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Downward Spiral of Characterization and Plot

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The feeling of advancement in Sonic 1 has less to do with the aesthetics and planning thereof, and more to do with the heightening difficulty. A good difficulty makes for a great game no doubt, but I don't think it alone necessarily makes for a really interesting game-centric story. Subsequently, the feeling of accomplishment is more akin to "I played a good game" than "I had a good adventure." Sonic 3 on the other hand feels much better in that regard not only because there is at least context within the stage and act transitions as to how you arrive at each stage, but because a continually recurring minor antagonist/boss is responsible for some of the goings-on in the game, and I feel it really culminates in Adventure where there really isn't a single thing that's entirely out of place.

 

As for Mario, there's been a lack of innovation on both fronts which feels foreign considering his pedigree. Ever since the NSMB games, I've felt he's been going through the motions both aesthetically and mechanically, and it's a feeling that isn't supplanted by the mere quality of his games. Sure, the games are still good, but I expect more. Or perhaps I'm simply in the beginnings of outgrowing him.

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It's not only heightening difficulty. It's a whole set of details that change, from palette to predominant shape to use of your abilities to theme. Levels getting harder is one thing - you could have Green Hill getting forever harder, too. Instead, you have a slow descend from bright, linear, roundish and safe (not as in "easy", but in that threats are very easily distinguishable and falling blocks are a minority) Green Hill to dark, vertical, full of square shapes and tricky Scrap Brain. All of this affects difficulty - square shapes naturally stop your movement whereas slopes flow - but, more than that, there is a multifaceted sense of progression that does bring a feeling of adventure.

 

It's strange that I find Sonic 3 so much worse in this regard. To me, it's so much more of a level pack than Sonic 1. Something that Sonic & Knuckles proceeds to correct. Not only because of the small transitions in which you are almost always falling but in the progressive sensation that you're deeper and deeper underground, delivered through level design as well - Hidden Palace Act 2 once again has more squares than Act 1, which in turn is even more claustrophobic than Sandopolis Act 2 (yeah, no ghosts, but there's lava everywhere and the ceiling is always closer to you). And then Sky Sanctuary just BLOWS you up in a very, very positive way.

 

Shrugs. Don't think we'll ever agree on any bits of this matter.

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You're making false equivalences and putting comedy as being better than serious. There are differences to them on what makes them work. One could equally criticize comedy of being silly to the point of being embarrassing in the writing like that of the cartoons and the early comics, and there is a thing called being too juvenile and silly; another could praise a more serious work by tackling a subject with maturity and balance or shaking things up to a new level, like they did with Endgame and SA2. But the problem has less to do with one tone being less likely to bother audiences, and more within its execution - it's not in the tone of the plot, it is in the way it is handled. Granted, after the Adventures, the writers didn't seem to have a grip on how to make a serious tone work for Sonic, but that lead to a consequence of them fumbling it and people calling foul, but in the same instance they gave us Heroes and Generations which was more comedic than SA2 and people give it ire over SA2 for being really incoherent in Heroes case or lacking in Generations.

 

It's like I said earlier with having things go in extremes and no mix, hence the reason why, in the games, Lost Worlds is much better over the likes of say Heroes or Colors despite the three of them being light and comedic in mood. It's the same thing with serious plots, with the Adventures over the likes of ShTH and Sonic 06; in short, you can't give one tone more credit just for what it is. It has is strengths, it has its flaws, the point is to work with the strengths.

 

Heroes, for example, is much more juvenile and wacky than SA2, yet SA2 gets less ire for its story while Heroes is criticized by contrast. ShTH is more serious than SA2, yet again, SA2 comes out on top. Comedy meaning to be less serious doesn't always mean they can't be a bother, particularly if it is off putting or has bad timing. The thing comedy gets away with is because it doesn't require as much tact as serious plots.

 

But at the same time, there's a reason they get ire whether you're being serious or comedic. There's nothing wrong with having funny moments that lighten the mood, but at the same time there's nothing wrong with giving things more tension. People criticizing something like Lost World want more tension and serious atmosphere, which doesn't always mean Sonic should forgo having light and silly moments.

 

It's simply about care and tact, you just need to know where to apply them to get the results.

That's the thing however, the Sonic series has a really bad track record with plots, and it's only all the more glaring when they're actually trying to be complex and serious. I feel Lost World's plot issues would be ten times as glaring if they didn't play most of it tongue and cheek. 

 

When they can at least get to the point they can handle simple plots well perhaps they can try serious ones, but until then I fear we'd only end up with another pretentious mess like Next Gen.

 

Well Ian had to soft reboot the continuity, so he's given a lot more room to reconstruct her differently than she was before.

Ian has had a LOT of time and opportunities to try new directions with Sally. I dare say there have been perfect opportunities that he actually wasted, even when he's clearly trying. I just don't feel she is a character he's really got a grasp of and I don't feel that will suddenly change just because of the revamp.

 

 

But we've had these consistent character moments prior to Lost World, with hardly any breaks to them. Now the problem with that until Lost Worlds was because it was so stagnant, and we were waiting to see something new and intense, such as when it looked like Sonic was about to fight Tails in Colors only for it to cut at the last second.

 

No one is saying for Sonic to snap in every display of temper, but rather that they want to see what his tipping point is, an example being when Shadow ruined his reputation to the world in SA2 and actually piss him off.

But that's the thing. Because of the stagnant characterization we haven't seen much development of this side of Sonic much. Putting it on display enough times before a unique change in personality can make all the difference between a unique hidden depth and merely defying an Informed Attribute. Making Sonic snap after already showing several cases he has managed to keep a level head even when aggravated shows he is a usually collected character who merely has a breaking point. Making him snap without such establishment makes him seem more like a Stepford Smiler who quits playing it cool the moment he's not in control anymore.

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That's the thing however, the Sonic series has a really bad track record with plots, and it's only all the more glaring when they're actually trying to be complex and serious. I feel Lost World's plot issues would be ten times as glaring if they didn't play most of it tongue and cheek. When they can at least get to the point they can handle simple plots well perhaps they can try serious ones, but until then I fear we'd only end up with another pretentious mess like Next Gen.
It's just as glaring in the simple plots, just like the examples I gave with Colors and Heroes. It's practically one of the points that lead to this whole topic where you see people making their grievances even for games like Lost World, for all the strengths it had. So it's not a matter of complexity or simplicity either. Again, it is about extremes; too much and we get plots like ShTH and Sonic 06 trying too hard, too little and we get cases like Heroes and Colors not trying hard enough or Generations not even bothering.

Ian has had a LOT of time and opportunities to try new directions with Sally. I dare say there have been perfect opportunities that he actually wasted, even when he's clearly trying. I just don't feel she is a character he's really got a grasp of and I don't feel that will suddenly change just because of the revamp.
Suit yourself. I'm gonna wait and see where this new direction goes before I judge.

But that's the thing. Because of the stagnant characterization we haven't seen much development of this side of Sonic much. Putting it on display enough times before a unique change in personality can make all the difference between a unique hidden depth and merely defying an Informed Attribute. Making Sonic snap after already showing several cases he has managed to keep a level head even when aggravated shows he is a usually collected character who merely has a breaking point. Making him snap without such establishment makes him seem more like a Stepford Smiler who quits playing it cool the moment he's not in control anymore.
No, that was my point: because of this stagnation, we've already seen enough of this same characterization on display to where we could already have a moment that defies it in Sonic to show such depths. And once again, no one is saying he should do so several times. He's hardly snapped anywhere near that many times in the 20+ years this series has continued, and of the moments he has done so they were far few in between his default mood of being calm and wisecracking everything that get's thrown at him. So I there's hardly any implications of Sonic being a Stepford Smiler, especially when he's hardly had much distress put upon him to even hint at that.

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So I there's hardly any implications of Sonic being a Stepford Smiler, especially when he's hardly had much distress put upon him to even hint at that.

 

Exactly though, we haven't really seen Sonic's temperament challenged enough to know how he handles it by normality. We know he plays it cool when he knows he's just doing his normal run, but there haven't been a whole lot of chances stuff has piled onto him to really bring him down (at least not without some deus ex machina appearing to help him negate it all of a few seconds after).

 

I get what you mean, I'm mainly using Sonic's demeanor as an example here. This is mainly why I feel Sally is underdeveloped for example, they haven't really looked into all the possible facets of her default meticulous character yet, so when they just go straight up to making her turn 360 and act cocky and reckless whenever she is flawed, it feels more like her character lacks consistency (or even worse is just a chronic hypocrite). They should fully establish a personality and have moments that define it before having her go against it as a new twist.

 

Concerning the plots, I suppose so. I guess my opinion comes from the case I can stand the writers being bad comedians for a light story than being pretentious wannabes for a 'blockbuster epic'. Neither are good but the former at least doesn't have the additional pompous air to it. The more comedic Sonic games also have a tendency to at least be more loyal and open to the series' roots, rather than trying vehemently to hide it's cartoony nature and conform it to some anime or sci fi cliche that just doesn't fit (Sonic feels more like a tacked on addition to his own game within the Final Fantasy backdrop of Next Gen). As you say, both have the potential to be atrocious, but I feel the serious games have the worst track record.

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Exactly though, we haven't really seen Sonic's temperament challenged enough to know how he handles it by normality. We know he plays it cool when he knows he's just doing his normal run, but there haven't been a whole lot of chances stuff has piled onto him to really bring him down (at least not without some deus ex machina appearing to help him negate it all of a few seconds after).

 

I get what you mean, I'm mainly using Sonic's demeanor as an example here. This is mainly why I feel Sally is underdeveloped for example, they haven't really looked into all the possible facets of her default meticulous character yet, so when they just go straight up to making her turn 360 and act cocky and reckless whenever she is flawed, it feels more like her character lacks consistency (or even worse is just a chronic hypocrite). They should fully establish a personality and have moments that define it before having her go against it as a new twist.

I can't say they haven't fumbled with Sally's character numerous times, given how she wrapped things like the impending civil war between Tails' father and Sally's brother. But I'm seeing some consistency traits of her character: headstrong, rebellious, tactical. And they've made a big deal of her being self-sacrificing to the point that she willingly became a servant of Eggman just to avoid the world being blown into the stone age from Eggman's World Roboticizer when the Death Egg took flight, and it's not like they haven't made it a point to show moments when she gets outsmarted or outgunned by smarter or stronger foes. Provided we're talking about just Ian's run here.

 

But as of now, a lot of that is a moot point concerning the Genesis Wave changing things. Right now seems to be a different slate as she's more mission control compared to her previous self.

 

Concerning the plots, I suppose so. I guess my opinion comes from the case I can stand the writers being bad comedians for a light story than being pretentious wannabes for a 'blockbuster epic'. Neither are good but the former at least doesn't have the additional pompous air to it. The more comedic Sonic games also have a tendency to at least be more loyal and open to the series' roots, rather than trying vehemently to hide it's cartoony nature and conform it to some anime or sci fi cliche that just doesn't fit (Sonic feels more like a tacked on addition to his own game within the Final Fantasy backdrop of Next Gen). As you say, both have the potential to be atrocious, but I feel the serious games have the worst track record.

And that's mainly because the people writing the serious titles suck at them or the execution of its concept was poor, not only that but they play the tone straight instead of understanding there is room for a variety of other tones that can be put into the narratives.

 

But there's a lack of energy regardless of whether it is the serious or comedic plots, and a lot of forced moments that end up very uncanny to the narrative. I love humor, I like to laugh, but if a joke comes off as forced then it falls flat. Likewise, I love tension and high-stakes, and it can be done in a caroony series, but oftimes there's more to the problem of being serious than it is not fitting with the nature of the series. All in all, the narratives of all tones have been hit and miss, so I'm not giving one the better track record.

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I can't say they haven't fumbled with Sally's character numerous times, given how she wrapped things like the impending civil war between Tails' father and Sally's brother. But I'm seeing some consistency traits of her character: headstrong, rebellious, tactical. And they've made a big deal of her being self-sacrificing to the point that she willingly became a servant of Eggman just to avoid the world being blown into the stone age from Eggman's World Roboticizer when the Death Egg took flight, and it's not like they haven't made it a point to show moments when she gets outsmarted or outgunned by smarter or stronger foes. Provided we're talking about just Ian's run here.

 

But as of now, a lot of that is a moot point concerning the Genesis Wave changing things. Right now seems to be a different slate as she's more mission control compared to her previous self.

As said though even those points don't feel consistent. She flip flops between being insecure and 'by the book' and being rebellious or sometimes out and out cocky like Sonic without much emphasis on the change (in the earlier comedic stories she was at least kinda portrayed as being pompous and full of it at times, the later ones for all means imply she is perfectly lucid). Selfless, sacrificial traits are all well and good, but it would be easier to label the number of heroes that DON'T have those aspects to them. As said the flawed moments don't really define her, they feel contrived or plot enforced stupidity (she, if not anyone on the team, should have seen how things would have played out in the Iron Dominion arc, and no lampshading her blindness afterwards doesn't excuse it). She's a meticulous foil for Sonic when it's convenient to foil him, and then when they want a flawed moment she's...the exact opposite.

 

I feel it still stands because regardless of continuity changes it's still the same writer with the same character. He's going to try and keep some consistency with how he thought she should be before otherwise there is no point using the same character. Hell he already had a try using her in a different world in Genesis and she was the same if not blander.

 

 

And that's mainly because the people writing the serious titles suck at them or the execution of its concept was poor, not only that but they play the tone straight instead of understanding there is room for a variety of other tones that can be put into the narratives.

 

But there's a lack of energy regardless of whether it is the serious or comedic plots, and a lot of forced moments that end up very uncanny to the narrative. I love humor, I like to laugh, but if a joke comes off as forced then it falls flat. Likewise, I love tension and high-stakes, and it can be done in a caroony series, but oftimes there's more to the problem of being serious than it is not fitting with the nature of the series. All in all, the narratives of all tones have been hit and miss, so I'm not giving one the better track record.

 

 

 

I understand that, opinion wise however repeating what's happened before, I can stand lame comedics over 'up it's own ass' pretentiousness.

 

And quoting's really malfunctioning on me right now for some reason. :P

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As said though even those points don't feel consistent. She flip flops between being insecure and 'by the book' and being rebellious or sometimes out and out cocky like Sonic without much emphasis on the change (in the earlier comedic stories she was at least kinda portrayed as being pompous and full of it at times, the later ones for all means imply she is perfectly lucid). Selfless, sacrificial traits are all well and good, but it would be easier to label the number of heroes that DON'T have those aspects to them. 

I fail to see how the three traits I mentioned don't feel consistent considering how numerous they've been. She's always going up against someone, primarily either Sonic, her father, her government and she's predominantly the one directing the team's actions when she's around bar the time she got roboticized and became a problem after the first Genesis Wave.

 

The other parts may be inconsistent, but these are among the dominant ones she's had under Ian's direction, or in some cases before. If we're talking over the entire comic series, I'd give you that. But I don't see it otherwise.

 

 

 

 

As said the flawed moments don't really define her, they feel contrived or plot enforced stupidity (she, if not anyone on the team, should have seen how things would have played out in the Iron Dominion arc, and no lampshading her blindness afterwards doesn't excuse it).

Yes, it does actually. Because Sally, nor anyone but Sonic, Tails, and Khan had ever fought the Iron Queen in the past, and even then she was a minor sub-boss in the region they fought her in. You can't justify her knowing how it should have played out when she had no knowledge of her before, and by the time she got wind of her powers it was during the time the Iron Queen already started attacking them in person. And if we're also talking about the city, I'll say once again that no one was aware that even the nanites could be controlled at that level (especially when they were capable of resisting Mammoth Mogul's magic of all people until he got a Chaos Emerald), at least until Snively was forced into a dilemma to bring up the possiblity.

 

And even then, in Sonic and Tails' case it's not hard to assume they had forgotten about the Iron Queen until she came back 140 issues later, just like older readers might have forgotten as well (I know I did). It was a long time before she resurfaced, and a lot of things were going on during that time. The only person you could remotely pin this problem on is Khan, since he resided in the Dragon Kingdom with the Iron Queen long enough to know about her.

 

 

 

I feel it still stands because regardless of continuity changes it's still the same writer with the same character. He's going to try and keep some consistency with how he thought she should be before otherwise there is no point using the same character. Hell he already had a try using her in a different world in Genesis and she was the same if not blander.

It's the same writer with the same character, but with a warped background due to the continuity changes. Considering the continuity changes, it may have already made that previous character irrelevant in this new world and giving him room to try again. That's not saying things won't be different, but unlike the first Genesis wave during the Genesis arc, this new change is here to stay.

 

We've already seen a few bigger changes in the older characters, such as Antoine who's even less reluctant and more willing to jump into a fight than he was in the old world, and King Max who is a hell of a lot nicer. So I'm waiting to see how much more or less of the same Sally is in this new world.

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I haven't really thought Sally was that consistent a character since they stopped doing comical stories (her miniseries suffered from Designated Protagonist Syndrome), and even then most of her moronic moments were from her just turning into Sonic and becoming a reckless hothead. The problem is she is rebellious or hyper cautious when the plot befits and not often really in a manner that seems interchangeable. Sure it can be reasoned as a moment of weakness, but that's still not really a moment that defines her character, outside maybe that she is something of a hypocrite. There needs to be some sort of traits that merge them together and make them define her, otherwise she's just a character that completely changes her ethic when it fits the plot.

 

I could argue a lot of Sonic and Sally's flawed moments would actually have worked better if you switched the characters around (Sally has several moments of making cocky oversights or getting too playful while Sonic has sometimes shown himself to be an agitated control freak objecting to any changes in game plan). Such traits given to the right character could actually assist in punctuating and defining their ethics in a negative and positive way, but giving them more consistently to the completely opposite character tends to just make them look full of crap (maybe sparse moments it works for Not So Different depths, but done so often you start to feel they can't hold up to their own standards).

 

'Forgetting' seems like a rather cheap excuse, and even if they weren't sure of what the Iron Queen could do, it seems uncharacteristic of them to not attempt at least some background checks of what they're up against (at least something to establish they didn't know). Not to mention they still enabled her by letting Snively go free in the first place, and every single one of them should have known what he was capable of (given the last time they thought Robotnik was defeated forever). It just seemed like an extreme case of suicidal cockiness (again something Sally is usually supposed to be wise against).

 

Note that this error was treated with much more serious outcomes than the games. Villains actually SUCCEED in killing or harming people in this media and taking over or destroying realms. This is where trying to play things for effective drama can fail, Sonic can't just make amends like he did in Lost World, and can actually look rather unsympathetic for the damage he causes by treating the war like a game (especially since he is often warned repeatedly by others beforehand). How they also played them getting called out on such mistakes for drama didn't help, especially since Sonic and Sally often prove incredibly hostile to the criticism. (They try to play characters like Hamlin as effective depths to the comics, but he's such a blatant strawman to the ordeal, he's no more effective than say, Knuckles' Complainer Is Always Wrong moments in Sonic X). This is where I believe the pretentiousness of serious works can prove aggravating, they want to make their characters look more lucid and believable than the goofier ones, but they more or less have the same one note ignorance or Idiot Ball moments.

 

Sonic's recklessness was dumb in Lost World, as was the Deadly Six just leaving Tails to escape Bond villain style, but the plot and characters are supposed to be silly so it doesn't harm any sort of dignity it is trying to maintain.

 

That doesn't really encourage me the slightest. I get character development, but completely altering how a character works to make them harmless to the plot structure seems pointless to their existence. They seem to have made Rotor into a generic tough guy type for example, something he generally was the opposite of originally. What's the point of using a completely different rendition of the character, especially since there are plenty of similar characters we could use in their place? People like these characters for certain aspects, not that they're an interchangeable slate with a name.

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I haven't really thought Sally was that consistent a character since they stopped doing comical stories (her miniseries suffered from Designated Protagonist Syndrome), and even then most of her moronic moments were from her just turning into Sonic and becoming a reckless hothead. The problem is she is rebellious or hyper cautious when the plot befits and not often really in a manner that seems interchangeable. Sure it can be reasoned as a moment of weakness, but that's still not really a moment that defines her character, outside maybe that she is something of a hypocrite. There needs to be some sort of traits that merge them together and make them define her, otherwise she's just a character that completely changes her ethic when it fits the plot.

 

I could argue a lot of Sonic and Sally's flawed moments would actually have worked better if you switched the characters around (Sally has several moments of making cocky oversights or getting too playful while Sonic has sometimes shown himself to be an agitated control freak objecting to any changes in game plan). Such traits given to the right character could actually assist in punctuating and defining their ethics in a negative and positive way, but giving them more consistently to the completely opposite character tends to just make them look full of crap (maybe sparse moments it works for Not So Different depths, but done so often you start to feel they can't hold up to their own standards).

And a lot of those plots where she changes tend to be in different places. We've had this discussion before - you'll recall me saying that characters are not solely their personality, nor are they their abilities. Things like the events, the settings, situations, background/upbringing, and actions within also play a part in characterization. It's a chemical mix where different things lead to different results, with some being more similar or different depending on what they're thrown into.

 

For example, when she's in unknown or enemy territory, she's cautious and careful or in some cases desperate; she's not like Sonic, she knows she can't just burst through places since she lacks his abilities that would make one cocky like him, but she knows she has to do something for her part to help out or to escape a situation. When she's on her homefront, her attitude changes, because she knows her surroundings; when you have the home advantage you know things better than your enemy, which boosts confidence to varying degrees. And when that home advantage is rendered null and void, such as when Nicole was under control of the Iron Queen, that's when she becomes careful or desperate, because now she's in a vulnerable state that can really cause harm to both herself and other people she desires to protect.

 

Then there's her interactions with other characters, such as Fiona trying to tempt Tails again, showing she doesn't take betrayal lightly (really, who does?). Not really the first time this has happened, having felt emotionally betrayed by Sonic himself at times.

 

I get what your saying that there is some inconsistency with the characters, but you also need to realize that there are a myriad of things at play here than just the select few you're judging the whole things by. However, as I said before, we're in a new direction now. A lot of this is rendered moot thanks to the Genesis Wave changing things.

 

 

'Forgetting' seems like a rather cheap excuse, and even if they weren't sure of what the Iron Queen could do, it seems uncharacteristic of them to not attempt at least some background checks of what they're up against (at least something to establish they didn't know). Not to mention they still enabled her by letting Snively go free in the first place, and every single one of them should have known what he was capable of (given the last time they thought Robotnik was defeated forever). It just seemed like an extreme case of suicidal cockiness (again something Sally is usually supposed to be wise against).

Considering this is Sonic, someone who tends to leap before he looks, I doubt forgetting is a cheap excuse. Again, if there was to be any background checks, the person you should be directing that fault on should be Khan since he was around the Iron Queen long enough to know what she could do.

 

Now Snively? Granted, they should have known better. We already knew he was planning something like always, but even then there's considering the resources that he uses every time he makes a move. Before the Iron Queen came, he had a small group of Dark Legionaires that were on the defensive getting tossed around by an even smaller group of Freedom Fighters and Chaotix, an insane uncle to tend to (rather than a non-existent one not to worry about) and a capital city in total ruins due to the work of a demi-god screwing up most of the technology in the area. This put him a disadvantage that had him call in the Iron Queen to begin with, something no one bar Monkey Khan at the time saw coming until he thundershocked Mina's concert raging about it.

 

Note that this error was treated with much more serious outcomes than the games. Villains actually SUCCEED in killing or harming people in this media and taking over or destroying realms. This is where trying to play things for effective drama can fail, Sonic can't just make amends like he did in Lost World, and can actually look rather unsympathetic for the damage he causes by treating the war like a game (especially since he is often warned repeatedly by others beforehand). How they also played them getting called out on such mistakes for drama didn't help, especially since Sonic and Sally often prove incredibly hostile to the criticism. (They try to play characters like Hamlin as effective depths to the comics, but he's such a blatant strawman to the ordeal, he's no more effective than say, Knuckles' Complainer Is Always Wrong moments in Sonic X). This is where I believe the pretentiousness of serious works can prove aggravating, they want to make their characters look more lucid and believable than the goofier ones, but they more or less have the same one note ignorance or Idiot Ball moments.

I could have sworn they intended Hamlin as the Complainer is Always Wrong from the get go considering how much of a jerkass he is on the council.

 

None the less, being hostile to criticism isn't anything new, particularly when a character believes they're right. We see it in not just Sonic and Sally, but every other character in similar circumstances, such as Tails, Antoine, Geoffery, Khan, Knuckles, and so forth. But I fail to see how this connection, when the going really gets tough, ruins the drama - it looks more like it's adding onto it instead.

 

And when things really hit Sonic where it hurts, he's not always joking around. Most of the time when he treats things like a game, he's usually the one who has the advantage, or is at least on the offense and winning. It's the kind of confidence boost and cockiness we've known him to have when the ball is in his court. But when that advantage is taken from him, we see that he's not treating it as a game as much, such as Eggman annihilating Knothole, Antoine in a coma (where he completely wrecks his wall to show Silver his condition when the latter accuses him as a traitor), or in cases where his friends are in danger such as when Mammoth Mogul held Tails, Mina, and Mighty hostage and was forced to give him a Chaos Emerald or lose them. Or even Endgame, when Sonic was accused of killing Sally and was treated like a criminal for doing so.

 

These are moments among many when the situation is played straight and Sonic isn't joking and playing around anymore.

 

 

 

 

Sonic's recklessness was dumb in Lost World, as was the Deadly Six just leaving Tails to escape Bond villain style, but the plot and characters are supposed to be silly so it doesn't harm any sort of dignity it is trying to maintain.

Yeah, it does. One could say it completely neuters the tension that was building.

 

Silliness does not mean harmless. You'd think we'd learn not to judge things by a cover like that.

 

 

 

 

That doesn't really encourage me the slightest. I get character development, but completely altering how a character works to make them harmless to the plot structure seems pointless to their existence. They seem to have made Rotor into a generic tough guy type for example, something he generally was the opposite of originally. What's the point of using a completely different rendition of the character, especially since there are plenty of similar characters we could use in their place? People like these characters for certain aspects, not that they're an interchangeable slate with a name.

You say that like everyone hates these characters for how they are now. Did you forget that this is post-Genesis Wave? Where everything is mostly different now, up to and including the characters? The point in changing them was because of the legal mess that forced them to change everything connected into a new direction, because the stuff they took out and the plot that they left dangle couldn't be finished. So considering the wide gap they made, and the plans that would have continued up to issue 300, they had to restart things and redefine things for this new world and the characters. While not everyone likes these changes, it has less to do with the characters and more to do with outside circumstances.

 

And do I need to point out how your overgeneralizing again? Yes, Rotor is a tough guy, but he's still a mechanic and he's not as strong as the likes of Bunnie or even Big who freaking tossed a giant Silver Sonic into the air like it wasn't a huge inconvenience. But as I already said, characters are not just their personalities, and the converse is true that characters are not their abilities. Rotor may be more confident than before, but he's still friendly towards people he cares about, and seems to be regaining some of his easy going nature thanks to regaining his memories of the old world. People like the characters for certain aspects, but not everyone is opposed to having these aspects grown out of; in this case people had to deal with it because there are reasons outside the comics that led to it in the first place.

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I'm honestly glad for the change. Sonic isn't meant to be a deep character. That's the edge Mario has had over him over the last decade. Fun and simple. Sonic games are meant to be thrill rides. That's all they ever were before the Adventure era.

However, they can't seem to find a happy medium.

First of all, the writers need to get a grip. They have little to no sense of humor and they've dumbed down Sonic too much for my tastes.

HOWEVER. I think that Tails has really become a full character for once. He thinks, he laughs, he has quirks and can even be offended. Also, Sonic and Tails FINALLY have a brotherhood that they never had before. Look at any other game and tell me what Tail's personality is. He just... Is. The only moment of emotion up until colors was when sonic died in SA2.

Now, I agree with you guys about the writing issues in the latest games. But don't let all this negitivity get in the way of the good steps the series has taken.

-Sonic has fun. Especially while running around levels.

-Eggman has the ability to switch from bumbling fool to homicidal maniac on the fly.

-tails is an actual living thing who is actually useful.

-sonic and tails are friends who pick on each other.

I wouldn't say that they are boring voids. Not at all. They have fun.

No one had fun in Sonic 06. No one had fun in the Storybook series (mountain of handkerchiefs...?) Noone had any depth in the rush series or dark brotherhood.

Both Sonic Team and we, the fans, have trouble adjusting to change. But its happening. And it needs to happen. Were not there yet. (Lost world was proof of that) But were getting close.

So instead of complaining about how something compares to your nostalgia, enjoy the thrill ride, be excites to see what's around the bend, and just try to have fun! Please.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Wow, I took so long to write my thoughts that nine pages of what I wanted to say filled up before I pressed submit...

Maybe I'm sot so clever after all...

Anyway. I'm glad to see that most fans get it.

This series is FAR from perfect. But it certainly is on its way to bring fun.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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You seem to be making a lot of wide-sweeping statements without clarifying the validity of any of them, and on top of that have dismissed any complaints about the current direction as "nostalgia" regardless of how substantiated they may be. What do you consider a "deep character," and why do you claim the attempts at attaining such to be the only thing separating him from Mario's success?

 

And frankly, what is the benefit to being excited for only the promise of watered-down storytelling, especially when it's becoming more and more tempting to just jump ship to the Boom universe where they're taking more advantage of the characterization and lore? Really, what do I get for feigning being interested in Sonic games trying to be Mario games?

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Sonic trying to be like Mario in terms of atmosphere and comedy-style can work if handled right, but in general I prefer the more 'cooler and rad' style that Sonic has had since the old days since that defined him much more. Characterization in the Sonic games is usually pretty on and off depending on wether they go for a light-hearted or serious direction, but I'm just fine with Lost World's writing as it was without characters resorting back to needless swearing and trying to be faux-badasses just for the sake of trying to appeal to a more 'core' audience.

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Sure; Sonic games emulating Mario games can work right under some given circumstances. But since the whole point and appeal of the series stems from the fact that it is antithetical to Mario in most respects, as well as the fact that only Nintendo EAD can develop the best Mario game anyway, this particular direction just isn't ideal at all. And eschewing it doesn't mean that the default people want is ShtH's style either, a style that was unique onto that game itself and thus barely indicative of any lasting norms.

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Keep in mind, Mario games can be incredibly dark and have some surprisingly-complex characterization, particularly the RPGs. It's a bit misleading to say that minimalist storytelling is "making Sonic like Mario," a series that - at its heaviest - has tugged on my heartstrings in ways the Sonic series hasn't even come close to doing.

 

Spoiler for 7-year old game!

 

Here's Bowser, Mario's lifelong nemesis, willing to sacrifice his own life to protect Peach (and by extension, Mario and Luigi). Sure, the scene is full of jokes about Bowser's own ego and arrogance, but that only adds to the weight of the scene. They aren't contorting these characters into something else for the sake of making the plot darker; These are the same lighthearted, lovable characters as always - they've just been placed in a darker situation and have to react accordingly.

 

Even though he survives in the end, stuff like this does a good job of using the classic characters in a suspenseful, engaging, and emotionally-investing way. It reminds us that Bowser isn't just a villain, or just a humorous foil for Mario, but also a person with surprising depth. And for a series that's known for minimal characterization, I think that's something.

 

Of course, the RPGs in general (sans Sticker Star) are just full of stuff like this.

 

Getting back to Sonic, I think what I'd like to see more than anything is darkness or heaviness that doesn't feel forced. Let these characters be themselves - their lovable, well-rounded, endearing selves - and deal with darker, more complex situations with the full extent of their bombastic personalities, not at the expense of them (Shadow and 2K6, I'm glaring at you).

 

In that way, Sonic "being like Mario" would be a very good thing. Say what you will about it usually being simplistic or lighthearted, but whenever it does do dark, it does it very competently and very well, while never compromising who its characters are for the sake of affecting the tone.

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Getting back to Sonic, I think what I'd like to see more than anything is darkness or heaviness that doesn't feel forced. Let these characters be themselves - their lovable, well-rounded, endearing selves - and deal with darker, more complex situations with the full extent of their bombastic personalities, not at the expense of them (Shadow and 2K6, I'm glaring at you).

 

In that way, Sonic "being like Mario" would be a very good thing. Say what you will about it usually being simplistic or lighthearted, but whenever it does do dark, it does it very competently and very well, while never compromising who its characters are for the sake of affecting the tone.

This I can admittedly support, in fact I'd actually see more depth in them actually trying to make poignancy out of the characters' usual antics than trying to convert them to 'mature' cliches or add tons of new ones to emulate them (Sonic and Eggman seemed pretty much the two characters least compatible with the plot of Next Gen, likely why they were made so superficial to it). Heavy plots aren't always a case of Shoo Out The Clowns. Granted there are times the mix still has to balanced carefully but it can be done. Lost World was whimsical and tongue in cheek but it still played into some more serious issues with the cast and their facets, some of which have been there from the start (eg. Sonic's spontaneous, and potentially reckless attitude, and actually seeing it lead to everything tumble down on him).

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Just like we've had a lot of people misinterpreting plot for cutscenes, like me, I have a real hard time figuring out why other people think gameplay is just a reference term for the rules of play and the code related to it.

 

Gameplay is not related solely to a game's internal system. It's the very experience of the game, the meaningful ludic interaction with an environment - which doesn't even necessarily need a controller. Simply wishing something would happen is meaningful, like we see in Poker when you need that King to complete your Full House. You're not controlling it, but you are experiencing it.

 

So I find this statement simply abject:

 

Meaningful narrative, memorable characters, and interesting environments are not in any way mutually exclusive to gameplay.

 

 

They aren't mutually exclusive because one is the other. You can't have meaningful narrative if not regarding gameplay. You can't have memorable characters if they are not memorable through gameplay (even if you are not playing as them). You can't have interesting environments if you don't have a meaningful interaction with it. That is because gameplay isn't to games what cinematography is to movies - gameplay is the montage, the editing, the process of organization of the material, that which lies within. There are classics that have no dramatic narrative whatsoever, but which do have their inherent cinematic narrative through editing and, thus, do tell complex stories and complex ideas. Documentaries often do that. So do games with gameplay.

 

@@@ Warning: MGS spoilers ahead @@@

 

So Metal Gear Solid 2, because MGS is indeed the reference around these parts (and around other ones too). Why is it such a wonderful post-modern social commentary? Because you are despised as a player. The game laughs at you, at your wishing you could play as Snake again, at your dislike of that which you are, yourself, incarnating. Everything stems from that - from gameplay. The Boss on MGS3 - why is she such a memorable character and her death such a memorable scene? It's not only due to the mechanics of the fight itself, nor is it only because of the dramatic progression and development of her character. To me, the most important is that it's not even that you don't want Snake to kill her - you don't want yourself to kill her. Gameplay made it meaningful. In fact, gameplay made it all.

 

@@@ End of spoilers @@@

 

Gameplay is not "primary and everything else is optional". Gameplay is all there is, like editing is present in each and every possible movie - even in a movie without cuts, editing is present in its length. What I simply can't understand is this strange notion that dramatic storytelling is the only possible storytelling and instantly overrides any intrinsic characteristic of the medium. Look, by claiming gameplay has its inherent narrative, I don't mean to say we shouldn't tell stories by drama. You could use the same premise to say every game should have the best possible developed sequence of events carried out by the last or at least seemingly so. The lack of meaningful things to interact with results in lack of meaningful interaction, which we often call poor gameplay.

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This I can admittedly support, in fact I'd actually see more depth in them actually trying to make poignancy out of the characters' usual antics than trying to convert them to 'mature' cliches or add tons of new ones to emulate them (Sonic and Eggman seemed pretty much the two characters least compatible with the plot of Next Gen, likely why they were made so superficial to it). Heavy plots aren't always a case of Shoo Out The Clowns. Granted there are times the mix still has to balanced carefully but it can be done. Lost World was whimsical and tongue in cheek but it still played into some more serious issues with the cast and their facets, some of which have been there from the start (eg. Sonic's spontaneous, and potentially reckless attitude, and actually seeing it lead to everything tumble down on him).

 

...seriously?

 

What Mechano said in his own words was no different to what I've been saying the whole time in this topic and others regarding dark and heavy plots (or even lighter and comedic ones) - don't go in extremes and betray the series. Not saying that people didn't agree with me here, but how the hell do I get met with resistance in a different topic, only for someone to make the same points in another topic and get support from those who resisted it?

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As far as I can tell, and as history has shown us, no one hates Sonic more than his fans.

Earlier, I didn't mean to sound pretentious, I just like seeing Sonic go in a new direction. And that the only thing Sonic is really about is having a fun thrill ride. They need to write a story that makes us get involved and excited, but also relaxed and fun. And the Eggman formula provides that. No, things are not good right now. Characters are flat. But they're having fun. Eggmans plans don't involve ancient gods and jrpg drama. Its not well written. But its working and its fun. You want drama in your Sonic universe. Go write a f*cking fan fiction.

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As far as I can tell, and as history has shown us, no one hates Sonic more than his fans.

Earlier, I didn't mean to sound pretentious, I just like seeing Sonic go in a new direction. And that the only thing Sonic is really about is having a fun thrill ride. They need to write a story that makes us get involved and excited, but also relaxed and fun. And the Eggman formula provides that. No, things are not good right now. Characters are flat. But they're having fun. Eggmans plans don't involve ancient gods and jrpg drama. Its not well written. But its working and its fun. You want drama in your Sonic universe. Go write a f*cking fan fiction.

 

Well excuse me for wanting a decent plot for a Sonic game.

 

And a bit hypocritical much?

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...seriously?

 

What Mechano said in his own words was no different to what I've been saying the whole time in this topic and others regarding dark and heavy plots (or even lighter and comedic ones) - don't go in extremes and betray the series. Not saying that people didn't agree with me here, but how the hell do I get met with resistance in a different topic, only for someone to make the same points in another topic and get support from those who resisted it?

My apologies if I have become a contrarian, it may just be down to the fact that, despite the debating I just don't find the examples used for such a case to be that well implemented (Archie and SA2 I feel still try too hard to put very alien stuff into Sonic for the sake of grandiose drama, and also attempt to dilute the whimsy a bit too much or alter the cast into different more serious archetypes (or demote them to comic relief) than exploit what's already there). It may also due to the choice of wording such as 'dark' that people constantly use for an ideal heavy plotline. I think the more I look at my own arguments the more I feel I can't really pinpoint what I want.

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Regarding plotlineplus's post, I don't think "Eggman being the main villain" automatically means "less serious," nor do I believe that Eggman's humorous nature has to be downplayed or ignored in order for an Eggman-centric plot to feel emotionally-investing. Humorous villains can be all kinds of dangerous (Joker comes to mind). 

 

Really, Eggman himself wouldn't need to be changed at all. It's how the heroes react to him that determines how seriously he's taken by the narrative. Let Eggman continue being his goofy-but-deadly self, and have the heroes actually acknowledge him as a threat instead of just brushing him off. Eggman's already succeeding at being the main antagonist and being a competent foe (Colors, Generations, Lost World); Yet Sonic still doesn't react to him with the same gravity and seriousness that he would for a monster-of-the-week antagonist.

 

In short: I think the reason some of you have a harder time taking Eggman-as-final-boss plots seriously isn't because Eggman himself is inherently less threatening than some ancient being of evil, but because Sonic regards him as less of a threat - whether he objectively is one or not. It's not what Eggman does, it's how his actions are framed by the narrative. Granted, I can see past that and appreciate an awesome scheme for what it is, but I get why the heroes taking him less seriously than other foes can be... distracting, to say the least.

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