Help, I Had Sonic Nostalgia and Am Now a Single Father of Two Chao

Splurged on old Sonic games and now I have to take care of small alien children.

In a moment of hype and nostalgia I bought a Steam copy of Sonic Adventure 2 and folks, I might’ve fucked up. The game was the first in the series my family got into when I was a small elementary school student, and it was good because my brother was a fan of Sonic and I was a fan of Shadow, so having two stories and a multiplayer mode to race each other with our favorite hedgehog kept us busy for a long, long time.

Upon seeing the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, I knew I wanted to play a Sonic game, but definitely one that let me play as Shadow, as I was pretty miffed he was not in the film. I initially landed on Team Sonic Racing, as it was on Switch, relatively cheap, and would let me play as all my favorite characters, even if it wasn’t a traditional Sonic platformer. It’s fine. It’s fun enough. But upon doing some research I found out Sonic Adventure 2 was available on Steam for a whopping $2.49. I don’t have a gaming PC, but my laptop could surely run a Dreamcast game, right?

So I threw down the $2.49 and quickly Googled how to use a PlayStation 4 controller on Steam because keyboard controls and platformers do not mix. Then I played through a game that was rougher than I remember (it’s almost 20 years old at this point), but mostly fine. I’ve come to realize the game I really want to play is Sonic Heroes, but getting that on a modern system is a pain because the PC version isn’t available anywhere digitally that I can find and I don’t own anything that can play my GameCube copy. But even if I could play Heroes, I would end up feeling a major sense of digital guilt because I know if I go play anything other than Sonic Adventure 2 right now I won’t be able to tend to my new alien children: the Chao.

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Chao are a kind of virtual pet that exists in various Sonic games, and Sonic Adventure 2 lets you, as any of its six playable characters, walk around a garden with them, feed them, raise them, and feel the weight of responsibility on your shoulders for the well-being of another creature when you originally just signed up to go fast on loop-de-loops.

I currently have two Chao to take care of named Choc and Pebbles. I didn’t pick these names, a fortune teller did. Every time I go through a level I collect cute animals and upgrades for my Chao, which I bring back to their garden to raise their stats and change their appearances. Isn’t there a plot to take over the world to get back to? Yeah, but Shadow can go back to that at anytime. Right now, these perfect little devils (their appearance is influenced by which characters take care of them, and since I’m playing as Shadow when I visit, they become mean little devils) are his biggest priority.

 

I have found myself so smitten with these alien babies that I can’t make myself play through the Hero story and see the rest of the game through. How can I play as Sonic’s basic ass when Choc and Pebbles need to be fed, taken to school, and apparently engage in karate matches? If Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles so much as breathes in the Chao garden, how do I know their heroic sensibilities won’t turn them into angels instead of the devils I have been so diligently raising them to be?

Not only is this affecting my ability to progress through the game, it’s affecting my ability to play other games. Team Sonic Racing has a story mode, and I haven’t been able to touch it because my free time is being spent making sure these aliens don’t drown in the pool because they don’t have high enough swim stats. But this is what happens when you become a parent. It’s no longer about what you want, it’s about what they need.

Should’ve just bought an old GameCube or Wii and gotten my fix with Sonic Heroes or really put myself through it and played through Shadow the Hedgehog. Now instead of going fast on the track I gotta go at a moderately slow pace so my baby chao can crawl alongside me.

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Kenneth Shepard

Kenneth is a Georgia-based writer who still periodically cries about the Mass Effect trilogy years after it concluded.

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