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"Sonic Dissected" Dissected: (LEGO) Sonic Dimensions As You Truly Imagined It

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Okay, this in bold. I'm speaking solely of the plot. The story. I'm not talking about the entire game as a package.

You fundamentally cannnot discuss the story while completely discounting the levels. Even in the Sonic series, which rarely makes much effort to tell the story through its levels, you cannot ignore the existence of the levels when talking about the story.

Look, simple example: Bosses. Most bosses aren't defeated in cutscenes. If you stick purely to cutscenes, if you refuse to acknowledge the role (even if small) that gameplay plays in the story, you'd come to the conclusion that most bosses self-destruct or vanish, because you never see Sonic fight them. But that's obviously nonsense, we know Sonic fights and defeats the bosses, because we play that part.

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You fundamentally cannnot discuss the story while completely discounting the levels.

 

You believe that the levels are absolutely needed in order to understand the story, but I don't since I have the ability to understand stories perfectly fine without having them in context with the levels. These are our opinions, so let's agree to disagree. I don't want to keep talking about this.

Let's get back to the Dissected Videos. How about we start with Episode 1?

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I did the first episode though at the beginning of this topic, so what difference is it going to make?

If Episode 1 is fully discussed, then how about Episode 2? If everyone's tired and ready to move on, then request a lock.

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Okay, I understand that. Personal preference isn't that big a deal.

 

The thing is, if the elevator scene happened at the start instead of the flashback...what would that change? Would anything about the game be significantly different because of that? Not really. The story would literally be exactly the same but with one insignificant change in when one event was established.

It would change multiple things. It would answer the questions "what is this place?", "Why am I here?", and "What am I here for?". Choosing when to show specific scenes does have a bearing on the story at hand, and can alter the story, even if just a little bit.

 

I'm pretty sure people had this problem with Lost World, as well, asking "Why on mobius am I running through a floating cotton-candy and doughnut sky?" Most of us are used to arcade gaming, so we try make do with what we already know and read between the lines of what the level shows us, but that doesn't make the rules of storytelling any different. If you give a reason to go through the level, establish why you are there, and what the world is, the story will tie into the level a lot better than if you don't.

 

Establishing it after the level doesn't make it any better, either. The argument "It would be better to just get to the game first" is not such a great excuse, as by that logic, the whole story should be told after the game, as it would get in the way of your fun. But, as you would expect, people would still be saying "WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?!" throughout the entire game, confusing them or just making them not care whatsoever. Showing the story at the end of the game does just as much good to the plot as reading the manual after beating the Legend of Zelda.

 

The only exception to this rule is if you want the audiance to see it as a mystery, or leave them in the dark about certain details in order to bring out certain emotional points that would be null if you knew what was actually happening or what was going to happen. Take Eggman's fall, for example. If the scene had shown him activating the jet pack at the time, you wouldn't really feel sorry for Sonic, as from your point of view, he'd just be having the wool pulled over his eyes. On the other hand, you have an example of what not to do with things like Rototron's arm and Tails' toothpick escapade. These plot points are shown before the big reveal, and as Roger said in one of his videos, kill any suspense or sense of mystery that might have been going for them otherwise, telling you "Everything is going to be A-Okay!"

 

So yeah. If you want to establish these facts in order to draw the player in, show the cutscene before the level. If you want to keep specific details from the player so as to draw out only one emotion or build up a mystery, show that part of the cutscene afterwards, or have the characters deduct or explain the situation afterwards. This is why the chronology of the cutscenes is important, and why, while the elevator cutscene isn't that great of an example, stories are made in the first place.

 

Alternatively, both sides could stop painting each other as Evil Jerks over Sonic the Hedgehog opinions.

Do you really see that happening?

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Establishing it after the level doesn't make it any better, either. The argument "It would be better to just get to the game first" is not such a great excuse, as by that logic, the whole story should be told after the game, as it would get in the way of your fun.

Only if you think that starting with a cutscene means the whole story should be told before the first level.

Seriously dude that is a nonsense argument.

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Comparing the elevator flashback with the donut level makes no sense. There is no in-game nor story-based context for that level's existence; Sonic Team put it in there because they could. However, the elevator flashback serves a function that's three-fold: to explain how Sonic and Tails got there, to foreshadow the ending, and to tell more jokes. It, in and of itself, is the context necessary for the former two story points to make sense. Moving it around doesn't actually change the story's structure either, because by keeping it as either a flashback or by showing it in chronological order, you're still answering the same question: "How did Sonic and Tails arrive in the park?"

 

Subsequently, there is also no real hard and fast rule about how mystery or explanation function in gaming solely on the basis of cutscene order, especially since the elevator flashback doesn't serve to conceal mystery so much as it does to function within a storyline wherein the gameplay takes significantly more prominence. It works perfectly fine where it is and nothing much would indeed change if you put it in chronological order. I consider myself somewhat of a story mechanics buff and even this tangent seems like nitpicking.

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Only if you think that starting with a cutscene means the whole story should be told before the first level.

Seriously dude that is a nonsense argument.

??? If you don't care what events set up the first level, and would rather play through it than be given a story-wise reason to run through it, wouldn't that apply to all levels then? I'm not really understanding you here.

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If Episode 1 is fully discussed, then how about Episode 2? If everyone's tired and ready to move on, then request a lock.

 

I have done all the episodes until the episode with the "flaws" of Adventure 2.

 

I stopped posting videos thinking people stopped giving a damn about this topic until Roger the newest episode.

 

 

It doesn't look like everyone's done with this topic so no thanks.

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??? If you don't care what events set up the first level, and would rather play through it than be given a story-wise reason to run through it, wouldn't that apply to all levels then? I'm not really understanding you here.

There doesn't always need to be a "Story" explained reason to run through the 1st the level...the 1st level can have as many reasons as possible to be the "1st level," but those reasons don't always need to be setup by the story. The event that sets up the 1st level doesn't always matter, the event that sets up the overall story does matter, but another thing that doesn't always matter is where "that" event is placed at by the way the story is written.

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??? If you don't care what events set up the first level, and would rather play through it than be given a story-wise reason to run through it, wouldn't that apply to all levels then? I'm not really understanding you here.

It's not that I don't care what events have occurred, but that I don't necessarily need to know them before playing the first level. Have you ever heard the phrase, in medias res? Start in the middle, start with the action, draw the audience in with it, and then go back and explain how you got there. Considering I buy games primarily for the playing and secondarily for the story, you're going to engage me a lot better by allowing me to play than by dumping information on me.

The idea that this logically leads to pushing the entire story after all of the gameplay is a total nonsequitur.

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Comparing the elevator flashback with the donut level makes no sense. There is no in-game nor story-based context for that level's existence; Sonic Team put it in there because they could. However, the elevator flashback serves a function that's three-fold: to explain how Sonic and Tails got there, to foreshadow the ending, and to tell more jokes. It, in and of itself, is the context necessary for the former two story points to make sense. Moving it around doesn't actually change the story's structure either, because by keeping it as either a flashback or by showing it in chronological order, you're still answering the same question: "How did Sonic and Tails arrive in the park?"

 

Subsequently, there is also no real hard and fast rule about how mystery or explanation function in gaming solely on the basis of cutscene order, especially since the elevator flashback doesn't serve to conceal mystery so much as it does to function within a storyline wherein the gameplay takes significantly more prominence. It works perfectly fine where it is and nothing much would indeed change if you put it in chronological order. I consider myself somewhat of a story mechanics buff and even this tangent seems like nitpicking.

True, it is somewhat different, and the elevator scene shown afterwards does make the place make more sense than Doughnut world, but think about it this way:

 

A video game level is a world with a beginning and an end. Most gamers just run through it for the gameplay, taking it for what it is and having fun. However, from a story perspective, you still have the question "Why". Why am I running through this level? Is it in my way? Do I need to take a detour? What is my objective? Is it different than it was before? Why is this place the way it is? There are dozens of questions from a story standpoint when you enter a world, and if you're going to tell a story, you have to answer some of them. Otherwise, you just have a bunch of levels mashed together for only gameplay purposes, and the story and gameplay will be two separate things.

 

When you start out in either Tropical Resort or Doughnut World, you have the same questions: "Why am I running through this level? What is this place? What is my objective? Why are there signs of Eggman everywhere/why are there doughnuts everywhere?" These questions can be answered after the level, but that won't do any good to the actual level, as you still wouldn't have been giving a reason to run through it, and it won't feel connected to the story. If the elevator scene had been shown before the level, you would have been given reasons, and it would make it feel more like part of the story. The Doughnut World is different, however, as there was no explination whatsoever, and just felt like filler to a game, and not the journey of the story.

 

There's examples in the Adventure games, too. Why are you running through Emerald Coast? Because Tails crashed, and you need to check up on him. If the scene was shown afterwards, that answer would be given, but not while you were actually running through the level. Why is Knuckles looking for green jewels in the Egg Carrier? Because they are the Master Emerald shards, and because the M E told him to look there. If it was shown afterwards, you still wouldn't have had a reason when you actually started the level.

 

The level is the journey you are supposed to be motivated to play in a story-based game, not just filler. If you are given the drive to play through the level, that's great, as it's letting you partake in the story. But if it sidesteps the story and gives it to you afterwards, it makes the story and game feel disjointed, and doesn't help the experience at all.

 

I'm not saying that the elevator scene is entirely pointless. No, it does explain a few things about the story. And again, I really don't have much of an issue with it. It's just that I'm talking about how stories should be constructed in level-based, story-based video games, and just bringing up the elevator scene as a small example, as it's been in the topic for quite some time now.

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I don't agree with your assertion that having a cutscene after a level to explain it is bad construction. Storytelling relies on a continuous cycle of posing questions and answering them regardless of the chronological order of the events. In this case, the level itself is a question-- "Where am I?" -- that is answered with the cutscene you unlock after completing it. Putting the audience anywhere that isn't the very beginning of a given story (In media res) is a perfectly valid storytelling technique, and if we're debating the merit of this cutscene's placement under a context that gameplay and storytelling should ideally be merged into one entity, it is imperative to view the levels themselves as portions of the narrative. They're interactive portions of the story but still narrative themselves nonetheless, thus as narrative it's perfectly valid to have a stage occur first before a cut scene goes into explaining that stage's existence and purpose. The only way the elevator would be an example worthy of illustrating even the most basic story-and-gameplay disconnect is if the game refused to even explain anything at all regarding the stage itself, e.g., what they probably did with most of Lost World's more wacky levels. This isn't the case.

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It's not that I don't care what events have occurred, but that I don't necessarily need to know them before playing the first level. Have you ever heard the phrase, in medias res? Start in the middle, start with the action, draw the audience in with it, and then go back and explain how you got there. Considering I buy games primarily for the playing and secondarily for the story, you're going to engage me a lot better by allowing me to play than by dumping information on me.

The idea that this logically leads to pushing the entire story after all of the gameplay is a total nonsequitur.

I haven't heard of the term, but I am aware of the storytelling method. I personally am not too fond of it, due to how much damage it does to the "journey". It spoils a destination more often than not, giving you a rough image of what's going to happen, and seems to count on giving spectacle over story to win over audiences. Sure, it may draw in the audiences with the "What started this" and "What will happen", but those questions are there in the plot regardless of whether it's in medias res or not. (though it's "what will this lead to" over "what started this")

 

I guess this works with a different audience, then, and I guess it might work with Sonic, but I always think of Sonic as more of a "journey" type of game series, and less of an "action" series. Guess this comes down to personal viewpoints in the end, as well.

 

A level isn't "filler" just because the game doesn't feed you an explanation for it before you play it. That's the simplest way to tell a story, but it's not the only way.

 

But this level wasn't given any explanation, before or after. If that's not what you call one of these levels, I don't know what else they are.

I don't agree with your assertion that having a cutscene after a level to explain it is bad construction. Storytelling relies on a continuous cycle of posing questions and answering them regardless of the chronological order of the events. In this case, the level itself is a question-- "Where am I?" -- that is answered with the cutscene you unlock after completing it. Putting the audience anywhere that isn't the very beginning of a given story (In media res) is a perfectly valid storytelling technique, and if we're debating the merit of this cutscene's placement under a context that gameplay and storytelling should ideally be merged into one entity, it is imperative to view the levels themselves as portions of the narrative. They're interactive portions of the story but still narrative themselves nonetheless, thus as narrative it's perfectly valid to have a stage occur first before a cut scene goes into explaining that stage's existence and purpose. The only way the elevator would be an example worthy of illustrating even the most basic story-and-gameplay disconnect is if the game refused to even explain anything at all regarding the stage itself, e.g., what they probably did with most of Lost World's more wacky levels. This isn't the case.

Eh, I guess it just comes down to my view of Sonic being a "journey" series. Typically, when playing a journey series, what drives me forward is the "What's going to happen?" question, not "Where am I?" or "What significance does this place have?" If I wanted to find that out, I'd stop and investigate, not run like the wind through it, expecting to find elaboration on the other side of the field. They're perfectly good questions for a story, just not the kind that I think fit the Sonic series' level philosophy that well.

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I don't see how this particular approach to storytelling prohibits journeying and action. Questions posed in a visual media do not have to be inherently obvious to the audience upon viewing; they are simply a natural consequence of the shots or sequences the storyteller has decided to put in his work. It is the most fundamental way context is formed and it's what makes a story strong. Furthermore, the answers to questions do not necessarily have to require mountains of exposition. Everything I've explained can be limited to just one-to-two seconds of an image or shot being flashed upon the screen. The question-and-answer method does not necessitate some long, drawn-out session of characters or narrators giving tedious explanation nor is it reserved for stories that are somehow out of Sonic's depth as an action-adventure series; it's the universal method that storytellers in these mediums use to describe ironing out said stories.

 

In Colors' case, I'm not sure how anything we've discussed is opposed to your view. After all, you are thrown right into the action long after Sonic and Tails have gotten into the park in the first place. That in and of itself poses a question, and it does so regardless of whether or not you yourself consciously asked it while playing. Then, you get the answer in a cutscene, but that cutscene doesn't only serve to validate the existence of Tropical Resort's first act but also Terminal Velocity's, which in turn strengthens the stage because now it's not some blatant asspull to get Sonic out of trouble. In this way, this cutscene we've been debating about ironically gives meaning to one of the most action-oriented scenes in the entire game.

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Eh, I guess it just comes down to my view of Sonic being a "journey" series. Typically, when playing a journey series, what drives me forward is the "What's going to happen?" question, not "Where am I?" or "What significance does this place have?" If I wanted to find that out, I'd stop and investigate, not run like the wind through it, expecting to find elaboration on the other side of the field. They're perfectly good questions for a story, just not the kind that I think fit the Sonic series' level philosophy that well.

If you restrict yourself to just one drive like that, you're only limiting yourself the engagement. There's nothing wrong with wondering what's going to happen, it makes sense to want to be surprised at things. But at the same time questions like "Where am I?" and "What significance does this place have?" serve to establish things like the setting, purpose, and the context of things that go on in the narrative, journey or not. They're part of a greater whole, not necessarily wholes in themselves, as they answer more of the questions a potential viewer might ask.

 

More than that, they're omnipresent for just about any narrative, even one as simple as Blues Clues for children, and you can't sit here and say that it doesn't fit the Sonic series level of philosophy when, for one, there's hardly anything philosophical about asking where you are or what significance this place has, and two, they're rather simple to answer. If you want to run like the wind through it, that's fine, but understand that as you're not the only person playing the game and going through the narrative, other people might ask different questions or want to stop and investigate, and to say it doesn't fit is just denying them that experience.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4FKlu-K_m4

 

Now, there are one or two thing I want to discuss about Roger's dissection of Unleashed.

 

I know I know, we've already settled the hyperboles problem and how I don't understand them and blah blah blah.

 

But in this dissection Roger makes a disclaimer:

 

Hey, I notice these things = I want you to think about them

 

But, as for me, the use of hyperboles / sarcam / "Exaggerate the negative" trope is a very unproper and unfair way to express an objective criticism.

 

Example 1:

 

Sonic's reaction to the world being split apart. "Ugh, you have gone it and done it this time, Eggman!"

Roger immediately express his criticism with:

 

-To me it sounds like (with a dumb voice) ""Ugh, Eggman, you surely have gone it and done it this time." (a laugh track plays in the background)

 

First problem, he uses the words "to me". Which is perfectly fine if he want to express his opinion (hey, I use those two words a ton of times too), but it also nullifies the purpose of the video, which is the exposition of (debatable) objective issues.

 

Second problem, the "flanderization" of Sonic's line with a laugh track. It's a hyperbole (...I guess), but it's an over-exaggerated hyperbole. It completely distorts the real scene.

 

Example 2:

 

When Sonic befriends Chip and the two laugh.

To describe how ridiculous this is, Roger immediately cuts to Beavis and Butthead.

 

I agree that Sonic and Chip laughing together for... having met each other?... is cheesy as the moon, but it's also not even remotely comparable to the evil laugh of Beavis and Butthead!

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But in this dissection Roger makes a disclaimer:

 

Hey, I notice these things = I want you to think about them

 

But, as for me, the use of hyperboles / sarcam / "Exaggerate the negative" trope is a very unproper and unfair way to express an objective criticism.

 

Example 1:

 

Sonic's reaction to the world being split apart. "Ugh, you have gone it and done it this time, Eggman!"

Roger immediately express his criticism with:

 

Second problem, the "flanderization" of Sonic's line with a laugh track. It's a hyperbole (...I guess), but it's an over-exaggerated hyperbole. It completely distorts the real scene.

 

Example 2:

 

When Sonic befriends Chip and the two laugh.

To describe how ridiculous this is, Roger immediately cuts to Beavis and Butthead.

 

I agree that Sonic and Chip laughing together for... having met each other?... is cheesy as the moon, but it's also not even remotely comparable to the evil laugh of Beavis and Butthead!

But he says "I noticed these things". He already establishes the way the scene plays out, and then shows how he felt/reacted to it. You're criticizing him for feeling a certain way about a something.

 

The point is that Sonic's delivery downplays the scope of the situation, and Sonic and Chip being buddy-buddy together is cheesy. That's it, that's all you really need to take away from that. He makes a joke about it because he wanted to drive home his point and entertain the audience with an over the top visual analogy.

 

First problem, he uses the words "to me". Which is perfectly fine if he want to express his opinion (hey, I use those two words a ton of times too), but it also nullifies the purpose of the video, which is the exposition of (debatable) objective issues.

The 'purpose' was, as you quoted already "Hey, I notice these things = I want you to think about them". He was never trying to show "objective issues" because that's all a matter of opinion. You're being unfair by expecting him to not have an opinion about completely subjective points.

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You're criticizing him for feeling a certain way about a something.

 

No I don't.

 

He says "I noticed these things = I want you to think about it", so, I figured he wants to express his thoughts as an objective opinion that others can agree with.

 

But since he only express his personal point of view with the ways I listed, he should have said a simple "I want to express my POV = feel free to agree or disagree"

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No I don't.

 

He says "I noticed these things = I want you to think about it", so, I figured he wants to express his thoughts as an objective opinion that others can agree with.

 

But since he only express his personal point of view with the ways I listed, he should have said a simple "I want to express my POV = feel free to agree or disagree"

That's exactly what he meant. He encouraged people to discuss the points he brings up, as well as his opinion on them. He wants his audience to think and make their own conclusions.

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I know you guys've moved on from this but:

 

Sonic Team wanted to give a little nod to classic games (Sonic and otherwise) by throwing you right into a level when you start the game. That's why the elevator scene was a flashback, otherwise it wouldn't have made any sense. I suppose I can understand someone not liking that the game started out with a level instead of a cutscene, but what's so bad about a flashback on it's own? How does it "not make sense" when the whole point of it being a flashback was that they wanted to show Sonic and Tails going to the park and still have it, well...make sense?

What about Sonic 3 and Sonic CD, aren't those really adored Sonic games? They both had intros.

And didn't the manuals gloss out what was going on in the game? 

 

Colors doesn't even have a story in the manual.

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