The Suck Fairy is a mischievous spirit who visits the beloved properties of our youths so that when we return to them they’re much worse than they were when we first found them. That is surely the explanation; it’s not that we’re much more knowledgeable and mature readers/viewers/players now than back then. It can’t be that our horizons have expanded. It can’t be that the thing we liked back then was never really as good as we thought it was.
The Suck Fairy as a concept has been with us for a while now. I think it was introduced to the world in a September 2010 article on Tor.com by Jo Walton. There’s lots of weird concepts like that that litter internet culture (my favorite is the “Crazification Factor,” from a post on Kung Fu Monkey in 2005, long enough ago that its mention of Obama’s election refers to his Senate run), and sometimes we don’t even know the first time it arose.
Gek is maybe an odd choice for a visit from the Suck Fairy; surely, all of its suck was predispensed? But it was still beloved by some, many of them purchasers of the failed 3DO system on which it originated, one of those consoles with few games, and even fewer that could be called good. (The best, probably? Star Control II.)
The writer of this Destructoid article, still liked it for itself, but finds that it’s one of those games where context given by its manual kind of ruins the game’s premise by giving it an adverse context.
If you just play the game, Gex is a fairly shallow game about a lizard mascot character, in sunglasses no less, romping through a series of worlds based on media properties, uttering trite digitized quotes at various times.
If you read the manual, you find out that Gex is wallowing in sorrow! His dad was an astrogecko working for NASA! He lost his life in a terrible accident! Gex, unable to face the world, retreated into television! It’s the only way he can handle living! And, although Gex thwarts the villain’s plot to use him as a mascot character (a thing he already is really), nothing at the end of the game indicates that his mental state has changed.
I think the writer may be overthinking things a bit. Often manual stories were written as an afterthought by people who had nothing to do with the making of the game. Have you ever seen the manual for the NES release of Konami’s Life Force? It claims that the evil gigantic space creature Zelos, huge enough to devour planets, was the proud offspring of alien beings named “Ma and Pa Deltoid.” The manual for NES Metal Gear claims that the villain wasn’t Big Boss but instead “Colonel Vermon CaTaffy.”
Gex got off pretty lightly, by comparison.
I’ve wildly misunderstood Gex (Destructoid, by Timothy Monbleau)