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Trying to start debunking the "Generations of Sonic Fans" perception.

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Rhythm Raccoon, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. I was on lunch break earlier today thinking about Sonic (what else would I be doing), and somehow ended up back on the subject of how apparently each generation of Sonic fans is inherently biased towards the games that they grew up with/the media targeting their demographic. And I started thinking... "yeah, it's true to an extent- but how true?" So I'm starting what may hopefully be at least a small effort to debunk what I believe is a simple concept the internet has misconstrued into a major misconception.

    I'm gonna start with myself. My favorite sonic game hands down is SA2. Did I grow up with it? No. What Sonic material did I grow up with? Mega collection and Riders (lost after a year or two) on the gamecube, and a few years down the road, advance 3. Mega collection did have a lot of SA2 promotional material, so I was well aware of the game, but I actually didn't care too much about it until I was like, 15. My wishes instead were spent on advance 2 which, ironically, I got for my 15th Christmas alongside advance 1 (I like advance 1 more, go figure). A few months later, my mom discovered Colors lost in her closet, which I was supposed to receive for Christmas, and after purchasing gems collection the next week, my scope of the franchise was quickly expanding. It was time to get SA2.

    Walking out of the retro game store with SADX in hand, I popped it in and it quickly took status as my new favorite sonic game. Never before had I wanted to play SA2 more than after 100%ing the game (game gear games included). I needed more of this. Badly. The story had me hooked. The freedom of control over anything sonic I had played before was incredible. And one day, my older brother came home with a gift for me...

    Sonic Heroes reaffirmed what SA1 had taught me, SA2 was an experience I couldn't miss. Enough beating around the bush though. My mom got me SA2 as my 18th birthday gift, as a send off into adulthood, and it was everything I imagined it would be. I've played plenty of new sonic games since then, including mania, unleashed, and generations, but nothing has topped the experience SA2 blessed me with.

    So what's the point of explaining all this? One reason... regardless of my age, or when I got into sonic, I have no nostalgia blindness for SA2. I grew up with the classics, and yet SA2 is my personal favorite. We all understand that everyone has their own opinions, yet on the internet, even though we understand this concept, we don't really abide by it. Go onto any social media platform and you'll have people unironically calling classic fans "elitists", adventure fans "simps", and boost fans anything along the lines of "unintelligent children". I can't explain why this is other than "the internet is toxic", but I know it can't possibly be true. People aren't genuinely like this about their favorite sonic games, and I wanted to get a ball rolling to prove it. But I alone can't do jack sqaut, so I thought about who else I know who loves sonic whom I could ask. After getting home from work, I walked in the door and asked my 9 year old brother...

    I weighed which sonic games he's played against which ones are his favorite amongst the bunch, and asked him:

    "What kind of Sonic games do you like more? Games like Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Adventure 2? Or games like Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colors?"

    My little brother grew up with colors as his #1 go-to sonic game. When sonic forces came out, he harrassed me about it almost every day, and virtually simps for infinite even now.

    "I like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Sonic Adventure DX the most."

    Floored, I asked him, "what makes you like those games more?"

    He listed off various things, including how the hub worlds from SA1 made him feel more like he was exploring an actual world, and not just completing a set of challenges like in colors's act by act system (I'm paraphrasing, I'm sure you guys don't want to read through 9 year old stuttering and loss of train of thought after all this I've typed), as well as the chao gardens giving him something else to do, and the extra characters letting him play the game how he wanted to, and not how he was told to.

    His answers... honestly surprised me. Him being a kid who genuinely thinks baldy mcnosehair is the funniest joke he's ever heard from a video game, him instead picking the immersion and miscellaneous content of the adventure games over the simplicity and sillier style of the games he grew up with caught me off guard. But it... somewhat does help my case here. I've always suspected that the internet is tainting our perception of what the fanbase really likes (look at me misjudging my own brother), and I've taken my own first step to changing that.

    If anyone actually reads this far (or just skips to here), join me in this experiment. If you know anyone in your life who's in a different "generation" of sonic fans from you, actually sit down and ask them what makes them tick. I'm dying to know if my experience here is either the exception, or just possibly- the rule to this concept. Does each generation of fan- "classic", "adventure", "modern"- really have a tainted perspective based on what was specifically created "for" them? Or are we all secretly lying to ourselves about what we truly like simply due to some unspoken internet "principle" of the matter?
  2. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    I'm honestly not sure whether I was introduced to the Sonic series via S3&K Collection on PC, or Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. (I do remember very vaguely a snippet of The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog airing on Toon Disney when I was about 6 and recalling that the show didn't air all that often when we watched that channel.) Most likely, it was SA2B via an older friend of ours that introduced us to the concept of game consoles via the GameCube. I do remember asking who on earth Amy was when I saw her in a cutscene towards the end of Hero story, but Sonic and Tails were characters I was aware of on some level (this is all very hazy memories from when I was 9 lol). He also really enjoyed grinding for rings in Green Forest to my dismay since I enjoyed City Escape and Metal Harbor a lot more for their music and I didn't like the timer.

    You would think that I would hold the Adventure era up as the best era of Sonic under those circumstances, but maybe the fact that we would beg our parents to get us any Sonic game they could for the PC is what makes my brother and I bigger fans of Classic Sonic. We wouldn't get our own GameCube until I was about 11 or 12 so my Dad bought us S3&K Collection, Sonic R, and Sega Smash Pack 2 with Sonic 2 on it. At that point we were readily hooked and by the time we got a Gamecube we got both Sa2B & Sonic Mega Collection and then later Heroes and SADX which I was less a fan of since it looked so bland (apparently there was a good reason for that since the DC conversion mod is always used when I play now).

    Now, by the time Unleashed came out, I was absolutely crushed that I couldn't play it since we didn't have an Xbox 360 and we were forced to play the inferior PS2 copy. I had followed the downward spiral of 06 for a while and when I saw that E3 trailer for Unleashed I was totally hyped. I think it was Christmas 2011 when we finally got a 360 (courtesy of the US Air Force of all people) and I played that game TO DEATH. My Brother would play the Werehog stages while I would play the daytime stages. From there on I kinda just kept tabs on each Sonic game since via lurking as a pending member on these forums and various newsites.

    With all that background in mind, I will probably be the first to tell you that I do not fall under the stereotype of an Adventure fan as one might assume. I enjoy all 3 main styles of Sonic games that have come out thusfar, but I will admit that I think Classic is more refined than Adventure. and the Boost style is a completely different beast. Sonic 3 & Knuckles (or Sonic 3 AIR) is my favorite Sonic game of all time, followed up with SA2B and Sonic Unleashed in some strange tie. In my opinion, if you want classic sonic gameplay translated faithfully into 3D then you go with the Adventure style leaning a bit more towards SA1 in gameplay and SA2 in terms of story, but the Boost formula works very well for what it is: a high speed platformer with an emphasis on quick reflexes. Colors onwards didn't recapture that design philosophy and those games suffer for it. Ultimately though, the most polished style so far has to be S3&K and Mania's style of gameplay imo.

    We can objectively argue on how well certain elements are implemented in each game, but ultimately it's completely subjective. Subjective opinions are going to vary widely because human opinions can't be neatly categorized into clean boxes with no overlap or deviation from the norm. What the internet as whole seem to lack, much like public opinion, is the ability to factor in nuance. As someone who constantly struggles with not thinking in black and white and has to remind himself that there is nuance in every situation, my first assumption would be that I would struggle with nuance more than the internet seems to...
  3. Wildcat


    My first experience with Sonic was on the Genesis. It’s weird I can’t quite remember exactly if it was Sonic 1 or 2. I first played part 2 at my cousins house but I’m pretty sure I already had part one. Anyway I totally grew up on the original classic era. Had the Sega Channel tv service too.

    I honestly have never felt any bias towards any era. Of course there’s some games I like more than others but I can honestly say I don’t hold any era closer than the other.

    I pretty much immediately loved Sonic and to this day I still get hyped for new games even though it seems a lot of people’s enthusiasm has declined in recent times.

    I have most of the games (missed some spinoffs and side stuff but still want them). I’ve only ever been disappointed with like 2 games.

    Sometimes I’m like, I don’t even need to see trailers...Sega shut up and take my money. Lol I’m not entirely joking either. I’d buy the next mainline game right now even without seeing footage.
  4. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

    Professional Internet asshole Member
    The simple fact is that there are no "eras" of Sonic or Sonic fans.

    I liked Lost World when it came out, hated Lost World 3DS, and didn't like Shadow when I played it when I was eleven. I liked Heroes when I was a kid, and don't now. I like SA1 and I like Sonic 2 and 3 and CD, and I don't like Sonic 1 all that much, or most of the Game Gear games. I disliked UnWiished when I was a kid, and preferred but still didn't love Unleashed HD when I played it a year ago for the first time.

    If we're arguing that fans are biased toward what was new or what they played when it came out when they were kids, my favorite Sonic games should be Heroes, Shadow, Secret Rings, and UnWiished. I dislike all those games. I like SA1, but I'm not nostalgic for the bad SADX PC port, and am happy to watch every edge of the game's jank be sanded off with mods. I like Sonic 2, 3 and CD, not so much 1, Chaotix or the game gear games.

    The point is, most people don't play the series in a straight line, nor do they likely only play new games from when they first enter the fandom. Even if they did, you can't categorize Sonic into "eras", because people are born and play games in intersecting periods of those "eras".
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  5. Chaos Rush

    Chaos Rush

    AKA J.Matz Member
    Yeah I hate having assumptions about my preferences just because Adventure was my first game.

    No, just because I’m an Adventure fan doesn’t mean I want to play as Big the Cat. No, just because I’m an Adventure fan doesn’t mean I want to see more of Shadow crying about Maria. No, just because I’m an Adventure fan doesn’t mean I want to play as a robot with janky controls. And I don’t want to hunt Emeralds either.

    I do, however, want to be able to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles in a 3D environment in levels that are focused on fun, mid-paced 3D platforming (and not boost).

    And just because you start with a 3D game doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan of the 2D games lol, Sonic Mega Collection existed for everyone in the GC/PS2 era to play and S3&K ended up becoming my favorite video game ever.

    Hence why I’m not surprised to hear that someone that started with the post-2010 games ended up enjoying the Adventure era games because I don’t make dumb assumptions about Sonic fans based off whatever their first game was.
  6. Vangar


    I'm not reading all these walls of text but I grew up with Sonic 1 / 2, and I wanna see more shadow crying over maria and more Sonic 06 style storytelling.

    That cringe awful shit is amazing.

    But I also really want Sonic Mania 2.

    I'd love Forces if the levels were longer and better. The cringe story and fist bump is fantastic.
  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think it depends how you define 'growing up with a game'. Which ages? Childhood? Do you include teenage years?

    I would say that any gamd I played by the age of 16 hold a particularly special place in my heart and I imagine it's the same for many others. Honestly I think a big problem with the way people categorise these generations of fans is that they really aren't different generations at all. I grew up on classic Sonic, but I alao grew up on the Adventure games. I was a teenager when Heroes came out. I find it pretty absurd to call Adventure fans a different generation when the games came out less than ten years after Sonic 1.

    To me the real generation gap of fans is Sonic Unleashed. If you were a kid and played Unleashed as your introduction, I think that's definitely enough time passage to say you are in a differemt generation.
  8. See, my assumption that the internet as a collective whole is tainting people's perceptions was right, but I honestly wasn't expecting so many people to immediately jump in here and vouch for this lol.

    Still though, this isn't nearly enough to convince me that the internet perceptions are entirely wrong. However, I reached out to semi frequent sonic facts on twitter and they seem interested in my postings here. They said after reading what I wrote in the morning, they'd see if they can help conduct this sonic social experiment.

    Also, why is there more support for the adventure games here than I remember this site being able to provide lol :p
  9. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I still think it's true that people have a fondness for games which they grew up with. I just don't think it's nearly as straightforward as 'Classics generation', 'Adventure generation' etc.
  10. Childish


    Pigs wiggle when they walk Member
    Shady lane
    Sonic 4 Blast Processed
    Personally I grew up playing the Christian Whitehead remakes of 1,2 and CD. I would kinda describe myself as a purely classic fan back then because I didn't have like ANY exposure to modern, partly because everyone's consensus (at least in the friend groups I was in) was that modern sucks and that I was better off with the classics. Eventually I got into the adventure era games and played SA1 and absolutely loved it, and then I realized that younger me was an idiot for judging a game based on other people's opinion (and those weird "movies" that were essentially a cutscene compalation, does anyone else remember these?) instead of actually playing it.

    Eh, at the end of the day you can't look past all the poor game design in CD without giving SA1 and 2 some credit.

  11. Josh


    A few weeks ago, I took surveys across a few communities of favorite/least-favorite Sonic game, and broke the results down by age range, to some pretty surprising results. That seems relevant to this thread!

    I think it's like any other generational label, like baby boomers or Gen X. It can be useful and interesting to note wide-ranging trends and differences, but trying to boil that down to an individual level ignores, well... individuality. You shouldn't paint other people, or yourself (I SEE THIS TOO MUCH LATELY), into a particular box just because of when you were born or what your formative experiences were.
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  12. RDNexus


    I, for one, only didn't play most handheld classic games as I grew up.
    My childhood and teenage were filled with the Master System and Mega Drive Sonic games, and my brother and I loved them.
    Sonic JAM & R came around, the rudimentary 3D of that time felt mystical to us. We were entranced on those short games.

    I first played SA1 on some friends' DC before we got our own. The sunset and night times of the game were stunning to see. The plot got us so hard we would start new games time and again just to replay the story mode.
    SA2 appeared, we got it ASAP. To me, for years, that was the ULTIMATE Sonic game. I simply loved the story at the time. And I kinda still do xD

    From Heroes onwards, only 06 got me hyped...until I started reading about it and watching videos of it. And even worse when I played it. But I still wanna see realistic Eggman return...someday... (I know it's impossible, but a guy gotta dream XD)

    Unleashed could've been a nice return to form...if not for the Werehog stages. My brother never managed to finish the game. Or get eager to do it.

    Nowadays, I've been more interested in the franchise's continuity, games' prototypes, development trivia and 2D artworks and concept arts.
    I check on YouTube mods, trivia vids and so. I now rank SA1 higher than SA2 simply because it's the last game that feels closer to the Classics.

    All in all, I grew up with Sonic, so I see it though an oldbie's PoV when it comes to best or worst games.
    Even when it comes to Pokémon, the community seems to behave in a likely way, so I understand it. My interests there are the same as here ^^"
  13. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    I think your surveys were very interesting! Results were pretty much as I expected, but interesting to see how much appeal Mania has!
  14. Yash


    CHOCOLATE! Member
    Classic Sonic is timeless, both in terms of character design and gameplay. I kind of hate how Sega arbitrarily shuffles Mania and 2D Sonic in general into the corner as if no one enjoys them for anything other than nostalgia, and that the 3D games are where the real action is.

    In general the whole idea behind "oh but these younger generations LOVE the new stuff" seems like wussy apologism whenever they turn out a stinker. Like yeah, of course kids like the new games, that's what gets marketed to them. As Josh's survey shows though, even the younger fans who reach back into the series' history have no problem with the old (or old-style) games, and luckily for Sonic fans they're pretty accessible (1, 2, CD and Mania anyway, but even 3K is still on Steam and Xbox Live Arcade).

    For me I always place an arbitrary "this is where the new generation begins" marker at Heroes, for a variety of reasons. I consider SA1 and 2 as much a part of the classic series as anything else.
  15. foXcollr


    Resident Dolphin Member
    Wow this is INCREDIBLY relevant, great job!

    I think the teen data is particularly valuable because it helps debunk the BS perception that "old fans like old gameplay, new fans like new gameplay", or that Mania exists solely as a nostalgia piece (although it's clear that SEGA tried to sway the dev team toward making it one). Of course, it depends on who you sampled for the data, but I'm assuming you got a good mixed group of participants.

    I also found the "Generations of Sonic fans" thing kind of odd. I was born around the release of SA1, but we didn't have any of the latest consoles or anything.. so I was introduced to the series in the 2000's via an old Genesis and the classic trilogy. A little while after that we started to get some of the newer games, like PS2 Sonic Unleashed, Heroes, and I'm not sure when I played the Adventure games but I think I didn't own them until AFTER I had Unleashed. Despite that order of exposure, I think I like the Adventure games more than Unleashed. I guess I could be pretty biased toward the classic games since I played those first... but I experienced both great games and awful games from the classic, Adventure, and modern eras all by the time I was a preteen.

    Just feels funny to me when people assume others' age based on their preference, or vice versa. I grew up smack dab in the middle of the Adventure and modern eras and I think I spend more time playing the classic games. Despite playing Unleashed first, I like the Adventure gameplay more. And also like, people can think freely... regardless of which generation we all grew up with, it's possible to just NOT like a game because you don't like it.

    This whole "generations of Sonic" thing can get pretty toxic, so I'm glad to be able to read this thread, and hopefully some folks may stumble upon it and change their perception of things.
  16. Azookara


    yup Member
    I got into Sonic from 1998-2000, right in the transitionary period between “classic” and “Adventure”, so I loved everything there was and didn’t really see the Sonics as different characters, eras, whatever. The “modern” style was just another different look and vibe to the same thing like western Sonic was, except even lesser so since I could pretty easily see how the Saturn/Sonic the ScreenSaver art and content was reminiscent of SA1 and vice versa.

    So yeah idk. As someone who grew up with Sonic and jumped in at a midpoint, I’ve always felt the “generational divide” thing to be a load of rubbish, or at least severely overblown for people convinced they need to take sides. It’s not hard to just like games you think are fun and open your mind a bit to other approaches on ideas. Especially when it’s not all as different as our community has made all these “eras” out to be over the past 10-15 years that this has been a majorly base-breaking discussion point.
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  17. I wouldn't worry about what other people think about your love for a specific era of Sonic.

    There are many other factors at play other than gameplay which makes a game special to you, and not so special for other people. For example certain fans will resonate more with a certain art style or soundtrack etc, even if the gameplay is considered worse.

    But I do get that it's 'harder' to be a fan of something these days than when I grew up (now in my 30s), when you've got everyone giving your their correct and only right opinion on Twitter. It was much easier when everyone wasn't thrusting their opinions onto you.
  18. I'm honestly pleasantly surprised with how quickly everyone latched onto this thread. It's reassuring to see how many of us in here are on the same page about this, but I really wish we could get this to the masses and see what results are like across social media. However...

    Josh, you are a f***ing saint! That survey was amazing to look at! If only Sega would do a similar survey to find out what their fans really like, and then incorporate that information into making future content. :p
  19. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I was introduced to Sonic through the DiC cartoons in the early to mid 90s. I preferred AoStH to SatAM for its lighter tone, but neither was amazing. A bit later I played the MD games and was befuddled by how different they were from the cartoons. Still, the I quickly fell in love with them and began to loathe the cartoons for not being more like the games (which I found far more charming and creative), and for leaving all the cool parts out (Super Sonic, Knuckles, Metal Sonic, the Death Egg...) while shoving a myriad of characters I didn't care about down my throat. Anyways...

    Some years later I got a Dreamcast and played SA1. I was disappointed by how automatized the levels were, and by the fact Tails and Knuckles were restricted to racing and treasure hunting levels, but I still loved experiencing Sonic in 3d for the first time. I also loved its story for its worldbuilding and for letting me see the Sonic characters interact with each other in cutscenes with actual dialogue (something I wished S3&K had done) for the first time. I didn't mind the awkwardly animated cutscenes and crappy dub that much, as those were the norm for games back then. Later I played SA2. Was disappointed that most of SA1's flaws were still there, but I appreciated that the game felt more polished and a bit less automated. The story didn't feel very Sonic-ish, and I didn't care much for Shadow as a character, but I still enjoyed it for its uniqueness and worldbuilding.

    Didn't care much for the GC-era console games, that's when the gameplay and stories really started to fall apart for me.

    The Dimps games were all over the place.

    Couldn't get into the 2d boost games, but loved the 3d boost levels in Unleashed and Generations, even more so than the DC games. Colors was disappointing but not terrible. Lost World and Forces were just bad.

    As for my favorite era, I don't have one. Here's how I view it:
    MD games and Mania = best 2d gameplay
    DC games = best stories and characterizations
    Boost games = best 3d gameplay (outside of fangames)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
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  20. Crasher


    Why hello there! Member
    I will echo that people's tastes do differ, and what you like isn't strictly from the first few games you played. It's like saying that someone who played Mario 64 will only like games like 64, and can't enjoy Galaxy.

    My first Sonic game was Sonic CD, through Sonic Gems Collection. After that, it was... Sonic Riders and Shadow the Hedgehog :V From there, I got Unleashed, and then nabbed Mega Collection where I blasted through the trilogy. I didn't get into Adventure until way later, when I got a collection of Riders/SADX/Heroes/Mega Collection, and the ports of SA2.

    I feel like my favourite Sonic game, however, is likely a tie between Unleashed and either Sonic 2 or Mania. I enjoy rhythm games, for what it's worth, and Cloudbuilt - the boost formula (especially Unleahed) dives right into that niche. I think that's what's influenced what I enjoy about Sonic games the most: what my other tastes are.
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