Totally forgot I had an account here. I'm not happy at all with the replies to my posts years ago, as I feel like people weren't really reading what I was saying and were trying to read around it to find some weird motive. Much as I'd love to respond to those, that was years ago and I don't think anyone really cares anymore. If anyone wants to talk about that topic (the merit of Special Stages in Sonic games), I am open to any questions.
Instead, let's try something different. Something you can't just read around without clearly showing yourself to have not read it.
Hi there! I have a dilemma. There's this video game series I like, but most of the people I get to talk about it with treat their series in a way that no other fanbase treats any other series, which makes it very difficult to have real conversation. When I attempt to call people out for this, I get called a "contrarian" because (surprise) I'm the only person actually willing to challenge what is a terrible status quo. There are multiple people in this community who have zero issue making things up about me from scratch to attack my character, solely because I seem to be the only human being on the planet who's able to tell these people that they need to take a step back and reevaluate their attachment to this series.
(Part of this is because Discord and chat rooms are a terrible place to have real discussion, and they should never replace a real message board.)
Guess what video game series I'm talking about! I came here because this is the only place on the internet that would ever have a topic asking this question. Everything I'm about to tell you is the truth. It's not my own opinion; my opinion is irrelevant to everyone else and to myself.
Sonic fans have no idea what they actually want. They think they do, and that's a big problem. Thinking you know what you're doing has always been worse than being willing to admit that you don't know what you're doing.
Whenever people talk about Sonic Team, and Lost World and Forces, it is always with language that boils down to "Sonic Team is incompetent, Lost World and Forces are low quality product". The idea that Lost World or Forces are actually good games and not at all what people describe them to be is not allowed to be spoken. Lost World and Forces being errors is supposed to be a fact that we're all just supposed to accept. I can't accept it, because I know it to be untrue. I know it to be untrue because I've actually played the games and compared them to other games in the series and other games period. The crimes people charge these games for are things the games aren't actually doing, or things that previous games had done without any real issue (things that aren't actually crimes, in other words).
I'm not gonna say that Lost World and Forces are better than Mania. I'm not gonna say "Sonic was never good", because that's a boring meme. However, I also won't say that Mania is better than Lost World and Forces. None of these things can really be true. The truth is far more complicated than that, and is not really for this topic. I'm also not gonna mention Boom because that's a topic of its own (it's not what people think it is); funny enough, I don't think Boom was ever mentioned in this thread.
That aside, there are a few things that are flatly untrue and really need to stop being said:
1. "Mania was made by fans, so clearly fans need to take over Sega." Mania was not made by fans, it was made by newly-minted professionals who were hired for a particular set of skills. To call them "fans" is to insult them and to insult their work. Mania is also the product of a fairly large team and had a solid budget for what it was supposed to be. Letting "fans" take over Sega will lead to more things like Sonic 06 and less things like Mania, I can already tell you that right now. I can go on and on about this topic.
2. "The Sonic base is fragmented. The games, too, are fragmented." Neither of these are any more true than for most game series in existence, especially very long-running ones like Sonic. "Fragmented" is also a very loaded term that does not begin to consider the idea of releasing different games for different people. In fact, that's what many Sonic fans keep thinking they want: for Sega to keep making a very limited kind of game that caters to them specifically.
3. "Lost World and Forces are inconsistent and try to cater to everyone." As I said before, they simply aren't the low quality games people keep saying they are. This is simply untrue information. Lost World builds heavily on Colors to the point where you could have called it "Sonic Colors 2" and it likely would have gotten far better reception. Likewise, Forces was even understood by most to be a direct followup to ideas from Generations, yet it was still called "inconsistent" even though the vast majority of the game is patterned after Generations. It is not physically possible for games that are so much like the previous games to be "inconsistent and trying to cater to everyone"; there is simply too much of Colors's and Generations's DNA in Lost World and Forces for this to ever be true.
Anything beyond this is whining using one's own personal opinion. Noone should really care if you don't personally like the Deadly Six. I don't particularly care for the Deadly Six myself, because I think they could have been handled a little better. I think the whole series could have been handled better, from start to finish. That's called hindsight, and it's unreliable in how clear it seems to be, because you don't necessarily have the context behind the original decisions. It is almost as irrelevant as personal opinions.
Fans do need to take a step back and think a little harder about why they hate what they hate and what about this series keeps them invested. I can answer this question for myself: it's a decent series that's had mostly ups and not a lot of downs, and the developers/partners mostly do good work. I don't really agree with some of the fundamental design, but I respect that the developers have taken it in various ways and over such a long period of time. It's very hard to really hate most Sonic games and very easy to like them. Pretty much all of them are at least inspiring even if I may dislike a specific game.
If I can be this measured, why can't anyone else? Why do fans hold this series to an impossible standard that no other fanbase ever holds their own series too? The only thing this kind of behavior does is hold the series back in a way that Lost World and Forces never could, no matter how "bad" they supposedly are. I am not saying that Sonic Team are perfect and unfallible, I'm saying they do good work even though everyone swears they don't. This can be verified by putting aside that "ideal" Sonic game in your head (would you like to see mine?) and actually playing the damned games in front of you.
I'm writing this because I'm tired of being asked to "explain myself" and then twenty people start talking over me. When people ask me that from now on, I just want to be able to link this post. If that's not enough of a reason to have real forums, I don't know what is.
Thank you for reading.