Interview with Zezima
A interview with Zezima the current owner and also the founder of the Sonic Community. His forum is part of the top 10 forums that are about the sonic video game series. Read more about the interview below.
1) Could you tell us a bit more about yourself so the readers know who you are? Also what is the story of how you came up with your username “Zezima”? (Mention your asl aswell if you wish.)
Zezima: Not very good talking about myself since I don’t consider myself significant or noteworthy, but I suppose I can try.
I began using the internet around 2003, but I never actually participated in an online community until four years later in 2007. During that year I only joined two sites, the first being Sonic Online, the second being SEGA of America forums, also known as SoA.
I lurked a lot on Sonic Online and in total only made about 20 posts, and my presence wasn’t very well received since I wasn’t very attentive or sensitive to others’ feelings on the matter so I came off as ignorantly enthusiastic. Once I finally got the message that I wasn’t welcome, I turned my efforts towards SoA. Again, I wasn’t the most popular guy for my first thousand or so posts, but there was one user in particular who publicly defended me and said he believed I had potential if others gave me a chance. Once I had read that I promised myself I wouldn’t let that user be proven wrong and disciplined myself to be vastly less of a numb-headed noob.
Time went on, and I stayed very active there for a year, almost two, then things started changing. The users I admired left, the forum software changed, everything I grew familiar with was gone. I couldn’t relate to the site anymore, so I decided to build my own where users could interact amongst themselves free from draconian moderation hassle, or people like my former self who couldn’t hold an intelligible conversation.
When I noticed people actually preferred my site over the official one, I became more and more dedicated to its success, eventually ignoring all other communities save for a select few, and even those I only posted on occasionally.
And here I am today, still working on the site, and still wanting to provide a better environment and atmosphere for discussing Sonic than SoA could. I know this wasn’t really about me, more about my forum history, but I think that’s all that’s relevant or interesting, to me anyway.
As for how I came up with Zezima, it was inspired by the former number one player on RuneScape who went by the same name. Its originality and ease of use appealed to me and I decided to use it, and people often confuse me for the real deal, which is fine by me since I still play it intermittently.
My age, sex, and location are not to be disclosed at this time.
1.1) What was the first Sonic game you played?
Zezima: Sonic 2. It was one of my earliest memories, being about 3 or 4, sitting on the floor in front of my Genesis, model 2, and playing Hill Top Zone. It was such a rush to be able to build up momentum, spin dash, and collect emeralds. It always held my interest.
2) What part of the game got you hooked with playing a lot more of the Sonic series? What attracts you the most to these games?
Zezima: Well once Sonic 2 had impressed itself upon me, SEGA just went on a roll with it. Next came Sonic 3, then Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast, and I liked all of them. Then it got even better when the Dreamcast era came about, and my favorite games of all time were released; Sonic Adventures 1 and 2. It doesn’t get much better after that.
However, their appeal to me from 1991-1999 was their simple, intuitive, yet engaging gameplay. It was obvious who you were, what your objective was, and it was fun doing it. It had universal likability. Anyone of any age could and did play it, it didn’t discriminate. The characters had depth to them despite never speaking a word, and you could sympathize with their cause. Unique environments and objects that immersed you into their world just deepened it.
And the two Adventure games just sealed the deal. They took the concept to 3D and didn’t fail. The only real difference was how you played with certain characters, inclusion of dialogue, and a more convoluted plot as an extension of that. It did its job well; tell a story in an interactive manner while keeping the player both entertained and invested in what’s happening in it. The execution in those respects were flawless.
3) Can you give us a brief introduction about the Sonic games what they are mainly about most of the time? (Type of characters, storyline, etc..)
Zezima: Accidentally answered this in question 2. Oops…
4) It all started with “Sonic the Hedgehog” released in 1991. Isn’t the Sonic series the oldest gaming series in the gaming industry still alive today? If so why do you think that is? Do they keep making good stuff?
Zezima: I’m not exactly a gaming history expert, just an enthusiast, but I’m fairly certain Mario’s been around longer since SEGA invented Sonic as a means of directly challenging Nintendo’s mascot, and succeeding for the better part of a decade. But yes, aside from a few exceptions, Sonic’s one of the oldest surviving franchises, and I think that’s because of what I mentioned earlier about universal appeal.
The character designers said that when they were conceptualizing his image they combined elements from Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse to form his appearance, and tweaked his personality so kids could better relate and look up to him. You can’t go wrong with that formula. You’re already taking iconic recognition and fusing that with the moral compass of a superhero, and leaving the elements that may drive away select demographics out. It’s like pizza. It’s kind of hard to mess that up. Of course I do mean that only in the first half of his career.
5) What makes the games so good ? What is the most important part? (storyline, music, gameplay, etc)
Zezima: I was about to say that I had already inadvertently answered this, but you brought up something I neglected to mention and I think deserves to be touched on. The music. No matter what anyone says about these games, no matter how bad the development or publishing is handled, no one can ever say Sonic’s had a bad soundtrack. With the exception of maybe Sonic 4, whose music is only mediocre at worst, they’ve had an amazingly outstanding track record of sound development. From the very first game to the most recent, they’ve found a way to make some of the most iconic and recognizable scores period. Even if you don’t even like Sonic or have played it, there’s bound to be at least a track or two you’ll still associate with him regardless. And it arguably only got better with the Dreamcast era when they began the inclusion of lyrical pieces. You just can’t beat their arrangements.
6) If you had to rate your self from: 1 being totally not involved or busy with Sonic to 10 fully involved. How much would you give your self from 1/10 and why ?
Zezima: My answer would’ve been very different if this question were asked years ago. But at this time I would rate myself roughly a 7.
I’m moderately involved, but not extensively. This can be attributed to several factors, but I’d say the biggest is the decline in game quality since 2003.
Now, don’t get me wrong, they have been improving since then and are making up for it, but I’m still waiting for the game to blow me away like Sonic Adventure 2 did. To completely enrapture me in a fantasy world that makes me yearn to be a part of it, to wish the characters were real. I haven’t had that effect from a Sonic game since 2002. There were notable installments in the interim, such as Sonic Advance, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Colors, but the others aren’t worth your time unless you’re a casual player who’s not interested in investing a whole lot into story or character development.
I suppose it’s a chain effect. The developers became apathetic about their project, so I guess the consumer, i.e; me, became less interested in it as well. You can tell when someone cares about their work through their attention to detail, and Sonic Adventure 2 epitomized how far they could go with their dedication. And then there’s the other side… Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). It was rushed, perhaps no fault of their own, yet, still released to the public knowing it was unfit for play. That showed, at least in that instance, that they valued profit over art. I can’t speak for SEGA directly, but if I were in charge, I wouldn’t have released it no matter how much it cost me, because it would’ve cost me a lot more if I had anyway; my integrity.
I wouldn’t want to release a product knowing it was a subpar and neither should they. I took offense to this aggressive and avarice driven marketing and sort of disassociated myself with SEGA temporarily. Once I noticed they became apologetic for this fact, with games like Generations and Colors, it began the slow healing and forgiving process. They still haven’t completely regained their footing, but they’re showing effort again, and that’s at least a start, and at most respectable.
But yeah, back in the day I was easily a 10. Every game, every cartoon, every comic book, every day.
7) How many games have been made in total of the Sonic series? Can you name them, and tell us which one is most popular?
Zezima: Ah this is a question I used to ask myself quite often when I was younger and more involved. At the time I counted roughly 53 unique Sonic games, but that was quite a while back and I’m sure the number’s much higher now, though I know I can’t give you an accurate figure, it’s somewhere between 60 and 100, that much I’m sure of. As for naming them? Well, I’m too lazy to go look up a chronological list, so I’ll go off memory here:
- Sonic 2
- Sonic 3
- Sonic & Knuckles
- Sonic CD
- Sonic Spinball
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Knuckle’s Chaotix
- Tails Adventure
- Tails Sky Patrol
- Sonic Blast
- Sonic 3D Blast
- Sonic Labyrinth
- Sonic Drift
- Sonic Drift 2
- Sonic R
- Sonic Jam
- Sonic Eraser
- Waku Waku Patrol
- Sonic Shuffle
- Sonic Adventure
- Sonic Adventure 2
- Sonic Advance
- Sonic Advance 2
- Sonic Advance 3
- Sonic Heroes
- Sonic and the Secret Rings
- Sonic and the Black Knight
- Mario & Sonic at the Olympics Games (insert year here)
- Sonic & SEGA (insert sport here)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
- Sonic Generations
- Sonic Colors
- Shadow the Hedgehog
And that’s about all I can remember without any references, in order of what I thought of first.
By consensus, Sonics 1-3&Knuckles and CD are the most popular pre-1999 Sonic games, and Sonic Adventure 1 & 2, Advance, Colors, and Generations are the most popular post-1999. And the most popular from what I’ve seen across the spectrum of many communities is without a doubt Sonic Adventure 2. Sonic 2 a close second, it seems.
8.) Other then playing Sonic games what other video games do you like to play as well?
Zezima: Good games. I know that sounds a bit condescending or elitist of me, but it’s what I play. It’s been proven to me that irregardless of its genre or what it’s meant to be, if care is taken in its production, it’ll be good. For example, I hate puzzle games, I don’t typically find them enjoyable, I’d rather not play them given a choice. And yet games like Portal, and to a far lesser extent, God of War, were able to implement the puzzle elements without taking away the entertainment of completing it.
And the reverse also holds true. There are certain genres I have a natural proclivity towards, and when done wrong, even I can’t force myself to enjoy them. I really like racing games the most, second would be platforming/adventure games. I’ve gone out of my way to get racing games despite negative reception by others just to try it myself, and there have been letdowns, but since I like them a lot more than other types of games, I’m more tolerant of it. Yet, if it’s apparent there wasn’t real attention given to it, I have to turn away from it. Sonic being no exception.