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 Summertime Games

As this past week was the 4th of July, I thought it would be fun to write about the games that I associate with summertime. I have made a list of the games that always remind me of those childhood summer days where my brother and I would come back inside, typically from playing baseball in the yard, grab a couple sodas from the fridge and then proceed to play some games during the hottest hours of the afternoon. Beginning with….

All-Star Baseball – “America’s Pastime.” I’ve spent many hours on a variety of baseball games, starting with La Russa Baseball ‘95 on Sega Genesis as a kid and continuing all the way to present day MLB The Show games. It was difficult to name just one baseball game as my favorite, but my most vivid memories are playing the All-Star Baseball games during the summer/fall months on my N64. The games have improved by light years from the simple design of the 16-bit days, and the yearly offering of MLB The Show is still among the games I play most during the summer months. All that time spent playing baseball on N64(and backyard) is nearly inseparable from the idea of summertime.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater – Growing up in the 90’s and into the early 2000’s – before extreme sports games like skateboarding and snowboarding seemingly went extinct, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater helped bring extreme sports into popular culture. I first played THPS the summer of 2000 after a cousin brought a copy of the N64 version over and we spent the day playing. I remember begging persuading my mom to buy my brother and I a copy of the game which spent the rest of the summer obsessively playing. I remember waking up in the morning and my first thought was to try and collect more tapes and unlock more levels. I still have the PS1 version of THPS 1 & 2 that I’ll pop in and play every now and then; the camera and controls by now definitely feel their age, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was a huge game for me during all those summers as a kid and I couldn’t possibly go without mentioning the legendary soundtrack and all of the licensed songs that were used for the games. I dare anyone to listen to ‘Superman’ by Goldfinger and NOT immediately think of THPS…

Mario Golf N64 – I dragged my trusty N64 into my living room a few weeks ago and Mario Golf was one of the first games that I popped in. I spent countless hours with my brother and our neighbor friend trying to unlock all the extra characters by besting them in an 18-hole Match Play, which proved far more challenging as anything else we were playing at the time. The three of us would take turns playing a hole trying to beat Metal Mario and…I don’t think we ever did? The music and sound effects from this game are still as charming as ever and evoke those nostalgic remembrances of summer afternoons(spent in front of the tv). While I’d probably consider the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf to be the best one, the N64 version is my favorite.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – Man…I can’t even imagine the hours that were spent playing Vice City on Playstation 2. I had never played anything like it before. It was THE REASON my brother and I traded in several stacks of games and scraped all the money we had together so we could buy a PS2. Vice City took everything that made GTA III an instant classic and improved it. My friends and I used to take turns playing the game for hours on end, usually without even attempting to complete an actual story mission as we’d simply run around causing chaos in the tropical, neon landscape of 1980’s Vice City. The gameplay freedom, music, and chaos that Rockstar created in Vice City is still one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of video games in the summertime.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – See? I do actually have a game on this list released within the past decade. It’s been two years since I was able to get ahold of a Nintendo Switch and the easy choice of first game to go along with it was Breath of the Wild. I spent the rest of the summer completing shrines and gathering Korok seeds before squaring off against Calamity Gabon. I had been itching to play through the game all over again, so I started another playthrough over the weekend with the intention of completing every shrine and finding every Korok seed, along with finally completing the Master Sword Trial(possibly?). Breath of the Wild still stands as one of my favorite Switch games and a more recent game I associate with playing during the summertime.

Super Mario Sunshine – I’m unable to think of summertime video games without Super Mario Sunshine being one of the first games springing to mind. I fell in love with this game from the first time I played in on my GameCube in August 2002 and Mario’s vacation-gone-awry on Isle Delfino is still one of my personal favorites on the console. The exotic Isle Delfino is a dream summer destination(mostly?). The wonderful Koji Kondo soundtrack adds to the summertime mood as well. Despite the seemingly relaxed vibe of the game, it can be surprisingly difficult – some of the moving 3D puzzle-platforming stages found later in the game are notoriously challenging. While the camera is STILL one of the game’s biggest drawbacks, I still enjoy traversing Isle Delfino and consider it one of the defining experiences on the GameCube. Super Mario Sunshine remains one of my go-to summer games.

What are some of your favorite games to play over the summer? Or something you most closely associate with the season? Thanks for reading!