Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone LEGO Set

I loved playing with LEGOs, the same as so many other kids growing up in the early/mid-90s. Many childhood memories were forged focusing intently on a LEGO set for hours either following step-by-step instructions or simply attempting to create something purely with the power of one’s imagination…which sometimes yielded satisfactory results. LEGOs were even prominent in social aspects as the first friend I ever made as a kid was due to the two of us routinely finding our way to the same blue bucket of LEGOs in kindergarten and throughout elementary school my classmates and I would sit around the lunchroom table and talk about which LEGO sets we were going to try and beg our parents for as a birthday or Christmas present. I can still remember a Lunchables promotion with a chance to win a set of the new UFO LEGO sets(shortly after the nacho and taco Lunchables were released, which is in no way relevant to anything.) My favorite LEGO theme back then was the Ice Planet sets, which were sci-fi vehicles and bases with a contrasting black/white/blue color scheme combined with an assortment of awesome-looking translucent orange for some of the helmet visors and tools. A close second would be the UFO theme, which much like the Ice Planet sets, were the coolest things on the whole goddamn planet at the time(to 10 year old me, anyway.) I admittedly haven’t spent as much time(or money) on LEGOs in my adult years, though I have still managed to pick up a few smaller Star Wars sets I would assemble at my desk during slow work days.

On a weekend shopping trip before Christmas, I spent a few minutes looking around at the LEGO store and, while I was able to show a respectable amount of self control and leave with only spending a few dollars, I definitely wanted to pick up quite a few sets, particularly some video game-related ones – LEGO NES, Atari 2600 or Tallneck(Horizon: Zero Dawn). A week or so later, during a random conversation with my wife, we were discussing which LEGOs we remembered having as kids and we came up with the idea of buying a set to assemble together. Knowing that I’d been in the middle of a rough spot when it comes to blogging, my wife suggested that I use this an opportunity to try something a little different for a blog post as we relived some childhood memories. It was a few weeks ago that I came across the Sonic the Hedgehog set – another one I’d looked at during my trip to the LEGO store, while doing some random Amazon browsing and decided to go ahead and buy it.

The Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone set is taken straight from the game and includes a LEGO Sonic, Dr. Eggman, Crabmeat, Moto Bug and set of Chaos Emeralds. The entire set contains 1125 pieces, which didn’t take nearly as long to put together as I’d assumed and probably took my wife and I around 4 hours or so to complete as we sat in our living room listening to the soundtrack from various Sonic games. Each section of the assembly process was contained in its own bag, which I will be referring to as ‘Zones’ because…Sonic.

Zone 1

The first step was pretty simple: assembling Crabmeat and the small square of terrain that would serve as the starting point for the level as the entire set was laid out in such a way that your assembly progress went from left to right just as the Green Hill Zone in the games. We were able to clear Zone 1 pretty…fast(I’m not sorry) and then it was on to Zone 2.

Zone 2

Zone 2 was another relatively simple stage of the assembly process. It was comprised of putting together the small bridge over the gap in terrain and connecting it to the starting point. It was cool to see the familiar checkered two-tone brown pattern start to take place; 99% of this was done by piecing together the small squares in alternating spaces and my fingers definitely began to feel the effects of being multiple decades older than when I routinely did this.

Zone 3

We started to see things continue to take shape in Zone 3, where we finally got to assemble the trademark Green Hill Zone loop-de-loop before connecting to the rest of the larger terrain. Each section also contained another Chaos Emerald to be added to Sonic’s small display stand. Sonic 3 is the only game I can honestly recall collecting all the Chaos Emeralds…

Zone 4

Now we’re getting to some fun stuff. Zone 4 saw us assembling the red spring button, which sadly does not make the sound effect, so I had to rely on my imagination for that one. There was also some more…<sigh> small pieces to be put together and obsessively straightened in the checkered pattern to expand the terrain. Moto Bug also made its first appearance in Zone 4 and those small “horn” pieces were much tougher to straighten than I would have liked.

Zone 5

Nearing the finish line! Most of the time spent in this zone was attaching the rings to transparent pieces and adding them to the back side of the set to give the appearance of being suspended midair. It was also time to piece together the checkpoint marker – again, sound effect not included and a couple of item boxes. The LEGO set does include five interchangeable faceplates for the item boxes – 1up, power sneakers, super ring, invincibility, and shield, which was a nice touch. Moto Bug was also moved above the loop once the small riser was finished.

Zone 6

Final stage! Nothing left to do here but face off against Robotn…uh, Dr. Eggman. For not being the biggest section of the entire set, this actually took us quite a while to assemble as missed step meant having to take apart and then reassemble part of Dr. Eggman’s torso. Another obstacle in the process was discovering that a couple of the pieces needed were missing, which meant having to dig through some of the spare pieces to compensate. Not a big deal as they’re not visible while Sonic’s nemesis is securely seated in his Eggmobile. Zone 6 cleared. Green Hill Zone set complete.

GGs everyone. We did it.

It was a lot of fun putting this set together. I’ve been on somewhat of a Sonic kick lately and this certainly didn’t help me wanting to go through and play a bunch of Sonic games…or spend even more money on even bigger LEGO sets. I guess the only thing left to do now is turn on the PS5 and finally start Sonic Frontiers, huh?

Thanks for reading!

My Games of 2022

It’s already a few weeks into the new year, but that doesn’t mean I’m too late to post that completely mandatory, yet arbitrary list as a blogger – My Games of the Year. I played a number of different games over the course of the year, but if I had to denote any one thing that defined 2022 for me it would be *FROM SOFTWARE GAMES*. According to my 2022 PlayStation Wrap Up, 55% of my time spent playing games on my PS4/PS5 can be attributed to four games – Elden Ring, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Dark Souls: Remastered, and Bloodborne. As the “Omnivore” in the site name should indicate, I do typically distribute my gaming time across multiple consoles, old and new. So, I’ve also included a handful of games that I really enjoyed over the past year; ones that Hidetaka Miyazaki had no involvement in.

Ready? Ok. Cool. Here’s a couple special mentions before proceeding with the full list…

Special Mention(s)

For as many hours as I devoted to playing video games in 2022, there’s still a few games that were released in the latter months of the year that, while I really enjoyed what I played, don’t feel like I spent enough time on them to provide an educated opinion just yet. This list includes, but is not limited to…

  • God of War: Ragnarök
  • Pokémon Violet
  • Mario+Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

Dark Souls: Remastered

2022 firmly established my FromSoft Era, so I might as well begin this list here. After playing through Elden Ring and returning to Yharnam for another playthrough of Bloodborne, I decided to do something I’d been meaning to do for years – play AND complete Dark Souls. I began my journey to re-kindle the First Flame mid-July and spent the next two months slowly but surely making progress before finishing the game in September. I feel like there’s so much I could say about the game that I’d need multiple blog posts to come close to saying everything. Do I feel like the gameplay itself vibes with me as much as something like Elden Ring or Sekiro? No, but there’s still something truly special in the way Dark Souls establishes it’s story and lore that extends deeper than the Abyss, along with some exceptional level design *chefs kiss*. It feels like there’s some new aspect of the game that I discover on a near-daily basis.

Wario World

I actually first played Wario World years ago, shortly after it was first released in 2003 but never really played much of it. I had been wanting to return to the game for some time, but copies of it have begun to appear less and less often around town as GameCube games have skyrocketed in demand(and price). I was able to pick up a decent copy of the game this past year and finally played through the entire game. Wario World is a very solid adventure/platformer with some cool levels and boss fights. It’s an underrated title in the GameCube’s library and a shame that more people haven’t played it.

Dragon Quest III

It was this time last year when I somewhat randomly decided to play Dragon Quest III. I say “somewhat” as I had finished up the main story and endgame content in DQ XI the previous summer and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to go back and play some of the older games in the series. I spent roughly 50 hours over the next couple weeks glued to my Switch throughout the day, venturing forth as legendary hero, Erdrick. I usually describe Dragon Quest as a “meat and potatoes JRPG” in they maybe don’t exhibit the stylized flash of something like Persona or other modern JRPGs, but there’s something still satisfying to lose yourself(and countless hours) playing. I’m even more excited to see Square’s HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest III…hopefully in 2023?

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Ok, so…Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice *did* actually appear on my list of favorite 2019 games a few years ago. I debated on whether or not the game should be excluded from the list, but ultimately decided that it *is* one of the games that defined my 2022, so it’s goddamn well gonna have spot on this subjective-as-hell list. I’ve mentioned in the past how Sekiro is a game that I really, really liked, but could never manage to complete; I felt like I just couldn’t get the combat down. It was the past August and I had been getting my ass kicked in Dark Souls, so I decided(impulsively, of course) to see if the faster, block/counter combat of Sekiro would be the change of pace that I needed. I’m not sure what it was that changed this time around, but the combat finally began to click for me and once I finally beat Genichiro at Ashina Castle, I felt a strange sensation: confidence. I felt like I could actually make significant progress in the game and handle the obstacles the game would throw at me. I ended up beating Sekiro nearly four entire times before finally getting the platinum trophy and the closest thing to a sense of accomplishment in some time. It’s since become my “other” favorite From Software game alongside Bloodborne and one of the most memorable experiences of this past year.

TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

Having grown up during the height of “Turtlemania” and TMNT being my very first obsession as a kid, Shredder’s Revenge being included on this list seemed likely before the game was even released. I was very, very excited to see what DOTEMU would do with the spiritual successor to Turtles In Time, which is still one my top 5 SNES games. I feel like Shredder’s Revenge easily lived up to my expectations as it retained everything I loved about the old TMNT games of the early 90’s as well as adding some much-appreciated modern touches.

My impressions of TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Kirby and the Forgotten Land was immediately intriguing to me in that it looked a bit like Super Mario Odyssey, but with the pink puffball in place of Nintendo’s mustachioed mascot. I played the demo before the game was released and, yup…I liked it. I got to experience the full game upon playing it just a few months ago, and I liked it even more. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has such an innocent charm and sense of fun that made it nearly impossible not to smile while playing, at least not until the end of the game, which like so many other Kirby games, go all-out in the final act.

Dark Souls 3

Having embarked on a quest make my way through all of the Souls games this past year after finishing up Elden Ring, I began playing Dark Souls III in the final weeks of 2022. I had heard relatively little about Dark Souls III other than that it sounded like it was to be a slightly more linear experience as you would simply move from one region to the next rather than criss-crossing the map like the first Dark Souls. I watched my wife play through the game while I was working on collecting the last few trophies in Sekiro and was near-instantly sold on some of the game’s spectacular boss fights – the final two alone are easily among my favorite FromSoft boss battles. The combat in Dark Souls III feels much more fast-paced than previous Dark Souls game and felt much more like Bloodborne, which I GREATLY APPRECIATE. I was also really interested in the way the game’s story was centered *almost entirely* around the passing of time and the inevitable close to every chapter of life, which is incredibly self-aware for the third installment in an acclaimed series such as Dark Souls.

Death’s Door

Death’s Door feels like if you were to combine the gameplay and puzzles of a Zelda game with some of the quiet, introspective tone of Ori and the Blind Forest and Hollow Knight. I played through the game via GamePass at the beginning of 2022 and immediately fell in love with the game’s heart and straightforward, yet satisfying gameplay. I even bought the PS5 version afterwards with the intent of getting the platinum trophy.

Vampire Survivors

How It Started: “This indie game I saw on Twitter looks interesting, I think I’ll give it a try”

How It’s Going: “This may be one of the most simple, yet addictive games I’ve played in the past few years. I love the fusion of roguelite and bullet hell elements. Easily one of my favorite games I played in 2022.”

Elden Ring

Well, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Elden Ring was finally released this past February and it was impossible to spend any amount of time online and NOT hear about the game. I was pretty confident that I was gonna like the game, but honestly didn’t foresee it consuming my entire life(and destroying my sleep schedule) the way it did. I feel like there’s an almost endless amount of things I could say about Elden Ring regarding the epic boss fights(Malenia, Radahn), massive open world full of places to die explore(catacombs filled with fanged imps or mechanical chariots), or the astoundingly dense world-building and lore contained within(Marika? Fingers?). When I wasn’t *playing* Elden Ring, I was talking about it as my wife and I would spend considerable amounts of time discussing the game, posting screenshots and clips, or simply sharing in the abundance of memes to be found online platforms. When it comes to games released in 2022, it’s been Elden Ring and Vampire Survivors…and then everything else.

What were *your* favorite games of 2022?

Thanks for reading!