Nothing like jobhunting to make heroes feel like zeroes

Sonic Heroes (2004)

I’m on the job hunt again, which is an almost unbeatable way to sap your self-confidence. Probably online dating is worse for morale, but at least if you’ve got a bit about you, you can have several dates, buddies and bits on the side. With a job, having more than one means you’ve probably got all kinds of debts to your name, and you’re a much harder worker than me.

Generally you want one job, if even that; if you’re lucky enough to be in a country with a generous dole, then I genuinely don’t mind you taking my taxes, so long as you’re good stuff, you know, not a scrote, not lacking flair. And if you’re a creative type, have a double week on me.

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Enjoy the sound of chewing tinfoil, as Sonic goes down the drain

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (1993)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate pinball. Saying such a thing would have been considered sacrilege in the 90s, or 80s, or basically any other decade without widespread internet access. The idea of a pinball table is great… in theory. As a form of entertainment found in the arcade, it leans much more heavily towards a mechanical rather than a computer operation.

This is good, at least, because it means the whole thing will never become non-functional thanks to some stupid glitch or file error – it’s far more likely to be that the skeletons’s head is stuck in the closed position. It’s a double-edged flipper though, because unfortunately pinball technicians are in about as short supply as stained glass designers for Notre Dame cathedral, so it ain’t ever getting fixed.

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Toffee breaks ’em down, whether they’re solid or frail

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Sonic Adventure (1999)

I’ve done it. I survived my recent set of trips to the dentist, the first in about 8 years. Nothing short of a medical emergency brings a man back to the dentist after 8 years, but things got desperate. Not to disgust you too much, but one of my fillings popped out of my mouth, with the telltale ping of an M1 Garand. Well, it wasn’t so dramatic as that, but it’s a bloody weird feeling when it happens.

I wasn’t too bothered with that, though. I’m a hard man, of course, so any sort of discomfort from my teeth was just something to be treated like a pitiful challenge to my godlike body. A computer not doing what it’s told, an email that I wouldn’t answer, a teeny electric shock from an appliance. Something that a man needs to be bigger than.

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Sonic dies on his arse again!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (2010 / 2012)

There area lot of things out there which aren’t worthy of their name, you know. It’s like when you see a tabloid newspaper headline about a footballer involved in underage spitroasting and they mention an “England ace”. You’ve never even heard of this guy, much less seen him have an “ace” performance. But this description generates hate and bile which ultimately is what sells papers.

Or used to sell them, when newspapers had their day in the Sun. Now, thankfully, they are an irrelevance. I’ve bought one newspaper in the last ten years, and that was just to put down on the floor before painting the bedroom. Even if Page 3 still existed, there wouldn’t be much incentive anymore – I’ve got better smut in my front pocket.

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The fastest thing alive meets the drunkest man alive

Sonic 3D Blast (1996)

It’s happening, you know. I’m finally getting to the part of my life that everyone told me was going to happen. Through the arrogant veil of youth, which I wore as a protective cape, I always believed I could stay ahead of this, but my number’s up: my hangovers are getting pretty bad. I’ve not quite arrived at the dreaded two-day hangover stage just yet, though even I’m not that hotheaded enough to think I’ll be entirely immune to it, though maybe there’ll be a tradeoff from the fact that I could never do two nights of drinking in a row, even in my student days (i.e. pre Nat King Cole days when I wouldn’t have had the finances anyway).

I doubt it very much though, and I must sadly predict that in less than five years’ time, my drinking career will be over and I’ll be tearfully telling everyone about it at some house party (now called a dinner party) while clutching my second and last wine glass of the evening, all of us secretly wishing we could just get home and go to bed.

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Meeting Go Live with the fastest thing alive

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Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994)

Now that I’ve nestled my career within the vast cargo pants of Information Technology, I find myself tasked with leading projects and deployments and integrations various. But I’m not a project manager, in the same way that when asked, Amsterdam’s finest say they’re not prostitutes – they’re “sex workers”. It’s all about avoiding a potentially dirty title.

Here’s how it all goes down. Somewhere, sometime, a salesperson has beaten a potential client’s door down and persisted at it long enough to finally push the client’s decision-makers into a heartbreaking decision to buy the software. “OK, we’ll take your product,” they whimper, knowing that they had no choice – their fate would be either death by CEO or death by a thousand sales emails.

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Picture Jerry Seinfeld, painted blue and with spiky hair

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Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

I make sure to tell everyone who listens that I’m a 90s baby. And believe me, there are some ghastly pretenders out there who’ll call themselves 80s or 90s babies – even when they were born in December ‘99. These fools don’t even remember the Y2K bug, for heaven’s sake. Although I don’t remember any kind of bug like that either, to be honest. Something about the clocks in computers being all wrong. How’s that something worthy of global panic? They should have a word with my microwave oven, if they wanna know all about incorrect times. Fancy some nuclear sausage rolls?

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It’s nice to look after the environment, but give us back our plastic straws

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Sonic CD (1993)

I know the environment is on a collision course to apocalypse land and that we’re killing the icecaps, and wringing turtles’ necks with six pack plastic rings. But what do you want me to do about it? Vote for the Green Party?! No chance. You leave it to them, and we’d all be stuck going to work in an ass and cart. They’d make us ration the amount of times we can flush the toilet each day. And fancy a straw or two for your freshly made G&T at the end of a long week? They’ll have you hauled over the non-GM coals and set alight with free-range fire.

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6 of Gaming’s Scariest Creatures

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6 of Gaming’s Scariest Creatures (2019)

Regular readers of these pieces will doubtless be amazed to learn that I’m not always so alpha. Yes, I may often cross the road without waiting for the green man or looking both ways. I’ve swallowed my chewing gum more times than I’d care to mention. I’m even tough enough not to blink at this time of year when fireworks are constantly exploding overhead or shooting straight towards my head. You’ve never met me, I hope, but we can probably both agree that I’m by far the bravest man you know – until it comes to games.

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Don’t listen to your parents – teachers are tedious, and they always lose

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Sonic Battle (2003)

The steep decline and near-death experience that the Sonic the Hedgehog series went through occurred at roughly the same time that I went to school. From that period of 2003-2009, the series trajectory went a bit like that one really steep fall in Spring Yard Zone. All in that period, you had Sonic Heroes, where the rot started; Shadow the Hedgehog, which I’ve spoken about and has now become genuinely hilarious; Sonic 06, which is infamously bad and which I really must pick up one of these days; and a glut of rubbish for the Wii after that. Running concurrently with all this was the the 4Kids-poisoned Sonic X series. And somewhere amongst all of this was one of the most affronting spinoffs, Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance.

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