The Apparent and Inherent Lack of Logical Casino Management Decisions in Sonic the Hedgehog 2


Most levels in Sonic the Hedgehog games (and I’m strictly talking about the first two because those are the only two that matter) make sense, or, as much sense as a game starring a blue hedgehog that runs really fast on two legs can make. You’re either outdoors, underwater, in a factory that produces nothing but fire, etc. But something always bothered me about Casino Night, a game-of-chance themed level from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. It’s a gigantic outdoor casino, so they already broke the first rule of casinos – gamblers need to forget that the outside exists. There are pinball plungers and flippers all over the place, no one’s taking my drink order, and I’m fighting robot crabs. The only available games in Casino Night are two-story tall slot machines, which I can play by curling myself into a ball and throwing myself INTO them.  If I win, gold rings are thrown at me, and if I lose I’m pelted with spiky balls. This casino kind of sucks!

Why was this casino built, and who’s supposed to be gambling here? My first thought was Dr. Robotnik, the evil egg-guy that hates Sonic for whatever reason. After a long day of turning chipmunks and bunny rabbits into robot monstrosities, who doesn’t like to unwind with a few thousand rounds of slots? But what’s the point of gambling in a casino that you built for yourself and winning or losing your own money from yourself? Hey, three bars! I won 100 gold rings, I guess? I can’t do math, but it doesn’t sound like Casino Night is ever going to turn a profit. Plus, Dr. Robotnik can barely walk, and the only way to play slots in this cockamamie casino is to jump into an oversized slot machine. Here’s a real world comparison – Larry Flynt spends $150 billion building the world’s deepest swimming pool, rolls his wheelchair over the edge and drowns. I regret everythgurgle gurgle gurgle.

So, this wasn’t some casino paradise built by Dr. Robotnik for Dr. Robotnik. And it can’t be for his henchemen because they can’t jump, and jumping is necessary for both gambling and navigating this casino. I’m forced to believe that Dr. Robotnik built this casino solely to torture Sonic by throwing his gambling addiction in his face.

That’s pretty low. Like that level in Mega Dana Plato Adventure World III where the mini boss is a giant pill that spits out smaller pills, and the smaller pills shoot streams of alcohol down her little 8-bit throat. It’s sick, and no matter how much I love videogames based on the world of Diff’rent Strokes, I feel dirty every time I play it. Don’t get me started on Mr. Horton‘s bicycle shop level.

Maybe Casino Night doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s like a mixture of Leaving Las Vegas and Groundhog’s Day… a drunken nightmare that Sonic must live through day after day until he realises that he can conquer his addiction by running really fast and jumping on shit. If that’s the case, then Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was like 5 or 6 years ahead of its time. If that isn’t the case (and let’s face facts here, this totally isn’t the case) then the makers of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have no idea how to run a casino, and I want to be removed from their Casino Night mailing list immediately. I’ll keep my ringtone though.

Links to make you thinks.

The 90's are back! Let's do heroin and star in Empire Records.

- Boy 8-Bit – The Keep.  I always said that if I had a projector and a stationary bicycle, I would rear-project Wolfenstein 3D behind me and tour-de-france my way through level after level to an infectious chip-tune beat. Thankfully, Boy 8-Bit has the tools and the technology to make this happen. Happy 4/21.

- The 120 Minutes Archive.  Hey remember the 80’s and 90’s? There used to be this channel named Music Television (MTV) and they had blocks of airtime dedicated to music videos. The hip hop kids had Yo! MTV Raps, the Pantera-loving meth addicts had Headbanger’s Ball and the indoor flannel kids had 120 Minutes. The 120 Minutes Archive is a collection of playlists and their respective videos. You just have to provide your own Kurt Loder interludes and commercials for Aeon Flux and it’s like you’re magically transported to my bedroom 15 years ago. Jesus, this song was everywhere and still makes me want to hack the planet.

– Q: Hey Bill Cosby, just what do you eat for breakfast? The answer may surprise you. If you’ve never eaten breakfast before. Bonus answer - CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR BREAKFAST.

- ESP Training. A few week ago I talked about Dr. Peter Venkman’s ESP case study, and now there’s an iPhone app that lets you test yourself using strikingly similar methods. My ESP told me this app would exist one day, and now I’m kicking myself for not creating it. Zero follow through.

Lollapalooza’s 1994 Lineup Reviewed by Jim DeRogatis

Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun Times  is the greatest music troll in the history of music trolling.  Lollapalooza’s 2010 lineup was officially unveiled today, and Jim is here to arbitrarily assign star ratings to bands he’s never heard of and tell you how much your music sucks.  Gogol Bordello is a jam band, ok guys?  Wolfmother puts the “head bang” in “head bang.”  But this isn’t the first time he’s done this!  Check out this article he wrote in 1994, skewering the Lolla lineup and cementing his place in history as the music critic for people who don’t listen to music.

Lollapalooza’s 1994 Lineup Reviewed

by Jim DeRogatis

Well, it’s April of 1994, and I just received the list of the piss-poor headliners for this year’s Lollapalooza. Oh how I yearn for the golden summer days of 1990, when Lollapalooza didn’t exist.  Here’s what Perry Farrell has in store for us this year (picture me saying pssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh in a really biting way right now):

The Smashing Pumpkins – The sonic dreamscape shoe-gaze metal bangers will float down from heaven on a golden chariot of nihilism and underground “cred.”  And by “cred” I mean “credentials.”  Or “credit?” Whatever, I wish 4 Non Blondes were headlining instead. 

Beastie Boys – The bratty Brooklyn pranksters are back! Hopefully they can recapture the magic of their famed License to Ill tour, complete with giant inflatable penises and drunken shenanijinks.  Instead, they’ll probably ask us to free Tibet (like I don’t have enough on my plate already). 

George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars – More like Bill Clinton and the A-Gore Funkmonsters.  Also, have you heard about Pulp Fiction?  John Travolta is playing a bad guy!  What is this, Welcome Back Kotter?  I mean seriously.  Seriously.

The Breeders – Pixies ripoff. 

A Tribe Called Quest – These are the Shaolin Monks that I’ve been hearing so much about right?  With the bright orange robes?  Classic stuff. 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Are we really still paying attention to what Nick Cave has to say?  The Birthday Party (or as they were originally known [and I still call them] The Boys Next Door) was like 20 years ago.  Just play Red Right Hand in front of the toilets because

Nirvana (rumored) – Seattle yucksters will be serving up indecipherable lyrics with a side order of ear-melting feedback.  Then they’ll (thankfully) trash their instruments and sulk off the stage.

L7 – These handsome fellas sure know how to bring the noise.  Smell the Magic?  More like Smell the Chorizos, which is what I’ll be doing while I eat chorizos instead of watching L7 do whatever it is they do.  (strictly for the chorizos)

The Green Days – Punk rock innovators The Green Days will be taking the stage… if they decide to show up!  That would be so punk rock of them to not show up!  Expect songs about masturbation and piercings (if they show up).  Oi oi oi! 

Other bands that you should give a sideways glance towards on your way to the merch booth to pick up a Lollapalooza foam finger –

Yeah, that’s right.  None of them.  If you somehow wind up accidentally attending Lollapalooza in 1994, you’d be better off finding a shady spot, staying there until 1995 and praying for a better lineup.