Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Rhythm Raccoon, Mar 25, 2021.
Sorry, accidental double posting. Please trash.
We're backtracking a bit huh? Tensions are getting high and some of us are starting to point fingers again I've noticed. Very interesting...
This is what happens when there's no new game to distract the collective
Truth. I honestly believe the lack of news for a new game and even the unknown factor on if said new game would be quality or not has the fanbase in a pretty...divisive spot right now. I know it's been YEARS since then, but I don't even think I remember the "dark ages" of Sonic being THIS divisive with the fanbase.
There are also a lot more people online than in the mid 00's.
Sonic discourse has honestly not changed at all; this series has always been controversial to some extent, it's just kind of in its nature.
The main difference is that we didn't have social media or sites like Youtube to give this division a public platform; so now EVERYONE knows about the Sonic fanbase's bullshit, whereas before it was relegated to corners of the internet that people barely knew about.
As Josh aptly put
It's all the same bullshit. The literal same exact bullshit.
Heroes is grimdark?
Worth noting, Jeb never said that Aaron agreed with the video, though Tyson did agree with "a lot of things." Actually, I'll just quote Jeb directly:
I will say, watching that video was definitely a turning point for me personally, in my relationship with the fandom and MY fandom, and in how much I felt like I "belonged" here. And that's not me throwing any shade on Jeb, quite the opposite. The fact he made a video that resonated with people to that degree speaks well about his skills as a creator and his ability to relate his perspective. But in so many ways, it felt like the dead-end opposite of MY perspective, and to see that resonating so much with people, quite honestly, hit directly on a lot of my insecurities. I mean, you can see me breaking down over the course of that "generations" topic I started last year, and I eventually had to disengage from it entirely. In fandom spaces outside of Retro especially, I struggle to feel like I belong and that my perspective is valued, even in situations where I know I'm welcome. So again, I'm not blaming anyone for it, it's just a personal struggle I've been dealing with for the past year or so. And if I dip out of this discussion soon, that's probably why. I really don't want to get sucked into feeling that way again.
I think that's one reason those survey results I was posting a few pages ago made me feel hopeful. Despite the folks making the most noise in some places, there's absolutely no shortage of people of all ages who DO still seem to enjoy Sonic for all kinds of reasons, including the reasons I do. I mean, more to the point: I've seen kids as young as 16 who disagree with Jeb's video, and I've seen it resonate with people older than me. Like I've said, age may be ONE factor, but it's unfair to draw this thing along "generational" lines. I mean, even in the 90s, some loved SatAM's storytelling and characterization, some loved the games for their rich gameplay and mechanics, some loved the SegaSonic canon, some loved the OVA, and NOBODY at that time could have "grown up with Sonic" at a different time than anyone else. Different aspects of the series just appeal to different preferences, and that, pardon the repetition, is the same as it ever was.
I don't know the rest of his content and he's probably an alright guy.
I probably shouldn't have made that snide comment about "younger fans", but I did note my post was a bit of a rant . But yeah, I'll take that back. More seriously, I do think there is truth to the idea that fans who grew up on SA2, Shadow, the Storybook games have an affection for those game's stories, even though for many of us (including many of that age group) it's blindingly obvious that those games didn't have great stories.
I really don't know what to say honestly. Again, it makes me sound like a bit of a prick, but I just really don't think that any Sonic game has had a very good story. The stories of Adventure 1 and 2 are entertaining but I don't think they are technically sound narratives, even if we put aside the question of how well-suited they are to Sonic as a brand. Play any RPG and the difference of quality in story telling is just really apparent. I've been playing Persona 4 lately, for example, and while that has a lot of issues too, it's far above the likes of Sonic Unleashed (the latest darling). And people might say that's unfair, but if you are going to take storytelling seriously in a game then you have to play with the big boys.
I am basically in the camp of 'Sonic Team have never been great at storytelling and I'd rather they just make an entertaining platformer'. To be fair though, they don't even specialise in that
I mean believe me, I really don't like talking about this. It's a really boring topic and I'd much rather talk about game design. But when people criticise the 2010 Sonic games it's rarely on the issues of their design and almost entirely about nostalgia (which I agree with) and the story being too light. And as I say, I find it all a bit baffling when Lost World is so often held up as emblematic of what went wrong with the series' storytelling when I think it has probably the best story in the franchise since SA2. I don't think it has a very good story, but I think it's pretty absurd to claim it's hideously awful compared to something like Unleashed.
I mean let's take Tails. Everyone complains about how he's handled, but he's basically become a different character now. He's the combat inefficient but intelligent gadget maker. It's not out of character for him to freeze up against Chaos 0, because in the new games he isn't good at fighting. And when people say he's unlikable, I do think they overplay it (again, I don't think the new games are well written), but I think he still has more character than whatever he had in Adventure 2 onwards. His snark synergises well with Sonic. I understand why people don't like the new takes on the characters, I don't really like them either to be honest, but within the context of Colors onwards, Tails' lack of strength and his snarky friendship with Sonic makes a lot of sense. It's a stark departure from Adventure, I agree, but we also have to keep in mind that Adventure happened over 20 years ago and Colors was like a soft reboot. They clearly play loose with the canon now and just cast the characters in new ways.
And I think this is my central problem with the way people talk about the games' stories from Colors onwards. They aren't fair and don't treat them on their own merits. They just say Sonic's a jock, Tails is a weak jerk, etc, when yeah, they are, that's the point. It's to give them weaknesses and make them more rounded characters. If you don't like that it's perfectly acceptable - I'd agree that they aren't very good stories. But I don't think people are level-handed with the games and are basically just calling to go back to the storytelling of the mid 2000s. Do we really want to go from one mediocre style of story telling to a poor one?
This is the problem. That's why people complain. He became a worse character.
Disagreeing with the way a character's personality is portrayed is not being unfair. If I say I don't like the way Tails has been treated in the writing for over ten years of games now, I very much am treating them on their own merits. I think Tails as a character was written poorly, along with most of the other characters, but Tails is especially noticeable. Tails lost all personality when he was turned into a one-dimensional trope. He stopped being a character at all and became a vehicle for technobabble. That is much, much worse character writing than he ever had in the Adventure games.
Like, how is a character made "more rounded" by turning them into a one-note stereotype with no actual personality?
What if I think the 2010s stories are poor and the Adventure stories are mediocre? Then it would be a step up. I think "the mid 2000s" is a bit narrow on the scale of story-related discourse right now. Obviously there are people who want another Shadow/'06 story, for some reason, but I think there are also plenty of people like myself who just want a return to the classic/SA1 tone, with the execution of something like SA2.
@Laura I actually agree that talking about Sonic stories and lore has gotten extremely tiresome for me as well, and I say that as someone who holds that era in high regard lol.
But honestly, it just comes down to ease of talk; its a lot easier to talk about your favorite stories or character than it is about game design. I know plenty of people who can go on and on about why Charmy Bee is their favorite character but can't have a conversation about level design to save their life.
But that's understandable because to a lot of fans, the characters and world are why they came into the series and what they want out of it. The quality of said lore is subjective, just that it exists is what draws interest.
I've said this a lot, but the concept and idea of Sonic is a lot more appealing than the actual products. The series is just rife with an expansive world that's fun to interpret and why the lack of any of that in the last decade has been such a divisive topic. Sure, a lot of people probably do like the self depreciative narrative recently, especially if you're somebody who thinks Sonic stories suck and should take the piss out themselves as much as possible. But you have just as many people who legitimately buy into all of this stuff and are annoyed at how much they keep downplaying it.
So I wouldn't really be concerned if your opinions don't align with the vocal portions of the fanbase. Its just something that comes with the territory after a while. Its been 30 years, it would be weirder if we DIDN'T have divisive opinions about this series and what it does.
I just like what I like and explain to others what I like, and if people can't understand that, I just keep it moving. Nobody should have to justify their preferences; whether you think Sonic is an epic narrative or if you don't.
I think the post-06 characterizations are way better. I agree with Laura, they're more well-rounded and able to play off of each other better. 'course, a lot of that also just has to do with more natural dialogue and delivery from the VAs, as a result of the industry getting better at this stuff. But yeah. The characters are also more distinct from one another. Like, the highlight of Forces' narrative for me was the dialogue and voice acting, not the story itself. The actual plots are still mostly cornball nonsense, but I find 'em more enjoyable now than I did back then specifically because I enjoy the characters more.
But different strokes, y'know? I've enjoyed plenty of more serious, plot-focused Sonic media like SatAM, the comics or the movie, and I've enjoyed goofy, light-hearted stories like Sonic Boom or Colors. There's no reason Sonic can't do both, the games just almost always fall short regardless of what approach they take. But at the end of the day, that's tertiary to why I'm playing these games, anyway. :P
So, while I agree with your wider point, I have to ask. When have the narratives of the past decade actually been self-deprecating? Poorly-written, sure, full of plot holes, of course, but people make it sound like Sonic is going around dunking on his own series. Heck, I remember being let down by Generations at the time because it DIDN'T take the opportunity to be self-deprecating about Sonic 06, though now I don't think it should've been. Or like, folks on the last page kept talking about memes, but aside from the Sanic shirt being in Forces, what memes have shown up in the games?
I think criticisms like these have lately been run into the ground to the point that they're almost taken as given, but I never saw anything particularly "meta" about this era. It's always seemed to me like people got annoyed at the Twitter account making self-depricating jokes when Aaron Webber was in charge of it, and extrapolated it to encompass a MUCH wider spectrum of media than it actually did.
The problem, relatively speaking, between the 2010s games and the 2000s storytelling, is that the former has made the characters less rounded, lore that was built up has been discarded, and the stakes simply aren't as compelling or are lacking. Granted, all of this is subjective, but SA1, SA2, and Unleashed are (for the most part) lighthearted stories with some compelling stakes and decent characterization. The classic trilogy, for as simple as it was, also tried to tell stories with some big stakes and it's something they tried to carry forward to the Adventure era. Some fans are upset because, for the most part, all of that has been thrown away.
Out of fairness though, I'm curious why people think the post Unleashed characterizations are more "rounded" and I'd like to hear more. Given the influx of discussion on it across multiple topics, I think I'll create a thread so we don't veer off the topic of "generations" of fans.
When I say "self-depreciating", I mean that the stories themselves are severely downscaled compared to before. Less focus is put on the actual plot and sequence of events, and more on the dialogue and characters playing off each other. The dialogue pokes more fun at the flaws of the characters as opposed to empowering them as action heroes.
For instance, there's a lot more focus on jokes and punchlines compared to before, where the humor was more derived from the situations the characters were in. In particular, Sonic would do things like talk to robots that can't speak back or make bad puns, and someone like Tails would usually react in a groan worthy fashion or lightly call him on it.
That's what I mean when that type of humor appeals to the crowd of people who don't take these stories seriously, and generally prefer them to poke fun at themselves as opposed to trying to play any drama off of it. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm just calling a spade a spade. When Colors came out, the "Saturday Morning Cartoon" vibe was one of the biggest things praised about it, because the public perception at the time is that Sonic shouldn't be taking himself seriously at all and needed to lighten itself up.
The pushback is more or less because there were a group of people who DID take those stories seriously, and are extremely annoyed at how downplayed everything is. No stakes, no character drama (and if there is, it's done in a very questionable way; looking at you Tails in Lost World), it's just....fluff. Even when Forces tries to up the stakes, it does it in an extremely half-baked way that left nobody satisfied.
Uhm.... did we play the same video game? SA1, maybe, but SA2?
This is pretty exaggerated; outside of the Last Story there's nothing really overtly dark about SA2.
The first cutscene in the game is literally Sonic making a cheesy one-liner about low budget flights. That pretty much sets the tone of the game right there. The stuff with Shadow is the outlier if anything.
For the most part in SA2, there was a lot of light-hearted interactions with the main cast. If anything, the stakes were just a bit higher if because of what's revealed through Shadow's backstory and The Last Story.
I just don't really agree with this sentiment. It's true for Rise of Lyric where he just spouts nonsensical smart phrases, but I don't think he's like that in most of the modern games.
His personality is his snark and arrogance, which is rooted in the fact he's legitimately a genius and is often right when he complains. His Lost World outburst is very melodramatic, but his jealousy is rooted in his confidence that he can sort out the problem and he dislikes Sonic for relying on Eggman and not trusting him. And he's actually right, he does shut down the machine on his own. He can be aggravating for sure, but it's completely in tune with his personality.
If anything I'd say his personality is the very reason why he's hated. A lot of fans don't like Sonic and Tails having unlikable aspects to their character. I like the concept, I don't think it's executed very well a lot of the time. But I think it's unfair to say he has no personality.
Strong agree with this point. I actually agree that the Sonic Social Media Team have been too cringey in their self-deprecation. I hate it because it's so disingenuous. They tear into Sonic 06 because it's at a safe distance, but they promoted Rise of Lyric, barely ever discuss how dreadful that was because it was so recent, and were trying their best to damage control Forces. I mean, obviously they would, it's the marketing department. But that's why I've always hated it, I find it not only lacking in self-confidence but inherently dishonest.
But when it comes to the games, I just don't see it. The only lines I can think of is when Generations poked fun at Secret Rings and Colors, but that always came off as a little less insecure because they poked fun at their most well received game in decades. I agree that the games have some memey dialogue like "baldy Mcnose hair". Team Sonic Racing has some truly awful memey lines, but I also don't think it's really self-deprecating.
That's not self-deprecating. It's just a different style of story-telling.
The disparagement of one's own self.
If the game is spent pointing out its own flaws in its stars, then that kind of fits the above definition.
Unless you have a different definition of the word.
Characters having conversations where they play off each other and make jokes about their flaws is just what people do when they talk.
Separate names with a comma.