Geek Critique: The Hidden Value of Classic Sonic

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Josh, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Josh

    Josh

    TGC Warrior Oldbie


    Moreso here than anywhere else on the internet, I know I'm preaching to the choir with this one! My goal here was to provide a video that people might refer to when someone says they don't "get" classic Sonic. I figure nobody like that is going to want to watch a 30+ minute video telling them why they're wrong, so I made it as succinct and direct as I could. I kept it simple, sticking to the idea that Sonic is a game that's made to be replayable, and unfortunately, "replay value" is out-of-focus nowadays.

    I know there's quite a lot I left out in trying to keep it short, but that's what all my hour-long retrospectives are for, haha.

    I also included an anecdote based on something I wrote here years before I ever even had a YouTube channel, so thanks for kickstarting my thought process! Hope it's a good one!
     
  2. If I may throw in my two cents, I think there's some more useful context that's lost to lots of people: Sonic was a series made by a company most famous at the time for making car racing games. Just like a racing game it's vital to a), familiarize one's self with the track (i.e., act), and, b), know when to ease off the accelerator and brake to save time, as counterintuitive as that is. As such, I'm sure it was less out of convenience and more of a clue that Sonic's skidding SFX was lifted from OutRun.

    As far as I'm aware, the only way to exploit Chemical Plant Act 1's shortcut is to ease up at a certain point, otherwise the jump's arc will throw Sonic past it, and the spindash won't work because the rolling lock will almost certainly cause Sonic to fall straight down to the regular path. Slowing down in Chemical Plant is super counterintuitive, and most newbies won't bother to learn that the speed boosters will lose you time if you let them.
     
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  3. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    I'm not going to be nice about this.

    The people who claim that "Sonic was never good" and other such bullshit never cared for Sonic to begin with. They are nothing but disingenuous pricks who either want hate clicks or are merely repeating the words of someone else. Yes, not everyone likes everything but trying to argue that an icon that has made BILLIONS of dollars in game & merchandise sales is absurd. There's no need to be analytical about this. The "Meme" is based on good old fashioned nerd basing, not a legitimate argument on Sonic's arcade gameplay philosophy.

    Your video is good but the people who are actually preaching the nonsense (in contrast to people who honestly don't like Sonic games and just play other games they do like) are just assholes spewing shit.
     
  4. Josh

    Josh

    TGC Warrior Oldbie
    I mean, I don't like to assume bad faith. While I'm sure some of them really ARE just cynically pursuing hate clicks, or really ARE just so set on their opinion that they're not even willing to TRY to understand the appeal, I know I'm never gonna get through to those people anyway. I think it's a lot more productive to try to reach out to people who are on the fence, or people who just don't "get" the context of Sonic's design.

    Also, in response to a few comments I was getting, I wrote this:

     
  5. JustAMotobug

    JustAMotobug

    Badnik Member
    Interesting video. Liked the presentation, the message was clear, and this video has a frame I find very humorous. upload_2019-9-6_19-13-7.png Thank you for making this video. It was a nice watch.
     
  6. MastaSys

    MastaSys

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    "Oh and press down to curl in a ball, it really helps"

    OH THANK YOU, SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS!
    It's so painfull seeing the typical "sonic was always bad" folk missing this basic ability diying so easily avoidable deaths...
    I mean, a hedgehog curling and using it's spikes to protect itself it's most natural thing ever, more than a jumping plumbler.
     
  7. To be fair, hedgehogs aren't native through much of the world, particularly the Americas. And even then, most folks are ignorant of what's rummaging through their backyards.

    I've corrected people more time I care to admit that they're not even rodents; we humans are more closely related to rodents than nearly all furry little quadrupeds colloquially called rodents.
     
  8. Even Yuji Naka - the inventor of Sonic himself - didn't know that hedgehogs could swim just fine, so we're left with this hedgehog drowning his way through the ages.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  9. Laughingcow

    Laughingcow

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    I'd say it works. Every hero needs a weakness after all.
     
  10. Frostav

    Frostav

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    I've always found the "Sonic is bad because you have to replay it" argument to be absolutely baffling, and I'm glad the video goes over that. It's incredibly emblematic of how modern gamers seem to only play games once and that's it because the idea of "the game is bad because it incentivizes replaying it" is just an inherently absurd argument on its face.
     
  11. Chibisteven

    Chibisteven

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    Video games are probably treated more as a disposable commodity to those type of gamers. Played once and thrown in the trash to never be played again.
     
  12. Rhythm Raccoon

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    I'm probably the only one who feels this way, but I grew up with Sonic Advance 3 as my only modern Sonic title (until I got Colors in 2016, yes I know, I've basically been living under a rock). I hear people complain about how unfair the game is (granted, I can see where they're coming from, nostalgia aside) with the bottomless pits, spike traps, etc., but something I never understood was why people didn't just learn the game better. And no, I don't mean memorizing the level layouts. To this day, I still find myself discovering new ways to get through the massive stages without having problems with dimps' level design, because I learned how the team abilities work and where to properly use them. I know that this thread is about the classic philosophy, but I feel that a lot of it applies to the franchise as a whole, especially when people describe all Sonic games as "hold (button) to win", or "punishes you for doing what you're supposed to". Another thing that bugs me is when people try to compare every single game in a series to every other one based on what it didn't do (and yes, this applies to other series as well, I've seen dozens of baseless videos about Mario and Zelda for instance).

    What was special about the classic games was what new things they brought to the gaming table, and how they encouraged you to learn to use them to the best of your ability. There was room for mistakes, and the game encouraged you to get back on your feet and keep trying! I know some things in the franchise just don't work, but it irks me when people hate on a game either because it's not Sonic Adventure 3 or Sonic Mania 2, or because "that spike shouldn't have been there" and "that jump was so unfair". I feel this video applies to Sonic as a whole because every game (bar a few) tried to be new and innovative, instead of just following the same old formula (Sonic's entire edge in the 90's was about how new and cool he was!). Now I know most people don't like the way Sonic is always changing, but I can't help but feel like it's under-appreciated. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but again, I find it wrong when people rate a Sonic game for what it didn't do, and not what it did do (i.e. Sonic Heroes introduced a cool team mechanic, but because the controls aren't the same as SA2, it's trash). This video did a supernatural job explaining why we like classic Sonic, and I wish in the future more Sonic games can get this kind of attention. Because I'll be real here, Secret Rings was only subpar due to bad controls (my opinion).

    When outsiders say classic Sonic (or any game for that matter) is trash because it's not so-and-so (i.e., not expansive enough, not long enough, not smooth enough, not serious enough, etc.) I sit back and wonder if they've even tried a Sonic game before. This video made my day, and explains exactly why I love Sonic as a whole; because I like a good, fun challenge that's engaging and gets better with skill, instead of a game that plays it so safe and same-y to the point of getting dull. Fantastic job TGC, looking forward to more of your videos in the future!

    (P.S. My most wanted game is still Sonic Adventure 3. I hope I explained myself well. Sorry for the walls of text! ;) )
     
  13. SoNick

    SoNick

    Oldbie
    So I agree with your general point Mr. Raccoon, but I have point out one specific part as completely off the mark:
    Sega had a mini-Sonic renaissance going sparked by Sonic Adventure. Sure, the series had missed most of the late 90's and there were some weak spin-offs such as Chaotix, but with Sonic Adventure Sega was showing that they had faith in their mascot again and they were willing to come out strong Sonic Adventure 1 had some rough edges, but such was to be expected of a launch title. Sonic Adventure 2 had rough edges as well, but as it was the last title for the Dreamcast they had good reason to just get the game finished already instead of polishing it. Sega had an animated series featuring their title character going again, the comic was still going strong, and although they were going to be a third-party developer now Sonic Heroes was their chance to show that without a crazy-strict deadline they've still got what it takes to make a solid game.

    What they delivered was a buggy mess with overly-shiny character models, voices that border on annoying at best, poor controls, and a very forced team mechanic. This was the game that had me give up on Sonic back in the early 2000s, before the horrors of Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic '06. To say that people hated on it simply because the controls aren't the same as SA2 is doing a disservice to this mess of a game.
     
  14. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Heroes can be super clunky, but I think it adheres to the Classic Sonic mentality pretty well actually.
    I hated this game when I first played it, but the more I played it, the more I improved. And now I can finish even the hardest levels without too much trouble, which reminds me a lot of my experience with the Megadrive Sonic games. For reference, I believe I played Shadow about the same amount of time, but every playthrough of the game I do is still a miserable experience. I think Sonic Heroes' design is pretty clever, despite all its flaws.

    I mean I wouldn't call this game amazing (or even good), but I think it's not the unplayable mess some people make it out to be.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 11:05 AM
  15. Yash

    Yash

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    This just reminds me of a gaming channel on YouTube from way back in the day (around the time the Wii launched). It was run by a couple of lifetime Nintendo fanboys who would review the Virtual Console games, and with the Sonic series they admitted they had never played the games because Mario was better anyway, yadda yadda.

    Anyway they dinged Sonic 1 and 2 hard for not having a save system and giving Sonic 3 credit for including one, and smugly ended each with review with "see, this is just proof that Mario was always the superior game." Like, you can beat Sonic 1 and 2 in half an hour if you know what you're doing. Compare that to say, Mario 3 - a full play-through of that can easily take five or six hours if you're trying to do it in one sitting, though obviously you have warps if you just want to skip to the ending.

    It's a totally different mentality to modern gaming where autosave is a thing and if you screw up you can always just save-scum to five seconds ago.
     
  16. Rhythm Raccoon

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    This.

    Would I regularly play Heroes again? Probably not, I have SA1 & SA2. But I got Heroes before I got SA2, and I think this helps me to see why Heroes isn't as bad as some people say. In my eyes from a gameplay standpoint, Heroes is a decent game (not trash), and SA2 is phenomenal (not just "pretty good").

    The only Sonic game I never, ever play due to poor design is Sonic Labyrinth. That game sucks, and I can't even beat Labyrinth of the Castle without a video tutorial. :( I never have this problem with any other Sonic game.

    I watched Nathaniel Bandy's "How Sonic Heroes Triggers You" video the other day, and in the opening voice over, he said (as always) that the video doesn't accurately represent his feelings about the game, and then proceeds to say that we should all just admit that Heroes is basically SA3. This made me think about how most people nowadays just can't seem to be grateful for what we do get with the blue blur. Sure... guns, kissing, and werewolves are out-of-place, but it seems like people just gloss over the good things and just harp on the few bad things because (as I've said several times on these forums) "It's not SA3 or Sonic Mania 2".

    When I played Forces for the first time, I went in with extremely low expectations (after having played Colors in all of its glory). After beating the game, I was surprised. Everyone was saying that Forces was either all trash, or all mediocre because it wasn't Generations 2. But I ended up with a pretty mixed bag. Classic Sonic sucked (I think most of us can agree), but aside from a few quirks in some of Modern Sonic's stages (one curve in Metropolitan Highway has always been problematic for me), the game was pretty solid (in my opinion). I can literally play the minute long Aqua Road for hours. I don't know why that is, but maybe it's because I don't look at Forces with the "it's not Generations 2" mentality, but instead with a more "Forces tried to be quick, pick up and play, arcade style fun, meant to be played in short bursts (insert burst wisp voice-over here)" mentality.

    My point on this video was not "everyone should like all Sonic games because they're all different", but rather "I wish everyone could be this open-minded about Sonic, and be willing to take a step back and appreciate a game for what it tried to, did, and could do, ignoring every single other game in the franchise, pretending it's the only one that was ever made (or something like that).

    Again, sorry for more walls of text.
     
  17. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Should you judge a game on its own, or based on standards set by previous entries in the series? I think this question is really really fascinating actually; and I don't think there's a correct answer either.

    I have a high tolerance for experimentation, so that's why I'm not really bothered when games are massively different from their predecessor. I'm probably the only guy on the planet to enjoy Resident Evil 6, for example. While the fanbase was collectively destroying the game for being a dumb action game without a sliver of survival horror elements, I was busy playing one of the most solid third person shooters of the PS3/360 era. I think having an open mind can really help you appreciate games you would've otherwise ignored or disliked because they strayed too far from what made the series popular in the first place. If I had a buck every time I've read "It's a good game, just not a good [insert series name] game." online over the year... I'd have a reasonable amount of money, I think.

    On the other hand.. if you like a series of game for somethings in particular, it's only fair to expect these elements to come back in a sequel, right? It's not a mentality I share, but I can definitely see why people would think that.
     
  18. Frostav

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    Personally, as one of those dumbass Adventure kids, I dislike Heroes greatly because it feels so...safe. That's not what the Adventure titles were, for better or for worse. They were filled with all sorts of extraneous things from extra missions to the chao garden to kart racing to a cheesy anime story. They always felt like they were trying to be more than JUST a 3D Platformer, with that classic ol' SEGA ambition that kinda died out the moment the Dreamcast died. SA1 and SA2 were flagship titles pushing the Dreamcast to its limits. They couldn't JUST 3D platformers. They had to a lot more.

    Not even Mario, the king of 3D platforming does that. And you know, that's probably a good thing. 64, Sunshine, Galaxy, Odyssey, etc. probably benefit greatly from being solely focused on great platforming. I doubt anyone found the kart racing in SA1 or SA2 to be anything but an extraneous afterthought. But I miss the unconstrained wildness of the Adventure duology. Can you think of any of other platforming franchise that would include a bizarrely-detailed tamagotchi-esque raising minigame that's completely optional outside of 100% completion?

    Then Heroes came along and suddenly Sonic was Just a 3D Platformer. A bad one. With shitty controls. And a plot that was completely superfluous yet somehow still present enough to make you wonder why it even existed in the first place. And then Colors came out and Sonic decided to finally become Shitty Mario. Woohoo.

    Sigh. As TGC said in his SA2 video, I miss the old Sonic Team.
     
  19. It wasn't just Sonic that was trying to be a genre platter; Crash 3 and Spyro 3 had become such around the same period. (Donkey Kong 64 and Banjoo-Whateveree crammed in similar mini-games, so I'm told).

    How well they pulled it off and to what extent is another matter. Chao Garden is pretty incomparable, all said.
     
  20. HedgeHayes

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    Sonic Heroes is bad because it forces you to use three character for what previously could be achieved with just one, adding unnecessary and even confusing extra button input in the process, but yes, seems great seeing most of what came later. I enjoyed Shadow more on my first gameplay because it felt more like playing SA2 even with those shitty controls, but at least SH had more interest beyond beating its secret final boss (and the Chaotix singing that horrible song that granted you tons of rings, that was glorious).

    Most of the games we got could have been better if they were more polished or better thought, I mean, I find their execution much worse than their concepts. I find funny that werehog was the most fun part of Unleashed for me, and it was totally not fun, yet, for people that could enjoy the racing approach, it was a good idea, and I still think its a better game than Colours, but that's the Sonic game I hate the most among the ones I played, so no surprise here. I'm talking a bit random here so, to get to the point, what I want to say is that it's true we're probably unfair with modern titles, but buying each title they release is a gambling game where you expect to find what you liked when you became a fan but can get something completely different or the same thing but extremely downgraded, which is not good for earning the trust of the customers, and not what you want to buy when you spend money on the "Sonic" word.

    I didn't like or play Mania as much as others did when it came out, I only played the new contents in Plus for less thant two weeks, but having a new official title that really followed the old times and showed there's still fun in playing that made me immediately like less the modern games and lose all interest in play them again. Mania may have come too late for me to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Sonic in the 90's, but it's true joy, true Sonic quality and not just "good enough".

    Oh, and, while it's hard to have time to replay games, I think a game's not good if you don't feel like replaying it at least a bit. I admit replaying the whole game when you had a hard time to get the farthest you ever got feels frustrating, but we're talking about games we could beat in a couple of hours, while thare are modern games that have you spending two hours to beat just a single level, and we also live in a world where MMO's and eSports exist where replaying them is a must for grinding or getting high in ladders. I think the real issue is people don't know how to relax, give a try and enjoy the trip wherever it takes them, which is something I can easily feel with classic Sonic games.