We didn't start bitching about the characters until we were forced to play as them in Sonic Adventure. Each of them had their own gameplay style and they just weren't as fun as Sonic's. The voice acting and dialogue for the characters didn't help either. The band members, on the other hand, most likely wouldn't have been playable, and any voice acting for them would be prevented by the Mega Drive's sound limitations. Now I'm not arguing in favor of the band members. I can see why Sega felt they were extraneous to the goal of the overall project. They wouldn't have contributed to the gameplay but instead simply serve as plot devices. I just feel the band members wouldn't have had that much of an impact on Sonic's success even if they were included in the game. Sonic 1 would feel a little more alive if Sega had included more characters, but at the same time, maybe they didn't need the band members for that. Perhaps Tails could've been there from the beginning, or Eggman could've had henchmen to serve as Act 1 or Act 2 bosses. As long as they contribute to the gameplay in a positive way, I suppose.