Sonic Mania, the newest addition to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, was recently released and it’s a nostalgia dream trip! As a longtime fan of the series, I was pumped to finally see it return to its roots by going back to a 2D platform. It looks, sounds and plays just like the old Sonic games from the Genesis era. Most levels are from various Sonic the Hedgehog games and are almost identical, including the music. One zone may be from Sonic 1, while the next zone could be from Sonic 3 or Sonic CD. The inside geek screams for me were over 9000, as just playing it made me feel like a kid again. It’s not even that hard a game. The only spots I struggled in were the Oil Ocean boss and getting the Chaos Emeralds.
When you begin a new game, you can select which character you want to play with. Your choices are between Sonic, Tails or Knuckles. When you pick Sonic and Tails together, the player controls Sonic while the game has Tails follow you around. He’s not much help at all since he just tries to copy but sometimes fails. Tails is never perfect though, and since Sonic can move pretty fast, he usually can’t keep up. What ends up happening is that he will get crushed by something or just be way behind, so he will fly in using his twin tails as a little helicopter. In the game’s lore, comics, anime and other media, Tails is like Sonic’s number one fan. Not only does he follow him everywhere, he is just awe-struck by what he can do. He is obsessed with Sonic as the hero who saves the day.
Even though he can’t keep up, Tails doesn’t mind because he’s spending time with the most important person in the world to him. Just like an apprentice who follows around the master, Tails is being trained through experience on how to become a super fast savior to others. Sonic may leave him in the dust, but they are always fighting together. It’s like an internship, except you are stopping evil genius doctors from turning harmless animals into ruthless machines.
Learning from others while out in the field, to me, is the best method of gaining experience. There’s just nothing like going through the obstacles, struggles, and difficult to solve problems while you are in the middle of it all. As a teacher, I’ve learned more while actually being in the classroom and dealing with issues on the spot than the years I had in college. One thing is to read about how to handle a class in a textbook, and then being with 20 or more students and trying to figure out how to keep the peace and teach a lesson. A few days of on the job experience is more valuable than weeks of reading.
Whether it’s a job or some other setting, life doesn’t always have clear-cut answers. It could be questions about God, the Bible, marriage, friendships, money, health or something else, the ideal solution is often not present. When I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and try to figure out my own life, that’s when I seem to make the most progress. Tails is much better off following Sonic around, bumbling about or getting attacked by enemies than watching his mentor from a computer screen or reading about him. There is a lot that can be learned from things like books, videos, or other media, but nothing beats just being in the middle of the battle and figuring it out.
When I watch Tails making all his mistakes during my playthrough of Sonic Mania, it got me thinking how many times I’ve messed up in my own decisions. I prefer to just tackle the problem and get it done, right that moment! Sometimes, I end up not concerning myself with what others might think or the negative effects. I can be a little extreme at times–even I notice it–but there are times when talking isn’t enough. It’s better to work out our faith and just take some risk.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?