RocketJump has posted a new video game mashup video today that takes characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe and meshes it with the world of Shadow of the Colossus. The end result is a video game mashup you never thought you needed in your life, at least if you’re fans of both of the iconic gaming franchises that are featured.
Also, you can read the equally provocative artist statement from the creators, which is embedded below. This is the Internet my friends, welcome.
ARTIST STATEMENT: By juxtaposing Shadow of the Colossus with Shadow the Hedgehog, this piece asks the viewer to think critically about the elements that identify a piece as “high art.” This challenge to the viewer becomes something of a “Hard Mode” itself given the history of Sonic art as avatar. Derived from the Hindu avatāra, the term originally referred to the earthly manifestation of a deity. Now we are the deities, manifesting inside our favorite virtual worlds as customized “avatars.” These digital bodies follow our every command, as long as that command is part of the limited subset deigned useful by the game’s creators. With this in mind, one could see how Sonic became such a powerful symbol for many young game players, his top speed of 2887 miles per hour unlocking a sensation unavailable to the human experience prior. Contrast this with the original hero of SotC, Wander, a young man with supra-human climbing prowess and dramatically less fan art on Tumblr. The excess of Sonic “folk art,” specifically works that place the artist in the hedgehog’s iconic red shoes, betrays the importance of wish-fulfillment and power fantasies in modern video games.* Does this need to make the viewer feel powerful come at the expense of a more powerful experience? Can the viewer separate themselves from the siren call of becoming Shadow the Hedgehog to think critically about his role in the alien world of Shadow of the Colossus? Perhaps only then can the viewer meditate on the larger question lingering in the shadows: “Are video games art?” *Had he lived four more years to see Sonic’s rise alongside a new medium, it is not inconceivable that pop culture artist, Andy Warhol, celebrating the cartoon hedgehog as a figure of masculine power, in stark counterpoint to his Marilyn Monroe series.
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