Jump to content
Awoo.

The Sonic Experience


SuperStingray
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've discussed this a bit before, but I'd like to go more in depth on the subject.

As a hardcore Sonic fan, I see a lot of discussion on what makes the series so unique and what separates the older games from the newer ones. I hear "Sonic is about speed," "Sonic is a platformer," "Sonic has to be 2D to work," etc. But I don't think the concept of the true Sonic experience can be grasped so simply.

Sonic may have been marketed with his trademark speed, but it really has almost nothing to do with his appeal. Holding down the B button as you move in any early Mario game let's you run just about as fast. If you ask me, what sets Sonic apart from that is his environment. What makes his environments such an important aspect of the Sonic experience is the use and balance of four fundamental factors: dynamic, freedom, unity, and flow.

1. Dynamic - Springs. Tubes. Pits. Loops. Grind rails. I could go on. When you run through a true Sonic level, your world isn't just an obstacle course. It's a playground. In any platforming game, you can jump on enemies and collect items, but Sonic really offers much more than that. I doubt that there are many platformers that are so versatile; I don't see any other game where you ride the San Fransisco-type streets like snowboarding down a mountain, run down a building and get chased by a semi in one five-minute level and still have time for the basic stuff.

2. Freedom - When you have fun with a Sonic game, you should get that feeling that you can do what you want and go where you want because the world's your bitch. This feeling can come in many ways; you could be finding new paths through a level, exploring and finding secrets, breezing through a wide open space, perhaps even playing around in a hub or ideally: all of the above. (The hubs are probably the most controversial, but I think they could work if they're optional, at least more so than in Unleashed.)

3. Unity - As stated before, you should feel like the world's your bitch, but the best part is when the reciprocal can be felt at the same time. Whether you're running through a loop, getting chased by lava, riding through a pipe, or just overall succumbing to the effects of pinball physics, you can feel threatened or controlled by your surroundings while you conquer and move through them. This not only adds more to the thrill, but it gives a sense of attachment to the level rather than an opposition to it.

4. Flow - This is where speed plays its hand, but it's not the only part of it. It's also perhaps where the division in the fanbase has its core. Flow is similar to freedom, but the main difference is that it has more to do with the desires of the player than with what the game offers. Some people may like cutscenes, stories and hubs, but when people just want to move right through the game unhindered by the restraints of complicated adventures (and loading screens), why shouldn't they? Even as a person who enjoys storylines in my games, I still think Sonic is a series where such things should be optional at best to contribute to the feeling of flow that is a necessity to the games (at least the mainstream ones.)

So what are your thoughts?

Edited by SuperStingray
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To sum it up nice and quick...

Fast platforming, with physics built for gaining speed going down slopes, branching paths.

And while it's not gameplay related, nice envirnments, good music, well designed characters.

But really, Speed alone does not make a Sonic game, it needs a perfect combination of many elements, or else it just feels like a somewhat interactive rollercoaster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to feel like I'm flying on my feet. I want to feel like the world is built for me, if I can just see how it all fits together. I want to run so fast that I can tell physics to shove it as I make my own rules.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was just thinking bout this yesterday. To me the appeal of Sonic's gsmeplay is something that will make you say "Wow this is really fast and fun! Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap!" Your just coasting along owning everything then suddenly your being chased by lava or you reach a really hard platforming section which requires you to slow down or an enemy comes seemingly out of nowhere and you get hit or you're in a boss battle and all your rings fly off the screen. It's surprising and for a few moments its so intense as you try to escape the lava or recollect your rings before something else hits you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thrilling, high speed platforming and running, using rule of cool to the max - one of the reasons why I like SA so much. Running down buildings, snowboarding away from an avalanche, riding rollercoasters, gambling in the casino, destroying giant cannons with rockets, running away from giant rocks, a whale, getting sucked up in a tornado, the possibilities are endless.

Alternate routes are a big one though - I'd rather have a level suspended over a bottomless pit with loads of alternate routes than one that has basically no pits but little deviation from the standard route. I'd like to be able to have slightly slower levels too, but where you can go fast if you are good enough at them - levels like Lost World are good for this.

As for more aesthetic things, lots of colours, and environments that make you go "Wow." And naturally music - whether it's high speed insane music or whether it's calmer, more ambient music, it's gotta be good and fitting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The experience I hope to get out of a Sonic game is to have one guy facing challenges and feats that seem incomprehensible to most people. I want to take Sonic and run full speed into those challenges, and overcome them. The idea is that if one denies the idea of impossibility, then one is capable of anything.

So the bigger the jump, the tougher the enemy, the cockier the smirk on Sonic's irreverent face...the better the experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me I'd say it was sonic unleashed w/o the werehog or flying mini game. Its a fast paced action/platformer. And Sonic unleashed did it almost perfectly, exclude the framerate drops.

Nuff said.

Edited by shadixxx
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've discussed this a bit before, but I'd like to go more in depth on the subject.

As a hardcore Sonic fan, I see a lot of discussion on what makes the series so unique and what separates the older games from the newer ones. I hear "Sonic is about speed," "Sonic is a platformer," "Sonic has to be 2D to work," etc. But I don't think the concept of the true Sonic experience can be grasped so simply.

Sonic may have been marketed with his trademark speed, but it really has almost nothing to do with his appeal. Holding down the B button as you move in any early Mario game let's you run just about as fast. If you ask me, what sets Sonic apart from that is his environment. What makes his environments such an important aspect of the Sonic experience is the use and balance of four fundamental factors: dynamic, freedom, unity, and flow.

1. Dynamic - Springs. Tubes. Pits. Loops. Grind rails. I could go on. When you run through a true Sonic level, your world isn't just an obstacle course. It's a playground. In any platforming game, you can jump on enemies and collect items, but Sonic really offers much more than that. I doubt that there are many platformers that are so versatile; I don't see any other game where you ride the San Fransisco-type streets like snowboarding down a mountain, run down a building and get chased by a semi in one five-minute level and still have time for the basic stuff.

2. Freedom - When you have fun with a Sonic game, you should get that feeling that you can do what you want and go where you want because the world's your bitch. This feeling can come in many ways; you could be finding new paths through a level, exploring and finding secrets, breezing through a wide open space, perhaps even playing around in a hub or ideally: all of the above. (The hubs are probably the most controversial, but I think they could work if they're optional, at least more so than in Unleashed.)

3. Unity - As stated before, you should feel like the world's your bitch, but the best part is when the reciprocal can be felt at the same time. Whether you're running through a loop, getting chased by lava, riding through a pipe, or just overall succumbing to the effects of pinball physics, you can feel threatened or controlled by your surroundings while you conquer and move through them. This not only adds more to the thrill, but it gives a sense of attachment to the level rather than an opposition to it.

4. Flow - This is where speed plays its hand, but it's not the only part of it. It's also perhaps where the division in the fanbase has its core. Flow is similar to freedom, but the main difference is that it has more to do with the desires of the player than with what the game offers. Some people may like cutscenes, stories and hubs, but when people just want to move right through the game unhindered by the restraints of complicated adventures (and loading screens), why shouldn't they? Even as a person who enjoys storylines in my games, I still think Sonic is a series where such things should be optional at best to contribute to the feeling of flow that is a necessity to the games (at least the mainstream ones.)

So what are your thoughts?

Sonic is a lot of things, and each aspect has near unlimited potential. It just has to actually be exploited to its fullest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sonic is a lot of things, and each aspect has near unlimited potential. It just has to actually be exploited to its fullest.
Bam. My thoughts exactly. Sonic's a hell of a lot more versatile than most people give him credit for - it's a rotten shame that most people won't hold him to that on account of his track record.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it's like dealing with a well known liar or thief or anyone who's done bad consistently.

You know that person can change and do better, but time and time again, he/she disappoints and lets you down. Sooner or later, you just give up and stop expecting anything more than what you've been given, good or bad.

Sonic's in the same boat. He's been trying to improve, but people have been given everything but what has worked in the past. So, naturally, they're gonna want the good stuff they had before. If you try to introduce something new, people are gonna cry foul and insist that what they already have will suit just fine. It's even worse if the new thing turns out sucking.

Sonic the Hedgehog can be brought back to prominence/relevance. The potential is there. The tools are at one's disposal. Heck, the drive is present as well.

All that's missing, I feel, is the people that can truly make it happen with the right amount of effort.

Edited by Ryan the Game Master
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.