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"The First Level of Every Sonic Game"; Analysis From Super BunnyHop

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Was thinking about watching this... until after hearing your thoughts on it and from few others... it doesn't sound worth my time TBH. There are many series review videos out there, and I've already seen a good handful. So I'll give this a skip. :/

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I've not played Lost World U to any extent so I can't say anything about how the game teaches you about its controls, but Azoo brings up a great point in that it casts light on his ability to make a meaningful jab at Lost World's guidance if he never actually once said anything about rolling and its mitigation of upcoming enemy hazards. He's basically unaware of the design solution to an issue he exaggerated about the classic games...and the classics are simplistic, two-button games. Soooooo.....

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I think it's a decent analysis on the series but there's some points I disagree with. Like sometimes I don't think he really understands what he's talking about. I prefer ShayMay's Sonic Spitball series over this. 

 

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I haven't watched the full video yet, but the first few minutes of it just sort of made me roll my eyes.  Not all of his points are bad, but as stated before, he didn't seem to do much research.  What really annoys me about the video, and many analyses of this nature, is just the fact that he cites basic platforming as bad game design philosophy.  He mentions the rotating spike pole from Green Hill Zone, for instance, and make no mistake, that can be tricky to get past without getting hit, but it's not impossible.  And he keeps mentioning that he runs into enemies constantly, like... then jump?  Roll?  Something?  Like, this isn't like Bubsy where no matter what direction I push, it feels like the controller is taking me in the exact opposite direction I want to go.

I don't so much mind Sonic being the butt of the internet; he's more than earned it with his share of rushed, incomplete, and just plain bad games.  What I hate is people trying to pass off lazy, forced, and just ignorant statements and needless retreading and backtracking as insightful analysis.  Like can you imagine if someone made a video, criticizing Super Mario World because there are enemies that you have to use items or other maneuvers aside from your main jump in order to defeat?  Oh, man, you know what I hate?  When you're playing Call of Duty and you can see in an enemy but he's not in your crosshair.  It would be nice if you could, like, aim, but nope.  All you can do is move forward and shoot, I guess, and if a wall or something prevents you from moving forward, well, fuck.  I tried, I guess.  Also, I hate racing games.  Like, how am I supposed to win with all these other cars on the track?  They just get in the way, forcing me to slow down and calculate how I'm going to get past them.  You know, Tetris was a good game at one point, but there came a point where it just stopped giving me the very specific block I wanted.

Okay, that's a little harsh, but you get the idea.  In a game meant to test your reflexes and force you to make split-second decisions, this guy is complaining that his reflexes are being tested and that he has to make decisions in a split-second.  I don't usually like to deflect criticism at a game series with "git gud" but that's about all I can do at this point.  I said earlier that this isn't like Bubsy, but the thing is, these wouldn't be good criticisms even if we were talking about Bubsy or any other notoriously "difficult in a bad way" game.

And that's pretty much why I only watched a little bit of it.  There's only so much of that I can sit through without getting bored.  The Sonic series isn't perfect.  There are plenty of bad games.  And even the good games have their fair share of little problems, and obviously I don't think everyone is obligated to think these games are the absolute best or even good for that matter.  But the criticisms here are just so far fetched that I really can't empathize.

But like I said, I haven't even watched the whole video.  Maybe my opinion will change when/if I do.  Not impressed so far, though.

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I watched the whole thing twice and while he makes some good points (nice seeing Heroes get some love :D), he kinda misses the point to many of the games :l. 

You need to play through each game completely to understand what each game is about, how it works and how the entire package works.

Recently, I have been making a retrospective for the Sonic series on various forums like NeoGaf on my own and on this site thanks to working with tailikku on covering the entire series :). So, I will say that he misses the point, with a lot of the games he covers here. 

Sonic Adventure is a much better game then he is stating it is; personally love the game and outside of Big, its a great evolution of what the Classic Series tried to accomplish. Sonic Adventure 2 is more flawed to me (considering how much the Mech/Treasure hunting levels take up the game + not liking how they changed from their Adventure 1 versions) but I have a lot of attachment to the game from growing up with it. 

The series may be mixed at points but it is overall a lot better then he is stating it is. 

Shay's 'Spitball' series is a lot better and more organized. I felt that he spent time playing the series and grew with it, vs. SuperBunnyHop who thought 'Lets trash the series and see what happens'. 

 

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Since people keep bring up Shay May, I should probably post his thoughts on the video here: (from his twitter of course)

LRT: Disagree with the assessment of the Mega Drive games, but it's vindicating to see the same conclusion from someone that's not a fanboy.

Basically what he's impling is that he came to the same conclusion of Sonic not having a focus as mentioned at the end of SBH's video.

Now onto my thoughts...

I think I'm so used to seeing crappy Sonic "analysis" reviews that this has literatly become the standard for me, despite knowing that it sucks. It's come to the point that I was actually suprised to see people actually take this guy seriously and get a little upset about it. Like I said I'm too used to it, so I couldn't get bothered to be bothered. I'm not subbed to SBH for obvious reasons, but something that hasn't been said yet is that I think he has more of a thing for understanding a games intent in the grand scheme of things (AKA the video game industry) rather than understanding the complexities of specific game design. I mean in all fairness he did say "I have no idea what I'm doing" which I think is supposed to suggest that's he's just making the video "just because" and that you should not go to him for any sonic or platforming advice in general. I saw his Mario Maker video before so I kinda saw this "ignorance" comming. Like...

2 hours ago, Tara said:

He mentions the rotating spike pole from Green Hill Zone, for instance, and make no mistake, that can be tricky to get past without getting hit, but it's not impossible. And he keeps mentioning that he runs into enemies constantly, like... then jump?  Roll?  Something?  Like, this isn't like Bubsy where no matter what direction I push, it feels like the controller is taking me in the exact opposite direction I want to go.

In a game meant to test your reflexes and force you to make split-second decisions, this guy is complaining that his reflexes are being tested and that he has to make decisions in a split-second.  I don't usually like to deflect criticism at a game series with "git gud" but that's about all I can do at this point.  I said earlier that this isn't like Bubsy, but the thing is, these wouldn't be good criticisms even if we were talking about Bubsy or any other notoriously "difficult in a bad way" game.

...This is exactly what probably went through my mind had my expectations been any higher. Like if you play a lot of platformers, your gonna get better at reaction times. This is very natural for people, this is easy to understand, I don't get why people don't get this. I mean really this is a problem with a lot of reviewers really, not being able to understand difficulty curves correctly and just expect the game to play the way they want before they even start. Sonic has a low skill floor and simutaneosly a high skill ceiling for those who take the time to learn it, like that's the appeal of the whole series basically.

Might I remind you we are talking about the guy who said Shovel Knight was best game of 2015! He prasies the game for not challenging him too much, considering its an 8-bit game tribute I find this a bit strange since...you know, 8-bit games are supposed to be challenging. I just feel he doesn't know how to look at games in-depth but because he knows how to cover a lot of ground, he can get away with it and thus has the fanbase he has as a result.

Really my only real gripe with the video, the rest was just "meh". Plus he was defenetly too harsh on adventure 1, acting like it was impossible to act to a moving camera and it killed the entire game. Like I get that even IGN complained about the camera back in 1998, but at least they praised the rest of the game as not being fantastic but at least good, they acknoleged SOMETHING else besides the games fault. (This is the most I have ever defended SA1 by the way, that's how ignorant I felt he was on the topic)

I really like Spitball by the way, without a doubt better than this, part 2 was personally my favorite as well! XD

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Is beating the "Sonic is baaaad" dead horse just a requirement for having a gaming centric platform on the internet? If you're a reviewer, gotta review Sonic 06, if you're an animator, you gotta draw at least one frame of Sonic doing a try hard funny face or in pain, if you're any of the above or a let's player, you gotta mispronounce "Sanic" at least once or else your account will be terminated and Arin Hanson won't leave presents for you this upcoming Cyber Monday! Sonic 06 reviews will get you mad dough and you'll be seen as a holy edgelord and earn you hundreds of subs on Youtube!

And of course, he doesn't run at any point in Lost World, because a Sonic game where Sonic doesn't run is completely normal and checking other buttons on the controller and consulting tutorials and manuals is for cavemen!

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2 minutes ago, Auto said:

Is beating the "Sonic is baaaad" dead horse just a requirement for having a gaming centric platform on the internet? If you're a reviewer, gotta review Sonic 06, if you're an animator, you gotta draw at least one frame of Sonic doing a try hard funny face or in pain, if you're any of the above or a let's player, you gotta mispronounce "Sanic" at least once or else your account will be terminated and Arin Hanson won't leave presents for you this upcoming Cyber Monday!

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSw1tcher

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10 hours ago, Azoo said:

he called Generations' story "avant garde"

... Oh, okay, so he's talking out of his ass and this whole thing really is just something made on the quick for adsense. Moving on then.

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3 minutes ago, Auto said:

... Oh, okay, so he's talking out of his ass and this whole thing really is just something made on the quick for adsense. Moving on then.

Or he's saying it ironically, because you know, due to how non-existent Gens's story is.

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I get where he's coming from with a lot of his observations, and honestly I agree with 90% of the shit he threw at SA1, especially considering all of it is backed up by the on-screen visuals displaying as such (and I've always felt that starting the game with a boss battle was an atrocious decision that was clearly a case of narrative taking prescedence over gameplay which is about the worst thing you can do when trying to re-create an existing franchise into an entirely new dimension).

The place the video is inherently flawed is that during the intro he sort of manages to spin it as if the first stage of each game does reflect the series at any given point when... it simply doesn't.  He even touches upon this with Heroes, admitting that it seems to have a strong opening but reviews tell the story that the game gets bad later on, which of course is completely true.  But despite this, he still goes on to analyse the series at large from these limited pools of content anyway.

 

Basically, this could have been a good video where the first stages are analysed and it is discussed how the current state of the series informed that stage design direction.

The video does the sort of opposite instead, where it looks at the stage design (and surrounding elements of that stage such as cut-scenes/hubs etc) and uses it as cues to discuss the state of the series at that point - whether the first stage reflects them or not.

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Nevermind Shaymay. Nickonaquamagna and Exoparadigm gamer have been putting out their dissections and analysis on the series, and those have went largely ignored as well.

Not gonna lie: this was pretty damn atrocious. The whole thing reeks of a clear bias against the series, and a fundamental lack of understanding of the games themselves. Not to mention the fundamental idea of judging every game on a first-level basis is such an unbelievably asinine concept that I can't even begin to fully grock it completely. I'm truly stupified that something like this is garnering so much attention for something that's so poorly thought out.

I may have my specific disagreements with all the above, but I can acknowledge that their general opinions and conclusions were at least well-thought out, and what remains is personal opinion. I certainly can't say that on this video.

But I think that it does rather illustrate one of my fears for the series: that it will never be able to truly succeed, because the very basic fucking concept of Sonic is absolutely lost on gamers today: especially the elitist Nintendo snobs that dominate Youtube and review sites.

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I'm not going to completely ignore what he said. I mean, we are fandom, he is a more-less neutral tester, it's obvious we're more biased then he is.

However, I have to admit that this video was shallow. No wrong, just shallow. He did got some parts right (at least first impressions are correct), but... why am I even talking, dozen people above made a point. I'm just sad about Sonic's reputation. Don't read the comments below the video, some of them just hurt.

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I played the classic trilogy a little bit later than most fans after growing up in a Nintendo household and I can safely say that even as an outsider, these games really aren't that hard to figure out.  Some of the points he mentions are things that you would expect to understand after only a few minutes of playing.  Whatever bias I may have as a fan is irrelevant, because they're basic gameplay mechanics.  But that would forgiven if he weren't blaming the game for punishing him for doing bad.  I mean, if it were a critique on how it punished you, maybe I would be able to empathize.  Like, you see games like Sunday Funday (or Menace Beach for you sinner types), it punishes you for doing bad with physics that knock you all about, and it often asks you to to do things that aren't feasible for the abysmally-programmed engine and control scheme.  That's not the case with Sonic; the solutions to problems are almost always abundantly clear and everything that you're expected to do can be done without hassling with the controls.  For an actual Sonic example, you could cite the water levels, the way that some enemies have spike balls that are annoying to get past, just something other than "I often find myself running into obstacles."

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Dug this video quite a deal as a means of an interesting experiment to draw parallels of first impressions in regards to each game, mostly because when you get down to it a large majority of Sonic's lasting appeal in the hearts of many is defined by it's first impressions. Moments like City Escape, Chemical Plant (not actually the first level but point applies) and the opening FMV of Sonic Adventure occupy a positive head space more than just about any other moment of their respective games and you could even argue that the inverse applies such as the gun shot sounds on landing of Shadow and the insane loading times and side quests required of 06 to actually get in the first level.

I do have some problems with it but little of it has to do with the context that's being argued against the OP or the fact that Sonic Boom was a spinoff (at this point ignoring this series in a critical analysis of the franchise is a lost cause not because of it's bad reception as a game but because of Sega's insistence to acknowledge the subseries as an equal part of the greater sum - in which case it's a perfectly valid target of criticism when analyzing the franchise). The only glaring oversight that stuck out to me was the omission of Sonic's run button in Lost World as he cites the platforming as fairly solid when it is maintaining a decent tempo. That said even as someone who likes that game and enjoyed the playstyle over Generations, even I'm somewhat surprised that they would settle against a formula that worked better for them considering how fucking safe they play it as a company nowadays.

Nonetheless I heavily enjoyed the video and found it fun to have everything stand in line for counting.

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I'm only just starting this video but the weird fake "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto" is really distracting.  

Hehe, that "Wha-EEEEEEE" snidash noise is trademark emulator screw up stuff, found that a little amusing.  

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I'm guessing he didn't quite pick up on the design language of the first few Sonic games (which don't actually follow it quite as well as they maybe should have): downhill means safe, uphill means dangerous. The games (almost) always put a non damaging obstacle in the way prior to an actually threatening one.  It actually took me a while to get a handle on exactly how you're kind-of-meant to play those games, it's not immediately intuitive and the marketing leads you wrong.  It's kinda hard to explain.  

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I guess we hear what we want to hear, because I came away from this video in no way thinking he was just "taking a cheap stab at the Sonic series for fun and money" like several people here seem to be asserting. I will admit I don't agree with him on every subject, and I honestly enjoyed the blunt flavor of the presentation, but seeing an analysis on how the first levels of each game make their impression was a fun little romp. I even think he brings up some things that most people familiar with the games probably have long since stopped questioning, such as the camera moving without changing the relative axis of control in Sonic Adventure. It's not necessarily a flaw, but it is something that takes getting used to, which is fair game when the point is to analyze how the game makes its first impressions. A game with a learning curve is by no means a bad thing, but Adventure had a lot more flaws than that, and I think it's reasonable to accept such.

Hey, if you don't agree and think he's uneducated, that's totally fine. There were definitely holes in his research (Although the case of not knowing the run button in Lost World could be argued that the game didn't explain it very well. Why would you even expect a run button in a Sonic game to begin with? It says a lot about the game when his prior exposure was probably gameplay videos where the player spindashed the whole time because the running controls are honestly annoying), and again I didn't agree on everything, but I can't help thinking some of the reactions here are rather knee-jerk. I get that criticizing Sonic as a franchise is something done to the point of beating a dead horse, but SEGA also refuses to do anything (consistent at least) about it. Every time we seem to be getting on track, a new game comes out and it goes off the rails of quality and consistency again.

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