Sonic HQ's exclusive interview with Neo Green Hill Zone webmaster, Green Gibbon is here! The following message was sent to him to precede the interview. This interview is by WB. Now, read on!
Greetings! Many of you have heard of it, some of you have experienced it - but few have ever met the Gibbon and come away TRULY sane. ^___^ And now, here for you wonderful readers, an interview with Green Gibbon - owner of the Neo Green Hill Zone, lover of Midori, and worshipper of Drano.
Be afraid...be VERY afraid! :O)
SHQ: First can you give us some background on yourself? Like who you are and just what it is you do for those that don't know.
Green Gibbon: Weeeell, I prefer to be known as Green Gibbon!, and I guess I'm being interviewed here because of my work on The GHZ (aka "Neo Green Hill Zone"), which is a Sonic Team fansite that - if nothing else - has loads of personality. (And free Drano!)
SHQ: How did you become a Sonic fan?
Green Gibbon: You mean there's still someone who doesn't know? Okay, let's see if I can run through this again without sounding cheesy: My first experience with Sonic came in the form of a Sega Genesis display case at my local Toys "R" Us. I believe it was winter of '91, and my tender ten-year-old will could not guard my soul from this mesmerizing blue challenger. I became hopelessly entranced and from the second I grabbed the shiny black controller, I was in another world. The machine was set to start over at the end of Act 1, but I played that Act over and over until my parents had to drag me away kicking and screaming (sometimes literally). I was a changed man. The rest is history.
SHQ: In becoming a fan of Sonic, has there been a particular video game in the series that has influenced you in any way and why?
Green Gibbon: Sonic 1 is the obvious choice, but if I had to select one (and I guess you're making me), I'd say Sonic CD. There's no question that CD sports a more anime-esque flair than others in the series, and that had a big impact on me at the time. I remember for months the only Sonic art I drew was "Japanimation Sonic", as I called it. Needless to say, that got me off on anime, manga, and all that good stuff, which has lead to a general interest in Japanese culture. Omoshiroi, desu ne?
SHQ: Give us some history of the Green Hill Zone? Why was it started? What keeps you on the page doing it - basically, What keeps you driving in doing your webpage daily - in your eyes what makes it special?
Green Gibbon: Wow, it's hard to pinpoint a particular reason. It's a myriad of things. To me, the GHZ is a learning tool, a way of being heard, a means through which to express myself, and - in its simplest form - a hobby. My favorite thing is watching the site evolve. As I said, it's very much a learning tool...no matter how much tweaking I do, I'm stuck in an endless state of dissatisfaction with the result. Now as much as ever, I'm constantly making these "plans" for what big thing to incorporate next, or how I can make what I've already done even better. It really is alot of fun, and I hope to continue the project for many years to come.
SHQ: We know of your brothers whom you often talk about, Phat Boy and Spam ^_^ - do they normally help you in any way with the site?
Green Gibbon: Dude, lay off the crack before lunch. Spam and PB don't give a flying flip about the site one way or the other, nor would I trust my precious baby with their total lack of talent anyway. My #2 man right now is D-H Master, a veteran GHZer who has a good writing sense and an unmistakable style. He's actually done a couple of articles for me in the past.
SHQ: Your page is respected as being one of the best Sonic game-specific pages on the net. In your own words - what do you think keeps people visiting it?
Green Gibbon: That's easy...it's the personality! Content is the most important thing, of course, but text books have content. If it's not interesting and fun, people won't stick around. I mean, where else but the GHZ can you talk about the consumption of household cleaners, freely and earnestly discuss hentai, and compare playing videogames to sex without getting funny stares? Even more than that, it's the community aspect. I mean, when we get whole *fanfics* written about us, you know we're a tightly-knit group. From EG to Bo to Moon to WB to Silver and the whole gang...it's just a really friendly, casual, and entertaining place.
SHQ: Everyone knows of your affinity for videogames in general. But why devote your page specifically to Sonic Team? What makes them stand out above developers like Capcom, Square, and EA?
Green Gibbon: That's easy, too: it's the artistic aspect. Sonic Team, as I like to say, is the crossroad where videogames meet art. Beautifully detailed worlds, memorable characters, and in-your-face gameplay...only Sonic Team manages to tie all three together with nary a seam, and they've been doing it since their first project ever. I believe it's because there's such an ideal balance of talent behind the scenes.
SHQ: What do you think of the Dreamcast so far? Think it will be seriously hurt by the launch of PS2? Are you interested in even getting the PS2? Why or why not?
Green Gibbon: I am definitely getting a PS2, there's no question about that. I've already got mine reserved. Will the PS2 launch hurt the DC? Not long ago, I'd have said a flat-out "yes." With the announcement of Sega's "SegaNet" online strategy, though, the situation has become a bit trickier. I honestly don't see the DC as being able to hold up over the longrun in the face of bad boys like PS2, X-Box, and Dolphin...but I think it should be able to make the 5-year mark, which is the norm (unless you're Game Boy). In the end, who really cares about all that? I've got a Dreamcast and I'm gonna play Phantasy Star Online and Shenmue! I'm getting a PS2 and I'm gonna play Final Fantasy X and Gran Turismo 2000! Yeah, baby! Yeaaah!
SHQ: How do you think Sega should handle the development of its characters in non-videogame media? Do they have an obligation to keep Sonic and the other characters as close to their game personalities as possible, or do they need to allow the comic/TV/whatever writers freedom to develop the characters as they see fit?
Green Gibbon: Hmm...I think the key word here is "media." As long as Sega is going to license their mascot out, it really is impossible to keep tabs on everything that goes on in his alternate lives. I don't believe it's Sega's place to control the content of what goes into non-Sega Sonic media, but at the same time I don't believe fans should take the Sonic that's depicted in these alternate worlds as gospel truth. You know, it's just the marketing game, and people need to realize that.
SHQ: What is your honest opinion on the Archie comics? Vile desecration to Sonic or helpful image that keeps him alive?
Green Gibbon: Business is business and I've got nothing against Sega sharing the proverbial wealth, but it should all be taken with a grain of salt. There is only one true destiny for Sonic, and that is the one his creators (Sonic Team) make. Well, that's my belief system, but as for the Archie comic specifically...it's utter patootie, which is really why I don't follow it.
SHQ: What do you feel about the relationship of the cartoons and DiC Entertainment in respect to Sonic - ala Sonic SatAM, Adv. of STH, and Sonic Underground?
Green Gibbon: Once again, it's the whole "marketing game" argument. Mixing media is just asking for trouble, because unless the people involved are hardcore fans of the property they're working with (and they very, VERY rarely are), it's all just a matter of what will sell. It's the same principle that can be blamed for the fact that all but three movie-licensed videogames ever made have sucked. Basically, Sonic is just a marketable character to DiC. (Of course, he is to Sega as well, which is why there's so much cash-in crap out there.)
Click For Full Size Graphic
SHQ: Do you think the non-Sega characters should appear in Sonic videogames? If thier not Sonic team then do they even DESERVE a place in the Sonic genre of gaming? Why or why not?
Green Gibbon: Definitely not. Every different version of Sonic there is sports a drastically different "feel", and characters from one just wouldn't work in another. Well...that's what I'd say if I wanted to sound unbiased, but frankly, all the other characters just plain suck.
SHQ: What has been your best, saddest, and most frustrating moment ever in the production of the Neo Green Hill Zone?
Green Gibbon: Best moment ever? I think probably around the time a couple of fanfic writers came in and wanted to incorporate the GHZ "world" into their stories. I think I realized I was really onto something big, then. Saddest moment ever...the departure of old friends like EG and Moon who are pursuing other interests. It sounds silly, but like I said before, we're really like a family in there...it's the equivalent of having a close friend move away. I can't pinpoint a most frustrating moment...all those times I was up at 4:30 A.M. trying to finish a major feature or fix a myriad of broken links. Nasty stuff, man.
SHQ: DRANO !!!! ^_^ You know we had to ask this - why of all things Drano?
Green Gibbon: Because it's rich, flavorful, and also acts as a laxative! ...actually, once during a particularly weird flash of insanity, some one asked me if I'd been smoking Drano. I found that gut-busting hilarious for whatever reason and it stuck.
SHQ: What is a drano cookie?
Green Gibbon: ...it is a cookie made of Windex and 409. Next stupid question!
SHQ: For those who don't know - Who is Midori?
Green Gibbon: Ah, Midori-chan! The GHZ's new mascot and poster girl! When designing Midori, I had one major theme on my mind: lust. People have said that she's a female version of me, but in reality, Midori is my ideal girl. She was built on the same "if you can't find her, make her" philosophy that I'm certain was the driving force behind characters such as Reiko Nagase and Aeris Gainsborough. Girls like that just do not *exist* in real life, man.
SHQ: What things OUTSIDE of Sonic net fandom do you like to do? We know you have a fascination for Anime - specifically what kinds and why?
Green Gibbon: You may be surprised to hear that my favorite type of anime is actually of the subtle, more mature nature. I like things that make you think, like Green Legend Ran and Tenchi Forever. Those are the sort of stories that I'd like to write. And don't tell the fellas, but I like anime with romantic themes. (It's pretty funny when I'm walking out Suncoast trying to hide the Video Girl Ai movie I just bought.) Oh yeah, hentai is good, too.
SHQ: The women Gibbsy - EVERYONE knows you are the official king of NGHZ, and that no other males on your forum get to talk to the ladies before you do. Call it protocol. ^___^ So we can let the ladies reading this know about the real Green Gibbon - what words do you have for the ladies tonight?
Green Gibbon: PARTY AT MY PLACE! Tonight! Girls only! Bring assorted pain-inflicting devices...
SHQ: What are your current favorite videogames and why?
Green Gibbon: As of now, I'm in the midst of Dead or Alive 2 and Rayman 2, both of which kick patootie. Next to the Virtua Fighter games, DoA is probably my favorite fighting series. It inarguably has the hottest chicks, anyway...
SHQ: What is the WORST videogame you have ever played? What is the worst SONIC videogame you have ever played?
Green Gibbon: The worst game ever? Hoo boy...in recent years, when I've made it a point to avoid bad games, I'd have to say SaGa Frontier. That is, without question, the cheapest, dullest, suckiest RPG I've ever played. And that's saying alot. As for the worst game *ever*, I'd say any one of those Mortal Kombat-esque fighters of the late Genesis era. One in particular stands out...I won't specify it, but it's about Robots that Rise...
SHQ: Do you think that Sega and DiC truly care about the Sonic character anymore?
Green Gibbon: I don't think they ever really cared about Sonic as a character, only about the money he can bring in.
SHQ: What do you think of Sonic Internet fandom in general? Do you believe that the great Sonic webpages like the Neo Green Hill Zone, TeamArtail, The Sonic Foundation and Sonic HQ and the numerous mailing lists and newsgroups help to keep Sonic alive in the fandom or hurt it? Why have you not joined any of the newsgroups?
Green Gibbon: Fandom is a funny thing. If I had to pick one word to describe Sonic fandom on the 'net, it would be "confusing." Everyone's got their own idea of how the Sonic world and characters should be presented, and that's great, really, but it's all terribly inconsistent. I suppose this can be said of any internet fan communities, but still, that's why I've taken a mostly passive stance on the whole mess. Rather than sit around and trying to tie up the loose ends of Sonic's history, I've opted to let sleeping hedgehogs lie and create a fansite that is simply about the games of Sonic Team.
SHQ: Robotnik's old look (SatAM) VS Robotnik's new look (Eggman - Sonic Adventure)? Honestly - what do you think is better? ^_^
Green Gibbon: Weeell...the original Eggman is still the best, but of the two you mentioned then the Adventure model stands out no question. Unlike the blobby SatAM version, Adventure's Robotnik retains the "egg" shape nicely. He's also got Robotnik's trademark long, skinny legs (as opposed to those disgusting little stumps of the SatAM Robotnik); not to mention the bushy moustache (as opposed to those orange pencils somebody stuck up SatAM Robotnik's nose). Their outfits are equally as ridiculous, but Adventure Robotnik's seems more...regal.
SHQ: What has been your most memorable (good and bad) experience with Sonic fandom both in real life and on the internet?
Green Gibbon: Hm...I still cite the aforementioned story about my first experience with Sonic ever as the most memorable. On the other hand, I'll never forget the day of the Sonic Adventure press conference (August 22, '98). My connection was lagging serious, and I was on literally all day downloading screenshots that took upwards of fifteen minutes a piece to load. It was quite pleasantly suspenseful...
SHQ: Are Videogames truly a form of art? What do you have to say to people that think it isn't?
Green Gibbon: Don't you dare, and I mean don't even DARE, to question the artistic aspect of game design in my presence. Playing a videogame is like walking into a painting. There's a world to explore and a story to unravel, and unlike traditional forms of art, games are much more engaging by actually putting the player in control. It's much easier to feel for a character you've spent a month adventuring with in an RPG than one you've watched on a movie screen for ninety minutes. Then there's the mix of media...games can tell a story, present a world, incorporate fantastic music...not only are videogames a genuine form of art, they are the absolute pinnacle of entertainment. Granted, the industry is still very young and immature, but it's growing fast and getting better literally every year. Anyone who refuses to recognize this is an idiot who foolishly (and quite laughably) thinks he's sounding intelligent by excercising groundless punditry.
SHQ: Who are your influences in life?
Green Gibbon: Everyone I've ever met, really. I guess I'd cite great entertainers who use technology as their tools, namely Walt Disney and Shigeru Miyamoto.
SHQ: What basic advice would you give to a budding young male teenager in search of the art of hentai? ^____^
Green Gibbon: Don't look outside for hentai. Hentai comes from the soul. Ponder that, grasshopper.
SHQ: What makes doing your webpage fun?
Green Gibbon: Man, I say this in all honesty: I haven't a clue. It's hard work, time consuming, and there's no rewards, but I love doing it anyway. So your guess is as good as mine.
SHQ: What are your future plans for your career? What do you aspire to do?
Green Gibbon: Well, that's a given. I'd like to get into the gaming industry, ultimately in a producer/director role like the great game designers of history (Shigeru Miyamoto, Yuji Naka, Yu Suzuki, etc.). I fancy myself a storyteller at heart, and videogames are my preferred media for expressing artistic visions. (Hey, that sounded good!)
SHQ: If you had the choice to be one videogame character or one anime character in the world - who would it be and why?
Green Gibbon: It's the obvious answer, but I'd say Sonic the Hedgehog. I like his "eyes on the horizon" attitude. His mindset is firmly placed in the future, which I think is a good philosophy to have because the past can't be changed but the future can. And because the future is always ahead of you, it's literally never too late. ...or maybe I'd just be Ghaleon (from Lunar), 'cause chicks seem to dig him...
SHQ: And finally - What kind of challenge would you like to pursue now? And what is your greatest achievement with the Neo Green Hill Zone?
Green Gibbon: I've got a couple of cool things planned for the site right now, but they're still secrets. (Sore wa himitsu desu!) As for my greatest achievement...I'm really proud of the Museum. That's really the heart of the GHZ.
SHQ: For an encore, Gibbs we'd like to ask if you can give a list of favorites to wrap this all up. ^_^
Favorite Films: Mary Poppins and Tenchi Forever (aka Tenchi Muyo! in Love 2)!
Favorite Singers And Music: I don't really have any favorite singers...I actually prefer instrumental music. I like techno and orchestrated stuff.
Favorite TV: I like old classics like Gilligan's Island and the Dick Van Dyke Show.
Favorite Books: A Journey to the Center of the Earth is, and always will be, the best novel ever written period.
Favorite Videogames: The Sonic series and the Lunar series.
SHQ: And lastly your closing statements to the Sonic HQ Staff on thier anniversary and any Sonic fans reading today: ^_^
Green Gibbon: Brothers! The time is at hand! The era has come for we Sonic-philes to gather and show the world that we are many! This is the destiny of our generation! We must- *glances down at the speech he's reading* Oh...my bad, wrong generation. Okay then...PARTY!
Once again we thank the wonderful and generous Green Gibbon for this fantastic interview. See you next time!