Sonic the hedgehog, sega

Move fast, make decisions, and beat Dr. Eggman

Julius Tarng
Feb 19, 2013 · 3 min read

My first video game love was Sonic the Hedgehog. Specifically, Sonic CD. As a tiny ten-year-old, I spent many hours in the basement of my grandparents’ Taiwanese abode holding the → right arrow key, occasionally pressing space to leap over obstacles and spin jump into Dr. Eggman (not Robotnik, you American heathen).

In every level, there was an infinite amount of paths you could take, and due to Sonic’s speed, each decision was made with lighting speed. Jump here, fall here, go into this hole, bounce on that spring, get that ring. All split second, gut decisions. As long as Sonic held one ring and I avoided pitfalls, I would not die from running into enemies, so I was confident in my haphazard trail.

I’m working on a small project while I visit my parents in Palo Alto. I designed one screen to figure out the general aesthetic direction, and quickly dove into code. I’m quickly making product and design decisions while setting up the front end codebase and implementing those decisions:

“Should I use this hierarchy? This interaction? This font?”

I don’t know. Maybe it won’t matter. Maybe it will kill the project. Maybe it’ll be responsible for its inevitable and amazing success.

How confident am I in the fast decisions I make? How do I know when I am being lazy, and when I am being concisely thoughtfully?

At the end of the day aren't all great decisions made on conviction and belief?
— Jon Lax,
Data & Intuition

If I don’t have confidence in my own decisions, where else am I going to defer that to? Sonic never dilly-dallied.

How can I achieve that youthful confidence in holding down the right arrow key and making rapid decisions as challenges come up?

I’m not sure yet, but it probably has something to do with finding those rings that cushion your mistakes and failures, and acting fast to avoid dangerous pitfalls.


If you like Sonic too holler back atcho boy @tarngerine on the twitters!!

    Julius Tarng

    Written by

    i make stuff, get carpal tunnel, and watch anime

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