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In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, each playable character has three taunts. One of Sonic’s taunts is to run in place while saying the phrase “You’re too slow.”
Two months after Brawl‘s release, on May 19th, 2008, ElboTheHedgehog posted a video on Youtube with over half a million views. The video was titled "Sonic Brawl Glitch – You’re Too Slow UNLEASHED!!!". The account that hosted that video got disabled due to copyright issues. However, after several days since the video was posted, several Machinimas about “You’re too slow” were posted, as well as a now-famous Sparta remix.
The Sparta remix:
Step it up:
“Come on, step it up”, another of Sonic’s taunts, also became memetic due to a popular machinima:
It was all started by the release of Super Smash Brothers Brawl, the killer app for the Nintendo Wii entertainment system. Within just a few hours of its release, many people posted videos of the game showing off its features. One of those videos had a taunt compilation:
After many, many days since the video’s appearance, some Machinimas of this taunt were made, like the one shown above right after the Taunt Glitch video. These machinimas furthered the taunt’s popularity.
Finally, there’s the online spamming. The taunt is amusing to perform, and to view… the first twenty or so times… Like any meme, it can be awfully annoying to be on the recieving end of several dozen times, but Sonic’s sheer smugness and smooth animation ensure that the taunt is always amusing for the ones who spam it. It is still used after 2 years since Brawl’s release, and shall likely always be used for as long as people continue to play Brawl.
The animation for the “You’re too slow” taunt, in which Sonic runs in place with his feet moving so as to form a figure-eight, is based on the charging-up animation for the Super Peel-Out in Sonic CD, released on the Sega CD as a direct sequel to the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The Super Peel-Out was a move that allowed Sonic to rev up and launch himself forward at great speeds – even greater than the speeds allowed by the Spin Dash – by holding up and pressing the jump button, then releasing the inputs. However, the Super Peel-Out also launched Sonic in such a fashion that he would be running rather than rolling, which could get him hurt if he collided with an enemy. The Super Peel-Out returned in some of Sonic’s games on the Game Gear – namely Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble – but ultimately was phased out in favor of making the Spin Dash itself more effective at generating speed.
As for the sound clip, it is certainly in-character for Sonic, as he is quite cocky and enjoys taunting and mocking his opponents. In this case, the taunting has some truth to it – Sonic is the fastest character in the game, with the greatest ground speed of all characters and the sixth-fastest air speed.