Update: Unlimited Hyperbole is no longer available. There are two episodes preserved by the Thief community on Youtube which are linked in the episode index, however other episodes have since been lost to time.
PC Gamer’s Chris Thursten is a man fascinated by horror, having played every scary game you can imagine and writing a dissertation on HP Lovecraft for his English Degree at Oxford University. So, it’s a little surprising to hear him start this episode by admitting Sonic The Hedgehog 2 terrified him as a child. How could anyone be scared of that green-grassed, blue-skied classic?
In sharing scare stories from titles such as BioShock, Team Fortress 2 and Home Alone, Chris explains why he believes the root of anxiety lies in our inability to control situations, the societal role of horror and why he’s been fascinated by fear for so long.
Unlimited Hyperbole is a weekly podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a topic that’s used as a prompt when interviewing special guests. This season we’re talking about “Fear Itself” – but for more information about the podcast itself, read after the jump.
This may simultaneously be both my favourite and most infuriating episode of the show yet. I love it because of the sheer amount and weirdness of each of Chris’ stories – which is what the series is supposed to focus on, obviously. But it winds me up because Chris had so much else to say which got cut out in the editing process – but maybe we can share more of his thoughts on Amnesia, Silent Hill and HP Lovecraft in the future…
One of the other reasons I like this episode is because there’s a weird little twist in it. When I was putting the episode together I wanted to double-special-triple-sure check the story behind Rankles. There obviously isn’t such a character in Sonic 2, but might Rankles’ inspiration have come from a genuine rumour and not a dream of a rumour?
After doing some online research, I turned to Summer of Sonic organiser and all-round-cool-bean, Svend Joscelyne to see if he knew anything. I described Rankles loosely – a green version of Sonic who was hidden very deeply in specifically Sonic 2.
Amazingly, he said that not only was there a rumour of such a thing, but that it did exist. A green and black version of Sonic that fans had actually called Ashura. It was technically a graphics glitch that could only be uncovered using debug mode, but was at the time considered to be a secret character by some fans.
I checked with Chris, who said he’d never heard of Ashura and that definitely wasn’t the same as Rankles, but the fact that even one similarity between the dream and reality exists is still amazing. In Chris’ words: “WHAT A TWIST!”
Thanks to Svend Joscelyne