The younger fandom, and how they learned from exactly none of our mistakes.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Josh, Jan 6, 2020.

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  1. Frostav

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    Man this speaks to me. I'm one of those Adventure Kids, and while I became a pseudo Classic Grognard later on, I can't deny that I really do hold the most affection for the Adventure series. I love the classic series, but I appreciate them as games before my time (I was born in 1995 for the record), not as these forever sacred nostalgic zeniths as I do the adventure games (well, really just 2, as like so many of my era, my introduction to the series was SA2B on the Gamecube). And to be honest...this is gonna be sacrilege, but...I think I like Sonic Robo Blast 2 more than 3&K and Mania, just because it's 3D. It's like, if they actually came out with an official Sonic game on the level of SRB2, but that would probably be my favorite Sonic game of all time. Not that I dislike those two games, but I got Tropical Freeze for Christmas--it's my introduction to DKC (your DKC retrospective series was the main reason why I decided to try it out, even! Though I'm saving the TF video until after I beat the game.), and honestly, I think I like that series' super-tight twitch platforming design to the classic Sonic template just a liiiiiiiiiiiitle bit (2D Mario will always have be overrated and a pale shadow of DKC though).

    Man @Josh , I actually wanted to bring this up to you, but never got the chance. That part in your SA2 retrospective where you talk about how people like me had no idea about the controversy of that game, or how Tails was "wrong", or how it seemed like everyone we knew loved the game--that was all true man. I was like, 7, man, I didn't know Tails wasn't supposed to be a mech. I WAS one of those "deviantart fan character" kids. I absolutely remember being in communities like that where SA2 being some glorious masterpiece devoid of any flaws wasn't just common but the default viewpoint. Us kids on deviantart and shit making stupid fan characters (I actually really want to make one now lmao) were completely isolated from classic grognards and had no idea our beloved games weren't considered anything but gold.

    These two kinds of communities don't really interact--I'm one of the few who straddles them both.
     
  2. SSUK

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  3. Josh

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    Oh yeah, I just meant that it _started_ around 15 years ago, not that it doesn't still happen.

    Then again, even this has a parallel. Many old-school fans like Sonic Adventure 1, and thought SA2 was where the series really started to sour.

    Oh, we were well aware of the Sega Forums. :P But yeah, that generation gap is a deep one. I was a sliiiightly older college student (like, early to mid 20s instead of 18-22), and it was clear even then. "Dude, Sonic 2 Battle Adventure is the best game EVER!" was a real quote that I really heard from someone a little younger than me.

    However, I hope it's clear that I'm not advocating that one sect of fandom is valid. I thought it was stupid and immature to gatekeep Adventure fans in 2009, same as gatekeeping Colors fans in 2019, same as I'll think it's stupid to gatekeep those weirdos who don't like Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric in 2029.

    It's just weird how, like, I think my perspective on Colors has gone from, "I don't like it as much as most fans," to, "I like it significantly more than most fans," when my actual feelings on the game have remained the same.
     
  4. Overlord

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    For what it's worth, I remember people complaining about how awful SA1 and SA2 controlled back in 2002, so... =P
     
  5. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Aren't the scripts done in English first these days?
     
  6. Flare

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    I dare say this is more a "problem" of social media that it is strictly about the Sonic fanbase. Sure Sonic is this topic but you could swap that out with another subject.. Simpsons, Disney, YouTubers and find similar results. People always want to try and pin point when a series they once enjoyed started declining in quality and if they hate something, boy do they loathe it. Sonic included. :P

    But I get it, the "problem" with Sonic is that he does change tone and style, yet it is all still part of the one timeline. Sonic Heroes is in the same universe as Shadow, Lost World is in the same universe as Forces. So I can understand why some fans have a hard time dealing with this shift in tone and changes in the formula. If you liked the grittiness of Forces and the character customisation, then you have like... what a 50% that you will ever see that again?

    That twitter thread is just a pained reaction to being told his thoughts are all wrong. I don't think they are correct in how they are expressing it but I can see where their annoyance comes from.
     
  7. Sable

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    This is a topic I really dislike arguing about, but -
    Actual gatekeeping is silly and should not be happening in a fandom that's been around this long.
    On the other hand, there is a serious problem with the franchise's tone right now when even Naoto Ohshima is talking on Twitter about how Iizuka is 'fighting alone for Sonic.'
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  8. gold lightning

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    This is one issue that's always perplexed me as someone who always puts gameplay over all else in an action game. I look at the Sonic series and have never once seen a great script for a story ever. Any game in the series I've ever liked was purely because of gameplay. I have come to realize that the classics get a pass with the story because there's a decent skeleton of a plot that we get to fill in ourselves.

    The adventure era games, on the other hand try to fill in everything for us. And quite frankly, they do a piss poor job at it. For example, most of the plot in SA2 makes absolutely no sense if you even barely try to pry at it. Character motivations are all over the place and things don't make sense in the time in which they happen. A lot of the plots of this era are comical for how hard they try and yet fall so short.

    On the other hand, the writing from Colors onward is kinda lacking and purposefully cheesy. I too think this is bad in its own way, but I personally find it better than when they tried too hard in the last era.

    Perhaps the only game that actually pulled off the complete story package was Unleashed. It had high stakes, more "edge", and never seemed to fall on its face (until you got to playing the levels :specialed:).

    So I guess I'm really just stuck wondering how people long for Sonic to be serious again when it has only been pulled off a grand total of one time at best.

    It's fine to want a good story. I just think it's odd to point toward any point in this series as an example of a really good one.

    One last thing: I feel that if a person sees a dissenting opinion and takes it as a personal attack when no real insults are thrown, there's something wrong with them. I just have a gut feeling that's what had happened with that twitter thread. I have been in this fandom most my life and have only ran into people who legit thought I should feel bad for an opinion a handful of times. Have I heard dissent? Sure. Have I had people say I should feel bad in jest? Absolutely. Not to mention, this fanbase is so segmented that if you don't feel at home in one community, you'll likely find another where you do if you look.
     
  9. ScarlyNight

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    This definitely feels like a case where Sonic is so split apart by means of different continuities, gameplay styles and the like that the fans who specifically grew up with one of these after SEGA went third-party are starting to spread far and wide. This ultimately results in these very niche, divided groups of fans who desperately try to defend any hate given to their childhood favourites by taking a blind eye towards them. While there were, of course, always different groups who appreciated one specific Sonic-related media over another, it significantly boosted hard when SEGA started becoming a third-party developer and tried SO MUCH with Sonic over those set of years, that it's very noticeable how these people became who they are. To those people (and anyone else who fall into categories outside of the ones mentioned), there IS in fact only one Sonic, and it's the one they grew up playing the most.

    The select folk who grew up with the Adventure era are currently really loud these days because of this supposed "SA1 remake" rumor that's been popping up all over the place as of late. Couple that with the Sonic Pillar side of SEGA seemingly shifting towards the Adventure era in their PR with the release of the "Chao in Space" short, amongst a small slew of other things and it's easy to see why they are very much excited to see the games they grew up on get some form of representation again as SEGA is unknowingly adding fuel to this giant fire.

    All this excitement, amongst a plethora of other factors from multiple angles of the fandom I'd say, has unfortunately gotten to a point where straight up objectivity isn't really a possible feat anymore because no one is able to decide which Sonic games can be classified as "actual good games with qualities to them" anymore without starting a massive fist fight over it due to their own subjectivity getting in the way. That, in it of itself, is EVEN MORE of a mess, because people, for some reason, like to yell at others for an opinion they may or may not have on a specific matter because they don't like seeing a game they personally grew up playing and loving get even a tiny smidge of negativity. Sure, you can always have some form of discussion about it, but with recent years, I don't think that would amount to any change in opinions in the long run anymore. It just leads to all of this nonsensical stuff about "gatekeeping the fandom" because people like stuff others may not.

    Something that also doesn't really help is the fact that Sonic as a brand, while obviously having more than enough brand recognition, struggles to have a proper brand identity. It has no idea what it wants to be like or which specific VERSION of Sonic it wants to prominently feature because it's so hellbent on catering towards fans by capturing "nostalgia" these days, that it ultimately results in people forgetting what target demographic Sonic as a whole is even aiming for.

    Tl;dr. (and this might already be common knowledge to a number of people or have pretty much all been ticked off because there was a significant gap from writing this VS posting the reply, making this entire script of a message a waste of time) The fanbase is fractured because Sonic in it of itself is fractured. For every detour or new thing it tries to do, there will eventually be a group of people who are going to fondly remember it. That causes the fandom to fracture further, which results in stuff like this happening. Hell, at this point, I REALLY wouldn't be surprised if people are starting to fondly remember and even try to defend Boom in like half a decade! :V
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  10. Crappy Blue Luigi

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    I've only been semi-reading and semi-skimming this thread, but I wanted to drop a specific point:

    People have been mentioning that the generation of fans raised on the Adventure games are getting worked up over SA1 remake rumors and the excitement that comes with that idea for them, but there's a connection to be drawn between what an SA1 remake would be for them and why they've been resenting the overwhelming amount of positive opinions for Sonic Mania.

    Mania was a whirlwind of surprising media presence and fandom support for the series, and it can easily be seen as "classic fans getting that one thing that they wanted." When you spin it like that, it's a really small jump to "so why aren't WE getting the one thing WE'VE wanted for years?" for people who love the Adventure titles. They start with some misplaced resentment, and it eventually grows into a disdain for something they see as representative of pandering to everyone but them.

    This is absolutely the sort of thing that would settle down if an SA1 remake really happens.
     
  11. Sir_mihael

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    Colours up to Lost World, yes.
    Pontac and Graff write the original scripts giving us the English version's tone. Then Sega JP take the script and adapt it on their end to create somethign that's a lot less... goofy? People can argue the JP audience got something more 'serious' or 'dry', but I feel it was at least more consistent with the rest of the game series up to that point (whilst also having the benefit of a more lighthearted story) - Either way, definitely recommend checking out Windii's channel as they do a good job translating all the JP scripts to get an idea of the difference.

    Forces was another beast entirely. Written in Japan first and then re-written in the west by Pontac and Graff, who added in strange lines such as Sonic being 'tortured' and Tails 'losing it', both things that were never in the original script, along with a gorillion other subtle changes that got covered in the Forces thread a while back.

    Main point being, the English scripts seemingly made an effort to make Sonic feel very different in tone to his previous game self almost to an extreme, whereas Sega JP didn't feel this was necessary in their source/adaptation.
    Whether this is all a plus or a minus is up to the individual, but my original point (which I may have forgotten to actually make-WHOOPS) was that we might not have had such a strong divide between Boost and Adventure fans if the tone of the games were more consistent with eachother - (Yes, we'd still have a vocal split, but not quite so bad) as I really get the impression that these younger vocal Sonic fans are treating gameplay as a secondary priority.

    tl;dr - Western Sonic has an ongoing identity problem, CHAD JP Sonic just likes adventure :V
     
  12. I'd consider Sonic now a niche product, rather than the mass market product he was in the 90s.

    Most people have moved on, Sonic was just a cool thing in their childhood to them. Like the Simpsons.

    That means the only people left caring are us retro weirdos who are living in hope of some kind of 90s Sonic second coming, and the others who grew up with the shit games of the 2000's and want more of it.
     
  13. Blue Spikeball

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    Because opinions are a thing, you know. Myself, I enjoyed the stories of SA1, S3&K, and to a lesser extent SA2, and I don't mean in an ironic way. Among other things, I liked concepts like Angel Island in S3&K, and loved how SA1 connected to it, especially the way it expanded on its backstory. I also enjoyed SA2's unique story back in the day, right down to Shadow's mysterious backstory, even if it didn't feel very Sonic-ish in retrospective. And outside of some of Rouge's behavior seeming odd after the reveal that she was a spy working for the government (helping Eggman steal Chaos Emeralds from Prison Island before blowing it up?), I don't see where you're coming from when you say that character motivations were inconsistent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  14. You mean Sonic Mania? :P
     
  15. Dek Rollins

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    As a younger fan (born in '99), I'll give my own experience. I grew up playing Sonic 1 and 2 on Genesis and still do, and SA2 and Heroes on GameCube for a couple years as a kid. I watched Sonic X on 4Kids, and AOSTH on VHS. When I was little, Sonic was just Sonic.

    The current problem is not simply about tone, it's about the entire presentation. The characterizations, the "cinematics," the writing. I know the gameplay is a lot more important than story, but presentation of the game matters when they dedicate the players' time to watching voiced scenes of the characters progressing the story. The Adventure games are given a fun presentation of a story that takes itself seriously enough for the player to become invested. Did the stories always make sense at every turn? Of course not. Did they get pretty corny? Obviously. But they were engaging and fun plenty of times. It wasn't the seemingly low effort trash we've had since Colors.

    The early 3D games at least tried to give the player some sort of emotional involvement in the game. And that is, for the most part, how the series always was until Colors. The ending of Sonic 2 is one of the best examples of emotionally engaging storytelling this series has had. Also knuckles helping you stop Eggman after being betrayed in S3&K.

    And I wasn't there, but Sonic (in the US at least) was always "too cool for school." SA2 and Shadow started taking it in a direction that went into "ow the edge" territory obviously.
     
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  16. Josh

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    I agree with you on pretty much all counts. I found the writing, plot developments, characterization, and voice acting in Heroes, Shadow, and 06 to be much more cringe-inducing than anything in Forces, but then again, I was also a teenager when I played them, and would've been much more self-aware about playing a game for kids. However, this is down to not only subjective taste, but also to a degree, the age of the audience experiencing it.

    To draw another comparison: When I was a kid, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was one of the most gripping, intense, EPIC shows I had ever seen. The Green Ranger arc had me on the edge of my seat, yes, but even individual episodes seemed to have such enormous stakes and shocking twists that I couldn't believe the rangers were able to scrape by. As a kid, it was my introduction to so, SO many dramatic tropes, and my lack of familiarity with them combined with the show's overt simplicity meant it was able to get me every time.

    Coming back to it years later, I was of course able to see that it was actually a low-budget, cheesy, cornball production that didn't hold up under the slightest bit of scrutiny, but by then I had NOSTALGIA to fall back on. I still love it, even seeing it for what it really is. And heck, I still enjoy thinking about it and analyzing its plots and characters on a much, much deeper level than what it really probably warrants. Now, I'd argue the plots of the early 3D Sonics still hold up a lot better than MMPR does, but I expect a similar effect is happening for the people who grew up playing them.

    Oh, I've already seen a few scattered cases of that.

    I agree with your analysis of the resentment, but I'm not so sure a Sonic Adventure throwback of any kind would really satiate this group. Here's the problem...

    Recreating the nostalgic experience of the Genesis games certainly isn't easy, but it IS possible, and as Mania showed, there's no particular disconnect between what we REMEMBER those games being like versus what they actually are. They hold up, is what I'm saying. This is possible for a variety of reasons, but probably the most significant is that what most of us prioritized was the GAMEPLAY. I think gameplay inherently carries a more timeless quality, and just as importantly, the industry had pretty much mastered making a damn good 2D platformer by the mid-90s. So a hypothetical Mania that didn't strike such a genuine aesthetic style to the classics (say it featured Modern Sonic, a more rock-inspired soundtrack, visuals more in line with the Advance series, that sort of thing) would still be a great Sonic game that would hit SOME of our nostalgic beats, even if it didn't hit as hard as it could have.

    However, to return to my earlier comparison, making a new Power Rangers _in the style of Mighty Morphin_ doesn't work. A few years ago, for the 20th anniversary, Saban actually tried this. Power Rangers Megaforce featured direct homages to MMPR's characters, dialogue, and settings, and older fans _hated_ it. More recently, we saw this with some fans' reaction to Kingdom Hearts III. It was, to me as an outside observer, EXACTLY the same kind of tone and writing as its predecessors. But some fans who grew up playing I and II derided it for being too cheesy or complicated. Because when it comes to storytelling and characterization, what people really want is something that will make them feel _now_ how the old thing made them feel when they were kids. So a genuine Adventure-style game would be offputting to these fans. It might match what the games were really like, but it wouldn't match what they REMEMBER it being like, and that's without even getting into whether the gameplay holds up.

    This means that a "Sonic Adventure Returns" would pretty much HAVE to be a complete re-imagining of the entire game. The mechanics need to be revised, the story and presentation needs to be updated. It'd be a tremendous undertaking, and I'm not so sure it's something the modern Sonic Team could pull off. Making a new Sonic Adventure that hit on people's nostalgia without feeling notably dated wouldn't be _impossible_, but it would be much, MUCH harder to strike the right balance than it was with Mania. Classic fans really _did_ want a new, refined version of what we had in the 90's. That same approach isn't going to work for Adventure.
     
  17. Gestalt

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    I wish they wouldn’t try to reinvent themselves all the time. That said, I hate the static cutscenes from their latest games. They interrupt immersion and I wish they would have animated them properly. Say what you want about Colors and Lost World, but at least they did get that right. Unlike Forces’, their stories were well-paced and maintain consistency. And honestly? I’ll take that over spoopy Infinite any day. No more time travel, please. Sonic fans are just people, too. Some things matter more than social media and fandom. At least I hope so. I bet that older fans would appreciate it too, if the next game took the franchise in a more consistent direction.
     
  18. Captain L

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    If, even a couple years ago, you told me that my love for Sonic and the Black Knight would be vindicated while my love for Sonic Colors would be vilified, I'd be flabbergasted.

    On the plus side, I've spent the years prior defending Black Knight, so I'm used to it. And Colors is an actually good game, so my job should be easier. Now, if only I can convince people that Unleashed is garbage but Unwiished is alright...

    The problem is that, for whatever reason, opinions on Sonic are so explosive. Thinking about it, my biggest and most numerous hot takes come from Sonic, all across the franchise (Sonic is best a little slower, Sonic 1 is the best 2D Sonic game, Hill Top does not get the love it deserves, to name a scant few). Maybe it's because Sonic's lost all respect from the mainstream media, the fans have just grown accustomed to defending what they love, and because the franchise is so varied, what they love is different from what any other Sonic fan loves. There are generational lines, no question, but there's no one image of Sonic. Sega will never be able to please everyone, so I think the only thing they can do is just do what they think is best, if they have anyone with passion. Black Knight has no reason to be as good as it is, no one wanted it, but someone along the way really tried with that one and made something secretly great.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  19. Frostav

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    Man, I just want the tone of that one SA2 cutscene back. You know the one. The one where Sonic delivers the fake chaos emerald to Eggman--who I might add has both literally threatened Amy's life (and Sonic viewed Amy as a friend so much that he was willing to take a massive diversion throughout Crazy Gadget to save her, because holy shit, this Sonic actually CARES about things and people genuinely!) and has a gun to her head (a cartoony sci-fi one that doesn't violently clash with the art-style and character designs too!), and then Eggman traps him in the capsule and sends him out of the ARK.

    Because I still love that scene. I love how Sonic went to save Amy because he truly cared for her. I love how he cracks a joke as he walks up with the emerald, but it's delivered and written in away that doesn't clash with the tone of the plot--Sonic's just a wiseass, and he really does think he has the upper hand and has nothing to fear. I love how Eggman is a legitimate threat in the scene. One of my favorite things about Eggman, truly, is the fact that he an be both a goofy cornball AND who builds carnivals on Angel Island a threatening villain who nearly kills Sonic. Deen Bristow and Mike Pollock's voices for the character alike are so good because they can be both kinds of Eggman without sounding mismatched in one tone or the other!

    But moving on. I love how Eggman actually demonstrates cleverness by engineering a situation where he could get Tails to blurt out that the emerald was fake even if he didn't already know beforehand! And Tails does! Because he's kind of a dumbass kid despite his intellect! And Sonic actually gets mad at him for it! And then we have Sonic solemnly telling his friends goodbye, telling Tails to take up his mantle (because once again this Sonic actually views his friends as equals) and Amy to find her own path. No wisecracks because, surprise surprise, this dude is probably going to die and that's not the time for that. Wow, Sonic is actually an at least mildly fleshed out character, even if he is simple! He's morose because for once, Eggman seems to have finally caught him.

    And then Eggman jettisons the capsule. He says farewell to Sonic (because he really does respect his nemesis deep down inside) and then immediately turns to the other two, threatening their lives with a wisecrack of his own now that he's certain he's got the upper hand. Amy breaks down crying and Tails decides that he'll follow in his best buddy's footsteps and take down Eggman because wow, the entire point of his story in SA1 was becoming a hero in his own right and this was before Sonic Team turned him into a useless coward who exists solely to ferry Sonic places he can't run to and give him gadgets and do nothing else

    Is it deep?

    No.

    Is it still something that perfectly represents the characters and actually treats them as more than just one-note personalities?

    Yes.

    That's all I want, man. That's really what us Adventure heads want tone-wise. It's that and an improvement to the Sonic gameplay in both games. No one really wants the shooting or treasure stages back. We just want them to improve the gameplay that even most haters concede is pretty good, bring back some level design/art design from the classics tastefully, and give us a plot that actually mildly respects the characters and a chao garden :V

    If they don't want a plot, then please just go full Mario/Donkey Kong and don't have one. Right now the games have enough cutscenes and dialogue to make you wonder why they wasted this much time on something that's so completely hollow. Pick one or the other Sonic Team, please.
     
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  20. This really shines the spotlight on the devil that is twitter, imo. I hope these people clamoring for more edge-lord Sonic are not being serious, but that unfortunately doesn't matter. The noise is all that matters, and if they make enough of it Sega will end up releasing a Sonic the Shadow Hedgehog Unleashed full of pay-to-win shenanigans. I certainly don't want that.

    No one should be faulted for their opinions on videogames, but its not a good look to militantly shout out your opinion as if its the only one and encouraging the mob to do the same. It does amuse me how radically different younger generations can view the same series though, especially with regards to games that are objectively garbage like Sonic 06.

    Part of the beauty of Sonic is that the series has been so varied, and that the personality of the fastest rodent alive has alternated so much, that it generated such a diverse spectrum of fans. Its just a shame that the younger crowd needs to be reminded to be civil and allow everyone to enjoy their particular favorites without being shamed or harassed. I may have only been a lurker in the days of CulT, but this attitude being paraded on twitter reminds me of those days.

    I kid... but if any group is to be crowned as "real fans," it should be those who grew up with the Genesis/Mega Drive.
     
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