In some way, every work of art is in conversation with the form it takes, the stories told in pages are aware of both the limits and possibilities of the written word, the photographer selects what to shoot based on what and how their captured moment is processed and produced. With video games, this relation can feel more direct. Many of the early video game makers were coming from adjacent electronic spaces, dominated by lingo of power, speed, and realism.
And so video games were defined by 8-bit vs. 16-bit, advertisement was bragging about things being 2x or 3x something else. This is seen in other forms too, ask an audiophile…but it’s more front and center in gaming. Players are roped up into ways where their allegiance to these benchmarks become identity markers, the console wars, the “PC Master Race.”
It’s in this battleground that Sonic is born. Sonic does not take advantage of the Sega Genesis’ superior processing power relative to the NES, it is that power personified—in the form of speed. His speed is not only vital to the game, it extends beyond it, Sonic’s speed is the Genesis’ and Sega’s speed and power.