Sometimes when you’re sitting around with your friend looking for a thing to do, you come across something so incredible that it transcends all expectations as both a concept and an experience.
For Juan and I this afternoon, that something to do was this:
Sonic the Hedgehog. A SEGA Genesis game. From 1991.
Ported to the Apple TV.
As would be expected for an Apple product, this port is actually a general iOS title available on iPhone and iPad as well. On those devices the control schemes are based on virtually imposed joysticks and buttons. To be expected on any sort of iOS port or emulator in my experience.
… Not that I emulate games on my iPhone. I just saw that sort of thing going around a lot back in high school as different people played Pokémon on their phones.
Obviously the Apple TV doesn’t have a touch screen, so that begs the question. How exactly do you control Sonic the Hedgehog using an Apple TV remote?
Spoiler alert. Very. Very badly.
Yeah… This is a thing. Whoever decided to give a platformer swipe-sensitive controls like this is some kind of person.
While the controls are rather atrocious, there are other things about this port that simply baffle me.
For one, the game’s App Store information page suggests that the title is free with in-app purchases. But Juan and I looked through every conceivable place and couldn’t find a single microtransaction.
They didn’t even pull something dirty and offer a continue when you game over for a few bucks. There’s just no in-app purchases.
So why did they advertise them?
Also, when you first load up the game, the first major studio credit after SEGA themselves is Christian Whitehead. Which blew both our minds.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Whitehead is one of the chief members of the team who developed the widely successful Sonic Mania for SEGA for the blue blur’s 25th anniversary. He’s a mega-fan that did such good work with such a passionate interest in the series that he actually got to add onto its canon.
So what was his name doing on a port of the original Sonic game on my Apple TV?
Well as it turns out, porting the original two Sonic games (and Sonic CD) for mobile devices was what got Whitehead recognition in the first place. That work wound up also being available on the Apple TV as you can tell, giving me a perfect transformative end to my day.
In all honesty, as much as I joke about the baffling controls on this hilariously placed port, I might actually keep playing it. Assuming I can get past Marble Garden Zone sometime soon — it’s easily the worst thing in this game and I’ve only seen up to it.
I missed out on being able to play Sonic when it first had its run because I was a Nintendo kid primarily. So it’ll be really cool to go back and experience the original game in the series that has become such a… Controversial mainstay in our popular culture.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even talk about the game as a game on here at some point. We’ll see.
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