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Is Sonic's Genesis Collection Still Relevant?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 11, 2009   |   Episode 90 (Show Archive)  

   

Four years ago I asked the question, "Are Games Still Relevant?" I wanted to know if the themes found in classic video games held up in the 21st century. I was surprised that themes like the damsel in distress (Super Mario Bros.) was outdated, while Smash TV's theme about a killer game show felt perfectly relevant. For years I have wanted to bring this feature back. I've been dying to test another batch of games, but I've never been able to find the perfect group of games. That is until now!

To celebrate the release of Sega's newest Genesis compilation, we've decided to ask the burning question: Is Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection Still Relevant? In case you haven't heard, Sega has a brand new 16-bit compilation that just hit stores today, it offers an aclectic collection of some of the best Genesis games of all time. And contrary to the title, it is not a Sonic the Hedgehog collection. Over the next two pages we've taken seven of the 40 different games and put them under them the microscope. Will they prove to still be relevant?

Sonic the Hedgehog
The Theme: Sonic's got to get there ... fast. It doesn't matter how he gets there, he just knows that he has to go fast. Run, run, run. All you can see the blur of a speedy blue animal making his way through the

Sigh ... it should have been Sonic CD!
level. He's in a hurry and lord have mercy on the obstacles that get in the way. He doesn't need coffee, he's naturally that way. Just make sure and get out of his way when he's in a hurry, just trust me on this one.

Is It Still Relevant? We live in a fast-paced, gotta-go, get it done now sort of world. We're all about instant gratification, be that from work, play or any other facet of life. We don't have time to wait around; we want it to be as fast as possible. Thanks to longer work days and terrible commutes, people are in more of a hurry
than ever before. So maybe there's something to Sonic's blast processing. Can you imagine how much easier life would be if we could just run through our daily obstacles and make enough time to relax?

Chances are you already do that. The truth is, most of us find ways of speeding through our day. Perhaps it's doing a half-assed job at your job, or maybe it's driving a little faster than permitted on your way home, or maybe it's when you use your DVR to skip through those time-wasting commercials. Whatever it is, chances are you're guilty of trying to rush through the obligations of your life ... just like Sonic the Hedgehog. So yes, my time obsessed friends; Sonic the Hedgehog is just as relevant today as it was 18 years ago. No matter if it's video games or the real world, we will always find ways to rush through it all.

Phantasy Star
The Theme: After witnessing the death of her brother, Alis Landale takes it upon herself to destroy King Lassic and upset his rule. In order to do this she teams up with

No, it's not a lame Saturday morning cartoon, it's the official Phantasy Star art!
a memorable cast of characters who, like her, have their own demons to explore. Unlike most of the other adventure games of that era, Phantasy Star was always progressive at getting strong female characters to show that they are just as good (if not better) at taking down pure evil than the men!

Is It Still Relevant? Obviously there's more to Phantasy Star than just female empowerment, it's an epic adventure game with all sorts of moral dilemmas and complex emotion. But sadly, in
1986 Phantasy Star was one of the very adventure games shown from the woman's point of view. Thankfully since then we've had everything from Lara Croft to Beyond Good & Evil to Final Fantasy X-2, but when Alis's quest began there wasn't a precedent set for female warriors. Things have definitely gotten better in the games industry, but there's certainly a large gap between adventure games starring men versus women.

However, given the direction this country is headed, I have to say that the Phantasy Star theme of empowering women lives on. Within the last week President Obama has made it easier for women to sue over wage discrimination, and let's not forget that we had two of our strongest female candidates in last year's election. There may still be a long way to go, but there's a drum beat for a more important role for women in general. It would not be strange to see a movie or read a book about a female character getting revenge, so I have no other choice but to say that this classic theme is still relevant.

Alien Syndrome
The Theme: Poor Ricky and Mary, they are a couple of soldiers who find

It's a shame that the new Alien Syndrome couldn't capture the magic of the original!
themselves stuck in an alien-filled space ship. In order to get home safely they'll need to rescue their kidnapped crew and kill every alien on board. That's no easy task, but these two heroes feel up to the task!

Is It Still Relevant? There once was a time when we worried about space invaders and being abducted. Then again, at that time we were also worried about the Cold War and who shot J.R. If you go by our entertainment and pop culture you'll see that for much of the 20th century Americans were terrified of being invaded. You needn't look much further than the 1950s drive in movies, or the Alien series or TV shows like V. When
it comes to aliens we're scared straight. At least, we used to be.

You see, these days we aren't all that afraid of alien attackers. Thanks to the worst economic crisis since the great depression and the lingering fear of terrorism, Americans have started to put alien attackers out of their minds. Just a decade ago a movie like Independence Day could make hundreds of millions of dollars, yet these days you're lucky to break half that with your alien invasion fantasies. Even TV shows about an alien attack (Invasion, Threshold, etc.) have all been canceled. This country just isn't afraid of aliens anymore. Part of that may have to do with the redneck losers that keep coming forward suggesting that they were abducted, get enough loonies to tell stories and one stops believing. Even with evidence that there was (or still is) life on Mars, we just aren't buying into this paranoia. So no, Alien Syndrome, your tales of alien abduction is not relevant in the year 2009. Maybe it will be in the future, but as long as we have this economic thing to worry about, we don't have time for little green men.

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