19 Facts About Sonic And Retro Video Games
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 comes out this weekend, so we've been thinking a lot about Sonic, as well as about the stars, Jim Carrey and Idris Elba. Sonic is an icon, with his own statues and even a gene named after him. Many critics hate video game movies, but some adaptations aren't bad, right?
We've been thinking a lot about old games in general too, from Tetris to NBA Jam to Monkey Island. Old games had maddening puzzles, impossible platforming, strange mechanics, and painful interfaces, but we loved them and want to see them brought back.
Here's a look back at the facts we learned. The links all lead to full articles with much more info, so click every one that interests you, as that's the only way to win.
1. Originally, Sonic the Hedgehog planned to open with Sonic breakdancing.
When they scrapped that, they switched to the Sega jingle, which took up one-eighth of the space on the cartridge.
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean ripped off the Monkey Island games.
Sure, the games were openly inspired by the ride. But they created their own characters and settings, which Disney ripped right off when they made the Pirates movies.
3. Return to Monkey Island is coming and it's a huge deal.
It's the first game in the series in over 30 years written by the original creator.
4. A mysterious random Sonic statue stands isolated in Japan.
It's on a road in the forest, and it took a while for anyone to figure out where it came from.
5. Eric Idle's dirty Discworld Easter egg took 20 years to find.
It was a Monty Python reference, complete with an f-bomb.
6. In Living Color set up Jim Carrey's entire career.
It also launched the careers of quite a few other comedians and performers.
7. Sonic could have been a clown, terrifying us all.
8. Tetris made artificial intelligence actually give up.
An AI concluded that the best move was to simply pause the game and give up right before the stacked bricks hit the top of the screen.
9. Jim Carrey regretted taking the role of the villain in Kick-Ass 2.
He thought the game fetishized guns and so he refused to do publicity for it.
10. The Lion King was so hard so you couldn't finish them if you just rented them.
Disney wanted to make sure kids didn't get a satisfying experience before they had to return the game to the shop.
11. Sonic 2 is not Idris Elba's first dive into video games.
He also voiced NBA 2K20—which is hilarious because that series otherwise had terrible voice acting—and Call of Duty.
12. NBA Jam was rigged against the Pistons
When the Chicago Bulls played the Detroit Pistons and the game came down to the last second, the Bulls would always miss the final shots.
13. Alfred Molina appeared in Prince of Persia as a callback to Raiders of the Lost Ark.
14. Eternal Darkness turned off your controller to scare you.
It pulled other shady tricks as well, including tricking you into thinking it had wiped your memory card.
15. Sonic couldn't swim because the designer thought real hedgehogs can't swim.
He was wrong, and he was inspired by Lemmings, a game that also got its animals wrong.
16. No one hated video game movies more than Roger Ebert.
A “complete waste of time and money,” said Ebert.
17. The upcoming Mario movie can take some lessons from what made Sonic work.
First of all, it should separate this universe from the one where the bulk of the action will take place.
18. There's a real Sonic the hedgehog gene (that gives cats two faces).
That's the real name of a gene in animals and humans, which also gives sharks two penises.
19. Space Invaders And Retro Games Caused Actual Medical Problems
By 1982, BBC was reporting that each family doctor typically now saw one new case of Space Invaders Wrist every month.