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July 24, 2016 in Sonic Games
Greetings to you all reading here today.
Now there has been something on my mind lately and many times in the past. Does desire and or self-made expectations ruin the enjoyment of a series for you once you continue to not get it? And if it does… then should you not just take a step back and go to a different series, or push aside personal wishes and just enjoy it for what it is? or even go and create the product we want ourselves in some form?… Because when you think about it… your unusual desires will likely rarely ever become a reality if it’s not something a series already focuses on, which will lead to disappointment… and self-made disappointment in my opinion should be avoided honestly.
What does any of this have to do with Sonic? Well like any series we create our own special preferences, and Sonic fans “Myself included” often have many of them obviously. Some of my own silly ones are in the spoiler below.
Few of my favorite Sonic characters are Blaze. MetalSonic. Robotnik. Sticks. Plus some others… And I have a desire to see them often and play as them over Tails & Knuckles… sometimes even over Sonic himself! FYI I don’t dislike them 3 or anything. And overall I admit with a few exceptions I have preference in wanting to play the female Sonic cast often, as I commonly do in any other series if I like the female cast whatsoever. Also related is something I can’t help but to dream about, a spin-off console/PC game adventure staring Blaze or Metal-Sonic or Eggman without sharing the main playable roles with Sonic.
I like and strongly prefer the more cartoony/surreal/extremely arty environment and world art styles across the series such as the classics, especially Sonic CD or even Lost World. And have a minor distaste for the fairly more realistic world style in Sonic Unleashed/Generations, and Sonic 06 makes me want to vomit and is everything I hate visually to the point even if it had amazing gameplay I‘d still not want anything to do with it.
Lets not forget I always wish for gameplay variety. I love Minigames/Bonus stages/Special stages… Multiple playable characters that each offer at least something little different to the gameplay.
Note: Yes I’m quite aware some of preferences don’t match up with what many other fans prefer and that some of my wishes obviously unlikely will ever come true. Hohoo.
And lately I’ve been wondering if all I am doing is hurting my own enjoyment of the series by having these somewhat strong preferences and wishes for what I’d like to see out of the series… and whenever I’m upset with anything in life I try to find the root cause of the problem and decide carefully what the next best action is to cure my problem. Of course not all my little desires bother me just because they don’t get catered to and the truth is very often they don‘t really upset me! …But when some that truly do get to me… I have to think… Should I wait and hope on the off chance some of my wishes will come true later? Or should I take a step back and involve myself in a different series? Or should I try harder to ignore everything I want and just enjoy the series for whatever it is regardless? Especially when and if what I want isn’t something many other fans or the creators of whatever series prefer I have to think to myself why am I here hoping and asking for things very few people want? This isn’t my product, so it‘s not like I have control over it or the right to actually expect it to change for me.
I feel the point of what I been talking about is true for everybody that feels similarly. Another thing is I can‘t say much for other people, but when I’m truly unhappy with the direction with a series, then I don’t stick around and involve myself with it farther and I definitely don’t continue to talk about it on fan forums or anywhere else, I get out of there and do something else so I don’t annoy myself or anybody else farther. Now I’m not saying I myself am at that level with the Sonic series, because I’m not! but sometimes I worry I could escalate overtime into a more negative direction if I don‘t watch myself carefully. Because I know other folk fully have done so. Regardless I don't think I could ever truly hate the Sonic series myself.
Anyways this was just something on my mind and wanted to get off my chest, and thought maybe others could overall relate to some of it.
I won't pretend that there are some things I want the series to do, like having multiple playable characters, a story that I can be invested in, a game with loads of content and all that jazz. Though I feel like Mania and "Resistance" might deliver on those fronts but I'll just pretend that those games haven't existed yet.
Can't really say it ruins my enjoyment, maybe it is because I still get some enjoyment out of the more subpar games the series had like the Storybook series, Shadow, 06, Rise of Lyric and various others. I guess it helps that I just have fun with whatever new Sonic product is there despite me wanting more out of it. I still have the comics and the Boom cartoon to keep me invested in the series so yeah.
To answer the question, no not really.
One of the desires was an old school Mega Drive style platformer to the point of even considered making my own (off brand Sonic game) even if it was just one however with the recent announcement of Mania, it means that not only has the desire full filled but also better than I ever imagined it. (Am aware of fangames and hacks but I mean one officially released by Sega) Related to that an old desire was the return of Classic Sonic that I not only got but also thanks to the recent games from Unleashed, got to really like Modern Sonic too so now which Sonic character design doesn't bother me. Another desire is having a Sonic game that doesn't feel buggy, glitchy to the point of a put off however the recent main games from Unleashed onwards have been mostly stable and even though Lost World declines half way through feeling rushed, it's been okay enough to finish the game. The latter was the desire that brought me back to the series full time (even though Generations with Classic Sonic was the sweetner deal).
Perhaps I'm more tolerant to the series than I thought. When it comes to stuff like multiple characters and stuff, it doesn't bother me whether a game has them or not. I can play Sonic only or Sonic with a choice of characters. Younger me would have gone ew... Amy Rose but I still had Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or whoever was in the game to play as. Storywise again not too bothered by since I play games for their gameplay and very rarely that a story in a game had some impact (also a story can put me off like Tomb Raider 2013 where I didn't really like the story or most of the characters but liked the gameplay, performance and graphics). Length also doesn't bother me, I didn't find Generations "short" but that might be due to grew up of the days of the shorter arcade games/16-bit games and stuff like Gran Turismo was "too much" content.
I've enjoyed more Sonic games than I've disliked, even mixed ones like Sonic Lost World, SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Fighters, Sonic 3D or Sonic Spinball I got enjoyment out of those. I've even enjoyed Sonic Eraser, Sonic Labyrinth, bits of Sonic 4 and Sonic Crackers, the latter is a tech demo for Chaotix and unfinished by its nature. There are a few that I admit that I haven't played however only because they don't appeal to me or just hard to find (e.g. Sonic Pocket Adventure). Does the existance of Shadow, Sonic 06, Boom or Genesis spoil my enjoyment of the series? No because I know realistically not every game in the series will appeal to me. It's like if you was a Final Fantasy fan or a Mario fan, not every game will appeal to you and considering the volume of the games like Sonic was at a few points.
The only game that came close to the Sonic series have ruined my enjoyment was Heroes and explained it a few times that it was just too buggy even though I managed to finish two story lines (Adventure 1 and 2 had their bugs/glitches however I tolerated them since it was early console 3D days and was more acceptable, 3rd time unlucky though). Luckily though, there was Rush and the rest of the DS games including Sumo Digital goodness to enjoy so I was still sort of around series wise. If those weren't around though, it might have been a different story.
It definitely decreases my excitement for new releases, at the very least. However, different Sonic games feature things that I look for in the series, so I just turn to those when I feel like it.
No, what ruins my enjoyment is the games being bad.
I've enjoyed some games that don't match my desires for the series. Rush Adventure in particular I consider one of my favorite games in the series, and I rate Lost World higher than I think a lot of the fanbase does.
But then I try something like Generations, which is in some ways trying to appeal to my interests, and it's just...not good. Classic Sonic is not only a poor imitation of the way the classic games actually played, but it's not even fun taken on its own; movement is stiff, the spindash is overpowered, and the platforming lacks any kind of appeal. If Classic Sonic had been a coherent, well-designed platformer of almost any sort I would have gotten more enjoyment out of it, even if it had even less in common with what I want from something posing as "Classic Sonic".
Of course my expectations and biases affect the games I play. Why wouldn't they? Sonic isn't an exception to any other franchise or game out there when it comes to discerning if I lay my time and money down. If it doesn't automatically appeal to me on some level, why waste the effort? But I would say I'm harder on Sonic than other franchises due to the facts that I've got a literal 25-year investment in this shit, and I don't personally perceive my desires as currently at odds with either Sonic Team's end goals or even other fan demographics.
I realized after all this time that I don't really have specific gameplay desires beyond "Be rewarding to control in 3D without skimping on difficulty" and "Have an extra non Classic Sonic ffs character in there." And so long as the story endeavors to give a shit so that I can be engaged in the plot as with any other work, then I think I'm good. So I leave it up to other people whose personal preferences align more with the technical stuff to hash out the nitty-gritty specifics of the gameplay, stage design, or the art style. Like, if someone hates hubs, I could deal with a series without them because I liked SA2 and SaTsR and Gens to an extent. If someone doesn't want a boring and dour atmosphere, I can deal with more levity because I liked Unleashed and the Riders series and many bits and pieces of Colors' story. If someone wants rolling to come back, then why the hell not? Throw that shit in there too. You can see the potential in the Adventure gameplay. As opinionated and bitchy as I am in many threads, I don't think my personal desires for the franchise are all that intrusive at the end of the day.
Yet despite this, it's been eight years since I've personally gotten a Sonic game that hits those three simple-ass boxes: rewarding, difficult gameplay, an extra character, and a story that gives a damn. That's all I'm asking for. At this rate, I just might be 30 before I can look forward to a Sonic game with the same kind of wide-eyed wonder I did with something like Breath of the Wild or even Unleashed, assuming Sonic 2017 doesn't falter any. So there's a frustration and an exhaustion I've definitely felt for awhile. Because I've how long I've been in the fandom, I don't think I'll ever have the balls to just leave it, but I will be putting my money where my mouth is more often. I've yet to actually buy Lost World (I've been gifted it on Steam), and aside from the demo I have no desire to sit down and just play the damn thing on any platform. Why? There's literally no point when I already know it misses all three boxes.
I can safely say my exact desires haven't all been met since Unleashed when it comes to 3D Sonic. While it had a few flaws for me, it's pretty much the closest I've ever gotten and it was damn close, and it's one of my favourite games in general either way. Yet I still found myself enjoying Black Knight, Sonic 4: Episode II, Colours, Generations, and Lost World to varying degrees. I thought they were all good games to varying degrees. Generations in particular, while not exactly what I want out of a big Sonic game, was a particularly fantastic game and being the 20th Anniversary game, I was OK with it doing it's own thing like that.
I'm the same with other games. The latest Smash Bros. on Wii U was very disappointing to me in a variety of aspects. The single-player was both lacking content and is just bad in what it has (Classic Mode is terrible other than the bosses at the end), online won't work well for me anymore (it originally did) even though I've got a great internet connection, and the game basically doesn't have a lot to do for me after that because I don't have people to play with locally. I still acknowledge it as an excellent game though, and in terms of the character roster and stages, it didn't disappoint. While I didn't get everyone I wanted in the game, I got my most wanted newcomer (Rosalina, and she even came with Lumas which I never would have expected!), and I got my main from Brawl back, who was actually Sonic. And it introduced me to characters I ended up liking and playing their games afterwards, like Shulk and the Fire Emblem characters. And it had some "I can't believe I never thought of them!" additions like Cloud. Overall a great game, but considering how much I was looking forward to it (probably one of the most hyped games for me...ever), and considering I invested in the Gamecube Adapter and Smash Gamecube controller, and considering...this:
And this isn't even all of them to date...
I can't help but feel a bit disappointed in the game. It just didn't have the lasting appeal I expected it to have (though I have been modding the game recently, I actually want to make a few Sonic skins, so that's something).
I must say though, Sonic Mania literally ticks every box for me as far as Classic Sonic games go. Even the pipe dream stuff like Tee Lopes composing music. I'm so excited for it, and to think, I'll get to play it in two weeks at Summer of Sonic!
Project Sonic 2017 is also exciting - I'm glad a more sincere tone seems to be coming back and Sonic looks capable of taking something seriously. I do need to see more though.
I always keep a fresh mind when playing a game. My desires don't really factor whether or not it ruins my enjoyment. It's more about the game at hand and how it's done.
Hmmm... For me its kinda 50/50.
I have a lot of expectations for Sonic games and usually they don't get fulfilled. So, I pretty much talk about it for an hour or so and then forget about it. To be honest, if a game is well designed and is not a glitched up mess, I think I can enjoy it just fine.
Which is why I don't claim to be a Sonic fan, anymore. I'm more of a Sonic Cynic. I follow other things that I know I can, at least, take some enjoyment out of. Do I still follow Sonic news and engage with the fan base? Sure, it's hard to outright abandon a franchise that was your first fandom and has been a part of your life for well over a decade, almost two.I got into Sonic around six or seven years of age - - I'm 24 now.
But these days I hold it up as my old, self destructive friend vs someone I want to be around. I follow it with morbid curiosity, less wishing. I gave up on it. I didn't get my way? I didn't expect to. I groan for a short while but put the focus on something far more worth my time.
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My desires effects my enjoyment of... everything. Its the nature of things
Some more than others, i don't like colors really for a few reasons. But its fine, it doesn't do a lot of the stuff I want, I think generations is a much better game, but its fine. I just don't like it. Sonic lost world, I have an ideological disagreement about sonic with how everything is presented in that game. I HATE that game, I could write articles about my disposition towards me game. So many things that I think are giant spotlights in giant problems that I think sonic has.
so yes, some games more than others.
Would have to say no. For the most part I'm convinced what I want isn't going to happen. The dreamcast era is over, not part of the demographic anymore. I keep up anyway, always interested in what direction the series chooses to go in.
But I noticed something, when expectation rises above reality on certain games, the betrayal hits hard. With 06 and Rise of Lyric in mind, it's no wonder why those two games are so universally hated. Those same expectations with Rise of Lyric were especially big, since the guys from NaughtyDog worked on it.
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