Since 2006, it's been increasingly difficult to explain to people why you're a Sonic fan. Even just mentioning the fact is received with looks of concern at best, but more commonly, outright disgust. It's not unfair. After the 'Blue Blur's first forays into 3D - a patchy period excused as 'transitional' - things have went downhill quicker than Sonic skateboarding through City Escape.
Hope - ha - springs - eternal though, and us die-hard hedgehog fanatics are nothing if not optimistic (deluded). No matter how many times we've had our dreams spindashed, or been sent 'SonicCycle.jpg', we've insisted there's life in the speedy spinester yet.
With Sonic Mania, it seems that might actually, finally, be true. Early images of Christian Whitehead's 16-bit revival were enough to necessitate a change of undies, and footage since has only demanded further trips to the knicker drawer. This really is the true successor to Sonic & Knuckles.
Some have used the wet dream of every Sonic fan as an excuse to trot out the tired line that Sonic "was never good." Obviously, that's absolute Tottenham, a steaming pile of Hotspur. It's a warped way of thinking straight from the Special Zone; Sonic was and is awesome.
Not least his levels. From viridescent meadows and inky oceans to the high roller's club and even the outer reaches of space, Sonic's zones are almost uniformly amazing. But some are slightly more amazing than others. In a joyous celebration of Sonic Mania, let's see which zone from Sonic's classic Mega Drive quartet is the King of the Rings.
Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know).
He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.