It's refreshing just to see a discussion about gameplay mechanics again. Yes, even if this is the 12 billionth time I've read the same arguments about how loops should function in 3D since 1999, it's been long enough that it's nostalgic to me! :D The past few years, it seems like a good chunk of the fandom's become so laser-focused on things like lore, characterization, setting, and whether Classic Sonic is or is not the same "person" as Modern Sonic. Other people can't tell you what to think, but they CAN tell you what to think about, and I think I've been a little too focused on aspects of the series that are tertiary to my actual enjoyment of it. The fact of the matter is this: No matter what the story's like, no matter how the characters act, and no matter who the voice actors are, I'm really only going to engage with THAT part of the next game exactly one time, when I first play it. And whatever I think of it, after that point, for however many dozens or hundreds of replays I do, I'll skip it every time. Almost all the other constituent aspects that go into a Sonic game, the visuals, the music, the level archetypes, how it's programmed, how it FEELS, all of that matters more to me in the finished product than how Sonic ACTS, or whether Tails is "in-character." Gameplay is paramount to me. Gameplay is why this series IS my favorite series. Which is not to say I don't have an opinion on the story or that I don't care at ALL about it. It's just really, really far down on my list of priorities. These aspects can be interesting and I do enjoy discussing them to an extent, but they're always gonna be *really* low-priority reasons for me to play a Sonic game. I think a part of the reason I've ended up feeling disconnected from the community lately is because, logically, my perspective on these issues is going to be quite different to someone who prioritizes an "immersive, consistent story" as a primary reason they're a Sonic fan. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course! I just personally find the gameplay mechanics a lot more compelling to engage with, discuss, and think about.