The Spin: How I learned to Stop Worrying & Love Big the Cat

spin

Sega recently started a tournament to see which was the fanbase’s favourite Sonic sidekick, and I’m very sad to report that a great injustice has been committed, this is the biggest thing to happen to this fanbase since Sonic’s eyes became green.

That being, Big the Cat may get knocked out in the first round.

At the time of writing, Big sits at just under 40% whilst the Chao sits at just over 60%. Now we have to ask, what is wrong with this picture? What is wrong is that Big the Cat is the best character in the whole series and if he were president of the United Kingdom he would be the best president we have ever elected, since King Charles the third.

Now if you’d take a moment, just to sit right there, I shall tell you why Big the Cat is the best character in the series.

This is a picture of a cat, this cat is named Merch Kitty, she is a cat, she is reading a book, a book about Sonic.

merchkittyreads

She is not Big, but this is a cat who is Big.

big_heroes

And that is why he is named Big the Cat. It is science and literature, combined into one. Now you understand why he is named Big the Cat.

Ever since Sonic Adventure 1, poor big has been the brunt of jokes and the ridicule of many since his first outing way back in the day when he fell victim to an attempt to sell more copies of Sega Bass Fishing, a truly excellent survival horror game.

Even now, years later, still this is the typical reception to Big

bigthecatsnonfans

 

And it’s hard to deny, Bigs game play is slow, it can be hard to find it exciting to fish, when you’ve just been rushing through stages smashing robots or trying to find emerald pieces.

There really is nothing more boring than Big’s stages in Sonic Adventure… Meanwhile… in the Chao Garden.

chao garden boring
1 hour in… still it won’t hatch…

So let me propose a question to you, a question which we should ask the most advanced Supercomputers, and then eventually Quantum Computers.

Is it the fault of a ‘character’ if his ‘game-play’ has problems?

Let me put it another way, take your favourite character, or critically acclaimed characters throughout any media, film, theatre, television or games… now take that character, all the reasons you like, and if it exists, consider them being in something which is considered bad. E.g. Resident Evil’s characters from the game, Vs their characters in the movies.

Or another way, say your favourite character is this man.

tybalt
Wait… Big the Cat, Prince of Cats… Bring more cats!

This is Tybalt from William Shakepeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Tybalt is a pretty cool character, but not every performance of this play or adaptation is going to be good. Does that mean Tybalt as a character is somehow lesser? Or is it just that the adaptation isn’t that great? Or maybe the performance of the character, the source material never changes, but the execution of it does.

Let us now return to Sonic Adventure and check in on our Chao Garden…

chao garden boring
…still waiting.

And back to Big. What is his source material? How do we first encounter and see Big?

Big the cat lives life care free in a tropical paradise.

  • He spends his days fishing.
  • He spends his days sleeping.
  • He spends his days relaxing.
  • He is clearly unfit.
  • He is clearly in no position to do much physical activity.
  • He doesn’t have great communication skills.

All of these things could be argued to be a negative or a flaw, so what happens to Big to get him involved in the game?

His best friend, a frog, completely defenceless, goes missing, is kidnapped and put in danger.

What does Big do?

He gives up, he gives up his paradise in the tropics, his carefree lifestyle, his favourite hobby, to go on a dangerous, exhausting, mission, fighting killer robots and an ancient God of destruction.

Does this sound like the actions of a negative character? Of a bad character? Of a character who should be shunned?

How about this, unlike nearly every other character in the game, Big has no combat experience, he has no super powers, he has no advanced gadgets, he just uses what he knows, fishing equipment. And he fights killer robots, a god of destruction a deranged scientist with an IQ of over 300 who laughs manically HAHAHAA!

And ye think he be weak!? He doth be bad!? He quote terrible character!? By the gods!

And despite his obvious lack of communication skills, he’s able to make several new friends, all with wild personalities by the end of the game. Have you been in a social situation with people who have big personalities? Is it easy to fit in… come sit on the couch with me… it’s not easy is it… But Big does it.

This is a story of friendship, of loyalty, of what it means to be a true hero, without powers, or armour or a big ball of string, to go out into a dangerous world and save your best friend.

Upon completion of the game what benefits does he have?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjD2AA_F9hg
Pay no attention to the fact volume only comes out of the right speaker.

He has nothing, Big personally has no benefits made to him other than his friend is safe. Even the E-Series Robot has a better outcome, he has been made free of Eggman’s control and has been reunited with his family and as a robot learned to love and feel for lesser creatures (thanks to Amy).

Big however has nothing other than his friend back by his side. He suffers no major benefit nor does he manage to impose any rule or impose any new system of belief/thought over the society or any other character in the game.

He’s the ultimate hero in that he faces truly impossible odds to save an innocent lesser life and succeeds! Also he dances at the end, and everybody loves dancing.

chao garden boring
3 hours later…. Still waiting.

Turn your attention to Sonic Heroes. He is on Team Rose, let us go through the motivation of the characters on his Team.

  • Amy: “I want Sonic!”
  • Big: “Froggy is in danger!”
  • Cream: “So is my pet!”

bigisawesomeAgain, he acts out of friendship, but his role has improved, now he’s also acting as protector, bodyguard of sorts, what happens when Vector insults Amy? Big steps forward and says with a very deep tone “It’s not nice to tease MY friends…” In other words, back the off, or else. And sure enough, in the next scene, he’s kicking the Chaotix’s arse! The Chaotix! Made up of a head banging rock and roll loving crocodile, a hyper active bumble bee and a ninja! And all he has is a fishing rod! Fishing rods again!

We sadly, have to turn our attention to Sonic Chronicles, but don’t worry we don’t have to play the game or listen to the music. We just have to look at how they treat Big.

When we first see Big, he’s fishing in a swamp, when his friends need help to get through poison gas, who decides to help? Big! Nobody else is strong enough to get through the poison gas but Big! He’s got no reason to join, he doesn’t have a reason to join. The only reason he has is because he needs to help his friends, just about every other character in the game acts for their own means or goal, not Big, he acts for the benefit and safety of his friends.

Furthermore, he offers free hugs! FREE HUGS MAN! Everybody needs a hug once and a while!

Even if you do not have him in your party (a pox on you for doing so!), he always enters the dialogue when things seem bad, and how does he try to help everyone out… with a hug! This character may not seem smart, may not seem to have the best communication skills, but he has the ability to recognise when people need uplifting and helps the only way he knows how!

chao garden boring
Still waiting…

He is all this, but we would rather sit in a garden, looking at eggs, waiting for them to hatch. I guess it makes sense, it’s fun to endlessly replay the same stages over and over again trying to catch animals, to sit and wait for hours trying to get stats to climb just so we can play as Metal Sonic. You know when you get up early on a Monday morning, and you see those people walking slowly, with their heads down, looking sad and depressed, that is not Monday morning blues, these are the people who spent Sunday grinding chao, their reward, get a strange alien thing. Which has the one of the following character traits.

  • Happy.
  • Sad/Evil.
  • Neutral.

That’s a character… That is… Well what do Chao do which make them a good character… well they… WAIT WHAT’S THAT!?

Big_the_Cat_(City_Escape)

OH MY GOD! Big the Cat is playing a form of chicken with the Gun Truck! And he wins! And in the same game he somehow busted out of jail! And he’s sat in a military base fishing whilst it blows up around him! Does he care! He’s Big the Cat! He’s the god damn Batman of Sonic Adventure 2! 

Headcanon this! The only reason you do well in Sonic Adventure 2 is because Big the Cat is secretly undermining all the enemies by sabotaging their plans and watching it fail from the sidelines!

Meanwhile… in the Chao Garden entertainment at last!

eggmanchao

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to sit over here and wait and see how many people take this article way too seriously.

But seriously, Big is an awesome character, don’t let a poor game design tarnish his character, especially when it’s actually a pretty good one.

40 Comments

  1. The sheer amount of hatred and dismissal this character gets from the glut of the Sonic fanbase only serves to prove how irredeemably awful it truly is.

  2. Thank you for realizing the amazingness (that’s a word right?) that is Big! Such a simple man with simple goals but willing to sacrifice his life for others. Shadow be damned to be as good as Big!

  3. *applause*
    Well said, sir! Great to see another Big-leiver!
    And he’s even better in the comics: He’s part of the main team of protagonists, he stopped a twenty-foot-tall Silver Sonic dead in his tracks, and he even spouted some words of wisdom about prejudice and social acceptance: “As long as they’re nice, I don’t care what anyone is.”

    Big is the true hero of the Sonic franchise because he’s the most relatable. All of us, at heart, are superpowerless, everyday people who just want to live stress-free lives. I only hope we can all follow Big’s example and leap into action when we’re needed and make the world a better place.

  4. I’ve never disliked Big. I always lean towards Big with lava stages of Runners. I like the “gentle giant” character of his but his powers are pretty cool too (not talking about fishing). I mean he smashes robots by falling on them in Heroes! And after reading this I have a bigger respect for him. As Sonic fans, let’s not hate.

  5. Heh, I like Big too. He just serves as a nice contrast to the boistrous, cocky nature of most Sonic characters, being rather mellow, easygoing, humble, and not quickwitted in the slightest. Its pretty difficult to upset Big as well, and I like the optimism and confidence that such a resistance to anger entails. But rest assured, he can get upset, and that tends to bring out the badass in him. Yet again, perhaps I’m just most familiar with his Heroes interpretation, where he was shown as optimistic and easygoing but also completely unwilling to take any crap from any detective agency or giant evil superpowered robot if they chose to mess with his friends.

  6. I legitimately like Big as a character.

    … A-Am I dead yet?

    If it makes you feel better, I still like the Chao a lot more. But Big is such a lovable cat.

  7. This has to be one of my favorite issues of ‘The Spin’, it has genuinely changed my opinion on Big, no joke. Great stuff!
    Although, I absolutely adore Chao…..way more than Big. (I want the gardens back .__.)

  8. I actually voted for Big. xD
    Thing is, he’s actually pretty cool in the Archie Comics and has purpose within the Freedom Fighters and is even seen roughing up M’Egga Man and Sigma’s Mavericks during Worlds Unite!

  9. People don’t understand his awesomeness.
    He may be stupid.
    He may be boring.
    But his heart of gold crushes all.

    Sonic may want to save the world, but Big wants to save his friends. Heck, they don’t have to be friends.

    Big is an awesome character. No matter how much my friends facepalm at me for this, I love him for these reasons.

    1. Because I couldn’t find a decent image of the chao morphing into an adult which you cannot speed up.

      But the subpoint still stands, people complain about Big’s gameplay being dull and boring, yet chao raising which people rave about takes hours just to do the most simple task and extracts all fun and life from peoples existence.

      1. Actually, I don’t find his gameplay dull and boring, nor do I with the chao. The problems I have with Big are a combination of the fact his stages were just rage-inducing thanks the bugs, randomly generated Froggy locations when there’s a timer therefore no time to be hunting for hours and massively flawed fish AI and the fact in every appearance, he just kinda exists for the sake of fleshing a game out or adding an extra member to a team. I mean, there’s only a certain amount of times someone can stand a character losing a pet/friend so easily and serving no other purpose towards a story.
        I love the chao garden because it’s an excellent and addictive time killer when I’m bored and it is gratifying when you finally get that perfect chao and those garden toys you’ve been working towards.
        I’d enjoy Bigs stages just as much if it wasn’t for the aforementioned issues.

        1. I’ll also say the new Archie comics have actually made him into a better character, purely for the fact he’s actually useful now and he’s not all about finding his bloody Froggy, he actually serves a purpose to the overall plot now.

  10. If he could read this, I imagine Big would shed one singly manly tear from his big eye, and he would say: “Thank you, Hogfather. Thank you for understanding the real super power of teamwork and friendship.”

    10/10 Article. Thanks for writing this up. 🙂

    1. Now that we are armed with the Webber medal of approval, we must all band together and show everybody the glory of BIG THE CAT!

    2. Oh wow! It’s Mr. Webber! 😀

      I’m hoping that Chao, Metal Sonic, or Eggman wins the tournament ….

      but Big deserves it.

    1. “I think my eyes are broken! No, wait. They’re just closed.”

      He’s like the Caboose of the Sonic world!

  11. I never really hated Big. I still voted for chao (praying for Chao Garden again that will most likely never happen but who knows) but that doesn’t mean I don’t like Big, probably because I didn’t have much trouble with his stages in SA1 and the Archie comic just made me realize how strong and chill of a character he really is. He just goes with the flow in the comics and to me, that’s great. He just wants to fish with his little froggy buddy but shit just keeps going wrong in the world and it reaches him somehow.

  12. I love Big the Cat! I actually made a post on Reddit awhile ago very similar to yours about why I love him, and people said I changed their minds! You wanna know the worst part? No one remembered to invite him to Sonic’s birthday…

    1. “No one remembered to invite him to Sonic’s birthday…”
      Oh my… I didn’t realize that. That actually makes me very sad. 🙁

  13. Yo! You forgot to critique the Chao’s inclusion in Sonic Chronicles! They did some pretty awesome things for your party and dare I say they were better there than in the Chao Gardens in Adventure 1&2. You also forgot their Tiny Chao Gardens in Sonic Advance 1&2 as well as Sonic Pinball Party! Regardless of all this however, your article really spoke to me and I now know who to vote for. Who you may ask? Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will tell you that who I’m voting for is quite big. 😉

    1. I didn’t forget. Just that their inclusion is basically ‘How do we get around the characters not being able to wear clothes and armour?’

      Every other inclusion in anything has been absolutely pointless.

      1. They were pointless in the Adventure games? Fair enough if you, yourself, don’t enjoy pet sims of that type but that’s going a bit far. There just happen to be people who enjoy that type of pet sim, myself included, and that is their sole purpose in those games, to provide enjoyment to those of us who enjoy that sort of thing. After all, isn’t that the core purpose of a game? To provide enjoyment to the player? Their role in the first Advance game also had a important role if you enjoyed them in the Adventure games, you could get rare items and chao only via Sonic Advance so no, that wasn’t pointless either.
        Their inclusion in Sonic Chronicles, however, now that was pointless. Their role in that game could just as easily have been fulfilled by the accessories and ‘armour’ you could purchase in the game.

  14. It definitely irritates me that people honestly dislike Big. He’s the kind of character I think every series needs: the one that’s ridiculously stupid for no good reason, but ultimately a lot of fun because of it. Me and my friends had a lot of good times (and still do) just sarcastically loving the crap out of Big the Cat. Growing up as a Sonic fan, immersed not only in a game or two but in the Sonic X cartoons and a fan in other parts of the franshice, I’ve always enjoyed Big’s presence, and I will continue to do so.

  15. i agree that Big shouldn’t be hated, but when i read about how you were happy not to have to play Sonic Chronicles, you lost me. that game was fantastic for an out-of-the-blue Sonic RPG, and actually progressed the franchise’s story

    1. It really didn’t. All it did was show how weak Bioware are at adapting someone else’s material.

      They had nearly 20 years of material, but instead decided to watch 1 episode of SatAM and read a few Archie comics wikipedia articles and include their random fan character and make it stupidly over powered.

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