will the above-said persons ask in stupour and disbelief. Video game art. Nothing is as simple as that. “Where is the proof?!”, they’ll continue. The proof is that playing Street Fighter II Turbo and Ikaruga gives the shivers. And it will give the shivers 10, 30, 100, 250 years from now. While you, all of you, will be buried and forgotten. Art is atemporal, it is above current currents trends fashions cultural imperatives: it consists in emotion, strong and pure (and yes, having fun can be one). One of the many problems of these persons is, as the video game media is a refuge for them where they resort because they know they can’t even attempt at putting them in other art fields, they are even more frigid towards it than they are generally (which is also indubitable). Emotion reaches the spectator or player or essayer or taster (gastronomy is an art form too, obviously) only if it’s present at start, in the work creator.

    One may presume with high likelihood that persons who choose a field of work because they feel they have not the skills to do what they originally wished, have to create content on a media that they despise, for an audience that they despise, and are disregarded or neglected even in that ambit (that they believe “lower”, “easier”) must fall into serious frustration. And, when under frustration, who is not brave will always end up by telling themselves the tale that “the others” (even the whole world” be “wrong”, while they are “right”. It’s the most naturally instinctive self-defense for a petty character.

    It’s because they (more or less consciously) deem themselves as artists manqué that they attempt to do “art games”. It’s because they have no comprehension of art in general that they may conceive video game art as something that steps back from and avoids being a game and is poured into some other-media-like content (pretending they were able to). It is also a cultural attitude akin to colonialism: let’s make video games cinema; let’s make them literature. (Something that requires ignorance and disrespect of literature and cinema, as well as video games, clearly.)
    They, naturally, have no competence whatsoever about games.

    The only competence, or “art” they practice to real avail is the art of marketing and selling. See what a thriving ad-system they have build up, counting on connection on a generous amount of sites and “critics” who, partly in good faith has they boast no less ignorance of games than they do, tirelessly advertise their friends’ merchandise. And when it still sells poorly, nealrly as poosly as nothing? Then the world is an ugly place, and humans wrong beings :)).

    The outcome is their pockets get hurt, but their gigantic egos (they do nothing but overfeed those, indeed) get wounded. Someone wounded reacts attacking. Individuating a target — in our case, those that they despise highly, whose money appreciation and recognition they yearn after and end up having as their last resort — and venting their hurt vanity frustration on it is the sole possible, meager, self-defense left to these unlucky individuals.

    There is a subcategory of these living failures. Game studies scholars. Paradigmatic appears to be a friend of the above-said persons, one John Sharp. Seek his last published effort on Amazon, and read the readable preview. Highly offensive, is it not?
    The reason why a university scholar (or wanna-be such) who contemns videogamers (and thus also video games: the two attitudes are inseparable) in such heavy manner chooses video games as their line of study is because they feel unable to confront themselves with “more serious” studies. Now, if one themselves hope to find visibility and achieve something by picking less-studies and “simpler” (in their simplistic view..) subjects, that alone grants their work can not be but fruitlessly shallow. Again, you go nowhere without sincere passion (which is necessary but doesn’t, of course, grant being a real artist or scholar).

    Moreover, and chiefly, one who doesn’t suffer from egomania constructs their identity by comparisons. In my youth I dreamed with all my will to be a philosopher, or a writer. I was driven by sincere passion: I was only interested in significative aims. Conceiving a philosophy, or composing books, that, like any authentically significative cultural artifact, would stand out and survive ages. I read and studied those who have achieved it. I compared what they were doing at my age with my efforts. I realized I was not one of them. Then I willed to become a remarkable, significative philosophy scholar or literature critic. Through an identical proceeding, I realized I could not be one of them. Not vanity or ambition where struck, but sincere burning passion. It is fairly more aching than when your frigid vanity gets injured, trust me you haughty noughts. I cried. I contempted myself — at that time, I didn’t know we have no merit nor fault in what we are, as nothing is our choice. But after some years, I approached maturity and went fully past that stage.

    I know that reaching maturity is not one’s choice either, and I do not look down on you for not having, despite being 40-or-more years old people. But if you had the slightest comprehension of the world and existence, you would not resort to haughtiness and scorn of the masses to heal your reality-lashed pride.

    Consider any remarkable, genuine artists from any age, of any medium. They have some common, distinguishing traits. They are humble, because, since they are touched by real passion, they have found that the ability to create art is a gift, and actually, they don’t “create” it nor are they the owners of it but, instead, its humble servants. An unexplainable voice reaching their inner ear endows them with sercet gifts: they dutifully open these to the others (you want to share what you love).
    The higher they are, the humbler. No grain of feeling of superiority towards common people can be found in any speech, attitude, theory and work of the supreme artists, from Manoel de Oliveira (which you don’t know, because people like you watch Herzog, have to watch Herzog, and watching Herzog is enough to get the grades) to Tarkovskij, from Picasso to Michelangelo, from Kant to Plato. From Goichi Suda to Hideo Kojima.. As they embrace the sublime, and that is at its core love, they love people, even those who can’t understand their art of course. And they see anybody as a potential interlocutor whom to teach to, but also from whom to learn something. Manoel de Oliveira once talked on a beggar dwelling a corner near his house, to tell that without a talk they had a film of his would have never been as inspired as it had.

    Another common trait of real artists and scholars is they never talk of their works to state they are “real art” or “intelligent studies” :)).. it’s elementarily Freudian: if you don’t doubt it, you don’t feel the need to say it, let alone constantly and untiringly restate it.

    Not a molecule of you is an artist’s, or a scholar’s, my dear friends. Keep practicing the arts of commerce and tweeting, keep savouring your fine dishes and drinks on Saturday evenings, keep filling the voidness of your privileged, aimless existences with anything befitting well, but please, can’t you find an other target for your frustrated haughtiness?
    Most gamers are even too busy doing something very “smart” and culturally revolutionary as enjoying life to even notice your grunts, but occasionally you annoy one or two of them. What for?

  5. Wait, do I have to download the CN app to watch the episode on my phone? Ah fuck it. I’ll watch it on YouTube.

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