(A monorail train pulls into a sumptuous station. The floors are densely carpeted and the air slightly scented with lemon grass oil. As the travellers disembark, they're greeted by young, good-looking and well dressed guides who take them over to expansive leather sofas. After a few minutes of wait, a three foot high blue bunny is invited to sit down. A well spoken lady begins the interview.)
Interviewer 1: Good morning sir. As you are aware, in less than three weeks the planet Earth will plunge into the sun and be incinerated. Death for all inhabitants is certain but, for a fortunate few, life will continue in the Star Cruiser Ede 2. You are here today to be evaluated, to ascertain whether your skills and talents are worthy enough to be preserved. Your name please?
Quik: It's Quik.
Interviewer 1: Quik? That's an odd name. Even for a fluffy-wuffy blue bunny rabit.
Quik:: Actually, I'm not a rabbit in any real sense. I'm a video game character.
Interviewer 1: Ahh, well, in that case, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. Although there are 250,000 places for electronic persons, they're being processed in a different section. The monorail will take you there. Goodbye.
(Another monorail, another station. This time, the floor is tiled and overhead signs reading 'Queue Here' direct an odd assortment of video game characters towards barricades. Quik is forced to stand for three hours, nodding sympathetically at Turrican's marital problems and grimacing at tales of the Barbarian's infected ingrowing toenail. Eventually his name is called and he sits on a hard wooden bench that's seen better days.)
Interviewer 2: Okay Quik, gimme a rundown. Whatta you do? Whatcha good at?
Quik: Well, as you can see (He stands up and twirls round) I'm very cute. I can also run quickly (power-ups permitting), jump very high (always assuming I can find a trampoline) and do lots and lots of cartwheels, smacking the bad guys as I go.
Interviewer 2: Waitaminute. You meanta say you're one of them?
Quik: One of what?
Interviewer 2: You know what I mean scumbucket. One of, you know, THEM.
Quik: I'm afraid I still don't follow you.
Interviewer 2 (hissing): A platform game.
Quik: Why yes, that's exactly what I am. Why, is that a prob... (He is clubbed unconscious by guards in riot gear and thrown into an open-topped wagon.)
What about a slippy-slidey ice world?
(Not so much a station, more a railway siding. The monorail slows and Quik is thrown out. Guards with cattle prods and tinted visors sling him across the concrete floor towards a desk. The interviewer checks his sawed-off double-barrelled shotgun before shuffling a pile of forms.)
Interviewer 3: I've got to tell you Quik, the chances of you catching that shuttle are pretty slim. The last thing the remnants of civilisation need is a bunch of lame platformers. Okay, do you have a level based on HR Giger with funny aliens?
Interviewer 3: That's good. What about a slippy-slidey ice world?
Quik: Yes, one of my four worlds is all slippy and slidey, with funny sledges and snowballs and things.
Interviewer 3: Bad move, bunny. Tell me about your sub-games and unique features.
Quik: Well, on certain levels, I've got to find doors that lead to the time travel sections. I've then got to jump my way to the top of the screen while a flying creature keeps picking me up and dropping me. Also I can get killed in several ways. I can fall down the numerous bottomless caverns dotted around, or I can die of thirst, hunger or accumulated wounds.
To prevent this, I've got to find water, carrots and heart icons, which are dotted around and also released by the baddies when I kill them. There are even little signs saying 'Joke' dotted around for little or no reason, which is a feature I've never seen in any other game.
Interviewer 3 (tutting): Well, it's hardly groundbreaking stuff, but I suppose it could be worse. Okay, we'll move on to the Sonic test.
Quik: Errm... what's that?
Interviewer 3:: It's just a standard thing we do. We look for things like Green Hill Zones, cute bad guys and stuff like that. Then we watch the character's special move, and say "Spin (insert name here) spin" and if it looks too much like Sonic the Hedgehog then...
Interviewer 3:: Then:
Interviewer 3: (patting the shotgun): I blast 'em with this here twelve gauge.
Interviewer 3:: If you've got anything you want to cough up, then now would be a good time.
Quik: Sob. Okay, okay, so the first of the four worlds looks every such a lot like the first level of Sonic, even down to there being different ways through each level. And I do spin a lot, but whereas Sonic does it facing the direction of travel, I face out of the screen and smile at you, so that can't count, can it? (Chokes) Can it? And I'll admit that my speed power-up may look a little like the Sonic's speedy boots, but it wasn't deliberate, honest. (Blubs.)
Oh, please don't kill me, I'm just a little fluffy blue rabbit trying to make an honest living. (Begs.) Have a pity on me.
Interviewer 3:: Okay, well, I suppose I'll give you the good news first. I've checked your credentials and you're actually not at all bad. I can see that the hidden nasties that lurk behind foreground scenery are supposed to be tricky when in fact they just slow you down, but I'll let that one side.
The inherent Sonic-ness of your game's frankly a bit naff, but seeing as you're just another generic platform game, I'll drop that one too. The long and short of it Mr Quik is that I'm not going to blow you away with the shotgun.
Interviewer 3:: However, being cute and entertaining for a few hours simply isn't enough. To get that golden ticket on the Star Cruiser, you need to look good, play well and be imaginatively put together. Second Samurai's packing his bags right now, 'cos he's got the kind of varied gameplay and oomph that you need to survive when playing through the endless aeons of space. Whereas you're slightly better than average, which means only one thing.
Quik: What's that?
Interviewer 3: We're leaving you on Earth. You're going to fall into the sun and die along with everything else that's average.
Quik: Oh dear.