Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

You’re a badass, right? You run around and foil evil schemes of your enemy, kick the asses of his henchmen, and save all the innocents that happen to get cross in the crossfire. You do this with speed, style, and cunning.

But what’s this? Your enemy has unleashed his Ultimate Creation upon you and the hapless others around you. It renders your speed and style nearly useless and quadruples the danger-factor in your quest, drastically cutting down your chances of winning the day or even coming out of it alive. You need more than just style and speed, now. You need POWER.

You’re Sonic the Hedgehog and you need to go Super. How do you do this? With the goddamn Chaos Emeralds, that’s how.

The Chaos Emeralds from the Sonic series are seven variably-colored, variably-shaped crystals of mysterious origin and mystical power. The holder of them all can use them for a large variety of things, such as transforming into a powerful “super form”, powering machines, and warping time and space. In the comics, the emeralds are described as being “not of this world”, but were known of for several millennia before the series began by various groups.

In the Sonic games, their first appearance was in the original Genesis game, though they did not have the same ability to bestow a “super form” upon Sonic at that time. They were simple side-quest items that could be found in the labyrinth-like Special Zone accessible at the end of each act if 50 rings or more were collected. At the time, only six Chaos Emeralds could be obtained, and collecting them all simply meant Dr.Robotnik/Eggman didn’t get his hands on them. If you didn’t collect them all by the end of the game, you’d have a end sequence with Robotnik juggling the ones you still had yet to obtain. Nothing more.

By Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Emerald total was upped to 7 and they gained their Mineral MacGuffin status that they would have for the rest of the series. If all 7 Emeralds were collected in the Special Stages, they could now turn Sonic (and later Knuckles and Shadow) into his Super form, which usually was accompanied with faster-than-super speed and invulnerability so long as your ring count stayed above 0. They became more plot-driven by the 3rd game, where Robotnik was trying to collect the all-powerful Master Emerald that had the power kept Angel Island (aka: The Floating Island) airborne, in order to power his Death Egg mecha after it was destroyed by Sonic. The Master Emerald’s origin is as shrouded in mystery as the normal Chaos Emeralds, though parts of the game and the comics tell us that it was simply a bigger, more powerful Emerald that had fell from the sky eons ago and had been kept by the Echidnas to separate their island from the rest of the planet.

Still with me?

Sonic Super EmeraldSince the Genesis games, the Chaos Emeralds have been cemented in the lore of the Sonic games, and gaming history in general. Several attempts have been made within the Sonic series to add additional “emeralds” to the mix, either to avoid the stagnation of the items as recurring plot devices or to “go beyond going beyond” as it were and give another thing to strive for. Super Emeralds were the first, brought about after the addition of Sonic and Knuckles to Sonic 3, and the collection of all 7 regular emeralds would give access to the Special Stages to get the Super Emeralds. Collecting all 14 emeralds between the 2 games could turn Sonic and Knuckles Hyper and Tails could finally go Super. Artificial Emeralds were introduced in Sonic Adventure 2 as being synthetic copies of the original emeralds but being less powerful, and the “Sol Emeralds’ were equivilent gems from an alternate dimension introduced in the Sonic Rush sub-series. (and are subsequently actually “Emerald Cut” shaped rather than the more diamond-like shape of the Chaos variety)

Regardless, the Chaos Emeralds will remain as well-known to gamers as the Dragon Balls are to anime fans.

Hey, wait a minute…….