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Sonic Superstars: A New 2D Sonic Game (Fall 2023)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by DefinitiveDubs, Jun 8, 2023.

  1. Antheraea

    Antheraea

    Bug Hunter Member
    heh, continuing with my post above, I've never run out of lives in Crash or Spyro titles - in Crash 1 because I may or may not have been too good ;) but in Crash 2/3 and all spyro games your lives are saved too, which means you'll generally finish those games with 99 lives.

    (an addition: it took me a little bit to remember but the literal point of Crash 1's bonus levels are to save your game!)

    I would actually go so far as to say that the idea of "no lives = start all over" was outmoded entirely in the post-Genesis/SNES era...I can't think of a single game I've played past that time that didn't support saving.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
  2. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Removing lives doesn't suddenly make taking top paths pointless. I feel like that speaks for itself in how we describe it: it's faster, flashier, feels better to do, and is safer, but is harder to stay on. Can we not trust the level design on it's own to convince you to stay on it? You want to get through the level faster, you want to feel cooler doing it, or you want to get to a place with less obstacles. This isn't changing anything about how that works. The level design itself is what pulls you there, not the fear of the depths below.

    If you think alternate routes need better incentive to use these routes though, I mean S3K already started that with super-rings. And it looks like Superstars has it's own ideas on how to get people to explore off the beaten path, with different bonus stages, or those weird fruit we don't know anything about yet.

    Unfortunately, I can. We see people outside of the Sonic fandom all the time that don't even know how to roll.

    And that's why I think moving on from the lives system (or at least making it optional) is a good idea. We speak as people who are good at these games; who know their ins and outs and have had ample time to study every facet of how they move. We drive Sonic through these stages with a second nature, as if we're driving cars. And some think as if removing lives destroys whatever challenge there was left, but I couldn't agree less.

    The average person seems to find 2D Sonic hard (or at least foreign), especially since they're more used to how other platformers move and what rules they follow (Sonic's one of the only ones to use accelerative motion over binary, ie). People talk about these games as if they're unfair or cumbersome all the time. Removing lives just seems like a common sense answer to helping ease that issue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
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  3. Linkabel

    Linkabel

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    I am not saying that the people in favor of the lives system don't have valid points. But I think something that's always left out of these conversations is that a big part of why that existed was to get people to spend more money on pinballs/arcades, extending the longevity of a game when you bought it, or not beating it on one sitting by renting it. (That last one is interesting because people forget how video game companies were against renting games)

    As games started getting more complex, and save systems were common then it became harder and harder to justify having them.

    There's also the issue Azookara brought up above me about less experienced players benefiting from this. As Kenta Motokura said about ditching the lives system for Mario Odyssey:

    And I think it's good Sonic caught up to this since there are still some of the usual penalties if you die minus getting booted to the title screen and starting from the beginning.

    The pros just outweigh the cons.
     
  4. Palas

    Palas

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    @Laura explained the relationship between lives, skill and exploration better than anyone could ever have. It's just perfect.

    We can trust the level design to do it, and we can trust like, time bonuses for score to be enough incentive for a player to want that. Hell, we can probably trust the player to do that eventually even if the game didn't count time, score, lives or literally anything, simply because playing Sonic is so much fun. But what the game acknowledges about your performance influences a lot how we're going to go about it, for what reasons, etc.

    So removing lives make upper paths lose the purpose they have when lives are present. Something else will exert influence over the player's behavior, and we can trusst nowadays' game environment will provide a good space for a player to do that: online scoreboards, videos, playthroughs etc. -- community building in any frm, really -- can do what lives also do, for other reasons.

    It doesn't mean lives have no purpose, or can be removed inconsequentially.

    You know, what @Laura and I are bringing up also tries to include the argument for newer players. I wouldn't say the average person seems to find 2D Sonic hard (or at leat foreign). If they do, it's for the same reason they might find any game from that era hard or foreign, becaue they all run using more or less the same principles. Kids at the time didn't, so much so that Sonic became a very successful franchise and here we are, talking about it. Removing live doesn't remove the challenge, sure -- it's still there -- but it changes (for better or worse) how the game frames it, and how we approach it.

    You know the Japanese footage we got days ago, in which the guy playing it died like four times in that set piece with the giant fish? Specifically, he couldn't jump at the right time and/or at the right place and/or with the right force to skip the bottomless pit. If the game had a life system in place, he'd probably have gotten a game over. What the game would say then was, "you suck at jumping at the right time and/or from the right place and/or with the right height to pass this challenge. Get better at these skills and you'll be able to". What you'll do, unconsciously even, is to train that skill in the instances of the game, get better reflexes or a better grasp on how jumping from sloped terrain affects your jump height etc. and then, almost without noticing, that particular challenge will be easier.

    With infinite lives, you can try this same challenge as much as you want. What the game says instead is, "you suck at jumping at the right time and/or from the right place and/or with the right height to pass this challenge. Pass this challenge and yu'll be better at all three for it". The moment-to-moment changes. The difficulty of this particular hard spot is the same, so it's not like the game really gets harder or easier, but how you improve at the game is different.

    And sure, in today's gaming environment, no-lives is simply better in general. I dn't think I can argue that. It allows horter sessions, it makes challenges clearer and more discrete, it gives devs more control over how the learning curve works etc. But live aren't inherently inferior. Whenever I rbing up the term "game syntax", I really want to stress how mechanics don't work alone. They're bound to a certain cultural environment, material conditions surrounding development and consumption, and can't be analyzed alone.

    You know the funny thing about score? It doesn't recognize player achievement in classic Sonic: you do, but that's cultural. The game, by itself, doesn't even track high scores like an arcade game would. The only thing score ever does in the system is to give the player lives.

    As a matter of fact, classic Sonic as a system is mostly oblivious of the player's performance except in the context of survival, as -- again -- @Laura said. Only Sonic CD counts aggregate time for anything, high scores are immediately forgotten by all games and it's up to you to consider any of that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
  5. kazz

    kazz

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    Yeah lives are an arcade convention, like most things in 2D Sonic and video games in general. Yeah it meant you had to spend money to play...like Sonic Superstars. The latter two aren't really issues and are dependent on the other mechanics in the game besides the lives.
     
  6. News report: This just in! People have different skills and talents when playing video games, including Sonic the Hedgehog and while some may breeze through a Zone, some might struggle.

    *puts paper down*

    Thankyou for listening.
     
  7. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    I'm not sure I understand this discussion.

    This game is for everyone, thus this generation of gamers. Do they care about lives in platform games? I'm not certain but I guess not.
    Do we care about lives? Actually no, because we play Sonic games for so long that we simply don't die.

    Thus I don't see the point in having lives. They don't matter to us, and they annoy other people.
     
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  8. kazz

    kazz

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    I'm fine with Superstars having infinite lives by default I'm just sick of finite lives being dismissed with suppositions about having too few or too many like that isn't dependent on both player skill and literally everything else about the game itself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
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  9. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    Most of the positives people talk about lives providing can be provided by other things. The consequences of lives are universally more negative than any of their incentives, that's the bottom line.
     
  10. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    Aiming for Genbu!
    These games are overly generous with the amount of lives and continues they hand out. The life system itself makes these games a breeze for anyone regardless of your skill level. Only crush or pitfalls can lead to immediate death. 10 minutes is a generous amount of time outside of a few Sonic 3 stages. Sonic himself is in an invincible state while jumping unlike Mario who has to land on someone's head or Mega Man who can't touch anyone at all.
    These games are not challenging or difficult. They're pretty simple to just pop in and play. I am in no way knocking their lack of challenge as a bad thing either. That is one of their biggest appeals. The score system isn't as important to the core design as people make it out to be. It's just how we use to do things back then. Same with the life system. They're largely unnecessary now and they didn't really do much back then either.
    My brain is too small for this to understand.
     
  11. Vanishing Vision

    Vanishing Vision

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    None of this would be a problem if it could be consistently expected that games could offer both unlimited lives and the traditional structure as a choice. Instead, it's usually a forced modernization accompanied by "It's not important, it doesn't really matter" comments. I do not use save states or rewind features in games, but I have no problem with their inclusion as they are not forced on me. Choice is good, forced changes that adhere to an increasingly homogenous and creatively limited idea of "good game design" are not.

    Streets of Rage 4 allows you to play each stage individually, akin to a modern action game like Devil May Cry, or you can play the traditional full game with limited lives. There is no reason this attitude can't be present in every game that has such changes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
  12. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    Aiming for Genbu!
    I'm fine with having both for people that want either or, but the main point of discussion from what I'm gathering here is if the life/continue system influence Sonic game design and if that makes Superstars different from the core titles. They can correct me if I'm wrong if I misinterpret it, but if that's the point, I don't think it's true at all.
     
  13. Palas

    Palas

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    The original argument wasn't just about lives, but everything different Superstars brings to the table.

    Lives are just maybe the more contentious part of that.
     
  14. Palas

    Palas

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    I don't know what to tell you. It took me several years to beat Sonic 1 8-bit at all (not just because of the life system, of course). US Sonic CD's game over jingle jumpscare is notorious, but not like a secret or anything. The first bootleg version of Sonic 1 I think @Black Squirrel bothered to catalogue had as its only difference a default life count of 40. People were very much bad at Sonic, enough for that to shape their gameplay. Even thr guy from the JP preview footage would have gotten a game over there if it was possible. Sonic is generally lenient, but the life system was a crucial part of many people's experiences with Sonic. I don't have anything to offer other than "what you said is just incorrect", but there you go.
     
  15. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    The Master System games are legitimately difficult games.
     
  16. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    As a kid I gave up on Sonic 2 because I lost 23 lives + continues at Death Egg Zone and got a game over.
     
  17. Chimpo

    Chimpo

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    That's definitely one of the more frustrating encounters if you just didn't know how to deal with it. Mecha and the Mech are a joke if you know, but if you don't, then they're a problem. I felt intimidation was also a big component to those fights. No rings, no checkpoints, haunting music, and terrifying designs. There was a mental roadblock to overcome before a skill issue. At least for me.
     
  18. Palas

    Palas

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    That boss is a jerk. Finite lives or not, I'd at least have shelved the game for a while if I died 30+ times in the same boss fight(s) in a row, in one sitting.
     
  19. raphael_fc

    raphael_fc

    Overthinking Sonic timelines. Member
    The psychological effect was very true to me. As I kept trying and dying, I wasn't improving my performance. Instead, I was playing worse because after each death I was more and more afraid of losing every life I got - which eventually happened.
     
  20. lupinsmask

    lupinsmask

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    The likelihood that superstars doesn't have lives is a big red mark for me.

    If I can just infinitely restart from a star post and slam my face against the same obstacle until I manage to get through with invincibility frames instead of learning the right way to pass by it would bore me. Hopefully at least its an option or I might wait until december to buy.