As any Sonic fan can tell you, having that title isn’t always the most fun thing. In fact, lately, it’s been kind of the opposite of fun. On the internet, especially in gaming circles, Sonic seems to be the butt of more and more jokes, and the performance and quality of his past few games make it fairly clear why. However, the thing about Sonic fans (and Rush fans, come to think of it) is that we’re loyal to a fault.
A true Sonic fan continues to buy and play the games even when they’ve become pretty disappointing, hoping for that one-in-a-million Sonic Adventure 2 or Generations that gives us enough faith to keep holding on for another five, ten years. Whenever there’s rumors of a new game, we tell ourselves not to get too hopeful, but we can’t help ourselves. We just want so badly for him to be good again.
Usually, when game companies aren’t doing so well in the eyes of the community at large, they enter a stage of denial. Perhaps they’ll insist that we’re simply not enjoying their media the right way, or that we’re missing the point. Peter Molyneux comes to mind as a pretty bad offender here, but no one’s really completely innocent of this.
Enter the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account (or at least its recent management).
I’m not entirely sure who’s responsible for running the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account, but they are doing it so, so right.
While it’s become fairly commonplace for the Twitter accounts of game companies to try to be in tune with and respond to the latest crazes, fads, and memes on the internet, it’s very difficult to stay on top of trends. You can’t blame them for trying, of course, but memeing is an art. There’s a proper way to use memes, and an improper way, and the rules are simultaneously incredibly vague and set in stone. A proper meme is like pornography– you know it when you see it — and where everyone else gets it wrong, the Sonic Twitter gets it so, so right.
However, it goes deeper than just the ability to produce the very dankest of memes. The Sonic Twitter is the perfect response to the joking criticisms constantly leveled against Sonic by the folks on the web. Countless memes have been created to poke fun at various bad aspects of Sonic’s latest games, and rather than deny their existence, the Sonic Twitter jokes right along with us.
I’ll explain this one in case you don’t get it — Sonic ’06, considered by many to be the very worst of all Sonic games, and by some the worst game of all time, included an infamous glitch that let you, well, walk upside down and vertically. And here’s the official Sonic the Hedgehog media account making fun of their own game. And you have to love them for it. In addition to these excellent bouts of self-deprecation are great interactions with other Twitter accounts (lots of talk of going fast (naturally) and conversations with Totino’s Pizza Rolls, especially).
And even among the memery and masterful self-deprecation, there’s yet a deeper level. At the heart of all the joking and levity of the Sonic Twitter account, you can still tell it’s run by someone just like us, someone who has a deep appreciation and love for the character and his games. Back around 2009-2012, I was a very active member of the official Sega forums, and we had ourselves plenty of memes. I still fondly remember making hundreds of signature images pleading for Sega to allow us to play Classic Sonic in Sonic 4 (for whatever reason), spending hours and hours in the Random Hotel (before Luna killed it, of course), and berating Chip for producing chocolate from what appeared to be his rear.
I digress, but the point is that among all this fun, there’s a core that maintains a healthy level of respect for Sonic’s fans and their culture.
The above is a reference to an infamous line from 2005’s Shadow the Hedgehog, in which our doughty protagonist says (with questionable emphasis), “now where’s that DAMN fourth Chaos Emerald?” The latter tweet refers to an obstacle from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (back in the Genesis days) that was regarded by many to be impassable back in the day. I expect both of these are jokes only Sonic fans would understand, and I love the Sonic Twitter for pandering to us.
In closing, I just wanted to give a round of applause to whoever’s in charge of the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account. How they can stay on top of all those memes, reference the community’s ancient in-jokes, and still go fast is lost on me. Essentially, they win the internet.
Also, this might be the greatest tweet on the entire internet.