When Sonic lost his speed...

Remember when Sonic wasn’t a sword-wielding, werewolf-hybrid trapped in the midst of a human-meets-hedgehog love triangle? I do. But before I shake a cane at all post-2D Sonic games, let me make one thing clear: I’ve found some form of enjoyment in almost every Sonic title—even those hard-to-love critical failures. But as a fan who has followed SEGA’s speedy mascot since her kindergarten days, it pains me to see him moving so slowly at the ripe age of 24—a time when most franchises should be planning for their victorious silver jubilee. What happened? At what point did Sonic lose his way? In his transition to the 3D realm, Sonic was thrust into plot-driven narratives garnished with RPG elements and populated by characters who brought new mechanics—fishing, treasure hunting, gunning, and the like—to Sonic’s previously simple world. But in my opinion, what’s led to series’ downfall is not its plotting or even its new gameplay styles, but rather its neglect of what made Sonic great to begin with—his speed. Speed has long been Sonic’s selling point. It’s what marketed him in 1991 and made him a worthy rival of Nintendo’s Mario. No other game had the supersonic velocity that came with this sneaker-wearing hedgehog. In reality, it’s “fitting in” that causes us to disappear, making us lonely in a crowd of “clones.” Most every Sonic game incorporates speed, but only the truly successful installments handle it with the attention it deserves. A majority of post-2000 Sonic games diminish the power of Sonic’s speed by implementing out-of-character mechanics like gun/sword fighting and melee combat. Even in those games that feature “speed zones,” the supersonic antics are often diminished by crippling camera angles, broken controls, glitches, or just downright uninspired tracks. Worse still, some games lower Sonic’s...

Beyond Middle-earth: Blessed are the Legend-makers May05

Beyond Middle-earth: Blessed are the Legend-makers...

I‘ve always been drawn to myths, especially Arthurian, Greek, and Norse. For instance, the story of Echo, the nymph who fell in love with Narcissus but was doomed to waste away until nothing was left but her voice. Even if early story-tellers were just trying to come up with an explanation for a phenomenon they didn’t understand, I’m drawn to the idea of creating a story for it; the scientific explanation for echos may be interesting, but the story brings them to life. C.S. Lewis once said that “myths were lies and therefore worthless, even though ‘breathed through silver’.” Tolkien disagreed and wrote his poem “Mythopoeia” as a response. I’ll offer a brief explanation here, but I would recommend reading the poem for yourself. We cling to stories when we have nothing left because they give us hope. “Mythopoeia” is Tolkien’s case for the value of myth and story-making; it is an argument from “Philomythus to Misomythus,” which means “Myth-lover to Myth-hater,” and the title itself means “myth-making.” Something I’ve encountered in Christian circles is a general distrust of myth, which I think echos Lewis’s statement; there is no truth in anything not in the Bible. Tolkien disagrees and argues that, in fact, there is truth in myth, and that it is actually our right to make up stories. Our proclivity for myth-making is something that comes from God—“Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light / through whom is splintered from a single White / to many hues…”—and when we create, we catch a glimpse of God himself. Tolkien uses my favourite poetic device in this poem: the caesura, which is a break in the middle of the line that causes the reader to slow down. The purpose of a caesura is to emphasize something for...

The Heart Behind Geekdom House Feb01

The Heart Behind Geekdom House

The primary operating belief behind Geekdom House is that both the Christian community and the nerd and geek community have something to offer one another. We are not trying to Christian-ify the nerd and geek community, but our philosophy is about creating a space where both groups can interact with each other. We want to be honest about our love for all things nerd and geek related and not be afraid to engage with it on a philosophical, spiritual, and faith-based level. We want both communities to have a positive impact on each other. “We believe that being righteous is far more valuable than arrogantly being right.” We truly believe that there are those within both communities that love to engage in rich discussions about the metaphysical. We believe this because for years many of us have found ourselves with feet in both camps. Area of Effect, as a publication, is meant to be a place where we band together in our love for all things nerd and geek related, and we hope to inspire moral, ethical, and metaphysical discussion. We are honest that our bias is rooted within Christianity, but we humbly believe that we, too, are mere Padawans on our journeys. As an organization we do not have a unified theology, and each staff/writer/minion has their own interpretations and understandings. We do have though the expectation that none of us truly believe we have it all figured out. We believe that being righteous is far more valuable than arrogantly being right. We are open to discussion, open to being wrong, and open to learning more from anyone about who we are, why we are here, and what our purpose is. We hope that, as Christians, by making an honest and earnest creative contribution to the community, others (regardless of their faith background) will accept our invitation to have discussions about these things in the nerd and geek community that we all love so dearly. We love having these discussions and we hate having to leave our faith at the door. We want to bring ours and let you bring yours while we figure this all out together. Let the discussions...