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January 15, 2014 in Sonic Games
"Sonic should be all about speed!"
"I miss the Classic games..."
"My first experience with Sonic was SatAM."
"The comics are better than the games."
"I like the fan stuff, but don't pay much attention to SEGA Sonic"
"I never played Sonic before Black Knight"
This franchise has changed. Right back in 1991, SEGA Japan and SEGA America couldn't agree on how the series should be presented. From the get-go we had one group of fans that knew one thing, and another that knew something completely different. Two TV shows popped up in the West during the early days that differed not only in themselves, but also to the games. There were two entirely different comic series too, and Japan even launched an OVA that was again different to everything else.
Come the late 90s and things because somewhat more unified with the series' rebranding under Sonic Adventure, although Underground began air around the same time that Adventure was released. And of course Adventure in itself was very different to what Western fans knew while also ushering in new designs. The series maintained a mostly consistent image worldwide for a while from here though, that progressively tried to be more and more 'mature'. One of the comic series was still continuing it's own little thing through this, but otherwise things were pretty consistent. Some loved it, but other weren't happy with the series at this stage. It was seen a bloated, filled up with unlikeable characters and needless storylines. Gameplay too was criticised for being poor quality, and containing too little of what people actually enjoyed and wanted out of Sonic. Yet another TV show popped up during this time, Sonic X. It was similar enough to the games to create a bridge that it could create a bridge to the games and vice versa for the fans to enjoy, but still different enough that it would leave the less informed scratching their heads.
After the disaster that was Sonic '06, SEGA have again changed the franchise. Unleashed saw the start of this process, and Colours continued it. The series is now much more child friendly, with an American writing team and a general nature of just being approachable. If you picked up ShTH or Riders:ZG in the past, the plot points and characters could very well have knocked you for six if you didn't already know the series. That's all gone now. Sans the Archie comics which are still going strong, the series is very simple and understandable, perfect for attracting a new audience. There's not even any side titles. Sonic has an almost unified image for the first time in a long time... at least for the time being.
There's very little that cements what exactly the Sonic franchise is, beyond the spiky blue critter who has himself had a number of looks. So without focusing on what the gameplay should be, whether or not you want vocal themes, which design is best etc etc, I want to know where you all were first introduced to Sonic and moreover, what the franchise is in your eyes. Of course those things can be relevant, there's potentially more to this discussion.
Do you care about the games or the comics? Are you fan of the characters and the story, or just the raw meat of the gameplay? Have you ever played the Classic games, or did you give up after SA2? Does the series current standing bother you, or are you happy just to have Sonic? Is the official stuff even of any interest to you over what the fans create?
To me, it's always been the games. As a child, I never knew of the series' differences by region, or even the comics and cartoons. It was just Sonic fighting Robotnik, Tails joining in and Knuckles being the coolest thing ever. But even though that's what I knew first, what really sticks with me though is the Adventure series through to Heroes. That's what was going on by the time reach an age where I could better understand things, and as such is what has become engrained in my mind as the essence of Sonic.
It's the array of characters, deep stories and a world that balance realism with sci-fi and fantasy however SEGA pleased. Other mediums from the franchise, including newer games, just don't resonate with me in the same way. They're not Sonic, to me at least.
How about you? What is Sonic?
The Sonic franchise to me is usually what I look for when playing a Sonic game.
To me, it's a video game series about speedy platforming centered over getting to the goal ring, while also featuring a charming cast of characters, fantastic Triple A soundtracks that give other video game OST'S a run for their money, and a visually pleasing art style that leans toward cartoony, which fits a world filled with an Blue Hedgehog, Two Tailed Fox, Egg-Shaped Doctor... you should catch my drift. Sonic should be a series where I can unwind, relax, and play a somewhat simplistic-yet really enjoyable Adventure that holds enough substance where I never get tired of playing it.
Sonic is a franchise thats about Sonic. Sonic the character thats amazing and his friends that help him are his support.
I'm similar in that my point of view is entirely game-centric. I started with Sonic 1 on Genesis and played the rest of the classics sans Sonic CD at their general time of release. Even though I happily watched AoStH, saw bits of SatAM and got ahold of the Sonic OAV, and knew of the comic, even as a kid I realized there were too many distinctions between these media to be accurate adaptations of the games. They were spin-offs to me- like the Super Mario Bros. movie- so I didn't think of them as being particularly true to the games or even all that important. When Adventure rolled around and changed basically everything, I was young and impressionable enough to roll with all of it. It got me back into the games as well after the franchise disappeared off the map for a few years, so in a way I consider it the starting point of my current fandom. So I needs my high-stakes action-adventure/sci-fi stories, my different characters and intertwining viewpoints, and platforming that's made interesting through clever use of contextual level design. If I don't have those three things, I'm a Grumpy Cat.
I was introduced to Sonic when I saw Sonic 1 on the Master System being played in my older sister's friend's house waaayy back in April 1994. Me and my sister's got our own Master System later on in that same year. And the rest is history
But as for what the franchise is to me personally?
Something that is deeply interesting and fun and appealing to me on multiple tangents. But the games and the continuity they're set in has always been the subject of most interest for me. I'm first and foremost a gamer. I deeply enjoy the pretty unique aspects of the Sonic game series in that it's a slick and fast platfomer-focused series with aspects you simply can't find or are at least hard-pushed to find elsewhere. What only ramps-up the appeal is the consistently vibrant visuals and design, mostly highly endearing characters and of course the consistently excellent soundtracks. Though I concur with Blue Blood in that the series has taken more steps backwards than it has forwards over the past four or so years and certainly doesn't feel as if it quite holds the same appeal to me nowadays like it used to because it's become a shadow of what it used to be.
I make a hobby out of collecting Sonic merchandise that appeals to me but I'm not absolutely dead-set on buying absolutely everything I see just because it has Sonic's face on it and wouldn't pay through the nose for any piece of Sonic merch. You know, there's just something uniquely awesome about collecting this stuff and the fact that I buy only what appeals to me means that I value what I have quite a bit.
I like SatAM too...no, I love SatAM but I don't entirely feel that it's because it's "Sonic" as the series takes far too many massive liberties to truly be considered anything more than "Sonic in name only". Still, back when I was a kid and watching SatAM on TCC on cable, I watched it and fell in love with it because it featured Sonic rather than for being inherently "Sonicky". X is alright, AoStH is terrible and Underground is godawful and has a damn cheek called itself "Sonic" and I think quite a few people know the opinion I have of the Archie comics.
I'd say my first real right of passage was Sonic Adventure 2, yea I played Sonic 3 & Knuckles with my brother(And he stuck me with shitty Tails) on the PC, but SA2 was when I was hooked for life.
Sonic Adventure 2 just had everything my eight year old brain would love; an amazingly epic story, cool as hell characters, and moderately good gameplay. So naturally I stayed with it in hopes of getting that same feeling back...naturally with Heroes and Shadow, I did not. I did play the DX port of Adventure, and I had great enjoyment out of that. Between that and SA2, those were my primier Sonic games.
I discovered the comics some time after, but going through its history, it just didn't click with me the same way the games did. Comics felt too convuluted at that point. However, I took a look back in 2009 and lord and behold, most of the shit that turned me away was gone. I've been a fan for the most part ever since.
Sonic to me, has always felt like a typical action/shonen series. You got a band of friends who fight various threats and learn and grow with each other along the way. The characters, while not especially interesting, felt like they all contributed to a large whole and watching them interact was a treat for every game. Everyone had their own little subplot that tied together in a wonderful and amazing way. If its one thing I miss from the current games its that sense of adventure and thrill and watching the various characters interact and move the plot in some way.
Sonic is a franchise that I hold in a way that I can't say for any other franchise. I don't think I invested the same amount of time, energy, money, and dedication like I do with Sonic….and I can't aptly explain why...
I played Sonic 2 on my cousin's genesis, and even though I was super yong and don't remember much of the experience, a lot of it's assests just clicked with me instantly, the whole atmosphere of the game is only exclusive to Sonic 2 and I don't think it can be replicated, it's why it's my favorite Sonic game. But I didn't become a Sonic fan with Sonic 1, no no no I became a fan when I first played the Adventure Duology at my local Youth Center, getting so rapped up in the plots the characters the gameplay (despite how I feel about them now) it was just so engrossing to me at the kid because at the time I had never really played anything like it, I still have fond memories of going head to head with my old friends in SA2's multiplayer, shit was fun. I fully jumped onto the bandwagon when I got Sonic Heroes for my PS2 and I had a absolute blast with it (again, despite how shitty the PS2 version was looking back), ever since then I never looked back.
Im a fan of the comics and have been for 10 years now (as of this year), initially I only bought them because Sonic and some of the characters I knew from the game was in it and that was good enough for me, I couldn't process the horrible love plots and stupid stores all together until way latter. It's a good thing by the time I realized the quality of the Ken Penders era stuff the Comic was finally becoming something I could enjoy outside of JUST Sonic himself and from them on I became a regular reader ever since. I dabbled in other sides of the franchise but I think Satam and OVA were the only ones that clicked with me. I liked Sonic X for the same reasons I did Archie at first, but unlike Archie, Sonic X didn't improve and just got shittier until it died so yeah.
When it comes to the games, a lot of the things Sonic does is done better in other franchises, especially nowadays. Though I guess that's when it comes down preferring the things Sonic does do over other franchises like the art style, the great music, and hey, you don't have to be Mario Galaxy type level of quality to still be really fun, which is the mindset I usually have for the "comeback era" Sonic games. I guess what Sonic IS to me is a franchise which a load of facets that I can enjoy, a franchise with a colorful collective cast of cool characters, and a franchise with a hook that no other platformer can really deliver for me, that is to say high speed platform gameplay.
A franchise, like most others here, I completely loved as a kid. I played the titles more than other games which led to my passion for it never really going. Diminished a little yes, but it's still there waiting to be reignited. I still get that rush of excitement when a new title is announced.
Now the franchise is like the underdog I really want to support. I want Sonic to become bigger than before. I want him to have critically acclaimed titles that everyone enjoys. I don't want Sonic to be associated with mediocrity anymore. I'll likely be satisfied as a fan when that day comes... but I have no idea how long that is really going to take.
Sonic The Hedgehog is my absolutely favorite series in the entire world and means a lot to me.
To start off, I was young when I got into Sonic The Hedgehog through the releases of Sonic Adventure: DX, Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, and Sonic Mega Collection on Gamecube. While I didn't enjoy the classics all too much, I greatly enjoyed the 3D Sonic games I had. I obviously later started to give the classics more of a chance and enjoyed them too. My love for the series only grew more as I started to buy more and more of the games, watch some of the cartoons by owning a copy of them on DVD (I still own my copy of Sonic OVA/Movie!), and even getting a subscription to the comics. My love for Sonic did start to die down as I got older because of the fact I was getting more into anime and manga. I started buying Shonen Jump magazine every month out of Walmart, which is the reason why my mom never renewed my Sonic comic subscription. I started to lose a bit of interest in playing games as well, but it didn't help that I started to feel many of the Sonic games that I was playing after Adventure 2: Battle weren't as good. I still had enjoyment out of the games after, but none of them really gave me that great feeling I got out of the two adventure games.
Though, when 2010 hit with Sonic Colors, I was sucked right back into the Sonic series. It's a bit funny to say this, but my love for anime and manga were going down tremendously, so Sonic perfectly just swooped right in and took his place that he once held as the king. As you can see, Sonic was always just a special series to me, and it still is a special series for me now. I love the characters, I love the random locations, I love the stories Sonic and friends have been through in different continuities, I love the music, I just love pretty much everything about this series. As of now, I'm quite fine with how the Sonic series is. While I do miss the stories that were in the Adventure games, I'm actually quite fine with the current directions the game stories are now. I still find the gameplay for the games to be fun (Unleashed, Colors, Generations, and Lost World). I'm not really sure the type of gameplay in the games I like the most, since I mostly enjoy them all. I do, honestly, want the other characters in the series to be playable once more. I miss playing as them since they brought some enjoyment to the series for me back then, and I'm sure they would do now.
With the comics, I have a subscription for them again and I'm currently enjoying how the stories are. Back then, I know a lot of romance and drama use to be in the comics, and as a kid reading through it all, I actually did enjoy it. To some, it may be weird, but for me, I got to see a whole new take on Sonic and his friends, and even got to see a cast of new great characters! I know big changes have been happening in the comics (and probably for the best), but I'm quite fine with them, and quite positive that the future of the comics will stay bright as I continue to follow them to the end. I'm still glad that the core SatAM cast are still here (Sonic, Tails, Sally, Antoine, Bunny, Rotor, and Nicole). I'm also looking forward to the new world changes and new villains to come along!
As for the newest Sonic TV show revealed? I'm extremely looking forward to see what new type of direction a Sonic show will be like. I enjoyed all the Sonic shows that have been released, and I'm sure I'll enjoy Sonic Boom.
Now, with that all out the way... I know Sonic series has been through very good times, very bad times, and even very so-so times. Yet, I'm sticking with Sonic and his series right until the end. As weird (and obsessive) this might all seem for a fictional blue hedgehog series, I really just can't currently see the Sonic series not in my life doing something positive. It's like, if the Sonic series disappeared, I'm not sure what I would have for entertainment in life. Not to say that I currently don't follow other series, but none of the series I follow give me the strong burning desire to want me follow them until they end, or for them to last forever. Honestly, I'm not really sure the type of person I would be if I didn't become a fan of this series. There's just way too much stuff in this series that has affected me in a good way throughout life. I still remember in the Sonic Anniversary - Through the Ages video that SEGA uploaded, at the end it said "Still Unstoppable After 20 Years". That line has just kinda stuck with me ever since I seen it, since I still tend to say it to my friends, but just saying the newest year that Sonic has has been unstoppable for.
I guess I'm just probably a weirdo here, but yeah! I want Sonic to keep running for as long as he can!
My first game was Sonic 1, and while I played Sonic 2, I kind of fell out around Sonic 3/Knuckles. I would not return to the franchise until Sonic Adventure 2, and have remained a consistent fan since.
I love pretty much everything Sonic. I love the fancomics, I love the Archie and Fleetway strips, I follow the console games, I've watched most of the cartoons... overall Sonic is Sonic to me regardless of medium.
To me, Sonic is a hero with attitude and super speed, accompanied by some, many, or no friends as he does what heroes do. I love stories and background more than anything else, and I show appreciation for the darker stories of the Adventure era as well as the lighthearted stories of the new games. My only wish is that other people would be as ambivalent as I tend to be about things.
So really... the only Sonic thing I can't appreciate, in light of that love of speed, is Sonic Labyrinth.
What does the franchise mean to me? Well it means a lot of things to me. This franchise has attracted me like no other. I have went through other franchises like GTA, Pokemon and etc. But for some reason, I still have this passion for Sonic. My first Sonic game was Rivals 2 and it has expanded after that moment. I have played almost all of the classic Sonic games (except R and Saturn version of 3D Blast) and played most of the modern games (except Lost World and Unleashed HD for some reason). I liked most of the games I have played but there were a few I didn't like as much (Rivals 1, Drift series, Labyrinth, etc.) but I had my moments with the games. I have also recently been reading the Archie comics but I started when Ian Flynn wrote the stories (Thank god!) and it's pretty good, Flynn written the characters really well and since I have started the comics during the Worlds Collide arc, I did not felt as much disappointment as other readers have about the soft reboot but so far, this new universe looks really well. I have watched all of Sonic X (twice, I think!?) and it was alright, Chris can be a jerk sometimes but I'm mostly indifferent to him and overall, the show was decent. After knowing more about Sonic, I have began to take most of his personality. I'm a chill guy, a bit cocky, can get angry quickly, being upbeat most of the time and make a lot of stupid jokes. This franchise will always hold a special place in my heart and I'm curious to see where current direction is going for the games and I am also curious for Sonic Boom. I am quite surprised that Sonic is still around for this long especially after 06, most franchises would die after such terrible games but here we are with Sonic still kicking. I have always admired how determined Sonic Team is to keep the franchise going, there are quite a lot of possibilities Sonic can go and I've always liked it. I'm probably the minority that got tired of the Boost Era Sonic games, it does become rather redundant and I am grateful that Sonic has went for more for a platformer.Lost World may have a few issues but I can guess that it is a great game. Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the best franchises in the world, whether others think so or not.
Sonic's an interesting franchise to me. I started off playing Mega Collection and SA2 about ten years or so ago, took a massive break, came back to the franchise in about 2010 to about 2013, and now I don't much play it anymore. I associate myself with the games only; I used to watch Sonic X a couple years back, though. I enjoyed him in the Adventure series, I enjoyed him in the Classic games, I sort-of-kind of-not really enjoyed him in '03-'07, and I like most of his modern games. Sometimes I'll love Sonic 3 and Knuckles and play that a ton; sometimes I'll do the same with SA2; sometimes I'll do the same with Unleashed and Generations and SA1; and sometimes, I still don't know why, I'll start playing Sonic Heroes for a day or two. I remember a lot about Generations hype, and that was a pretty fun time with the online fanbase. I don't have a Wii U though, so I sort of fell off the Lost World hype train early on, but it's a game that I kind of want to learn more about some day.
Overall, Sonic defines a pretty central part of my experience with videogames, and regardless of how often I play them, I can't ever really deny its impact on me and videogames.
At this point? Frustration and disappointment, mostly.
While I've followed some of the comics and shows in the past, ultimately I consider the games to be the core of Sonic, so with rare exceptions I don't particularly care what's going on (or what has gone on) with Sonic in other media. I will say that I like the OVA as an alternate take on the series, though.
As far as which games, for me, the Genesis games and the Adventures are what have stuck to me the most. Part of this is nostalgia; they're the games I played in (what was for me) a simpler time, they're the games that first got me into Sonic and then got me back into it (since the only Sega console I've ever owned was the Genesis, for a while Sonic was only a distant interest until the Gamecube ports). Part of it is a simple matter of quality; the series went into a serious nosedive after SA2 on both the technical and design levels, and when it pulled up in one area, I didn't like what it did in the other. But I also feel like it was a time when the series was...a little more unified. That it still felt like someone's art, and not entirely a company's product. Of course, any game's going to be a mix of both, and maybe this is just rose colored glasses from me, but it really feels to me like the proportions were more towards art than they've ever been since.
For the gameplay, what draws me in...it's the freedom and fluidity of movement, I think. Back in the 2D era, Mario was king...but Mario was a game of sharp angles. For the most part, that is...it got slopes in 3, and it used them well enough, but in general, the floor was the floor, walls were walls, ceilings were ceilings. The world was primarily defined in increments of 90 degrees. Sonic broke that. Sonic had curves. Sonic had walls and ceilings that were also floors. The way Sonic moved through levels, it wasn't necessarily realistic, but it was more...organic. The speed was important, the platforming was important, but I think it's that rule-breaking, the freedom to reinterpret the world, that still draws me in. It's why I point to parts like the start of Emerald Coast's second half and Pyramid Cave's tunnels as "Sonicy", it's why I can't stand the boost games' boxy hallway design, it's why I had such high hopes for SLoW's parkour and tube-shaped levels. I want to feel that freedom again.
The story, I feel like I've gone back and forth on things a hundred times. Overall, I just want to be able to feel the characters. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it was my brain filling in the gaps, but it feels like there was a time when the characters were a lot more intense. Not as in yelling about shit, but...that they came through clearer, that their personalities were more vivid. Sonic was a character with attitude, a character that stood out and demanded to be noticed. But for a while he was just sort of...flat. There was a token attempt to seem "cool" (with varying success), but overall the character didn't impress himself on me anymore, he was just...there, running through levels, being a hero. The current writers have done pretty well in moving away from that, but he's still not there yet. And the other characters, likewise with turning flat, except for Eggman (who has pretty much always been entertaining), but without much attempt at redemption (save for Tails, who is in a similar boat as Sonic). At this point, I don't particularly care what the story is about, I just want to care about the characters in it.
My first impressions on Sonic were through Sonic 2 on the Genesis at my cousins' house back around 1997-98, which alone led me to ask for Sonic games for Christmases and birthdays, which in turn got me all of the Sega PC released games: Sonic CD, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic R and Sonic 3D Blast. A year or two later, I played Sonic Adventure at a friend's house on their Dreamcast and then got Adventure 2 on Gamecube not long past, later leading to me getting SADX and Mega Collection as well.
I've always focused on the game series, mostly because I never exactly saw the worth of viewing the comics and the cartoons and everything else on the same level as the games. Some things were nice (I loved AoSTH and the OVA, and I used to love Sonic X and the Archie comics), but they never really seemed all that relevant as much as they were just plain old entertainment compared to the real deal.
I guess I'm quite a bit cynical about Sonic now, because if I could give the Sonic series at this point an award for anything, it'd be for "The Most Lost Potential / Good Ideas Gone To Waste Award". And I know that sounds pretty rough to think that way, but.. well, I don't really know how to explain it... but I'll try.
For a long time, Sonic (at least the mainstream games) had this sort of.. strong consistency, and this sort of priceless charm to it. The games were about building up speed and spinning around in a ball, and had slopes and curves and loops and rings and springs and all these Sonic-specific objects and worlds that just made the series so unique. The art style was all poppy and colorful and stylish as all hell and the music was consistently SUPER boopin'. You were given neat stories and tidbits of background material about the characters and their world that made it feel like there was this mysterious, exciting quality to the world of Sonic, where every game was like a grand new adventure just waiting to unravel itself. And everything was so well-crafted (for the most part) that you could just feel the love and effort oozing out.
(Now some could always just throw my thoughts away with the "nostalgia goggles" argument but I've pretty much understood the difference between good and bad quality regardless of nostalgia I have towards something, so I don't believe nostalgia is clouding my judgement as much as the quality is why I have nostalgia in the first place.)
It's these things that made fall head over heels for the Sonic series, and I couldn't trade the feelings those games gave me for the world. Its just a shame I guess that most Sonic games since just haven't been the same.
When Heroes came in, it jumbled up the formula a lot as well as screwed with the style and integrity of the series, which became a thing that Sega started doing for every game even after the disasterpiece that was Sonic 06. New gameplay styles every time you took another step, forgetting the iconic things that made the series so loved to begin with, flanderized characters, either overconvolution or oversimplification of the stories and their backgrounds, so on so forth.
I don't really like how playing Sonic games now means that instead of straight up enjoying it all the way through, there's always gotta be those one or two (or more) WHOLE categories that falls hilariously short of "good". How come all these other franchises get to have consistently great, immersive games while the one I like the most suffers from flailing back and forth from the land of milk and honey to a mudhole (and anywhere inbetween)?
It's made me tiresome to the point of wanting to lead my own fangame project, since I don't even know if Sega is going to give me what I want out of a Sonic game ever again. And even then, the motivation to make and/or work on that comes and goes, leaving me just plain disappointed with my experiences. There's that one rare game every now and then, like Unleashed, that really reminds me of why I loved this series so much, but it seems like games like that are few and far inbetween, and/or maybe won't even happen ever again.
But somehow I stay hopeful. I'm always hoping for the next game to rekindle that magic that sweeps me speechless, and sometimes I let the hype get to me to the point of it souring my views on it later when it doesn't pull it off. Because of this, I feel like I have too picky of tastes or too high of expectations, but I guess I just don't understand how any other well known old-school gaming icon out there can know what made their original games good and continue to make games better than them, but Sonic can't.
So while I do have genuine hope and boatloads of passion for what I do like about this series, I'll remain pretty cynical until another game delivers on the same caliber as they once did for me.. which may or may not ever happen again. Kind of a weird feeling to have about what you consider your favorite series, innit?
I grew up with Sonic during the Genesis era starting with his first and second game, I've been with this franchise ever since, sticking around even during the Dark Ages of ShTH and Sonic 06 where any number of other fans would have quit.
Out of all the media and content Sonic has produce, I've been more game-centric. However, I've also grown up with the cartoons and the comics, seeing them as an entertaining yet proxies encompassing their own different universes that give a different spice than the games, and more often than not offering unique elements like an expanded, recurring rogue gallery that I believe the games can learn from. It may be predominantly the games for me, but if it has Sonic on it, I'm interested to see what it does with him and ready to judge from there; the comics have been the second strongest media of this series that has actually kept my interest.
Sonic's world and franchise had this massive flexibility where there was almost nothing it couldn't do, not just blending in sci-fi elements with fantasy, but also doing it on a rainbow of scales. And this gave Sonic's world a sense of uniqueness that drew me into it more than Mario, even when Sonic was hitting some massive lows. You could have a giant technophilic city with hoverboards in the same world as a small agricultural village or a regular city, all of which exist in the same world with bizzare landscapes like checkered hills and floating islands. And nevermind how it didn't shy away from showing that it could pull of some deep and heavy stuff with the Adventure titles. Granted, there were some elements that felt out of place at times, like Shadow's gunplay in ShTH or Sonic 06's attempt at realism, but even then I never felt these out of place elements couldn't be re-adapted so that they could fit into the series somehow such as what they did with the latter game's realism by making it photorealistic in Unleashed while maintaining some cartooniness in the style akin to PIXAR.
Sonic also has a cast of characters with their own strengths and weaknesses that, if they could use them decently, could fill in gaps that other characters lack, explore differing motivations, and create differing levels of conflict and tension between them, each with their own personalities that draw fans to them.
And then there's the gameplay which, although had some frustrating identity crises in some titles, had a kind of far reaching potential that just makes you put your mind out and imagine "what if they could do more?" You run fast, you dodge fast, but you see him doing all sorts of stunts and acrobatics that I wish we actually had more control in pulling off.
The biggest thing I felt in this series was intensity, whether it was in the gameplay, cutscenes, conflict, and the characters, all in one. But nowadays, I'm not feeling as much of it, which is a shame because even with this lukewarm feeling of action I'm getting, I can certainly see Sonic doing something more intense and enjoyable. Maybe not to where he can achieve that former glory, but maybe along the lines of delivering something even better.
But things feel too safe: the stuff that they consistently pull off in cutscenes, but very little of which we actually get a taste of in-game. You see Sonic bouncing everywhere moving with fluid and grace that a traceur could only dream of moving, and when we're handed the controls we're given something rather simple and not as acrobatic. The characters and cutscenes are being treated by the writers as if they're walking on eggshells not to annoy an audience, which isn't entirely without merit, or flanderized to annoying levels, but then you realize they could actually deliver some solid and entertaining performance to where they don't have to tread so lightly and deliver a pretty balance and entertaining performance. And the story is geared towards a younger audience, which is understandable, but then again it's not like they can't deliver for all ages like other franchises.
Yes, Sonic's definitely changed. Some for the best, others I can't really say. But even with the change not being to my specific tastes that I had from the past, it's not enough to detract me when I feel it has the potential to deliver something equally rewarding. That's not to say I don't have my doubts, as I don't think the series will do anything I'd like to see any time soon. I guess that's just curiousity I have in seeing how far this series will go before it fully turns me off; but I have a hard time seeing that happen when it failed to do that with ShTH and Sonic 06.
Sonic for me is also game-centric, while I find the comics/cartoons to be a nice addition.
It started with the first Master System game, where it was a nice platformer. Here I thought Sonic was one of those typical animal mascot. Afterwards at my cousin's house, he showed us his Genesis and Sonic 1 and 2: This is here that I truly discovered Sonic, with his sense of speed, flow and pinball stuff, and while I really liked it, it wasn't the game that made me love Sonic, aside for Super Sonic but I was a DBZ freak at the time so eh.
In 2003 just after I got my Gamecube with SSBM I looked for another game to not make me bored (Ha! Getting bored of SSBM!) with my brother. I had the choice between SA2 and Luigi's Mansion. Wanting to try Sonic 3D for the first time, my brother hold me on that, saying 3D Sonic sucked, so with that I took Luigi's Mansion instead (And I thank him for that: Playing the game on the PC in 2012 was a terrible experience.).
I got Sonic Mega Collection later that summer and found THE game that made me love the Hedgehog: Sonic 3 & Knuckles. So freaking good.
For some years until 2007 I didn't cared that much about Sonic, and I didn't even knew about S2006 even though it was this year that I begin to get on the Internet... and it was also in this year that I went into that originalcharacterdonutsteel phase that I want to forget.
As I said before I tried Sonic Adventure 2 on Steam in late 2012, and I hated it (aside from the core concept which was cool). Thankfully I got immediately afterwards Sonic Generations, and it was a can of fresh air after playing SA2 and was the game that brought me back to Sonic. It showed me that Sonic Team can make good stuff when they're willing to make effort. I'm still disappointed Adventure!Sonic's gameplay is not the norm, but that's just me.
And finally I use 5 words to describe Sonic gameplay: Platforming, Speed, Flow, Physics, and Set Pieces. You still can make a decent Sonic game without one of these elements (set pieces and physics are more likely to get canned).
I don't remember when this was, but my first experience with Sonic was probably playing Sonic 2 on a Mega Drive at a friend's house, and all I remember about it was that it was smooth and colourful and had free and easy platforming. Later I would get the PC version of Sonic CD, which left a really vivid atmospheric impression with its gleaming, mechanised wildlands and gloomy, industrial bad futures, and then the PC Sonic & Knuckles collection, which I had immense fun exploring the world of. I have this vague recollection of playing some of the Game Gear versions of the classics at one point, possibly on a hospital computer... I also remember seeing a few episodes of Sonic Underground now and then and not thinking much of it; trying too hard to be cool, and with some fairly ugly designs to go with it.
I guess you could say, therefore, that my strongest first impressions of a Sonic game were of the classics, and of what a Sonic game should look and feel like. I was effectively out of the fandom for a long time - or rather, not into it - because I didn't have the systems to play stuff like Sonic Adventure, so I would just vaguely hear about them from the sidelines and think they sounded rather odd. Not sure I'd have had much truck with them, to be honest - I think the switch in the Adventure duology to being a dialogue-heavy series with magical monsters and then to being all about humans humans humans didn't really have a great deal to do with what I actually liked about the series, but since I have no idea what they were like to actually play, it's hard to really say. The next games I played were the Advance games, which I quite enjoyed; it was fun having multiple characters to play around with, although the settings had a kind of artificial, almost knock-off look to them, which I think was chiefly a matter of art style, but then the Rush games came along and even with the boost then I think they understood a bit better the kind of look I enjoyed about Sonic levels - wild and unexplored. It didn't hurt that Blaze was a character I thought was pretty cool, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that she played a lot like Sonic and didn't have an irritating personality. And that slowly got me into the fandom and got me learning more about the games I've missed... and honestly, I don't regret having missed them, frankly. What I do regret is that the style of the games I liked is slowly vanishing. I'm aware that it's a cliché, but I don't think they really get 3D Sonic yet, whereas 2D is a bit harder to mess up (though not impossible, as we all know...).
What is the Sonic franchise to me? Kind of hard to answer, but to me it's about 2D, it's a little bit about exploration, it's about a sense of running through an untamed wilderness fighting giant robots and finding your way while your colourful characters try and figure out what's going on and defeat a slightly mysterious mechanical-themed enemy, with or without a certain amount of dialogue. But don't take my word for it - look at the one thing about the Sonic series they can't change: Sonic himself. I don't think the design change from classic to modern was all that huge, personally, because all of Sonic's essential qualities remained intact as far as I can see them. What is he. He's a bipedal anthropomorphic blue hedgehog with lanky legs, conspicuous running shoes, and a smile. In a series which is about this character and named after this character then there is a fairly limited set of appropriate scenarios and all of them involve running through colourful and cartoonish landscapes. Where the series starts to move away from that is where it's starting to fail to understand the source of its appeal.
Not incidentally, I think a lot of the errors of the series recently have to do with the freedom of the gameplay. Even with something like the parkour system, which theoretically frees up a lot of space for movement, then it's actually very, very scripted - and more than that, you're forced to do it! Having entered the series via some fairly exploration-heavy multiple-choice games, my take is that you should do something interesting because you want to, not because you're forced to. I can parkour on the walls or run down a corridor? Great! I can parkour on the walls or fall into a bottomless pit and die? No.
The first Sonic game I have vivid-ish memories of playing is Sonic 1 on the Dreamcast, but what really got me into the series was the Mega Collection the PS2. I guess because of this, to me, Sonic is a series of fast action platformers, which is accomplished by a dual effort between the gameplay and the level design. I've said multiple times how I couldn't care about the plot as long as the gameplay satisfies me. I don't like Lost World or SA1 for their respective plots; I like them because I like the gameplay/levels (sometimes, in the case of the former, depends on the character in the latter's case) Be it 2D or 3D, the main attraction in Sonic games to me has always been the gameplay. That third Wii-exclusive title could surprise us all with an amazing, grand plot with little to no plot holes and outstanding characterization, but if the gameplay and/or level design sucks, the game sucks. *coughSA2cough* That's how I see it.
Sonic started out to me in Sonic 2 on the Mega Drive, which me and my brother shared. The only time in our childhood we experienced other Sonic games was at a neighbours house when they owned Sonic & Knuckles and occasionally rented out Sonic 1. Tho' actually owning Sonic 2 I had more nostalgic memories of Sonic & Knuckles because it was very memorable what little I seen of it.
I had also seen the two DIC cartoons and boy it was weird having two cartoons on at the same time and boy were they also different? Actually prefered AoStH over the SatAM series because it felt lighter and fluffier, and there was more episodes (didn't even see the Season 2 episodes until the new millennium), also had lots of videos they released and I wish I kept them now. Particularly liked the video that combined the 4 Chaos Emerald episodes into one big compilation movie.
Also being in the UK my brother was a reader of Sonic the Comic. I read a few issues but didn't keep up as much as the sibling.
Sorta towards the end of the 1990s I just fell out of interest for Sonic which was why the AoStH videos had gone to charity shops and such, but in 2004 when I went with my brother to visit a mutual friend who happened to have a Gamecube, my brother owned a copy of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle which he could only play on his friends Gamecube (as he didn't have a Gamecube of his own at the time). I sat there watching him play through it over a couple of days, with many mishaps along the way. It was when I met Shadow, and by games end I started to grow attached to Shadow.
That pretty much re-ignited my interest in the Sonic franchse. My brother got me Sonic Heroes for Xbox, I played through it and had lots of fun save for the hectic moments of getting killed a lot. Became interested in Archie for the first time when I discovered a shop in my homeland that sold the comics, and of course Sonic X was on TV at the time and watched it religiously too. I stuck with the series almost beyond Sonic 2006, a game that I had fun with truth be told, but it became the first game since I rejoined the fandom I was unable to finish, because of the Silver episode final boss.
Then my interest sorta wained when I got access to the internet and the opinions of others sorta hurt my interest in the series. Did get Sonic Unleashed for Christmas in 2008 but didn't get very far at all because I wasn't enjoying it. Only piqued up recently with Sonic Generations, high enough that I bought the Collectors Edition for PS3, and stayed high that I went and attended Summer of Sonic 2012. Only thing I regretted about that event was I didn't do any socialising. I spoke to JayZeach for a minute but that was it. Hope to speak to you again properly dude.
And interest wained again. When I got a Wii U I really bought it for Mario but when I finally sorted out an internet signal problem I could download the demo for Sonic Lost World. Played it once, it was fun. That was enough for me to throw caution to the wind and bought it in Edinburgh when I went there for the Hogmanay. I only got a little way through it but I'm enjoying it so far. The frustration that I'm expecting, well that happens with every Sonic game so who cares?
Sonic franchise just comes and goes, sometimes for long periods, but I found out with Lost World that if you don't give it a go you might be missing out. I'm sure some people here enjoyed it for what it is.
If there's one thing I'm not ashamed to be a Sonic fan, as I regularly go out with a Sonic rucksack. I take it to work with me carrying a grown-up lunch and grown-up paperwork.
I consider all things that are officially Sonic the franchise, but the games being the heart and the TV shows, comics etc being seperate, but connected enteties
I don't adhere to a particular continuity, because even the ones I like disappoint me. Instead, I follow a mixture of the official canons.
My interest started with the games though. Specifically, it started with Sonic's inclusion in Brawl. I was looking at the figures I'd collected and reading their descriptions. When I got to the ones from Sonic's franchise, I was captivated by the colorful (both literally and as a metaphor) assortment of characters. I did more research, and even though it wasn't until 2010 that I actually played a Sonic game, I soon fell in love with the series. In fact, I was a bit of a purist until late 2012, when I realized that the games just weren't living up to my expectations.
As for what I think the series should be, that's hard to determine. I guess for me, Sonic's games are less about speed than they are about exploration and platforming. When I'm in a world as vibrant as Sonic's, I want to stop and get a closer look at everything. If I'm going to rush through the zones as fast as possible, it should be because I choose to, not because the game is forcing me to.
I would love to tell you a story how I absolutely hated Sonic and it took me a while to open up to him, I will make it short.
Sonic pulled me in with it's gameplay. First joining Sonic's adventures with Colors, I liked the 3D-2D concept, and I was like "Damn, this is way better than Sonic 06 (Which by the way, that was the time I TRIED TO GET INTO the series, but you know, the game was broken and just darn horrible)". So of course I started to like him. For me, any game is good if it's gameplay is good.
Sonic, in the past, to me, was always about the speed, the music, the colourful visuals and exhilaration.
Something about the franchise, caught my eye from when I was a wee little 3-year-old, and I've never really looked back. There isn't much I can say about that, cause its hard to remember anything from way back then. Needless to say it became somewhat of an obsession and look where I am now. I will say that its been mainly the games for me. Never got into any of the cartoons, and never cared much for the comics.
Nowadays, however, Sonic is much more abstract to me. The franchise is more about potential to me. There is so much here. So much can be done with the gameplay, the visuals, the sound and even the lore. Lets be honest, if expanded, the lore behind the Chaos Emeralds and Angle Island and stuff could easily rival any other fantasy epic. Of course it would require writing, talent and an agency from SEGA to pursue narrative and lore, that the franchise just doesn't have, right now.
But regardless, potential is the reason I'm still here. After years of terrible games and some mediocrity of late, I should have gone and never looked back. But I continue to follow this franchise, because its not near-perfect like a Mario or what-have-you. This is what makes it interesting to me. I always want things to get better.
Sonic is a part of me. Oh, that sounds weird...
LIFE STORY COMING THROUGH! CHOO! CHOO!
First a bit of back story. My mother was a gamer, and when I was born in '97 it only made sense to introduce me to the series. When I was 4 years of age she gave me her SEGA Genesis to play, I played alongside my sister as we tried very hard to make it through Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3. Mom never bought Sonic and Knuckles, but nonetheless me and my sister played the Genesis until it broke. We never did beat any of the games . My father left around this time, due to committing adultery. Without a male father figure to base my personality off of I used what I had: My school friends, Mom's male friends, a few cartoons, and Sonic the hedgehog. I know that sounds like a recipe for disaster but I swear I am a delicious concoction. Sonic was cool, and everyone wants to be cool like him, so I just sort of mocked the confidence and cockiness as seen on AOSTH and Adventure. My mother continued to buy me Sonic games as their price's steadily dropped, and this is when I was introduced to my three favorite games of the era: Sonic Mega Collection, Sonic Adventure DX, and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle.
That year I finally beat my first video game, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 as Super Sonic, as I child this was my crowning achievement. Soon after I played and beat Sonic Adventure despite being very lost in the hub far too many times. The Super Sonic v. Perfect Chaos fight pumped me more than any video game has to date, and Open You Heart planted seeds for my then forming musical tastes. Sonic Adventure 2 was probably the coolest game of the 3, and it's dark story really enticed me. Tails' fury at the supposed loss of his best friend, Sonic's unbreakable will, and Shadow's confused future all shaped up to be the coolest thing ever in the mind of an 8 year old. This was the first game to breed my gamer rage, Crazy Gadget sent me for a real loop, I couldn't wrap my mind around the gravity changing portion. I suck at depth perception (See: I'm bad at video games).
Eventually I got an Xbox 360 for Sonic '06 and I loved the Sonic/Shadow sections as well as the laughably easy game-breaking with Silver in CoOp. All good things must come to an end, and so my love for the blue guy which guided me my whole life started to fade upon playing UnWiished and Sonic and the Secret Rings. I pretended these games never happened and stayed with what I knew, clutching to the thing I had held so dear always. It is ironic, nowadays UnleasHD is my favorite Next-Gen Sonic title, the other ones just seemed less fleshed out.
Stuff I did because of my love for the series
Stuff the series did for me
Sure, there are more dedicated fans out there, but this series was something I can always fall back on. I love it and even when I've moved on from playing his games I will still remember the blue guy that shaped me, making me the man I am today.
Gameplay. To me, it will always be 2D Sonic games > 3D Sonic games.
Music is a second. The Sonic franchise has fantastic music in my opinion.
Characters are fine but then again I haven't played many of the character heavy Sonic games.
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