Monday, October 16, 2017

Post-Game/Extra Help Writer - Sonic: Shattered Realities


Current Status: Basically a "Maybe"

On October 16, the 25th Anniversary of Miles "Tails" Prower debuting in the Sonic franchise, I am happy to announce that I am being heavily considered as a Post-Game and Extra Help Writer for the upcoming Sonic fan game project called Sonic: Shattered Realities! This is an RPG that extends across multiple versions of Sonic's world, bringing in different versions of Sonic and many heroic characters that come from different parts of the Sonic Universe. 

It's an honor to be handling some writing duties for a project like this, even if it's in a minimal capacity. This is something that I will be committed to and something to take great care of. When it comes to this franchise, I know my Sonic history. I research Sonic canon and non-canon all the time, so it comes easy for me to dig up material for Sonic stories. 

The one who runs this Shattered Realities project is Trevor Bennett, a guy who loves the Sonic franchise and came up with this ambitious idea for a game. Trevor is the main designer and director of Shattered Realities, and through the course of this past year he's been recruiting very talented people, Sonic fans who either specialize in voice acting, coding and programming, concept art, or even writing. 

After everything is settled with the main script I will take care of what goes on Post-Game. I have no idea how the story for Shattered Realities will go, and you will have to play the game to find out, but I will say this. The vibes I get from this game are not only very good, but I think it will be a positive step forward for Sonic fan game content. Like I said, I'm starting to get into the mode of  doing creative things with game development, and this would be one of them! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Steven Vitte: Endorsements from Game Devs



Steven,

Thank you for sharing your writing work. We have all read through these as a team and really enjoyed your work. Thank you for sharing everything with us. I wanted to send you back your material so you can keep it for yourself.

Sanzaru Games has also enclosed a couple surprise items for you and I hope you enjoy.

Thank you very much.

Mat Kraemer
Sanzaru Games
Early 2016



Hey Steven, just checked out the game on my computer. Pretty good start, I like that you're mashing two genres of play into one game, and from the looks of it, you're planning to do an android focused game correct? Anyway I say just keep going at it. I recommend looking up any local game dev meet up groups, spend time at conventions meeting other game developers, try to finish small projects that don't require too much artwork.

You have a lot of great basic Unity functionalities down and you can totally make a solid game with the skillset you currently have. Try to release a game out there into the world, it'll be a great learning experience to help you move forward.

Zhenghua Yang
Serenity Forge
October 2, 2017 via Facebook chat

Steven Vitte: In case you were wondering if I have ever received any kind of endorsement, or confirmation of support, for my cause as a narrative script writer (as well as other roles), then I can present 2 examples right here. Above are the words of Mat Kraemer of Sanzaru Games and Zhenghua Yang of Serenity Forge, both of which I interviewed on this very blog in the past.

The first example comes from me sending a passion project of sorts to Mat and his dev team. It was a sample script of a situation based in the world of Sly Cooper. It made me feel very good to know that not only did Sanzaru Games take the time out to read what I sent them, but to know that they actually liked what I wrote. I never requested to receive any gifts back in return, so I was very surprised when I got the items. I happily display these items on a personal shelf of mine.

The second example is Z's reaction to what I had recently sent him. It was an attachment to my unfinished mobile game project featuring a boxing kangaroo who splits his time going through a platforming stage, and then fights a boss like it's Mike Tyson's Punch-Out! The title of the mobile game project is Punchy Business. I was relieved to read what Z had thought of what I had put into this project as a writer, UX handyman and QA tester, and when you read his thoughts, it's clear that he supports the basic visions I have in a game.

I am about to venture into more exciting stuff as 2017 comes to a close. I feel motivated enough to not only advance my career as a writer, but to also expand my horizons and become more flexible in the roles of a game dev team. I have recently downloaded Unity 3D and I am seriously considering downloading Blender as well to start making models of objects and characters. I have finally hit some sort of upswing where I feel like I can do some basic things in this territory of game development, and you guys may just see what I have planned!

Stay tuned!

Infinite = Game Gear Tails (Sonic Forces Theory)

Warning: If you don't want to go through a whole bunch of theory-building stuff, I suggest you turn away NOW. Only diehard Sonic the Hedgehog fans would be able to understand the points that are being made here. Plus, this is only a theory.





Still here? Okay, let's go on then...



 
November 7 is the release date of the newest 3D Modern Sonic game called Sonic Forces, a game that has received mixed reviews so far based on the demo that was available not too long ago. One character in particular, named Infinite, seems to be one who will carry the bulk of the story in Forces as the oppressive villain on Dr. Eggman's side of this war.  But who is this mysterious character? Who is Infinite? An interview has just been released courtesy of Playstation Lifestyle.

I've been very critical of Takashi Iizuka and Sonic Team's handling of Modern Sonic in recent years, and I know they put their passion into their projects. However, I just wish they better applied their resources, such as characters, level environments and gameplay mechanics. There's a big miscommunication between Sonic Team and Sonic fans right now. Anyway, the interview link is below.

 http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2017/10/05/sonic-forces-wispon-storyline-music-detailed-famitsu-interview/

Famitsu: What kind of existence does Infinite, the boss that is strong to an extent, have?
Iizuka: Although he wasn't always evil, he is not created from an abrupt incident like Chaos, but he is instead an animal character just like Sonic & the others. If you play the free DLC of Shadow’s story, you’ll get to understand why he obtains a powerful strength and becomes evil.


(2:22 - Sonic looks up in the sky)

(1:14 - Sonic looks up in the sky) Coincidence?

What I'm going to tell you readers is something that is very, very, very hard for me to wrap my brain around, and yes, people will say that this is one farfetched and ridiculous theory. I understand completely why you feel that way. However, from what I have gathered in evidence and what I have done in connecting the dots, it has become clear to me that not only that something doesn't feel right about this Infinite character (and not just in the video game sense...), but I think some of us theorists may have solved the mystery of "Who is Infinite?" I believe that...

Infinite is Game Gear Tails from Sonic 2's Bad Ending.
  
https://samearl13.wordpress.com/2017...te-tails-more/

Also when Sonic Forces main theme with lyrics (posted above) was released aka Fist Bump sung by Douglas Robb from Hoobastank people wondered what it meant when it mentioned “One Last Fistbump” and seemed to think that a character was going to die which while possible with the game trying to be noticeably darker I believe it to be much simpler. The game is said to be the last game chronically (or maybe forever) for modern sonic so it might just be Modern Sonic in a way saying goodbye to Classic Sonic.

"One Last Fistbump" can be noted as a reference to the friendship of Sonic and Tails since they are often known to do the "Bro Fist". You don't equate this to 2 random Original Characters (Custom Avatars) doing a Bro Fist.

After that the song mentions “After all this time you’re back for more” which definitely suggests that Sonic knows him, the next line “I won’t stop until they know my name” also does although the fact that in his reveal video he sarcastically calls Sonic a “Little Blue Saviour” (notice the ‘little’) its unknown whether it was aimed at Modern Sonic who he was talking to or Classic Sonic (the latter would make more sense in the theory).

Possibly meaning that Game Gear Tails (not talking about Modern Tails here) will hint at Sonic managing to save the world in Game Gear Sonic 2, but not him (Bad Ending).

Without writing a bunch the rest it suggests that Sonic is living a lie in some way and also repeats “Its only me and you, who is going to save you now?” which seems a rather odd choice of lyrics suggesting that Infinite wants revenge with someone in particular (most likely Sonic).

 Could be a way to call Sonic out on his personality and his moral code as a hero.

https://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories...ers_for_sonic/

 -One tail and one (damaged?) eye, perhaps a lot happened to him.

Explaining what happened to Game Gear Tails after the Bad Ending...

-If one looks closely at Infinite's design, they would notice that he has the same ear shape as Tails.

The ear shape is probably covered by a Darth Vader/Red Hood style mask. If we go by the Batman/Robin analogy in this situation, then consider this.

Sonic = Batman
Dr. Eggman = The Joker
Game Gear Tails (Infinite) = Jason Todd a.k.a. Red Hood
Classic Tails = Dick Grayson
Modern Tails = Tim Drake

-Supposedly faster then Sonic, thus making his name have more sense to it. It's Infinite Miles Prower, as in "Infinite miles per hour".

Fun fact; Sonic Team was originally gonna call Infinite "Zero". So, "Zero to Infinity".

German Autobahn: No Speed Limit Sign
Infinite Miles Per Hour...
Infinite Miles Prower
Infinite = Game Gear Tails


If Game Gear Sonic 2 isn't canon, then why was Silver Sonic a thing? .....

Think about it. If Sonic Mania is a direct tie-in game to Forces, then how do we explain Silver Sonic, a boss who appeared in Game Gear Sonic 2, appear in the boss fight of Stardust Speedway Act 2 in Mania? Do you really think Game Gear Sonic 2 won't be mentioned again in Forces given this?

-Notably, it's said that Sonic Forces has Classic Sonic come from another dimension, NOT the past. This could be the explanation for why Infinite is so mysterious to everyone, he's from another dimension then everyone else.

The Game Gear Sonic games make up a dimension that's separate from the Classic and Modern dimensions.

-It's already been said that Tails will die in this game, but we already know they wouldn't kill a mainstay.

Correction; Recent leaks have stated that "Tails will not die in Forces, but something else will happen to him". My gut feeling? That "something" has already happened to Tails, Game Gear Tails, that is.

-Infinite's song's lyrics say how he's been tortured and how everyone must know his name, hinting at his true nature.

Again, explaining what happened to Game Gear Tails after the Bad Ending...

October 16, 1992 - October 16, 2017: 25 Years since Miles "Tails" Prower made his debut in the Sonic franchise, in Game Gear/Master System Sonic 2.




 "Game Gear Sonic 2 Isn't Canon!"
(Oh really?)

Originally Posted by Captain Linebeck and Rapido Azule
Imagine actually thinking Sonic Team remembers or cares about a bad ending in a Game Gear game they made decades ago.
Not even them, some company called Aspect.
My response: If Sega really wanted to they could ignore Game Gear Sonic 2 altogether (October 16, 1992) and recognize Genesis Sonic 2 (November 21, 1992) as Tails' official debut time in the Sonic franchise. The fact that this official debut time hasn't changed should say something.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOnz_gjMV18
(A long black bushy tail...)

"Oh, but Tails has 2 tails and Infinite only has 1 tail! Explain that!"

At first glance, what would you guess Infinite's tail to mostly look like? It's obviously not a hedgehog tail, nor an echidna tail, cat tail, etc. Also, Aaron Webber himself (an authority on Sonic content) confirmed that it wasn't a wolf tail, so if you thought Infinite had a connection to the red wolf "Buddy" character (Custom Avatar), then you'd be wrong. So what could it be? A fox tail.


RoseOfTheNight4444: (trying to debunk this theory)
If you look at other screenshots there is an obvious difference. Tails’ tails have three tufts of fur that are kind of sideways, Infinite has six facing vertically, kind of like a Mohawk for the tail (or like a bladesaw shape). Completely different design. What purpose does it serve to have one of his tails damaged or removed, anyway? Wouldn't the rest of his body suffer the same trauma? Sure this would give him a reason to hide behind a mask but his tail is the only part of him that remains unprotected.

Why don't Tails and Infinite share the same voice? It would be pointless to give him a masculine voice when he's carried a feminine one since SA1, even if he had hit puberty and willingly changed his inflection, speech pattern, and verbiage, what purpose does changing all of that serve? It seems silly to me that something like the Ruby changing his voice like some voice-masker when it's only changed their appearance (and their behavior, I suppose).

I guess the Ruby changing Tails' desires, making him evil, would account for why he'd attack his best friend and hero, but not for the continuity of where Tails is at any given time. I might have missed something but Sonic 2 or a bad ending wouldn't apply to Forces because the only game Forces has connection with is Mania, thereby making Tails not missing for that long. 

My response: The Phantom Ruby alters the appearance of Game Gear Tails. The two tails merge to become one, and the one eye is an unfortunate side effect of the altering. The Ruby would alter everything about a character, including the tone of voice, the tail and tuft formation, the height and physical appearance... Everything.

Modern Tails = 2 tails, 3 tufts each horizontally
Infinite = 1 tail, 6 tufts vertically
3 + 3 = 6 ...

Plus, just as I stated with Silver Sonic, if Mania ties in with Forces, and Silver Sonic from Game Gear Sonic 2 was in Mania, then connect the dots. Game Gear Sonic 2 IS canon!


The Sonic CD Aspect



^ Well, it is odd that "CD" isn't listed on the elevator levels at the very beginning...

https://www.reddit.com/r/SonicTheHedgehog/comments/73j6qx/sonic_mania_forces_everything_planned_since_1993/

^ As if my head needed to still be spinning about this Infinite = Game Gear Tails theory...

RigidplayHd:
Sonic Mania is basically a game where it throws the player all the way back to Sonic 1 but with the classic 2D pixelated style, it throws you into Sonic 1, 2, 3, Knuckles, “CD” and it’s own original zones, now hear me out, you probably already know of the Sonic Mania animated trailer and demo, now remember when they were at the elevator, and the elevator was rising? A lot of people pointed out the absence of CD in there, at first I thought it was just a dumb little error, but months later I realized, how can there be no CD button yet, there’s Stardust Speedway and Metallic Madness? The answer is simple. In the Mania timeline, CD didn’t happen, but, if you read the manual for Mania, it says the Phantom Ruby appeared due to a “dimensional breach”, I don’t know what you guys thought but, for me, it seems like it was transported from another dimension, where CD happened.

Mania can confirm too where Sonic CD sits in the timeline, just look at the zones, excluding the Mania ones:

-Green Hill Zone: Sonic 1
-Chemical Plant Zone: Sonic 2
-Flying Battery Zone: Sonic 3&K
-Stardust Speedway: Sonic CD
-Hydrocity Zone: Sonic 3&K
-Oil Ocean: Sonic 2
-Lava Reef: Sonic 3&K
-Metallic Madness: CD

At first I thought it was the order of appearance, but then I noticed, Sonic 1 appears 1 time, Sonic 2 appears 2 times, Sonic 3&K appears 3 times, Sonic CD appears 2 times, so, Sonic 1 1st, Sonic 2 3rd, Sonic 3&K 4th, Sonic CD 2nd, because Sonic 3&K is confirmed to be a sequel to Sonic 2 in terms of the timeline, so that’s why Sonic CD doesn’t sit in front of Sonic 2.

(Mania: 1, 2, 3&K, M; Forces: 1, CD, 2, 3&K)

Granted, this guy completely leaves out the aspect of the Game Gear games being a separate dimension, but he goes into the Sonic CD and Little Planet dynamic and where that fits. He's completely wrong about Amy. (Infinite's not a female, for crying out loud...) You can take small bits and pieces from this but don't go too deep into this text block stuff.

Let's Review the Forces Leaks


-Tails does not die in Forces, something else happens to him. Another character will die, however.
-You've seen Infinite before now, but it is not what you are expecting.
-There will be a MAJOR plot twist involving Infinite.
-Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Avatar all have character development with Sonic.

Let's stop here. You've seen Infinite before now, but it is not what you are expecting. If we've seen Infinite before, then how can he be just another Original Character? Listen to the lyrics of Infinite's theme song and "One Last Fistbump". Does this sound like an Original Character, or a previously forgotten version of a character who's out for revenge? Original Characters (Custom Avatars) have never existed in previous Main Sonic games.

What is this MAJOR plot twist involving Infinite? See where this theory's going?





^ If Game Gear Sonic 2 is indeed in play in the Forces storyline:
-The Phantom Ruby is present in the Game Gear dimension.
-Game Gear Sonic 2 plays out just as it did with the Good and Bad Endings.
-Either Tails is saved (Good Ending) and everything goes merrily on (going into the Classic dimension and Sonic Mania)
-OR Sonic doesn't save Tails (Bad Ending) and Tails remains captured by Dr. Eggman. Using the Ruby as an experiment, Eggman creates his vision of an unstoppable Force, Infinite, using the tortured and broken down body of Game Gear Tails. Something Eggman "creates" but isn't an Original Character.



 ^ It could better explain these scenes in Sonic Colours and Sonic Lost World where Tails gets "mind-controlled" and why Sonic Team wanted to show these. Beta testing on Modern Tails for these games, and then turn around (use the alternate dimension travel plot) and do this for another version of Tails. Wild, crazy, whatever you want to call it...

No matter what happens after Forces I will still support the character of Miles "Tails" Prower. I'm still a Tails fan. However, it's just sad that Sonic Team may have had this planned for some time, and to think that all they had to do was make Tails playable again in a Main Sonic game. I have very uneasy feelings about Sonic Forces and what's gonna go down in this game, but we'll find out soon enough, won't we? 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The First Tree - Breakout PC Game!


David Wehle is an indie game developer who is about to release his first completed game project on Steam. While it only takes 30 minutes to learn and play, The First Tree was a project that took Wehle 2 years to complete, with each step of the way having its own bumps and bruises in game development.

The link above highlights Wehle's adventures through creating and programming the game, what exactly went into this game's development and how he had to go through a bunch of trial and error episodes to get to where he wanted to go. The First Tree is a Third Person exploration game where the player takes on the role of a mother fox looking for her family. However, intersecting with this is a young couple dealing with a pressing tragedy.

The environment of this game looks amazing as the visuals will immediately grab your attention. I wouldn't say that these visuals are cel-shaded, but the colors and animations would remind you of a beautiful "semi-anime" kind of feeling. The First Tree from an appearance standpoint will remind you of games like Journey, Gone Home and Firewatch.

Wehle at one point lost his motivation for making a game, but then he kept working on the menu screen for The First Tree, and the funniest thing happened to him. His joy for making the game returned to him and he was having fun working on his project. It goes to show you how amazing a turnaround can be in the world of game development.

The First Tree is set to be released tomorrow, September 14, 2017, so if you're interested in playing this game you might want to jump in and find out what makes this game so interesting!

Monday, September 4, 2017

GDEX 2017: Not Going

Me at OGDE 2015
I will make this brief in explanation, but I want to announce that I will not be attending GDEX 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. The reasons are few and simple as to why I'm not going to Ohio's own gaming convention this year. First off my economic resources are lacking, which is an obvious reason. Secondly my schedule for the month of September, which includes issues my family has to address and can't put them off, isn't going to jive with GDEX this year.

Last but probably most importantly I don't feel like I have earned the opportunity of going out to Downtown Columbus to check out new game projects and meet up with game devs. The fact of the matter is I'm well behind in learning enough things about current game development technology (example: Unity), and I feel like whatever values I have to give to a game dev team aren't going to be enough at this point.

I am a freelance writer, and I do this job very well. However, in terms of game development I can feel that game devs look down on me. Being just a writer is difficult enough to get noticed in the Video Game Industry, and having to navigate through the game development process as just a writer is a challenge. Sometimes I get the feeling through conversations with game devs that I'm seen as an "idea guy" and nothing more, which I don't believe is true about me, but that's the perception.

Tipsy Raccoons at GDEX 2016
I'm spending the rest of my time in 2017 studying more about game development and actually diving into stuff. Unity is something that I have explored playing around with, and honestly when it comes to making graphics, designing and programming I have had a pretty bad past history with it. I have often felt confused about what object goes where, what command to use, which button to click, etc. I'm thankful that there are at least some tutorial videos on the internet I can watch.

I'm currently at the age of 28, and to this day I still haven't gotten a real break in the world of game development. I have been pushing for an opportunity in this field for about a decade. Yes, at least 10 years. I have submitted remote job applications to game companies in vain, and never to hear back from them. I have reached out to some indie companies, and these avenues are still up in the air.

Something has to change with my approach because whatever I have been doing just isn't working. If that means I develop a better understanding of software like Unity, as much as I cringe about code language, then so be it. I never expect to become an expert in graphic design or programming, because that has never been my strength anyway, but if it means I crack that door a little more open to a position on a game dev team, then I'm going to at least try.

So yeah, it would have been fun to experience GDEX 2017, but it's just not meant to be.

Monday, August 28, 2017

OtherCharacters.com - Sonic Friends Petition


"Other Characters" - A movement in the making

In light of the recent developments that have been occurring in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in recent years, I would like to bring up this topic of interest once again. Earlier this year I went on a rant about the importance of Sonic's friends in the franchise and why they should start mattering again today. As it turned out, recently a friend of mine was kind enough to make a website dedicated to the cause that I started. This website is called OtherCharacters.com, which you can view after clicking on the link at the very top.

It's very preliminary in look and feel, but it's a start. You have to start somewhere with something. If you continue browsing through this site you will notice a tab called "Blog". This is where I will be posting some content on topics like Sonic characters, this petition movement and how game development teams like Sonic Team function. I go under the username FoxCordova17 here.

If you're curious to know where I am at with this Other Characters petition, a call to bring back Sonic's friends as playable characters in the Main Modern 3D Series of games, then here are the current numbers as they stand.

Ink Pen Signatures: 94
Online Signatures: 73 (combining my old and new petitions)

However, I have recently found this petition which seems to have taken on a similar tone to the ones I've made. This petition managed to get 49 signatures. I wasn't aware of this petition until I found it.

So in theory if you combine all of these signatures together, you would get a total of 216 signatures. That's not so bad considering all the effort put into these things. Is it anywhere near my desired goal, though? No, not even close. I feel that if more people got involved in promoting this petition, whether through online avenues or word of mouth in-person, we could reach the desired goal of 10,000 signatures. Yes, that sounds like a lot of signatures, but I believe the process would go that much more smoother if more people were actively involved in getting signatures for this petition. 

Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces appear to be the two Sonic games that will really start opening the flood gates when it comes to discussion about whether or not the Sonic franchise should move forward with just Sonic as the only playable character (Classic Sonic and the Created Character not withstanding) or if Sonic's friends should finally be brought back in Modern 3D as playable after an 11-year hiatus.

If you'd like to join this movement and help promote this petition in any way you can, then feel free to join any of these groups dedicated to "Other Characters"! We're open to schedule discussions about what to do with the petition, the movement and what people can do to promote talk about this.

Discord Channel: #sonicothercharacters

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

GJG Game Review: Sonic Mania


Happy 28th Birthday to me for pre-ordering Sonic Mania!

For starters I have been pretty hard on Sega and Sonic Team for the whole year of 2017 so far. Some of the criticisms that I myself have presented to the Sonic franchise have been at least somewhat valid (I hope) and I feel that it's been time for gamers to start being more honest with Sega and Sonic Team about how they feel about the Sonic franchise as a whole, both 2D and 3D. 

With that said, I have been keeping a close eye on Sonic Mania for many months in 2017, and the news I have been getting has come across as nothing but positive. Everything that led up to Mania's release has been a refreshing, reassuring spin on the Sonic content we've been getting in recent years. The marketing campaign that went in to Mania has been very impressive, and the closer we got to the release date of August 15th the more convinced I became that I ABSOLUTELY needed to pre-order this game. August 15th, the day before my 28th Birthday, August 16th. What are the odds?

Controls - 20 out of 20 points

Pretty much flawless, by all accounts. If you're familiar with the original Sonic Genesis games of yesteryear, you should have no problem at all getting used to the controls of Mania. This game is built off the platform of Sonic 1 through Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Mania instantly reminds you of how cool it was to just plug in and play the Genesis games. You could go through an entire sitting of a couple hours and play a Sonic Genesis game with joy. You can Spin Dash, and now you can Drop Dash, which is the only mini-bummer of this game. The times of when you need to use the new Drop Dash ability as Sonic are a mystery, though the ability itself is really cool.

You can play as Sonic, Tails or Knuckles right off the bat and they play just as you remembered them playing in the Genesis games. This sense of familiarity is such a strong plus. 

Graphics - 20 out of 20 points

Wow. Beautiful. Wonderful. Amazing. Without going too much into this, if you have already played Sonic Mania, then you should already know how stylistic and breath-taking the graphics of  Sonic Mania are. It's a hybrid of the Genesis style of graphics and a 32-bit look, somewhat reminding gamers of the Sega 32X days. I'm sure you remember Knuckles Chaotix, right? The art that went into this game deserves some sort of end of year award. Seriously.

Music - 20 out of 20 points

You will immediately feel right at home as a Sonic fan when playing through Mania because the music soundtracks immediately get you to realize just how creative and catchy Sonic soundtracks usually are. These soundtracks are fitting for the environments they attach themselves to, and for the old reliable zones that we all know and loves, the soundtracks for these zones are remixed in such a way that could possibly blow your mind. Give credit to the music producer of the Mania team for this because he knocked this category out of the park!

Replayability Factor - 20 out of 20 points

There is no doubt about what I'm going to say here. This game is absolutely, positively worth replaying again and again. Here's one good reason why Mania gets an A+ in Replayability Value; the order of the mini-bosses and bosses you fight in Mania is NOT always the same. This means that you could be facing different foes such as the various Hard Boiled Heavies, or Dr. Eggman himself in drastically different orders depending on who you play as, and possibly depending on how fast (or slow) you complete a stage.  

What also helps the Replayability in Mania are the Bonus and Special Stages that are scattered throughout the game. You quickly familiarize yourself with the challenge of having to collect many Blue Spheres in a maze, but then you will also have to retrain yourself to complete a daring mission of catching a fleeing aircraft in a race track. This latter stage should remind gamers of Special Stages that we've seen in games like Sonic CD and Sonic Heroes. This Special Stage concept is excellent, the execution of it is great, and most importantly, these additions keep you motivated to play.

11 Bonus Points for Creativity

As an aspiring game dev myself, I definitely appreciate it when I see creative freedom being put on display in a game. I advocate for creativity, I encourage it and I humbly challenge other aspiring game devs to put their creativity out there in game projects. What Christian "Taxman" Whitehead, Headcannon and PagodaWest Games did for Sonic Mania is a textbook example of being able to use enough creativity in a video game and showcasing what they know about the Sonic Universe.

Seriously, I could also say that the levels of creativity used in this game are "off the charts", "blasted past the outfield fence for a home run", and "top of the mountain quality". Sonic Mania is THAT good, whether you play this game as a Sonic fan or not. 

Overall Score: 91 out of 100 points (11 Bonus Points)

I have never felt more happy about playing a new Sonic game that I have for Sonic Mania, and late last week on the 11th I made the decision (at the last minute, really) to pre-order this game. It turns out that Sonic Mania was by far one of the best gaming purchase decisions I have ever made. Sonic Mania blew me the crap away, to put it somewhat bluntly. Sure, it's just a 2D side-scrolling platforming game at the end of the day, but it's not just that. It's a call to remember what Sonic used to be, and that he used to be one of the best video game characters in history. Sonic and his friends can reach that status again if Sega allows Sonic Mania to be used as a building block for future 2D Sonic installments. 

While the jury is still out on the future of Modern 3D Sonic games, which is another story altogether, Classic 2D Sonic is officially back like a boss. Sonic Mania is already going to be one of the best video games in history when this is said and done. A fitting Happy Birthday gift to myself!