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. Crappy Blue Luigi

    Crappy Blue Luigi

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    It's probably because it's tiring to talk about. This has been brought up before, and it always boils down to "I don't like these aspects that Colors introduced" and "I do like those aspects/I think those aspects are fine in Colors" back and forth. There's no point in responding to "Wisps break up the gameplay and became an annoying mainstay of the series" with "I enjoy the way the Wisps are integrated into the level design and story of Colors regardless of their later implementation in other games", because the rebuttal is "Wisps break up the gameplay and became an annoying mainstay of the series".

    Also, Planet Wisp's failings in Generations almost certainly come from Generations and Colors having a significantly overlapping development period and Planet Wisp being one of the final additions to Generations. The big giveaway to me is how the Spikes and Rocket Wisps in Generations have weird, detrimental subtle differences in how they control and function compared to in Colors.
     
  2. Vanishing Vision

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    I think I would've enjoy Generations Planet Wisp more if they had simply given Modern's act multiple Wisps (Perhaps Laser and Drill, maybe one more like Frenzy or Rocket), and kept them out of Classic's act. It is odd that my favorite zone from Colors then became my least favorite zone in Generations.
     
  3. Josh

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    Honestly? I think there's some veracity in both scenarios. It's another cyclical thing.

    Sonic Adventure was a game that was almost universally praised by everyone in and out of the fandom when it was released. But it, and moreso its sequel, started many of the trends that would wind up dooming us to 06. A greater emphasis on plot and high-stakes stories, a focus on dramatic (albeit cheesy) characters, multiple gameplay styles, speed boosters and splines patching over buggy physics... Sonic 06 was the worst possible version of an Adventure-style game, and by the time we got there, the rot had set in. The Adventure games were already aging, and the calamity that was 06 caused many to retroactively re-evaluate them, and BLAME them for leading us here.

    Colors, upon release, had a similarly glowing reputation. In much the same way people hated on SA2 for "leading" to 06, people now hate on Colors for kicking off the trends that got us HERE.

    What either interpretation misses, of course, is that this outcome didn't HAVE to be inevitable. Sonic 06 might've been representing the worst aspects of the games that came before it and then some, but that's a failing of SONIC 06, not Sonic Adventure. Sonic 06 could've incorporated multiple playable characters, the Adventure-style gameplay, and a more serious, character-driven storyline without being what it actually WAS. Sonic 06 almost seems like satire, like it was made as an over-the-top parody of the Adventure era by someone who HATED Sonic Adventure.

    Similarly, Forces completely misses the point of what its prequels were about, it actually IS boost to win, and its story falls apart by TRYING to be more complex than its tone really wants to allow. But Colors having a similar tone doesn't mean it inevitably led us here. I'm saying this as someone who didn't like it NEARLY as much as a lot of people did: Colors was EXACTLY what the series needed in 2010. But even its most ardent defenders wouldn't have expected it to lead to an entire decade of games where Sonic was functionally the only playable character, where the plots were NEVER allowed to incorporate deeper characterization or higher stakes, and when they did finally TRY to do it again, it was so basic and surface-level that it rang absolutely hollow.

    But again, this wasn't inevitable. I remember being hyped after Generations, because I figured, "Okay, they've stuck with something long enough now to get it RIGHT, and now we can finally bring back Tails and Knuckles as playable characters, do some interesting things with the Chaos Emeralds, and have SOME games with deeper stories again!" And instead, they completely abandoned that gameplay style and came out with Lost World.

    Finally, I should temper all this by saying... after talking directly to some Adventure kids, I really, REALLY don't think this fandom is as divided as it seems. The toxicity of some of its most elitist buttheads puts us ALL on edge, makes us feel like we have to defend our preferences like they're strongly-held beliefs. But we have more in common than it seems. No one game is going to please everybody, but I think _most_ of us would welcome a focused, well-executed 3D Sonic game that knows what it wants to be and pulls that off with aplomb, even IF it doesn't tick every single one of our personal checkboxes.
     
  4. Vanishing Vision

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    I'd like to mention that I AM an "Adventure kid". SA1/2 were current when I got into Sonic, and I grew up playing them along with Advance and the Genesis games by way of a PC compilation, and later Mega Collection. I still think SA1/2 are great games and play them both frequently. If you were to ask me what my top three 3D Sonics were, I'd probably say SA2, Colors, and Generations, in no particular order.

    One thing that really stands out for me about SA2 is its presentation. While the story overall has some goofy, unfitting bits, something about the way the cutscenes are presented is really pleasing to me. They're very evocative of Sega's arcade games, even the offbeat issues with the voice acting like the sync and overlapping lines reminds me of House of the Dead, and I honestly really like that, intentional or otherwise.
     
  5. I feel like the 'dark and edgy' stuff about that era is a bit blown out of proportion. These games also had:

    Wacky campy scenes, such as Amy trying to get Sonic to marry him and there's a shot of Eggman scratching his butt.
    Said evil Sonic was basically carrying out a silly shounen anime villain trope while aboard a space station that has Eggman/Gerald's face on it, mustache and all- like the Death Egg from Sonic 2 and 3.
    A game where Shadow could use Stop Signs, an Omochao gun, and a Billy Hatcher weapon; and has campy lines such as "Like taking candy from a baby", and "Let's rock and roll!".
    The flesh-eating aliens bit was also presented in a hilariously awkward way, even though it was supposed to be serious.
    Silver is also shown to be a socially awkward, naive dork at times. He's basically Trunks from DBZ.
    Sonic was killed by a Shadow recolor, and got resurrected 10 minutes later in a fairy tale fashion, lol.
    That was only in the end-game of Secret Rings, the game is mostly light-hearted.
    Said dark alter-ego acts virtually the same as regular Sonic, and is in a plot about friendship and traveling the world. It's one of the most light-hearted games in the series, tbh.
    And Sonic stops medieval Knuckles and calls him out for being overdramatic.

    Just a reminder that Shadow, 06, Unleashed, Black Knight and Forces have the same age rating as Lost World in the US (E10+), which is only 1 level higher than what other games like Colors got (E); even Secret Rings got an E Rating, the same as Colors. The only Sonic game that came close to going past that was Shadow, as that game almost got the T rating before Sonic Team toned things down a bit. I won't argue that these games have a darker tone, but my point is that they're still viewed as children's media regardless. Batman: The Animated Series and most of the other DCAU shows of that era were pretty damn dark, but they were still marketed towards kids at the time. The 90s and early 2000s were just an era where edge was popular. My point is, those games were products of trends at the time.

    Hell, if anything, the Sonic comics were edgier than anything in the games, to be honest. Freakin' IDW is doing a goddamn Zombie Apocalypse arc that's been dragging on forever, and that is something being made now in the post-Colors era, and yet I keep hearing people screaming for Ian Flynn to write the games on social media, even though I think he's a terrible writer personally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  6. Josh

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    And that's just another example... things are not nearly as divided as they seem. Or, heck, as _I_ made them seem when I originally set up this thread. The generalization that "this sect of the fandom prefers Sonic like THIS," is just that, a generalization, and one that's not ultimately founded on much. S3&K, Generations, and Adventure are three of my all-time favorite games, and while everyone has their preferences, I think Sonic fans who like a variety of Sonic games are the norm, not the exception. It just doesn't always seem that way because people who ONLY like the classics or ONLY like the Adventure games or whatever are naturally going to have stronger opinions and make more noise about it. And that's fine if that's what you want, but the rest of us need to be mindful about how it effects us... it shouldn't cause us to think we have to double-down and dig in on what are really just our preferences.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  7. Dek Rollins

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    SA2's cinematics are the best in any 3D Sonic game, that's for sure.

    This is true, but it's also difficult to get behind certain things when someone else's preferences are going to actively stop me from liking a Sonic game. If the next game plays like the boost games again, I'm going to be upset, because I don't think they're fun. The controls are clunky and the levels aren't interesting, regardless of which game is in question. When people praise Colors, which I don't dislike because of Forces by the way, it's a kind of game that I don't want the future of Sonic to be at all, both in gameplay and presentation.
     
  8. qwertysonic

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    Josh, I have to say it’s refreshing to read your posts.
     
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  9. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Here's my take on the subject: I don't think there's any "correct" interpretation of the classic Sonic games.

    These past few posts have been interesting because it's something I see pop up more and more recently on social medias; etc.
    People are trying to figure out the tone of the classic games to give legitimacy to the version of 3d Sonic they prefer: on one hand, you have the "Sonic was always supposed to be edgy and cool" camp, citing things like the advertising of the games in the US.
    And on the other hand, you have the "Sonic was always supposed to be lighthearted" camp, citing things like the plot described in the manuals of the classic games, or some Japanese artworks for classic Sonic.

    But if you look at the actual games, there isn't a lot to work with: like a lot of games at the time, most of the tone was left to interpretation.
    I know some people make a point to point out how the actual games are goofy and are about "an anthropomorphic hedgehog trying to stop a fat man from capturing small animals", but I fail to see it. Compared to something like Mario or Kirby, it's undeniable that the classic Sonic games are just a bit more serious.
    Not "I was created from the blood of aliens and want to avenge my dead waifu" serious, but not "I have to make fun of Eggman and his two idiots robots henchman (including one that talks like a pirate) by calling him Baldy Mc Nosehair" goofy, either. I'm sorry, but nothing about Colours strike me as a return to form.
    Take Castlevania, for example. They wasn't anything particularly serious or edgy about the NES trilogy, and yet that's the direction the series took with Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. And yet you don't see people saying "I don't see any romance or family drama in the NES trilogy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" online.

    My point is, the classic Sonic games are as serious as you want them to be. I think if we all accepted that both interpretations of the character in 3D are valid, we wouldn't be at each other's throats so much. There's no correct answer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
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  10. Vanishing Vision

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    While I agree with everything else you said, I think there's a difference between these two examples. The first bit referring to Shadow's story is actually a significant part of the plot of those games, and removing it would result in a major change to the overall story. The Colors example doesn't have anything to do with the overall plot, and cutting back on Sonic's corny jokes (which I would be in favor of) wouldn't change the story.

    I don't think that Sonic making dumb jokes is what made Colors' story a return to form, rather the focus on Eggman manipulating organic energy and industrializing natural landscapes was. Most of the complaints about the recent plots zero in on Sonic's corny jokes, and while this is purely personal, I have a hard time seeing this because to me, "Baldy McNosehair" isn't dramatically worse than some of the awful lines Griffith's Sonic coughed up.
     
  11. Another factor in this divide is how Sonic has been localized and marketed throughout the years, which stemmed from Sonic Team butting heads with the folks at both Sega Japan and Sega America, followed by most of the original Sonic Team staff leaving over time, and Sega's ever-changing management as a company.

    IIRC, Sonic Team originally wanted Sonic to have wilder spikes, visible fangs, be part of a rock band, and have a human girlfriend named Madonna. The plot would've been about Sonic trying to save his girlfriend from a group of evil cartoony monsters that kidnapped her. Sega America hated what Sonic Team came up with, and made them significantly change things to make it more "kid-friendly", and thus we ended up with the cuter Japanese Classic Sonic we know today, along with a greatly revised premise. Then, Sega America still wasn't satisfied with the revised design and thought it was too cute, so they hired Greg Martin to redesign the character for the western markets, and that's how American 'butt-face' Sonic was born, and Sonic's nemesis, Dr. Eggman, was renamed to Dr. Robotnik.

    From there, there was a Japanese canon, and a western localized canon, with wildly different marketing approaches to match, which led to each region having a different perception of what Sonic is. Western Sonic was the "cool dude with attitude" and was marketed as the edgier alternative to Mario, with aggressive marketing to match, while Japanese Sonic was basically marketed to be basically a cute, but cool Japanese mascot character (much to Sonic Team's own dismay). Then we have Sonic CD, a game where Sega America felt the need to replace the soundtrack with their own music at the last minute, as they feared the Japanese soundtrack wouldn't fit with the American market. There's also various adaptations during these years that wildly vary in tone, art direction, and style, on top of often having very little to do with the source video game material, creating their own "sub-fandoms", if you will.

    Fast forward to around 1998/1999, and Sonic Team rebranded the Sonic franchise for the Dreamcast, and gave the characters a new look that would be used globally; and since this would be the first time a Sonic game would be built around a bigger story with voice acting and cinematics, they used this opportunity to wrestle back control of the brand from both Sega America and Sega Japan. Not long after, some key Sonic Team members such as Ohshima and Yasuhara have left Sega to work elsewhere. This is a transitioning period for the Sonic series, and naturally the fanbase is starting to become a bit divided.

    A few years later, the Dreamcast is discontinued, Sega goes third party, the Classic and Adventure games are ported to the Gamecube, and Sonic Team decides to rebrand the series again in an attempt at bringing in a younger generation of fans, while also trying to appease both the Classic era and Adventure era fans, and we ended up with the mixed bag that was Sonic Heroes. Shortly afterwards, Sega is bought out by Sammy Holdings, and Sega's management starts changing.

    Shadow's game comes out, Naka leaves in 2006 and takes a chunk of staff with him to form PROPE, Sonic 06 is given a disastrous release that almost killed the series. The series stumbles about from 2006-2009, and then suddenly Takashi Iizuka returns to Sonic Team Japan and takes the reigns as head of Sonic Team, and he decides to take the series into a new direction that's less serious.

    After the success of Colors and Generations, it seemed the franchise was finally finding its footing again in the general public eye, but then they fumble around again with Lost World, Boom, and Forces, with Sonic Mania being the only game released during this time period that received positive reception.

    Sonic is in a very uncanny position that not many other video game franchises are quite in; it's quite unique to see, and this all results from how different the series has become over the years. The Sonic franchise is, by nature, simply a chaotic mess at its core.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  12. DigitalDuck

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    Colours has momentum physics and creative stage gimmicks. Also "goofy ass camp plot" is absolutely not something I associate with Sonic.

    Because it's irrelevant. That's like saying "Will Smith is a bad actor because he produced Jaden Smith".

    Again irrelevant. The Lion King remake is the worst of the Disney remakes (so far) but it's not the worst of the original films.

    That's not what you said, and that's not what people are complaining about. You moan about other people strawmanning and then you say this.

    What a joke.
     
  13. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I'm largely done with this thread, but I do feel the need to reply to a couple of points here.

    1) For christ's sake, "highly worrying"? It's a videogame about a blue hedgehog that runs fast, not life or death. I do like the appeal to authority though. Oh no, a mod of a Sonic forum has a different opinion on a franchise, that he's loved for over a quarter of a century, to you. What a tragedy. I think you'll find I'm probably not the only staffer here who feels this way.
    2) I was there at the time, kiddo, I know exactly what I'm talking about. You are implying that Sonic's marketted attitude was that of a dark and broody edgelord in the West - it wasn't, it was being a smart-arse. Go read some Sonic the Comic to see what I'm on about, something very much of that time. There is a difference between the two.
    3) Who said I said that Adventure 1 came and ruined everything? While if I'm honest bits of rot kinda set in during SA2, the real problems didn't start until Shadow. SA1's biggest problems are the controls and the camera, not the plot. I like SA1, don't assume that I automatically hate your precious Adventure titles just because I'm a classic fan.

    I completely agree with this statement when applied to 2017's Sonic Forces. 2010's Sonic Colours, on the other hand, is evident as having some heart, passion, energy and effort having gone into it.
     
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  14. Sid Starkiller

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    Calling it now: this thread's gonna get locked, and in 8 or so years remade.
     
  15. Vanishing Vision

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    That's the other thing. If one of the most common complaints about current Sonic's personality is that he's a sarcastic smartass that never takes anything seriously, isn't that in line with that Western marketing? If we're talking about the quality of the individual jokes and lines, yeah, there's plenty of room for improvement, but I think the overall personality is fine.

    I really do like Sonic's portrayal in SA1/2 and Heroes, but I felt that from Shadow to Black Knight, he was just an incredibly generic hero with very little attitude, always repeating some variant of "Aw yeah, bring it on" "Woo hoo, time to party!" and other such bland, textbook heroic boasts.
     
  16. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester

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    I donno, the attitude was... somehow "different".

    It's hard to explain, the attitude was there, but it was less... "showoffy" for lack of a better word? I really don't know how to describe it, but the way in which the attitude is presented vs back then is different. I wish I knew how to describe what that difference was (which I cannot) but it is definitely there, whatever the difference is, it's definitely there...
     
  17. Frostav

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    I don't understand the edgy complaint.

    Like, Shadow was an edgy as hell game to the point of being hilariously stupid.

    But SA2 starts with Sonic comically beating up a bunch of soldiers before hanging off the wing of a helicopter, cracking a joke about low budget flights, and skateboarding down Not-San-Francisco. That's not edgy, that's just charming cheese. I don't consider things like Maria's death to be edgy either because kids media has always had stuff like that, what, is Harry Potter edgy now because the main character's parents died? Edginess is stuff like Shadow's intro where he pumps a gun in a ruined cityscape--hilariously dumb tone-deaf attempts at faux-maturity without any tact.

    Also this.

    Adventure and Classic Sonic were smartasses, but they weren't a tryhard like modern Sonic. They were just naturally cool. They made jokes because they were just that confident in themselves. They actually take things deathly seriously, they just are

    Once again look at the Sonic CD intro. Classic Sonic has a kind of bravado and subtlety that Modern just doesn't.
     
  18. Josh

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    But the line between "smartass, naturally-cool dude" and "tryhard" is subjective as all hell. And I mean, that was EXACTLY the conversation we were all having back in the late 2000s. "Classic Sonic didn't have to TRY to be cool, but ever since Adventure they've just made him into a cheesy tryhard!" It was one of the big reasons people started wanting the old Sonic back!

    There's more value in finding common ground with other fans that at lashing out or talking down to them. And while it's equal parts frustrating and hilarious having people younger than us tell us what Sonic was like during _our_ childhood, let's keep in mind, plenty of gamers older than us saw Sonic as an obnoxious cash-in from the very beginning.

    Given that, it's possible that part of the problem is simply this: Sonic was ALWAYS a "tryhard" to some degree, because he was always supposed to be a cool character in children's media. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'd even say it's part of what makes the character so endearing.

    But when you're a kid, that stuff goes right over your head and you'll accept him AS cool because he's supposed to be. But when you get older and more aware of it, it'll FEEL like pandering, especially since what was cool in one era won't be in another, and Sonic's identity and tone gets tweaked along with it. In the 90s, he was a lackadaisical, quip-slewing smartass. In the 00s, the series went all-in on poorly-executed anime tropes and featured a brooding antihero with a tragic backstory. One felt "effortlessly cool" to me, while the other felt like an obvious cash-in on trends.

    I sure as heck cringed when I heard Ryan Drummond screaming about THE REAL SUPERPOWER OF TEAMWORK, or Jason Griffith telling Elise to JUST SMILE. That was the apex of Sonic acting like a cornball, pandering doofus to me. Compared to that, Sonic and Tails sharing a laugh over the Wisps calling Eggman "Baldy McNosehair" (and the name coming up again two games later) was downright charming. In many ways, it felt like a return to the Sonic I'd grown up watching in AoStH, SatAM, and the Archie comics.

    But, I imagine if I'd grown up with Heroes, Shadow and 06 instead of playing them when I was a teenager, that stuff would've seemed natural to me, while Colors might've felt like a disgustingly kid-pandering aberration.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  19. Stink Terios

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    I dunno, Adventure-era Sonic always came across as a lame tryhard much like Shadow. It feels like he's desperately posturing despite being confident and powerful.
     
  20. Dark Sonic

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    Mid 2000s Sonic was imo the lamest Sonic. He had no personality, hell he wasnt even try hard. He was just dull.
     
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