Yes, I do enjoy the writing on its own merit. The Saturday morning cartoon feeling for me perfectly fits the Sonic I knew growing up. I wouldn't say I can't stand the 2000s era games, they were just pretty universally worse to control than the ones previous and the characterisation took a hard left turn. I'll play SA2 without having an awful time but given the choice, I'd rather play the Generations version of City Escape than the one in SA2. Not really. As you said, it's always been a franchise for children. I was playing this series when my age was in single digits as well, and was there any edgey stuff like Shadow? Was there anything as overly ridiculous as pretty much anything involving Black Doom, as Nova mentioned? There was still high stakes plot - have a go-over of S3&K's story for example, which is also a great example of showing and not telling due to it being conveyed without even having to utter a single word. One thing I do think is funny is that if you sit back and look at Colours' plot, there's a thread there about Robotnik basically wanting to genocide the Wisps for the sake of his new energy source, but it's so well disguised for its child-focused audience you'd never notice it unless you sat down and thought about it. It doesn't need to be constantly hurled in your face - like 2000s writing would - for there to be a higher-stakes plot involved, the jokes are a superficial layer that you can get past if you try. The Saturday morning cartoon presentation just fits better with the Sonic that I know, which isn't one with characters talking about their dark and tragic past all the time like Shadow does. The one thing SA2's plot got right was killing him at the end of the game, and the worst thing Heroes did was resurrect him as it retroactively ruined SA2's ending - the entire point of it was lost. Shadow is inexplicably popular with the kids who grew up in the emo era of the 2000s, yes - and by emo I'm not strictly referring to the games, I'm talking society in general. Doesn't mean he has universal popularity or even knowledge by the wider general public. I think the core of the issue is this - the Adventure kids are disappointed that "their" games are looked down on in terms of gameplay, writing, critical reception. They're upset by this, moreso because the Classic kids' games aren't. Ask man on the street which if any Sonic games he's played and chances are you're going to get Sonic 1, 2, and then probably nothing after that until Mania - the success of which was another slap in the face to said Adventure kids because it was the best selling game in well over a decade and featured zero of the 2000s era tropes or characters. You're perfectly entitled to feel upset about this but it's still the truth.