Months ago, I was idling in the #onigiri IRC channel that I frequent when I saw a message directed to me. Acy, the wacky channel throw-rug with chickens on the brain, left a single link in the otherwise quiet chatroom: “bokmaren revenge ovo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuuKt7GiCew.” I watched the video and simply laughed at this pathetic excuse for a “revenge” towards me (for what, I am not certain). Little did I know at the time just how completely it would infect my life.
The video contained a “how to draw” video of an extremely derpy Sonic the Hedgehog while an extremely distorted and clipped version of the music found in Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Green Hill Zone level played in the background. At the very end of the video, the “artist” writes “come on, step it up!” in a profound display of broken spelling, butchering an already somewhat corny sounding catch-phrase from Sonic.
As life would go on, I would find the siren's song of SANIC HEGEHOG playing in my head. Paradoxically, this fascination with the video turned to admiration, and finally adoration as I began to understand the profoundness of Sanic. As I began to browse related Youtube videos to see what else had been "Sanic'd" with his presence, I would share my findings with my friend Balance. Maybe it was the sheer ridiculousness of the video. Maybe it was how accurately the broken Sonic drawing and music captured the essence of the prepubescent Sonic fanbase. Regardless, our Skype sessions late at night would often devolve into sharing Sanic videos (some of which had a surprising amount of effort put in them just to showcase "Sanic Hegehog"). Oftentimes we would draw our own Sanics. We spread Sanic to our friends in real life. Finally, I decided to perform the masterstroke: I would introduce Sanic to complete strangers using a cunning plan where no one would realize what is happening until it is too late.
As I was flying back from a medical school interview, I was thinking about one of the activities that they made us do. As part of the interview, they had us explain a picture to our partner so that they would draw it without seeing the original-- the interest to the interviewers being the participants' patience and perseverance during the task. With a time limit of 10 minutes, it was difficult to have a picture replicated in this manner without it looking deformed in some way.
That got me thinking... what if I repeated this activity, but had people try and draw Sonic the Hedgehog? As the images of people unknowingly drawing Sanic filled my mind, a plan began to form in my head. As president of one of the pre-medical organizations at my school, I would have people engage in this activity for the sole purpose of watching them mess up the drawing and ending up with Sanic instead. I would have to disguise this event somehow-- since this was something that I had encountered during a medical school interview, I decided to brand the activity as "interview practice." As I grew more and more excited about the prospect of having people unknowingly draw Sanics (and being inevitably taken aback at how their drawing would look in comparison to the real Sonic drawing), I decided to slowly inject more and more "Sanic" into my "event."
First off, I decided to pad the "Sanic interview" with more types of interviews to better distinguish the event as a means to improve one's interview skills (and ultimately turned it into a full-fledged mock medical school interview day). Having done this, I decided to push the envelope a little bit and see if I could start referring to the event as the "Sanic Event" without being too obvious. While it was a bit of a stretch, I officially named the event as our Simulated and Normalized Interview Center or SANIC for short because the name was "too long to type out." As I slowly eased the acronym into circulation, before I knew it, my officers and club members were casually using the term to refer to the event, often causing me to have to stifle my laughter since I would always think of Sanic Hegehog.
I wasn't ready to stop there. I decided to make up a mock "medical school" that the interviewers in the event would be "working for," seemingly to add realism to the experience that members were interviewing for medical school. In reality, I wanted an excuse to make up a sanicy-sounding university name so that I could stamp its logo and seal on all event documents. After careful deliberation, I eventually came up with a plausible sounding name: The University of San Icarus, abbreviated SAN IC. An added bonus to this abbreviation was the fact that at this point I had confused the issue as to why our event was called "Sanic" so much that everyone just sort of rolled with it. Since Balance is a graphic designer, I asked him to make a logo and seal for this "university" and he obliged, making them Sanic-colored with pictures of Sanic faintly visible in the background. As a final touch, I requested that the Latin surrounding the "school seal" would read along the lines of "Gotta go fast."
The final and most important task was all that remained-- designing the Sonic picture that people would draw. I had to be careful-- the source image had to be simple enough that they would get close to finishing the drawing, but complex enough that they would not completely draw something else. I decided on a rather simple image of Sonic and kept a few of the lines in tact on the sheet members were to draw their image on. In a completely unintentional twist however (yes really) I accidentally altered the drawing a little bit differently on the paper the person was to draw on and the paper their partner had which showed what lines were already drawn in. Having thoroughly beta-tested the setup on my friends, we were at last ready for the big day.
All in all, the day was a huge success with almost universal positive feedback both from the attendees and the faculty members that helped. The director of the Texas medical school application service had flown in from the state capitol. The director of the pre-health department was present. A number of professors from the university were helping out. Everyone did a great job and everyone got to partake in SANIC. As a last minute addition, I also decided to give two of the interviewers pseudonyms: "Emmi Ross" and "Miles Rower," with appropriately colored name-tags to boot. Perhaps most importantly of all however, the plan for the creation of Sanics succeeded flawlessly. It was an amazing feeling... I dreamt it up, I made it happen.
A few pictures of the event in action-- it was a rather smooth set-up! :
Balance and I chalk this scheme to be an enormously successful one-- a masterfully engineered means to spread Sanic to the masses (while being legitimately helpful at the same time). I cannot be happier with the results, so without further ado, here is the gallery of all collected Sanic drawings, in order of creation: