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Athena Cykes

Sonic the Hedgehog: how fans have subverted a fallen mascot

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http://www.tssznews.com/2014/04/07/guardian-article-blames-sonic-fans-for-fallen-mascot/

Normally, it’s Kotaku that we point to for various indictments against Sonic fandom. This time around, it’s the website of The Guardian, Britain’s most respected and one of the country’s very few non-tabloid newspapers, that has put fans under the microscope.

More specifically, it’s writer Leigh Alexander, who argues that while the hedgehog’s prime has long passed, it’s the fans that keep the spirit alive in more unpleasant ways:

Alexander cites various furry, fetish, and other pornographic fan art of the hedgehog circulating as proof of Sonic’s “arrested development,” in the article’s words.  Sonic Boom is also discussed in some detail, and in particular the new designs given to the core four characters.

Article in question:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/04/sonic-the-hedgehog-how-fans-have-subverted-a-fallen-mascot

The image of Sonic's spiky hero has been obsessively appropriated and customised – but can he escape from his past, or the esoteric attentions of his followers?

In 1991, Sega had a plan to contest Nintendo's console market dominance with a franchise of its own. It would be cooler, faster and full of attitude. When one thinks about speed and attitude, "hedgehog" isn't necessarily the first animal that comes to mind, but maybe that was part of the plan – take something weird and unexpected and make it cool. 

 

And it worked, for a while. The speedy, loop-the-looping Sonic the Hedgehog, who zoomed through halfpipes and cut a blue streak across any obstacle, who furrowed his brow and tapped his foot impatiently at idle players, became the hottest thing on the school playground.

 

Fast forward to 2014, and Sonic remains an icon – but not necessarily in the way anyone might have predicted. He's a mascot for saucy romance fics, comedic fan art and basically anything other than “cool". As a gaming brand, poor Sonic hasn't been competitive in years, as the franchise made weird left turns into role-playing games, cartoons voiced by Steve Urkel, and the addition of tons of other widely-unwanted furry friends for the hedgehog hero. Effort after effort's been made to revive the classic, flashy gameplay people fell in love with in childhood – Sonic even now makes grudging regular cameos in Nintendo games – but it's never seemed to be enough.

 

Come to think of it, revisiting the old games is actually a wildly disappointing endeavor. Here's a confronting idea: what if the Sonic franchise was never that good to begin with? As he wheels through golden loops and collects rings in our memory, the real-life classic Sonic gets stuck on invisible pixels, makes frustrated leaps endlessly upward among spinning columns that loom just out of reach. The irksome sounds of his repetitive, fruitless jumping – woop, woop, woop – join the rough hiss of his "spin dash" engine revving, weep-weep-weep-weep, in an impotent sound collage.

 

Sonic gets fired like a shot into the impossible depths of violet liquids and dies, choking open-mouthed. His loyal buddy, the flying two-tailed fox Tails, bumbles off-screen regularly and gets crushed obliviously beneath pillars as the sour-faced Hedgehog struggles uphill, leaps awkwardly toward platforms that lurch away. The primary rival is a mustachioed man who looks like an egg, prancing on tiny legs. Nonsensical robotic machinery and casino lights colonise the natural landscape, jarring. 

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I've seen people be ignorant and biased towards Sonic. But, the writer of that article has taken ignorance and bias to whole different level. Why talk about something you have no knowledge about for fucks sake ? Man, people are really stupid.

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These are the kind of ignorant people I fucking hate that keep spouting the same bullshit about things like; "Sonic's dead" or "Sonic was never good to begin" or "SEGA should just kill the franchise" without having a fucking clue what they're talking about. Whether it be IGN, Kotaku or this talking about the fans and its franchise, it's always gonna be the same drivel coming out of their mouths.

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I guess this journalist don't have nothing better to talk about in the gaming world so they decide to target Sonic and write up another shitty "Sonic and his fanbase sucks" article for the umpteenth time. Is SLW is so mediocre or the Boom redesigns is so ridiculous to them that they're going back to this 'lol Sonic sucks" phase again? Even when the games before then are well received?

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Oh god, I always thought people were exaggerating when they said there were people who legitimately try to state that Sonic was ""never good"". I had no idea I'd ever see it with my own eyes, and from a (apparently?) big news site.

The Guardian is the biggest non-tabloid newspaper/site in the UK. Non-tabloid appears to be an overstatement at this point.

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"Sonic's spiky hero" eh? Who would that be?
 

Anyways I saw this the other day and I had several responses.

 

1) Why is this in the news? Why did we need an article on "look here's a fandom, and look at the stuff they do. Isn't it weird?!"

 

Upon saying this on someone's Facebook comment, I was challenged with the notion that I felt this way because I felt guilty at being 30 and still caring about Sonic as a character. This then led me to think:

 

2) Oh geez. I'm suffering with depression because my brain hasn't aged beyond 1994! I was really upset because I had read the article as "if you like Sonic, you shouldn't. Because this is what the fans are like!" I was starting to wonder what else I still am interested in from back when I was a child, and whether as a Responsible Adult I should be shedding such interests to make way for more Age Appropriate ones.

 

3) After talking about it to a friend I then realised this is a massive troll article and I had fallen right into its trap.

 

So basically I think this is just a spectacularly nasty piece based on a few Deviant Art entries, and doesn't deserve much attention.

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As a gaming brand, poor Sonic hasn't been competitive in years, as the franchise made weird left turns into role-playing games, cartoons voiced by Steve Urkel, and the addition of tons of other widely-unwanted furry friends for the hedgehog hero.

 

With this, the writer has made it abundantly clear that they don't have any idea what the fuck they're talking about. The period of Sonic cartoons that were voiced by Jaleel White (whom they have annoyling Type Casted as "Steve Urkel") ended in 1994. 20 years ago. And then he did one more around the year 2000, which was Underground and nobody cares about it, and it is still long before Sonic's Dork Age.

This is bad journalism.

Oh, and also

The redesign of the games’ characters is actually fairly subtle – the designers have mostly just added a scarf and some athletic tape

Subtle. lol

Edited by Frogging101

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Guys, if anything it's a massive troll article that was done to get your attention.

 

Anything that talks about pornographic material in Sonic (or anything) for example, with a blatant disregard of Rule 34 of the Internet, should make it perfectly obvious that they're doing this to get a rise out of people. Seriously, with things like Lara Croft being an obvious source of titaliation, and the rule 34 you can find on Princess Peach, and somehow Sonic's the worse offender of this?

 

Sad thing is, with Sonic being a punching bag, it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't react to it since we'd be condemned one way or the other.

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