My Favourite Video Game: Binary Order

My Favourite Video Game is a guest feature from bands and artists where we set them a simple task… tell us about your favourite video game. In this feature, industrial metal artist Binary Order accepts the challenge. You can read all about the choice below.

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Before music my first love was video games, and specifically Sega. I grew up as a hardcore Sega fan-boy and the entirety of my childhood was governed by playing franchises like Ecco the Dolphin, Panzer Dragoon and Shenmue etc (with a healthy dose of N64 and 90s PC gaming mixed in). The games I still play these days are very much steeped in that old school game design and for me the absolute pinnacle of gaming is Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

I have so many positive memories attached to that era of gaming, the excitement I felt when playing through S3&K has rarely been rivalled because I was so heavily involved in the culture at the time. However, the reason S3&K remains my favourite is because it’s something I continued to admire and find new appreciation for as I got older. It’s incredibly rare something from your childhood grows with you, and when I go back to S3&K it holds up just as well as it did back then. It’s so well executed in what it attempted to accomplish, because it’s essentially the peak of 2D gaming – at least in the mainstream – as after the 16bit era the industry largely moved onto 3D.

A big part of the appeal of the original Sonic titles is the music and it’s something that had a profound effect on me that I didn’t really grasp until I was much older. When I first started taking an active interest in music it was initially metal, but the more I listened to that I felt like something was missing. I later realised was the melodies and range of sounds found in titles like S3&K that I had grown up with, which now heavily influences the electronic elements of my own music. From Ice Cap Zone, to the credits song through to Lava Reef, Flying Battery Zone and Doomsday Zone some of my all-time favourite song compositions are found in this game (yes I’m a fan of Michael Jackson’s music).

It’s just beautiful to look at too, pixel art may have evolved beyond what the Mega Drive could do now the constraints of 16bit hardware are no longer a thing but the level of depth and animation found in the sprite work in Sonic 3 & Knuckles will always be a marvel to me. Just looking at the backgrounds to Zones like Sandopolis always amazed me in how the artists were able to create vibrant, detailed worlds that felt like they went on for miles beyond what was playable.

How it tells its story was something that really helps lend itself to this idea of Angel Island being a real place. It has this Dragon Ball Z styled epic story of betrayal and revenge and destiny all told completely without words. Which for the genre and especially at the time it’s something no other game was doing, and I was captivated by the attempt at creating a rich lore, but it only years later when I grasped how impressive executing this was. Every level features small cutscenes that lead into each other – I still get excited when Sonic jumps onto that snowboard at the start of Ice Cap Zone – and it’s something that even Sonic Mania, which came out over 20 years later, wasn’t able to capture properly with its inconsistent level transitions.

Sonic may have fallen off now, all the memes about “& Knuckles”, Sega as a company, and stuff like Chris Chan (who’s childhood obsession with Sonic is eerily similar to my own); it’s not exactly great but the core of that game and what it achieved as an artform is something that really stands out against everything surrounding it…. And I haven’t even mentioned how fun it is to play!




  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!