Naka: Sonic / Eggman One of “First Ecological Messages” in Gaming

Naka: Sonic / Eggman One of “First Ecological Messages” in Gaming

by October 14, 2010

Explains Deeper Message of Long Standing Rivalry

From time to time, this site is mocked on the basis of taking you beyond the surface of a story, trying to explain what it means in varying contexts.  So a pleasant surprise came when, via an interview on ThisIsMyJoystick.com, we learned the core fabric of Sonic’s relationship with nemesis Dr. Robotnik–or Eggman–rests on a key, ongoing eco-political topic: the deteriorating environment.

Yuji Naka was asked in the piece why Eggman is the only human constantly in-game.  The response given was that he is ultimately a reflection of all of us:

Dr. Robotnik is a slightly radical representation of all humanity and the impact humanity is having on nature. In 1991, it was a very sensitive subject to talk about the environment and while I had my viewpoint, I did not speak of it. With Sonic, I was given an opportunity to express my views in a different way and did so, showing Robotnik using pollution and creating machinery which desecrates the environment and it is down to Sonic to change his ways.

[….]

LJ: This was an early ecological message in games. I picked that up from the way Sonic collects cute animals at the end of the levels.

Yes, one of the first ecological messages in a video game I believe.

That’s right–the core Sonic/Eggman relationship and the heart of the game’s objectives stem from something with social, ecological, and even political ramifications for all of us.

The interview can be read in full at the link cited above.