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Josh

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  1. Yeah, I'd say the PSN stats for Unleashed, Generations, Mania, and Forces aren't especially representative. Unleashed and Generations have been on PlayStation Now forever, while Forces and Mania were both free on PS+. It's likely a bunch of people downloaded them just long enough to give them a try. In any case, the Xbox achievements tell a similar story. Only 25% of players finished Generations. Interestingly, the biggest drop-off comes right when the game makes you do missions, meaning less than half of players made it further than the Classic Era. 58% of players finished Sky Sanctuary, but 48% beat Metal Sonic, and only 44% made it past the Death Egg Robot. That is, depressingly, only 5% higher than the number of Xbox players who finished Sonic Forces entirely. But, I mean, it's not all that surprising that the easier the game is, the more friendly it'll be to newcomers, and the more people will finish it. I think we're gonna have a lot of kids here in a few years who hold Forces as the first Sonic game they ever really loved, and that was probably Sega's intent with it more than anything.
  2. This is one of the few situations where the physics and mechanics in S3&K are pretty unambiguously superior to the Retro Engine. Late in the development of Sonic & Knuckles, Knuckles was given the ability to spin dash out of a post-glide slide, or from his crouching position after landing. You *don't* have to wait for him to get back up. Unfortunately, this ability was never backported to Knuckles in Sonic 2. And because Sonic 2 was so much better-documented, THAT was the Knuckles codebase that Stealth used for his Knuckles in Sonic 1 hack in 2005, and the one that got carried forward a decade or so later into the mobile ports, and eventually, Mania.
  3. I hope this gets updated with the Apple Arcade content (as a fan of the classics, it'd be nice if that universe could be featured in something new besides a comic book for the 30th anniversary), but yeah, this looks like it's just gonna be a repackaging with an artbook, which is a shame. Team Sonic Racing reminds me a lot of Forces. The soundtrack rules, and it's perfectly competent... but it falls SO short of matching the standard of what came before, it makes me wish they'd just ported THAT to modern consoles and called it a day. 4k, 120fps Generations and All-Stars Racing Transformed... mmm. All-Stars Racing Transformed especially deserves to get a little more spotlight. It was the first kart racer since Diddy Kong Racing that I could seriously say outpaced Mario Kart, and as a Sega diehard, I love how it seems to come from this incredible alternate universe where the Dreamcast won the 6th generation and Sega's IPs became household names. <3 Man, what a game.
  4. It can also be fun to dig through old UseNet posts. For instance, this one from 1999, where they're discussing Sonic's "new look." That was a common critique of the SA illustrations, that Sonic looked too "evil" or "possessed." I found one a while back from '98, where some people's first reaction to the Sonic Adventure teaser image (where you could just see his eyes and smile) was DENIAL, as they started speculating that maybe this wasn't REALLY Sonic, that maybe it was an evil clone or a doppleganger. Really, the issue with a lot of old fansites is that they're not up anymore, and while archive.org does have a lot from them, you have to know where to look. So unless you were there at the time AND you can remember some very old URLs, it can be tough. AJ Freda's SegaSonic.net is a neat time capsule!
  5. Sonic 3 has both. :V And very well-said, Roger! Although say what you will about story focus and worldbuilding, I'd actually argue Mania has BUCKETS of flair and passion pouring out of its every pixel. The devs were making THE game of their dreams, and I could really feel that sense of joy all the way through it. For me when it comes to Sonic, gameplay is paramount. It doesn't really matter all that much how well or how poorly the rest of the package is executed, because I tend to view story elements in video games almost as bonus features. It's a side-dish, and I don't want it distracting from the main content. So it follows that some of my most favorite games in the series (and indeed, my favorite games EVER) can get there regardless of how much or how little story content they have. Like, Sonic Generations' story was underwhelming, and ESPECIALLY disappointing given how much I'd enjoyed Colors'. Given the concept of the game, not doing more with it than that seemed like a missed opportunity. But Generations is still one of my favorites, because stuff like that is tertiary to the appeal of Sonic games for me. So, that's what I'm hoping for when it comes to the 30th. Gimme some good video games.
  6. Yeah, Heroes was kind of the Forces of its day: It incorporated a lot of surface-level elements that fans had been clamoring for (long-forgotten characters returning, visual/music similarities to earlier games, etc), but focused most of the game design on appealing to people who'd never played a Sonic game before. In both cases, it left a lot of existing fans feeling unsatisfied and at least a bit hoodwinked.
  7. I just want to state for the record, because I don't see a whole lot pushback to sentiments like these lately... Sonic Generations, from a certain perspective, might just be my favorite video game, period. It's certainly the one I've gotten the most value out of over the past 10 years, I'm still not bored of it, and I still enjoy playing it now just as much as I did back in 2011. You see less hype and praise for it nowadays and more people picking at it for the same reason you see that with Mania: Once the excitement's died down, the people who are satisfied with a game are less-inclined to speak up about it. The wheel that wants grease is the one that squeaks, haha. But that doesn't mean there aren't tons of people out there who still love it and count it among their favorites. I think it's in a weird place right now. It's _still_ the last well-regarded 3D Sonic game, and the most recent one took its formula and did everything worse. Like the Adventure games after 06, it's going to look a little tarnished through that lens. Basically, it's too old to be hyped up as something fresh or exciting, but not old enough that most people are nostalgically looking back on it just yet. But give it a few years, and especially if newer games move away from its precedents, I bet you'll see a lot more love for it again. These things go in cycles.
  8. That was probably my tweet. And you're right. I wasn't saying the two are like-for-like, just that there are some parallels to be drawn. Set the lore aside: I really don't care if Classic Sonic is a younger version of Modern, or from an alternate universe. But I absolutely KNOW that he appeals to me in a different way and for different reasons than Modern does. We wouldn't have begged for Sega to bring him back, and we wouldn't have cried when they actually listened, if that weren't true. And that's where I drew my comparison. The X series always skewed a little older, there was more focus on story and characterization, the stakes were higher, the gameplay was faster, and the setting was more realistic. X could do things that would feel egregiously out of place in a classic Mega Man game, just as Mega Man's more lighthearted, gameplay-centric tone would've felt out of place for X. Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic similarly have built defining elements that appeal in different, sometimes incompatible ways. Most Sonic fans are fans of both, but we've always had a vocal contingent that skewed hard toward one or the other. As a fan of both, a lot of what I like about Modern Sonic games and what I'd like them to ideally be wouldn't fit in a Classic game, and vice-versa. I think trying to consolidate the brand into embodying BOTH is only going to make fans who primarily like one or the other feel disregarded, and erode the appeal of one style in favor of the other. In fact, I'm pretty sure Modern Sonic fans feel this is EXACTLY what's been happening: That what they like about the series is being disregarded in favor of the classic elements. The solution, like I said, isn't to hack down the branch that's healthy, because that's only going to make fans OF those elements feel that what THEY like is being disregarded. I think the best solution is to build both of them, let them both play to their strongest, most distinct, most beloved elements, let them grow and evolve and IMPROVE independently of other. Imagine if Sonic Forces had met and exceeded modern fans' expectations, the way Mania did for classic fans. At this point, making that distinction is the best shot Sega has at satisfying the widest audience.
  9. As someone who loves both types, I couldn't have said it any better, myself. Classic Sonic is thriving after Mania. The 3D series needs some work. But the way to fix it is NOT to cut down the branch that's healthy. If the last well-regarded 3D game wasn't more than nine years ago, if fans who lean more toward that style had their expectations met, then I doubt so many of them would see Mania's success or Classic's existence as a problem to be fixed, or as a detriment to getting what they want. Making good 3D Sonic games is the solution. If you cut down Classic Sonic too, you're only going to make the OTHER side of the fandom feel like they're being disregarded.
  10. I remain, as always, optimistic about the future of the series. I mean, god damn, if my fandom survived 2004-2006, it'll survive anything. I care way more about whether the concept is well-executed than what the concept actually is. So long as the gameplay is speedy, fun, and rewarding to replay a billion times, I'll be satisfied! That said, Josh's ideal 30th anniversary games would consist of: 1) A brand new 2D game, created by the same team behind Sonic Mania, with plenty of promos (and opening/ending scenes) by Tyson Hesse. Whether it's pixel art, hand-drawn 2D art (think Sonic Freedom), or I guess even 2.5D models, as long as it's designed to the same standard as Mania, it'll automatically be one of my favorite games ever. 2) That proper, complete, focused follow-up to Unleashed/Colors/Generations that we never got. Combine the best elements of those three games, take this opportunity to modernize the boost gameplay, use the Avatar as a proof of concept for another playable character or two (Tails? Knuckles? VECTOR?), give me a slate of distinct zones, and if you're going to have any sort of real story/character focus, get Ian Flynn. Neither game should feature any kind of throwback zones. I'm personally never gonna be tired of nostalgic levels. But I am tired of people whining about them, haha. And besides, the 20th anniversary was such a throwback, let's have the 30th set a new standard. So in lieu of looking back... 3) A 30th anniversary collection. I don't really want to say what it could include because who knows what the logistics are there, but if we could FINALLY get console versions of the Retro Engine remakes of Sonic 1 and 2, that'd be a nice start. I'd also be very happy with Unleashed/Colors/Generations being ported to current-gen, all enhanced and running at 60fps. However things shake out, I can't wait to see what Sonic Team's been planning!
  11. Very well said, and that's how I see it, too. Sonic as a brand was designed from the beginning to be adaptable to different regions, contexts, and forms of media. But as a brand that always targets kids, it's also inevitably going to evolve with the times. I think a lot of fans who get into this series when they're really young go through this awkward period where they suddenly look at a game like Heroes or Colors or Forces and realize, "Hey, wait, they made this one for KIDS!" and get really weirdly invested in the idea that it wasn't always this way. To answer the question in the OP, I don't feel that way at all now. But I sure as hell did back around 2005. I spent a few years after Heroes thinking that while I'd always love the classics, the series had "changed" forever, Sonic "wasn't Sonic" anymore, they were only interested in targeting "the kiddies" and not "real fans," and this new direction meant it was just never gonna be important to me again. Which is just hilarious, now, considering that I eventually came back as a bigger fan than ever, and discovered plenty to love about the games I'd missed out on. Which is not to say I expect everyone to eventually come around on Forces by any means. I still think Heroes is a dumpster fire. But I'm not emotionally invested in making sure that everyone ELSE sees it that way. There's more value in trying to appreciate what it was TRYING to do, and seeing it from the perspective of someone who loves it than in trying to tear it down and gatekeep fans who disagree, y'know? I think a deluge of fans are going through that same sort of "Sonic isn't Sonic anymore" reckoning in the wake of Forces, especially those who didn't feel like the previous games, especially Mania, catered to their tastes. That, combined with the absolute drought of info about the 30th anniversary, combined with all the chaos going on in the real world, is putting everyone on edge. But perspectives tend to mature, anger passes, and this too will pass.
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