Guess which ranking is Shadow the Hedgehog.
Do you remember being 11 or 14 and cringing at the stuff you used to like? These games were appealing to your demographic.
Look, we get it: games were trying to grow up, and not every attempt is going to be a home run. For every genuinely good “adult” video game, you’re going to get five or ten less-than-graceful products. Still, there exists some games that focus so hard on being edgy that they wind up being hilarious. Whether they’re hilarious like The Room or hilarious like Baby Geniuses 2 is up for you to decide.
After researching this topic 10 painstaking times, I’m confident in saying this is the definitive list of the 10 most unnecessarily edgy video games ever.
10: Shadow the Hedgehog
Once upon a time, a game called Sonic Adventure 2 came out. Someone on the staff said “I see a blue Sonic, but I want it painted black,” and boom, we got Sonic’s new rival Shadow.
Then they decided to give Shadow a gun and have him star in his own game. Let’s just say fans don’t remember this one fondly.
9: Shadow the Hedgehog
The first thing you’ll notice about Shadow the Hedgehog is that one of the standard menu sounds is literally a gunshot.
When you got a game that even gives its user interface guns, you know you’re going to have a bad time.
8: Shadow the Hedgehog
Though the ESRB was not established when Sonic the Hedgehog first came out, the genesis classic is currently rated E for Everyone.
Meanwhile, Shadow the Hedgehog is so edgy that it got an E10 rating, for kids ages 10 and up. The moment Shadow says “where’s that DAMN chaos emerald,” you know this isn’t your father’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
This is not to be confused with Not Your Father’s Root Beer, which I definitely would not recommend for 10 year olds.
7: Shadow the Hedgehog
Not only does Shadow the Hedgehog add guns to a Sonic game, Shadow can also attack enemies with melee combos just to show how tough and gritty he is.
This is good, because it’s not like defeating enemies by jumping on them has been a perfectly serviceable mechanic in every Sonic game ever.
Or in every platformer game ever.
Or literally even in Shadow the Hedgehog.
6: Shadow the Hedgehog
Here are some actual lyrics to this game’s theme song, “I Am… All of Me”:
I see no, hear no evil, black writing’s on the wall
Unleashed a million faces, and one-by-one they fall
Black-hearted evil, Brave-hearted hero
I am all, I am all, I am
It’s like it was made to be plastered on a Deviant Art account.
5: Shadow the Hedgehog
The best part about Shadow the Hedgehog is that the fans are literally responsible for it.
Yuji Naka, one of the fathers of Sonic the Hedgehog, explained they received letters from kids asking to give Sonic a gun. Since they didn’t feel it would be appropriate to give guns to Sonic, they decided Shadow was a better fit. Thus began production on Shadow the Hedgehog.
Which of you wrote him these letters.
We’re not leaving until someone takes responsibility.
4: Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow the Hedgehog, inspired by Grand Theft Auto, added realistic vehicles that Shadow could drive during levels.
Why does the (rival of the) fastest hedgehog alive need cars!?
Yes I’m pretending the new Sonic racing game doesn’t exist.
3: Shadow the Hedgehog
Shadow was introduced to the Sonic series at the same time as Rouge the Bat, the first Sonic character to add gratuitous cleavage to the franchise.
It is no wonder, then, that many fans refer to this era of Sonic games as “deeply confusing.”
2: Shadow the Hedgehog
Okay okay, I know what some of you are thinking out there: Shadow the Hedgehog isn’t that bad, you might say. Perhaps you have fond memories of getting its 11 endings back when you were a kid. That’s all good.
Here’s the thing: Shadow the Hedgehog comes from an era defined by wild Kingdom Hearts fanfiction that removed the Disney characters and had the authors insert themselves as romantic leads for Axel. It came from an era where kids got emo haircuts and went to school in black makeup just to be “non-conformist.” It came from an era where you’d act elitist because Naruto was real TV compared to your casual friends who still watched Nickelodeon. I could go with early 2000s culture, but that’s the point.
This whole cringey era of our lives is so properly summed up by Shadow the Hedgehog‘s existence. It’s hard to find a single piece of media that so vividly brings back these memories, but Shadow the Hedgehog does it. So when we comment on how edgy Shadow is, perhaps it’s not entirely out of spite. It represents everything dark and silly from its time, even if it has become a joke in its own right.
In other words, you could say… It is all, it is all, it is.
1: Super Mario Sunshine
Hold on just a minute, you’re telling me Baby Bowser thinks Peach is his mom!?
Looks like we’re done here folks, that’s where I draw the line.