The common reuse of words in Zone names

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by GT Koopa, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. GT Koopa

    GT Koopa

    Elgin, IL
    Flicky Turncoat DX, T.L.W.S. Vs M.G.W.
    Instead of talking about for example Green Hill, we are going to talk about Green. And Hill. And how there are a bunch of reused zone words. Apart from direct and slight duplicates ("Green Hills," "Neo Green Hill" and "Mecha Green Hill") there is Green Grove and Green Forest. Then you have the ones that are the offshoot color of Green, like Emerald Hill, Turquoise Hill and Great Turquoise. Oh man, HILL.

    It is also interesting that all it takes is a slight name change for a different feel to the zone, one that is its own thing. One worded zones are rare, but even then they are reused many times later on in future zones ("Marble," "Labyrinth," "Starlight," "Metropolis"). Casino Night is different than Carnival Night, and is also different to Casino Paradise. All it took was a one word change! Speaking of Carnival Night, you switch it around and get Night Carnival. That mental image in your head suddenly changed completely to the Rush level, but the words themselves are the same!

    I always liked this approach to level naming, I don't know why. And it is so easy! Most of them are "Adjective Noun Zone." You could set up a randomizer following that formula and get coherent zone names every time.

    So talk about those zone names.
  2. Myriad


    Forgot what did.
    Project: Blue Blur
    I've always been intrigued by the name Scrap Brain Zone, it seems vaguely odd. Perhaps a little look in the dictionary can help out:

    Brian Brain - definition:

    1. An organ of soft nervous tissue contained in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating center of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity.

    2. Intellectual capacity

    (Cheers Apple, for the handy in-built dictionary)

    Well, if that concludes anything, it's either a very intelligent zone, or perhaps it could be named as such because it's the nerve centre of Robotnik's activities, or at least we can assume it is, and not just some random factory.

    • The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts and starfish do not have one, even if diffuse neural tissue is present. It is located in the head, usually close to the primary sensory organs for such senses as vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.

    Perhaps I'm over thinking it.
  3. TheKazeblade


    "Our Life is More than a Side-Effect" Member
    Hey, guys how is Hydrocity pronou- *shot*

    Seriously though, one name that has always had me curious is Genocide City Zone. I know the zone never actually made it to Sonic 2, but even the fact that it was considered is well... weird. The mass killing of a people group is not the first thing that I would equate with Sonic, cut out in beta or not.
  4. Myriad


    Forgot what did.
    Project: Blue Blur
    Supposedly, it was a translation error, apparently it was to be something more like Cyber City Zone, but due to a poor grasp of English, ended up as it was.
  5. XCubed


    Will Someday Own a Rent-A-Center Oldbie
    Wow this is the first time I've attempted to think about "Scrap Brain." It seems to be a cross between your description of it being Eggman's nerve system and scrap metal. Way more cleaver than "Clockwork Zone."

    I feel that zone names today don't go with the simplistic, yet creative nature they were known for in their hayday. "Adjuctive Noun Zone" is pretty much the formula now.

    I'm still wondering if they were 2nd guessing themselves with Sonic 3, in which for the first time, the first zone didn't cater to "Hill". They used the S&K split to their advantage to erase "Valley" for Mushroom Hill because it was now the first zone of a "game"......although, not really.
  6. Myriad


    Forgot what did.
    Project: Blue Blur
    Clock Ork Zone on the other hand...

    I'd never really considered it, if I'm honest. But, you're right, Sonic 3 is the only game of the original series not to feature a 'hill'. I'm surprised they didn't take the opportunity to name it "Marble Hill' in the end, because it there was any zone to warrant that title, it'd be Marble Garden.
  7. TheInvisibleSun


    Buffalo, NY, USA
    The Water
    I always thought Scrap Brain was supposed to be some kind of "mad scientist" reference, like Scrambled Egg Zone. It's almost like it's saying that Eggman's "mechanical" brain is broken and made of scrap metal.

    This is something that I feel Sonic 4 seriously struggles with at times. It goes from overly in-depth/creative names like Sylvania Castle Zone (which is not necessarily bad, just odd and a bit out-of-place), to overly simplistic/mundane/literal names like Oil Desert Zone. Names like Green Hill Zone worked in their simplicity because the word 'green' described a visual attribute of the hills, but not the actual physical aspect. A name like Grass Hill Zone, would be a much less successful name because it does the latter, and becomes a "Noun Noun (and "Literal-Literal) Zone" like Oil Desert is. The same applies for zone names all across the series.

    I've also noticed that many times in the "Adjective-Noun" formula that either one can take the role as the creative/descriptive, but rarely both.
    For example, in Hydro-City Zone, the first word becomes the descriptive adjective (using "Hydro" rather than more direct and mundane words like 'aquatic', or 'underwater'). Alternatively, in Zones like Sand-Opolis, the role switches to the second word being the creative clause (as opposed to the stage being boringly named 'Sand City Zone'), causing them to lean more toward a 'Noun-Adjective Zone' configuration. Therefore, good names in this formula typically should be named in "Adjective-Noun" or "Noun-Adjective" form (and more specifically, "Literal-Creative/Descriptive" or "Creative/Descriptive-Literal"); "Noun-Noun" and "Adjective-Adjective" (and by extension, "Literal-Literal" and "Creative-Creative") names rarely work well, with again an exception of the latter being some in CD and 3D(Tidal Tempest Zone, Diamond Dust Zone etc.).

    To put it more plainly, the Zone name normally is one of the following combinations:

    Creative/Descriptive Adjective-Literal Noun Zone, Literal Adjective-Creative/Descriptive Noun Zone, Creative/Descriptive Noun-Literal Adjective Zone, or Literal Noun-Creative/Descriptive Adjective Zone. Any Literal-Literal or Descriptive-Descriptive combination rarely works out.

    Looking at most of the 'Zone' names of the series, the good names pretty much follow these rules.

    This is why names like "Casino Street Zone" and "Oil Desert Zone" don't work as well as names like "Casino Night Zone" and "Oil Ocean Zone" in my eyes, at least.

    Looking at each zone name from Sonic 1, 2 and 3&K, pretty much all of them fit this mold.

    Sorry if this was kind of confusing, I'm a bit tired.
  8. JaredAFX


    You telling me a shrimp fried this rice? Member
    Downloading megahertz
    When they're not trying to add "Zone" at the end of a level, they either hit or miss. City Escape? Fitting. Metal Harbor? Also fits, and really cool sounding. Seaside Hill? It fits, but like GT Koopa said, HILLS. Without "Zone" at the end, they can make the name roll off the tongue better. Rooftop Run. Rooftop Run Zone. Scrap Brain. Scrap Brain Zone. That "Zone" at the end of Scrap Brain makes you want to get to the end of the word faster, while "Rooftop Run" is already "catchy" and is easier to just say, unlike "Rooftop Run Zone".
  9. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
    and yet there has still never been a hank hill zone

    I dunno. I like hills. I mean, it's not as though the Sonic controls and momentum gimmicks get along well with angular staircase-like level designs; Sonic works better on hills. Hence, hills everywhere, and level names reflect that fact.
  10. KoA


    Earth, I believe??
    Phasma Enigmagorio - Time of the World (Remix Project)
    I always figured that the usage of hills in the zone titles were always a sort of way to lure you into the game.

    What I mean is that most of the Hill Zone variants are either the intro level or close to the beginning of the game. My explanation for this is that as "hill" generally brings up images of a smooth, slowly rising surface, it doesn't offer much in terms of elements of danger. So in this sense, it basically eases you softly into the game with all its hilly embraces and rather docile environments.

    This could also be why end game levels have generally harsher sounding names, a la Scrap Brain Zone and Death Egg Zone and the like. They figure by that time you've already adapted from the general comfort of the "hill" and are ready to take on the challenges of cold, industrial growth.

    Think about it, how fun of a gaming experience would you have if Scrap Brain Zone was the first level and Green Hill Zone the last? You'd be downright confused, I tell you what.
  11. Joltanz Mantis

    Joltanz Mantis

    ! Member
    Quebec, Canada
    I sing
    Off topic, but could you change the title to ''The popular recycling of Zone words''?
    My eyes hurt looking at resusement.
  12. Endri


    Officer I don't have my drivers license with me. C Tech Member
    Long story short: our researches through time revealed that "Genocide" City Zone was an inside joke by the development team, because even though the level already had it's own ID and level select slot during earlier points in the development cycle, there was no actual level data for said level, so Sonic would simply die on a bottomless pit upon entering the zone, and hence the mockname given. Early concept arts revealed that the actual level name was supposed to be Cyber City Zone.
  13. 87th


    FOX HOUNDER Member
    I think it's more of a reference to the badniks and robotic traps in the level than a reference to Robotnik himself.
  14. jasonchrist


    Give Us A Wank Misfit
    Sonic Classic Hybrid Project
    Green Island Zone
    Marble City Zone
    Spring Garden Zone
    Labyrinth Night Zone
    Star Cap Zone
    Launch Brain Zone


    Morning Wood Zone
  15. Miles Prower

    Miles Prower

    Renard Oldbie
    I understand "Scrap Brain" as a mistranslation.

    Brain → Head
    Scrap → Scratch
  16. I always saw it as Scrap meaning metal, and Brain meaning that it's the center of operations.
  17. Hukos


    This needs to be a thing. If only in a romhack.
  18. jasonchrist


    Give Us A Wank Misfit
    Sonic Classic Hybrid Project
    I always imagined it being placed after a "Night" zone.

    Festival Night Zone

    followed by

    Morning Wood Zone
  19. Retroman


    Then afterwards

    Hangover Panic Zone
  20. Skyler


    Neonネオン Cowgirlカウガール Site Staff
    The next audtion