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Earnest Question: Genesis/Mega Drive fans, what was it like to see the younger fanbase grow?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Frostav, Dec 24, 2022.

  1. Frostav

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    I think Sonic has been in an odd situation that very few media properties have been through: quite a few series eventually have a troubled new phase, but few have that phase eventually grow to have its own fanbase that can see the good in it. Usually, everyone eventually agrees that the Weird Time was kinda ass and things get back on track, and at best there's a few diehard defenders of the Weird Time that everyone just kinda ignores. But Sonic isn't like that. Right as the "classic" fans grew more and more despondent over the fate of Sonic, the very games they viewed as a disastrous embodiement of everything that went wrong with the series post the Dreamcast had a huge contingent of kids who grew up with these games and loved them as much as the older fans did--often for the very same elements that older fans despaired over. That's what kinda fascinates me because here we have two groups of Sonic fans and one absolutely loves the shit out of elements the other hates. I am trying to think of a single other time in a fandom this has happened, in any media not just video games, and I really can't think of one. People universally think Loonatics Unleashed was kinda dumb. DmC defenders are few and far between especially now that DMC5 is a thing. No one out here is championing how Other M is a secret Metroid masterpiece.

    I know this because I was one of the kids who thought Shadow the Hedgehog was the greatest game ever when I was 11 because it had guns and they said bad words in it.

    Anyway, since my experience has always been through the lens of an Adventure era kid who just kept on trucking, I really kinda want to know what the other side felt, if you all felt anything at all. I can only imagine that seeing these people who loved the very games you thought were comical tone-deaf missteps for the very reasons you thought they were bad had to have been a utterly bizarre and surreal experience. Were you much aware of this younger fanbase or did this effusive fandom for the 3D games just kinda blindside you out of nowhere? Did you care much? Did you ever have a "oh wait, you guys actually like these?" moment?

    I don't mean for this thread to be toxic or mean, I'm honestly kinda curious because my Sonic fandom as a kid was entirely within the Adventure Kid Bubble where everyone I knew loved Sonic and I knew no older fans nor did I browse places like Sonic Retro. I was vaguely aware of the gaming press' distaste for Sonic, but I didn't really understand it. The two fandoms effectively were entirely separate things with basically zero overlap. As far as I can tell, it was the boost games where the two fandoms kinda collided because the Adventure kids were old enough to be on the net a lot and the hard swerve into the meta era made us finally do the "hey, this isn't what Sonic should be" thing that the older fans did a decade prior (that must have been a surreal moment for those older fans). Most fandoms just don't experience something like this and while relitigating the whole "Sonic has a fractured fanbase!" thing is pretty old hat by now I feel this is an interesting avenue to discuss.
     
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  2. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    I might not be the target audience you're looking for, but I figure I should reiterate what I said in the last version of this topic. To be absolutely up front, I was born in 1996, I probably didn't get into Sonic until maybe 2003-ish with either Sonic Adventure 2 Battle which a friend introduced us to, or Sonic & Knuckles Collection on PC (My memory is kinda fuzzy about this). My brother and I also grew up with Sonic Mega Collection and played through the original games quite often. When Sonic 06 was teased I was excited but lost track of it and then found out it didn't fair that well. I was there for Unleashed from the very moment a trailer was leaked and I kept a constant watch on all things Sonic very closely after that.

    This is all to say, there are going to be people like me who kinda grew up on all 3 eras. Sonic Unleashed was a different take, but I figured it worked very well (granted I played the daytime stages while my brother was stuck with nighttime). For the most part, I generally like what the games have done (save Forces, it's kinda dull). I imagine you're going to have similar cases with this current generation of new fans due to Origins.

    That said, while I find that the games from that "era" play very well, most of those stories I really don't care for most because they got the cast's personalities wrong. Perhaps part of the difference between what "OG fans" felt about the Adventure era vs what Adventure kids feel about the meta era is two different things. It feels to me like Classic fans have a problem with how gameplay has veered away from the original games while Adventure fans are more concerned about the story and characterization being flanderized for 10 years. If I'm wrong, please tell me.
     
  3. saxman

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    Some folks I remember being ~5-10 years younger than me, and at one time that was a pretty big age gap. Today, it means almost nothing. Maturity and all of that is sort of exponential, and so the difference becomes less and less. So that part of it is a little weird.

    Another part of it is realizing that many younger generation fans have no clue what us kids in the '90s and early 2000s were really doing on the internet. I really got heavy into the ROM hacking stuff, for example. But to the younger generations, that means nothing because we already figured it all out for you guys. So that part makes me feel old and forgotten.

    Strictly speaking from a gaming standpoint, I don't feel strongly. I think we've all played the 2D and 3D games. In that way, the generations have overlapped. We have learned in many ways to like the games from the various generations. Mostly. Unleashed getting new-found love, I don't really get. Sonic CD used to be most everyone's favorite Sonic game, but a lot of people complain about the level design these days. Some of that stuff I think is partially attributed to generational differences.

    Overall, I don't think about it much unless it's made obvious to me that someone did not grow up with Sonic with the same experiences I had, after which I begin thinking along the aforementioned lines.
     
  4. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    I miss those times of discovery dearly.

    Unleashed was always well-liked though, with people mostly wishing Knuckles were the Werehog levels or just a basic "Werehog shouldn't exist" or "Werehog could be better". The days stages were always liked.

    Sonic CD was always shit and it took me like 10 years to finally get validated by the kiddos on my views. :V
     
  5. Levi Church

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    I think it's more common than you might think it is. 80s kids hated the Star Wars Prequels. Now the fans of the prequels have grown up and are saying they are way better than the new stuff. And I saw the Sequel Trilogy as a teenager and loved them. Once when the kids from the 2010s grow up they'll start fighting for the sequel trilogy too.

    Sonic is a very big franchise with many entry points and so what you want to see from Sonic is shaped with what you grew up with. A lot of Archie fans never bought a video game and so they are also a huge group in the fan base with very different tastes from those who grew up with Sonic 2 on the Genesis. It just kinda happens with big IPs. What comicbook readers want DC to do is different from what people who think Man of Steel is the best Superman movie want.
     
  6. RDNexus

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    As one born in late 1987, the very first Sonic game I tried was Sonic1 on a borrowed Game Gear, for one night.
    I was so little at that time that playing it felt ethereal at the time, having played SMS Sonic2 for way longer ^^"
    Since then I played most Sonic games from the Mega Drive (Sonic3 & S3K were as elusive to me as SMS Sonic1).
    Sonic R & JAM still retain a nostalgic and mystical spot in my heart, having been the first 3D Sonic games I played.
    SA1...oh, man, what a doozy it was to me at the time. I loved to explore the adventure fields at dusk and night. Those skydomes felt realistic to me at the time.
    SA2, for years, was my utmost favorite Sonic game ever. Heroes, right after, felt like a huge disappointment to me.
    Sonic06, with its character revamping (and the best version of Eggman to me until today) seemed like SA2.2 to me at the time. Then I discovered its fails... ^^"
    By Unleashed's time I got more into the netverse, so I checked trailers and news. Those cartoonish humans still peeve me to this day. My brother never finished it due to the Werehog stages...
    Generations I love it for a while due to modernizing stages from classic and adventure games. And the gameplay was kinda nice to play ^^"
    From Colors onwards... Let us say only Frontiers feels to me like a nice attempt to get into the spotlights again. And I hope it only becomes better from here.
    The live movies, despite being nothing like the games, were nice to see. Sonic & Pals look amazing in a more realistic style, and Robotnik's no slouch either.

    All this from me only as a presentation, and to show I've been accompanying Sonic since very little.
    I only played it with a handful of friends until mid-2000s. When I got into the netverse, I found places related to the franchise like SSRG, SoStH, TGHZ, Sonic CulT, SOAA, TSS and this very Sonic Retro. I'm still quite thankful for having been given the chance to interact with everyone here and come to know more about fangames and the divided fanbase and the wars it entailed.
    Sonic X, for a few years, seemed to me like the apex of Sonic animation...until I started feeling it was childish and quite detached from the gameverse...
    I don't see myself as a purist, since I believe a well-worked reboot of the franchise could make wonders on unifying most of the fanbase, either by gameplay, continuity, presentation and so on.
    But I admit to having gotten disappointed by the franchise from Heroes to Forces. The movies, Prime (in a sense) and Frontiers may manage to bring it back to the light.
    Even Origins, of which I actually fed hopes to become a new Sonic JAM, ended up falling short of it, despite having finally brought the Whitehead classic remakes to multiple platforms and revived S3K to modern audiences.
     
  7. serpx

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    Fun topic! I appreciate that you value seeing the perspectives of others to support you with making informed decisions as you navigate the fanbase. Intentionally learning the perspective of others is a powerful life habit that will serve you well, and I feel it can be fun for others to share their perspectives as I haven't considered my thoughts on this particular situation.

    What I'm going to share is a brief life experience with the Hedgehog, and what I recall with interacting with younger fans. Most my interactions with fans happen online, and they're never long conversations, so you'll definitely want to hear from others.

    Brief History

    I was born in the 1980s (holy crap). First Sonic game was Sonic 2 for the Genesis back in the early 90s. In the 90s, I was young and soaked up the Hedgehog. It was a golden age for him, and almost everything that came out was awesome. I played all of the Genesis and Gamegear games, I watched all the cartoons, read all the Archie comics, I collected a large amount of the toys/merch, I had the SEGA Saturn, enjoyed Sonic R & Sonic CD (Yes, I like Sonic R). It was an incredible time to be a Sonic fan.

    And when the Dreamcast hit, it was STILL awesome to be a Sonic fan. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 was SUPER hype games (being apart of the marketing before release was incredible, the hype of seeing more and more Adventure gameplay and character story slices. The hype of Shadow). Loved all the merch, talking with the community online, etc.

    Once SEGA left hardware, that's when it went downhill for me. Sonic Heroes was not as good (IMO) as the Adventure titles. I'm a huge Metal Sonic and Team Chaotix fan, so that's what I enjoyed most of Heroes. And then the quality just kept dipping and so did my relationship with the Hedgehog as a Sonic fan. What gave me hope of the future: Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Generations, & Sonic Mania.

    Now? Now we're in a golden age similar to what I experienced as a kid IMO. Sonic Frontiers was a success, we have Sonic movies, Sonic TV shows, good comics again, plenty of fun merch/toys, and anyone can now play the incredible backlog of Sonic games and experiences. I'm SUPER happy that new fans can experience what us 90 kids experienced growing up.

    Interacting with Fans

    Again, my interaction with fans is limited to forums and very brief messaging on things like youtube comments and reddit. I don't have any friends IRL that are "newer" Sonic fans. Here are some things I can recall:

    • I was blindsided. You asked if the new fandom came out of no where, and for me, yes. I never really paid attention to the growth of the fandom and the "generations" of the fandom. And when there were moments where classic fans would argue with modern fans online, it would surprise me and also have me say, "That's unfortunate." Unfortunate that folks grew up different than I did -- without having experienced the magic of the classic titles, and why there's strong desire/emotion for more classic Sonic games.
    • Fans definitely can be attached with what they grow up with, regardless of game quality. I have learned that, similar to you OP, folks grow up and fall in love with different parts of Sonic. There are die-hard Sonic Heros fans, Sonic 06 fans, Sonic Unleashed fans, etc. And even though we're both Sonic fans, I find it challenging to relate to these individuals if they haven't taken the steps like you, and explored other perspectives/experiences.
    • I argue to bring Sonic back to his golden age. As a classic fan, sometimes I can come across as toxic. When a new 3D title comes out and it doesn't look fun, it's story looks lame, etc. Then you'll see fans like me bash it, and I feel like it can drive modern fans up the wall. The REASON why I bash it is because I grew up with the golden age of Sonic -- the Genesis/GG/CD/Saturn/Dreamcast age. Games like Sonic 06 and Forces, while maybe fun to some people, are NO WHERE CLOSE to how incredible Sonic can be when developers put their all into the title. Classic fans like me know this, because we lived it for years. To me, it feels almost like I've given up on Sonic if I don't express how things could be better. Everyone deserves the Sonic we grew up with, and I can finally say that change appears to be arriving.
    • Classic Sonic needs to keep living. And, you'll also see me push for more titles like Sonic Mania. Sonic 3 & Knuckles was one of the best classic titles of all time. So, why STOP something that is incredible? Why STOP something that made Sonic as big as he is in the first place? Sonic Mania proved that the classic formula is still incredible, and there's a massive amount of fans that want a continuation of said formula. As an Adventure fan, I'm super happy that the 3D formula is working -- and kinda combining (IMO) what made the Adventure games awesome with the new-age of 3D Sonic (i.e. boost formula). And, I feel the 2D side needs more love too. In the perfect world, we have continued awesome 3D games, and continued awesome 2D games.

    Overall

    So what was it like seeing the younger fanbase grow up? You haven't grown up with the best of Sonic, and you're finally seeing what fans like me pushed for, for years -- this new golden age. Now you're seeing what Sonic can bring to the table as an IP.

    And overall, for me, my perspective comes from:

    • Strong attachment to the success of Sonic in the 90s/early 2000s (Classic Sonic & Adventure Sonic)
    • High expectations of where Sonic can be, therefore when expectation aren't met, comments from fans like me can sometimes come across as "toxic."
    • You'll see fans like me push yearly for things like: Chao Gardens, momentum-based physics, new 2D titles, good quality stories, a mix of fun/mature in tones. All because I loved these aspects in previous games. And I'd love to see more momentum-based physics in 3D titles as I don't see how that would be a bad thing.

    It took awhile, but right now this classic fan is overall happy with the world of Sonic. Sonic Frontiers was the first time I had my expectations for a Sonic game exceeded (mostly from the boss fights) for a 3D title in over a decade. Let's pray Sonic Team builds on this success, versus going the other way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2022
  8. Overlord

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    Sonic had such a drastic shift in the early 00s that those introduced to it there will have a drastically different view of what Sonic is to those of us who were there from the start. There's an incompatibility there that will likely never get resolved that I entirely blame the ones in charge between 2001 to 2006 for. What the ones who look to this era see Sonic as is alien in many ways to what he is to most of us from then - 2008 to around 2016 (Forces stupid edge-attempts aside) fixed that somewhat but now it's swung back the other way again with Frontiers and those who think Colours was bad (when it was the best title the team had made in a decade and a half). Sonic's back in the wilderness and probably will be until the ones raised on Colours to Lost World are the ones listened to.

    Y'all wanted the opinion, y'all got it. Don't @ me
     
  9. Blue Spikeball

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    I mean, I'm a 90's kid who grew up with the classic games. My favorite Sonic game is S3K, my ideal 3d Sonic game would have classic physics, and I personally found all the 3d installments released between SA2 and Unleashed terrible to mediocre. And yet the retro purism during the 2000s, Classic Sonic worship, and complaints about how everything should be exactly like the classic games and anything that came out after S3K was utter garbage, only made me cringe. As did the implication that Colors' slower Wisp-centric gameplay and trollfic-esque story were a return to the "roots".

    So when the younger fans grew and starting voicing their criticisms of the Pontac/Graff games for their tone/characterizations/"plots", while longing for something closer to the 2000s games' style, I only found myself agreeing with them. Even though I'm supposedly expected to hate everything about the 2000s games.

    Though contrary to what many would have you believe, these complaints didn't begin when the younger fans grew older, and the praise for Colors wasn't that unanimous when it came out. I know from first hand experience that there were a number of Colors detractors in the online fandom back in the day, even in Retro. The site's admin herself stated that the staff "can't even agree if Sonic Colors was a good game" (actual words) back in early '12.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2023
  10. HEDGESMFG

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    Honestly?

    I feel bad that younger fans couldn't experience Sonic as a concept from the beginning. The experimentation of Sonic in the 90s and sheer variety of takes on the character is actually one of the things I found appealing about Sonic. I liked the games, but I also liked the cartoon shows. I quickly grasped that this was a multimedia franchise and found it really cool how different some takes on the material was.

    SATAM Sonic being nothing like the games, but being a neat thing in its own right. The US and UK comics both being wildly different and blending elements from games and TV media was very cool. Seeing how game elements translated from cartridge to comic to TV was always exciting because of the limitations of gaming hardware gave us more room to imagine how it translates. Watching the early internet grow and spawn the creativity of this fandom was amazing and paved the way for me to grow as a content creator and creative in my own life/career. No other gaming IP had a fandom as obseesed with tearing apart the code as Sonic did as early as 1998.

    For all its rocky moments, Sonic is a cultural icon that has no equal, not because it's the most popular (though around 1993 it arguably was the most popular kids IP in America and parts of Europe, the one small period where it legitimately rivaled Nintendo's dominance), but because no other property has such a wild and complicated history. Mario does not have nearly as many unique spinoffs or nearly as much lore and dropped nearly all branding experimentation after 1995. Pokemon was much more consistently controlled by Nintendo from day 1 and doesn't have any real western spinoff to speak of aside from one single Hollywood film. Most other big multi-media properties were comics, films, or games first before diversifying and very few have elements of both eastern and western creative culture directly in them (Transformers is the next closest).

    As a media franchise and a cultural figure, Sonic is just plain interesting. Wild. Crazy, bizarre, with some amazing highs and hilariously awful lows, but never is it not interesting. It has been a Disney Styled Saturday Morning Cartoon, a looney tunes style gag show, an anime shounen star, a top selling long running America comic book, a bunch of gag manga, a Hollywood movie, and the pinnacle of game tech all at once... while all being completely different yet somehow faithful to the core character of Sonic at the same time. That's why I still am here after 30+ years. It still entertains me as an adult because of this, and a lot of younger fans really missed out by not being there to see it as it happened. The internet helps you catch up, but it doesn't replace the pre-internet experience of seeing Sonic become popular. The school yard rivalries between Sega and Nintendo tables. All that jazz.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2022
  11. charcoal

    charcoal

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    Well, to be fair, I am one of these 'younger fans' myself, (I'm 15), and I think I definitely grasped Sonic being a more or less loose concept early on. I played games like 06, Colors, and of course the classics via collections, but I also managed to immerse myself in all of the different multimedia. I always caught reruns of Sonic X, I adored watching SatAM and AoSTH on Netflix, and I loved the Boom cartoon as it was coming out. If anything, the existence of the internet existing only enhanced this view of Sonic because I also managed to get exposed to things I wouldn't have otherwise seen like the OVA!

    I loved how diverse it all was, I distinctly remember thinking about how there was so much Sonic stuff that was all different, but how I loved it all either way! Although these are just my personal experiences, I personally don't think this amazing aspect of the franchise has ever gone away, even if you don't get to see it happen 'in real time'. Again, just my experiences though, as many many people have experienced this character in many many different ways.
     
  12. HEDGESMFG

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    I'm not saying you can't understand it or comprehend it as an idea, but watching it happen live and evolve was a totally different experience. I'm also a big fan of some stuff from the 70s and 80s that predates my birth, so I've seen it go both ways. Sonic is one of those things I got to grow with on day 1.

    At your age, I was already celebrating his 10th anniversary with the release of Sonic Adventure 2 and was already immersed in this same online communities with people, but I also remembered the first Sonic commercials appearing on TV. Growing 'with' this character has been something very, very unique, and he has influenced internet fandoms in a way that not many other franchises have (Pokemon is probably the next closest real pop culture phenomena, but same idea... you had to see how it started and how the internet evolved with it to really grasp how crazy it all was).

    That's not me knocking your fandom, knowledge, or experiences, BTW. That's me saying I'm glad I grew up experiencing it the way I did. Getting individual pieces of media (a comic, watching a TV episode, buying a game) was harder than it is today. There were plenty of downsides to old tech and having to put up with it, but experiencing cultural changes in those years was just plain cool.
     
  13. charcoal

    charcoal

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    Ah, I understand now. I interpreted your post in a different way, but I get what you're trying to say now. It is sad that those experiences are essentially impossible to have nowadays with Sonic, but it is amazing that new generations will continue to have unique experiences with character for years to come at the same time! Thank you for elaborating, I find other people's perspective on this character to be very interesting no matter who it is since the series is so diverse!
     
  14. HEDGESMFG

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    It hits you in other ways too as you get older.

    Hearing young kids get audibly excited about Tails showing up at the end of the first Sonic movie makes me a bit sappy because Tails was my favorite character as a kid when I was that young. It's also cool to see cycles like that continue and realize what you liked as a kid can be passed on to the next group, even if it is a bit different.

    Also remember, some of the people who started posting in this very forum have gone on to work on Sonic professionally. Tyson, Stealth, Christian, Ian Flynn being just a few examples. Sonic influenced some of our actual professional career choices and has helped us learn our talents, which helps us create content for new generations to enjoy.
     
  15. Zephyr

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    I'm in a spot between being a Genesis/Mega Drive "era" fan, and an "Adventure era" fan.

    My Genesis Era Fandom:
    I was born in 1991, but my reliably-traceable long-term memory doesn't really begin until 1997, when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was already very familiar with Sonic 1 and 2 by this point, to the point that I don't remember my first time playing either game (though being blown away by Marble Zone's lava chase sequence in Sonic 1 is definitely my earliest gaming memory). Somewhere between 1997 and 1998 we had the Sega Channel during its final year, during which time I played a little bit of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. So, I was definitely already a Sonic fan before Adventure appeared on the scene. When it came out, I remember seeing ads for it on TV, but we didn't have a Dreamcast, so I knew I was never going to play it.

    Advance Transition:
    In 2001, we lost our Genesis and all of the games, but I got a GBA for my 10th birthday that year. In 2002, I got Sonic Advance, which definitely gave me my Sonic fix, but also hooked me on the Tiny Chao Garden (probably due to me also being into Pokemon). That same year I made friends with someone who introduced me to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and its fully-fledged Chao Garden, and it was over. I ended up getting a GameCube of my own with a copy of the game for my 11th birthday that year.

    My Adventure Era Fandom:
    From there I was finally "caught up" with Sonic. Ended up getting Sonic Adventure DX the next year without even realizing at first that it was a port of SA1. When Heroes ads started showing up on TV I was hyped, and I was actually in a position to get it as soon as it came out. It didn't live up to my expectations, but I enjoyed it. Was hyped for Shadow, got that at release, enjoyed it (I don't remember what my expectations were). In summer 2006 my grandparents got a PC with the internet, so I was finally in a position to browse the internet outside of school or a more-well-off friend's house, and that's when I learned about Sonic 06, which I was very hyped for. Saved up to get a 360 just for it. I enjoyed it, despite getting more game overs my first time through Wave Ocean than I can count.

    So, I wasn't around early enough to see the original incarnation of Sonic come out. But my fully-conscious pre-adolescence came just in time to immerse myself in it (to the extent my family could afford) before the Dreamcast incarnation came around and took over. Then, when I got access to that during my adolescence, I immersed myself in it. Kind of fitting, in a way, that being born the same year Sonic came out, both the IP and myself went through our "awkward adolescent teenage years" at the same time. It's not like I dropped the original incarnation, though. They weren't really different in my eyes. I had picked up Mega Collection probably by the time Heroes was out, and got Gems Collection probably around the time Shadow came out, so I was able to play through CD, and finally able to play (and beat) the combined Sonic 3 & Knuckles. I was really fixated on hypothetical overarching timelines, where Triple Trouble, Fighters, and R would have fit, and how characters like Fang, Bean, and Bark would play in an Adventure-styled game.

    Introspection & Hindsight:
    In the back half of my teenage years, I began to get more analytical and introspective, and started to exchange ideas with others on the internet (ie: argue with people in the YouTube comments section). By 2008, I'd finally brought into clearer picture what about Heroes-Shadow-06 had disappointed me, and even what gameplay components of the Adventure games I felt were design missteps in hindsight. Once I found this place, that same year, I dropped the YouTube comments section immediately, citing frustrations arguing with "the noobs" in my 'validation post'. :V

    Though I was hyped for Unleashed, I wasn't in a position to play it for a while (since my 360 took a shit), and in 2010 my attention was squarely on the Sonic 4 debacle, so I didn't play Colors until a bit later either. But I got Generations day 1. Lost World was the first time the IP actually lost me, and with Boom being the other major thing the series was focusing on in the middle of that decade, I actually stopped caring about new Sonic things altogether, until Mania came out and sucked me right back in. All I can say after being here during the Sonic 4, Forces, and Frontiers hype cycles is that time is a flat circle; every new game that gets announced a new batch of kids will show up and give Sonic Team the benefit of every doubt possible, only for most of them to leave after the game's mega thread dies down. Had I known about this place between 2004 and 2006, I probably would have been one of them! :eng99:
     
  16. LockOnRommy11

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    I started gaming, watching, reading and playing with Sonic toys at a very young age around 1995. For a good three or four years I continued to play the games (Mega Drive plus Sonic CD PC) and watch AoStH, until the series as a whole somewhat faded, and other cool stuff (new movies, 3D games) took the stage. I was aware of the Dreamcast and somewhat of a Sonic game on there, but that was it. I don’t think I even heard of a SEGA Saturn until the early 2000’s.

    Fast forward to Christmas 2003; I got Sonic Advance 2, and loved it. At that point, playing the Mega Drive felt like another life, and I’d forgotten a lot about the games. I found an online emulator and played Sonic 1 Master System, thinking it was the Mega Drive version. I dug out my Mega Drive and became massively reacquainted with the games and appreciated them more than even before. I then bought Sonic Advance 1 and 3, then Heroes on PS2. I eventually got a GameCube in 2004 and played Adventure, 2 Battle, Mega Collection, Gems Collection… what a series! The games were mostly of similar style; punchy music, surrealistic 3D computer-style graphics with emphasis on cubes and circles, nature vs technology being prominent, and a clear cut and generally irredeemable bad guy in a series that always referred to previous games and propelled the characters forward, even in small ways.

    Shadow The Hedgehog, I feel, is the game that really split the fanbase, and paved the way for Sonic 2006, the game that ultimately reset the series. Whilst I enjoyed Shadow The Hedgehog, I couldn’t hide my somewhat disappointment at the way it handled the environments and characters. I feel that this game is a good amount of time from Sonic 1, that it set the tone overall for kids and young teens who were coming into Sonic anew, but at the same time, caused the change in the way the games themselves played.

    Since then, the series has been a more arcade-style, with an emphasis on childish edgy humour, and a bigger lack of the tropical, colourful and neon environments that came before. Though Sonic Frontiers is somewhat a step in the right direction, it again falls back on a muted and uninteresting tone, too dissimilar to the first 14 years.

    So, back to the question. What has it been like to see the younger fanbase grow? To be honest, I’ve no idea. I think the series has now branched out in so many directions it’s split fans into categories. With the rise of social media, it’s easier to see bickering and divides. Sonic now tries to cater to too many audiences and often forgets what draws people in. I think it’s hard to see growth when there’s always so much dividing people.

    Having been a fan since the 90’s, it’s difficult to be a fan of a series that… just isn’t FOR me anymore, barring the odd game like Mania. It’s even weirder when the marketing and merch IS made for me, like I’m being kept on a hook for something that might never materialise.

    It has been amazing, however, to see so many fans go on to work with SEGA professionally, and they have always chosen the right people to do so. I think they need to listen to them more, and take the wheel from Sonic Team, who don’t seem to ever really hit the spot with the games, and haven’t done since Generations, and before that, Heroes.
     
  17. Forte

    Forte

    I speak better after three beers Member
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    Interesting topic.

    I'm not exactly an Classic Era fan, but let me write something from a perspective of Adventure Era Kid

    I was born in 1992, first contact with Sonic was on Master System (Sonic 1) - then I believe, it was Sonic Adventure DX and Heroes, and then the classics on the emulator? I really can't remember, it's all mixed up in my mind.

    Anyway, when I was growing up, Sonic was in its Adventure Era, and it was really corresponding to my younger self. Hard rock was everywhere and anime was becoming a thing. Sonic embraced these trends, and so - it became a default for me. When I picture Sonic - I see Uekawa art, when I hear Sonic, I hear Drummond/Griffith accompanied by Crush40 music. This to me, is Sonic DNA and changing it is a blasphemy.

    That's why I often have hard time accepting what's happening with franchise now. The quirky music, plot focusing on weird meta-humour and jokes - that's not my Sonic, but we'll - the problem is with me, not with the series. I'm no longer the target audience.

    Now let's look at the elephant in the room - Sonic Frontier's. I embraced the changes this game made to the series, because I see it as "going back to it's roots". The Adventure Era kid in me was screaming when I saw the Ancients, when Neo Metal was mentioned by Sage etc., I was smiling from ear to ear for the first time in years, while playing a Sonic game, when approaching Giganto and the Undefeatable theme started to play

    It's silly, I had no idea how much I missed it, the "real Sonic" and how alien the series felt for me for the couple of years.

    But now, there is a wholly new generation, who loves the Colour-Lost World era Sonic, and they might feel betrayed by Frontiers, and it's change of style. So my real Sonic to them is a fake hedgehog.

    World is a weird, but a fun place. I'm sleepy.
     
  18. Growing up along side Sonic, it was interesting. In person, there was always a lot of schoolyard Nintendo vs Sega rivalry stuff. Having each system due to different family members in the house having systems made it easy to just straddle the line. Then came multimedia and marketing. The Cartoons and the Comics in the USA were very popular. Going to Toys R Us, there were always kids talking about Sonic. Then there were all of the magazine letters, fanart, and articles featuring Sonic that a lot of places like Blockbuster or Software Etc. that always used to push it out to the forefront. Tons of commercials helped too. So there was always some kind of buzz. It almost seemed like perpetual background chatter. Then you had the more online connected stuff. I remember Sega channel. My cousin had it, and I still vividly remember playing the first level of Sonic 3D Blast because it was the tail end of the classic era before adventure. This was also the time I think some of the press' distaste developed due to how classic gems were always offset by some shoddy title here or there.

    Kinda brings us to the hype of the adventure era. The comics were doing a bunch of transitional arcs. EGM had the big cover story, which I remember fondly. I was the kid and later teen with all of the magazine subscriptions. So even with early internet access there was still a big difference between the levels of coverage and media. Unless perhaps you were IGN. A lot of friends were stoked for it, and at the very least indifferent. Online was a different story since that was a vastly different subculture still. A great deal of the fandom was more oriented towards the cartoons and comics. There was a lot of debate on how the US canon was being washed away. This was back when everyone was Usenet or on Discservers. At least until the major ezboard switch everywhere around 2000. The online fandom was always far more volatile. Very particular about what they wanted. More fragmented. It was certainly different then the more casual takes I knew from people in real life, or talked to at the toy and game stores. A lot of lapsed fans did come back for Sonic X, then seemed to drift away again. Then a lot of older communities died of either 2008 around Unleashed or 2012 after Generations. Even since then a lot of communities shifted to Facebook groups or Discord Servers. So there is always a level of change. Wish there was better archival of a lot of this.

    Later on, I did a long term part time stint in gaming retail. Definitely saw a wide range of takes there. Last time I saw general enthusiasm prior to being a customer for Frontiers was around the launch of Generations. Though there was one customer around 2013 who was way too into Sonic 06. Been a wild ride at least. Even had some behind the scenes type experiences with Sonic at some conventions I'd attended. Sadly I never had anything other than released demos or things that were mostly as is to the final games (Generations) if I'm remembering right. So the community and creativity coming out of it is amazing. Surprised how many notables in the fan community made the transition to professional spots, but I'll admit I've been seeing that in a lot of industries. Passion can get you places.
     
  19. MastaSys

    MastaSys

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    I can get Classic Sega Sonic merchandise instead of having Aosth stuff shoved into my face like it was the franchise's main media.

    And there's new blood maintaining the brand relevant. Other stuff from the 90s and 00s that i liked didn't have such luck.

    I couldn't be more happier.
     
  20. Ravenfreak

    Ravenfreak

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    O'Fallon Mo
    Sonic 1 Game Gear Disassembly
    I was introduced to Sonic in 1994, my cousins had a Sega Genesis and I remember they brought it over to my grandparent's house, which is where my parents, sister, and I were living at. So I grew up with classic Sonic in the franchise's heyday, when I remember seeing commercials for new Sonic games and even food based on Sonic. I watched AoSTH, and loved Sonic. When I was around 10 years old in 2000, I played Sonic Adventure at my local Kmart since they had a Dreamcast display. I honestly hated the game... It was so different from the Genesis titles that I was used to. For a couple of years, my special interest changed and I preferred Pokemon to Sonic. But then in 2002, I got a Archie comic from a local grocery store. I loved it and my grandma ordered a year subscription for me, so I got back into Sonic again. Since I didn't have a video game console to play any newer Sonic titles, I didn't get to experience Sonic Adventure again until 2005, when I got Sonic Adventure DX for Valentines Day. And when I played it, I actually enjoyed it. I even questioned why I didn't like it when I was younger, and it was then that I became obsessed with Sonic yet again. Honestly ever since that year, I've never once stopped liking the franchise. It's still my favorite gaming franchise, despite all the bad titles and mediocre reviews. I just don't know why I love this blue rat so much, 2022 was such a damn good year for Sonic and it makes me happy seeing Sonic become popular again. I don't think the franchise will ever be as big as it once was in the 90's, but I really hope with all this success the franchise will continue to evolve. As for the question at hand, as someone who lurks on Twitter and often sees Sonic Twitter, all I often see there is bickering between what makes Sonic so good and what the franchise should go back to doing. Though it's funny, I guess history repeats itself since going back and looking at old forum posts from the mid 2000's has the same bickering going on, though this was during Sonic's darkest times so I can't really blame my generation or older fans for behaving the way they did back then... And honestly now I see people talk more about the character's themselves than the games on Twitter.