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Silent Jack

Are Sonic media better than the games?

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I'm talking about recent media and games here, obviously this is just my opinion, my view, it's extremely subjective. But I felt that recent media like Sonic Boom and the comics are more "quality products" than the games.

Let's take the games that came out last year: Sonic Forces is definitely not a quality game, it's all over the place with it's ideas and concepts, the story is decent, okay, but the gameplay is sadly the worst part of it; Sonic Mania, while being good in recreating the classic games, it offers nothing new and very little creativity in its new concepts (no, I mean, Studiopolis is so good but how much new content is in the game?), it's mostly to please the classic fans, and doesn't have much to offer for new or modern fans.

Now, Sonic Boom has showed that against all odds, it can be successful, okay they moved it to Boomerang but it's still popular in the rest of the planet, it aired in over 170 countries, it does well in Europe and other places, not only it's popular but it's a quality cartoon. It had various flaws in season one but season two was a vast improvement, it delivers great comedy, a variety of characters that we know and love and converts them into a comedy action show. The voice acting is also amazing, the CGI is better than your usual cartoon, the plots are wacky and sitcom-y but satisfy Sonic fans and their fan fiction ideas, there are also good fights which are quite creative, the budget is kinda low but they managed to do the most creative plots with just "8 characters and 4 locations" as they said in the show (great meta-humour by the way). Season 2 even did bigger multi-parter stories with higher stakes, I want to see more of that in season 3 if it happens. SEGA themselves seem satisfied with the success of the cartoon, but also with Mania and Forces apparently, those were successful too.

The comics... I'm talking about the Archie ones: so much world building, a cohesive world, well written plots with depth, the characters are also written competently, in fact Boom and the comics had what the games lack: good writers. Ian Flynn showed how to write Knuckles, a competent hero and guardian, Amy, an action girl who's independent and has funny banter with Sonic, Big, another funny and strong character, Silver, he gave him a deep personality, Sticks, a lot more balanced than in the cartoon with various personality traits, and created a bunch of original characters who fit the Sonic universe and have even more depth and development. The art is also amazing, they are just well thought and well drew all around. Now, I haven't seen the IDW comics but they seem to follow this route, but with less world building for now, and more focus on plot and a small amount of characters via character rotation (issue one has Tails, issue two has Amy, Sonic is the only constant, Eggman is only introduced in issue 5), small stories but there is an ongoing plan for a bigger arc and a mysterious villain, according to Ian. The new characters are also awesome, again, they fit the universe and add something new, Tangle has proven to be very popular even before her debut. I'm confident these comics will be great because they have the same team from Archie working on it, a team that is successful should not be changed, and I trust IDW.

This is what I was thinking this morning, my usual thoughts from when I'm in the toilet, LOL. I know I didn't focus much on talking about the games, it's probably just me, my interest in those games was low maybe? I realized this because I played less than 50 hours with Forces and Mania combined, that's kinda worrying for me. But again, I'm more a fan of the characters than the games, I also realized this, it's just my opinion.

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Recent non-game media, in my opinion, does succeed at being a better example of its own media than the games succeed at being games.  So in that regard, yes, they are "better."  Sonic Boom does a better job being a cartoon, for example.  Generally speaking, it's not visually assaulting, is well paced, and isn't really offensive on a macro scale.  It's not by any means perfect, but outside the core fandom, it's not derisive either.  The comics are also generally well-made.  The art in post-reboot Archie is visually pleasing, or at the very least anatomically correct in most cases, it has a somewhat unique style, and a decent grasp of characterization (regardless of whether or not that characterization aligns with your own personal conceptions of who Sonic et. al should be), and a consistent tonality.  As a cartoon, Sonic Boom is a decent example of one.  As far as comics go, post-reboot Archie is a decent example of a comic.  Their problems lie in the fact that there's really nothing in them that I would use to win over new fans of the series.  Just as there's nothing egregiously offensive about them (note: again, outside the core fandom), there's nowhere that they truly shine, either.  While I like Ian Flynn's take on the characters, both series are simply, reasonably strong in what their respective mediums set out to do.

Contrast this with the games, which for the longest time have had a variety of noted problems fundamentally ranging from easily fixable problems like level design to much more complex technical issues like faulty engines.  The plot of Sonic games have also never really been particularly Shakespearean, but to be honest, game narratives with a few exceptions tend to be kind of on the clunky side anyway and it's not really what most people subscribe to games for usually.  So because the gameplay for Sonic games has been generally weak in recent years, it falls short of doing what its medium was designed to do.

This is in opposition with how it was in the 90's arguably up until the mid-2000's, where the shows and comics were pretty lackluster for their time, despite generally being liked within the fanbase, and only got worse over time.  But the fact that the games at the time still had a positive reputation and were designed with an iota of competence made up for it.  That, and even the shortcomings of the Sonic cartoons weren't particularly uncommon among licensed cartoons of the time, so it wasn't something you could really knock Sonic for specifically.  The main difference is that the games are the "primary" medium.  The comics and the cartoons all serve as advertisements for the games, not the other way around.  So the fact that the games were still going strong strengthened the outlook on the comics and cartoons, even if those weren't particularly good on their own merits.  Whereas today, Sonic is, rather deservedly, a bit of an easy target when it comes to his primary medium, so even if Boom has seen some success and the comics (prior to their cancellation) were much stronger than they were previously, the state of the games sort of paints those in a bad light, despite their quality.

tl;dr sonic

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The game are Sonic media as well, just the main one. 

But for my money, alternate media can never provide a better overall experience than the games. There's just something special about playing through games to get the Sonic experience that a comic or cartoon just can't capture. Reams of comic lore can't top the bits of banter as you run through Heroes, for example.

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In my opinion I would have to say no on the whole. I really enjoyed 'Mania' and 'Forces' and as @VEDJ-F said there really is no substitute for the games. However, you do have a point on the Sonic Boom series , its extremely well written , witty and clever. Also , I'm throughly looking forward to the IDW comics next month. The extra stuff is by no means shabby at all right now.

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Games before Sonic 06 were very successful and each next game was the game that would expand Sonic's lore with new stories and characters.

(Even Sonic Riders, which is a racing game, had a good story and funny moments that didn't feel forced)

Right now, I stopped playing the 3D games after Forces. (but I still play mania, only for gameplay though).

But let me tell you, many lore elements of Sonic were primarily made to attract costumers, it means that Iizuka added the Chao gardens, Big the Cat (to relax in between fast stages yeah), introduced the Chaotix again in Sonic Heroes because fans wanted more characters (I'm not lying fans wanted more characters at that time).

These elements would do great! But then, adding classic Sonic to Forces to attract Generations fans was also an attempt to attract costumers, but it was horrible!

Iizuka should take into consideration if the elements to attract costumers will help or ruin Sonic's lore, not only adding in gameplay. (in the case of Chao gardens and Chaotix reintroduction, it was fantastic, but in the case of Classic Sonic in Forces, it ruined the story). That's the only thing that would get me to re-play Sonic games.

My main source of Sonic media will be the comic!

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It's us fans that keep Sega running, if we played SA1 or SA2 for the first time as adults, we would be more critical to the story than if we were kids.

As kids, many of us found SA1 and SA2 as games with excellent stories, why? Because the writers did more efforts than the new writers to introduce a story in between levels. Plus the character design appeal very much to kids and teenagers.

We have thoudands of fansites, Sonic is the king on Deviantart, we have countless fan characters and fanfictions, and even fan games (of which some people got the opportunity  to make an excellent new 2D game for Sega). Tell me another platforming game franchise that has such a dedicated community (excluding the Nintendo games).

The comics and the shows definitely played a role in attracting more fans like SaTAM, Sonic X, Sonic Archie...

We don't have all these fanarts and fanfictions only because gameplay, but because the story! Even the early fans were very interested in who Tails was, what was Knuckles doing in the early 2D games...

We have a scrapped game character that has countless fanarts years before her official introduction in the Archie comics (Honey the Cat).

Gameplay alone can't generate all these fan creations, but also story, that's why the TV shows and the comics are very important right now, with the low quality of stories in the games.

Do you think Sonic would still be succesful if he wasn't surrounded by his friends and their motivations, emotions, personal struggles that makes them relatable? I doubt so.

And it's true, it's very easy to make a lore that's much better than the newer games.

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Depends on what you look for, I guess. In terms of writing and capturing my care, yes. Definitely. At least the Archie comics did. Boom was okay for what it was. Or is. I dunno, I didn't follow it after the eighth episode. It wasn't my thing.

The games just do nothing for me, anymore. I haven't cared about any of them after Sonic Adventure 2. They became bland, boring titles. Even gameplay has become unexciting. Boost is fun for like, five minutes. I prefer 3D anyway and the games have less and less 3D in them, so yeah.

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Sonic Underground, even with it's spotty continuity and bad attempts at being like SatAM, manages to have better continuity than the games.

Yes. I accept Underground as a piece of shit, but it at least doesn't have as many plot holes as recent games.

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I would say kinda.

The recent games (Colors onwards) haven't exactly tried making a very cohesive, living world with their "stories." Archie's stuff made Sonic's world so interesting and unique, before they had to just start over and make everything be closer to the games.

I honestly liked the different feel the comics gave the series in the pre-Flynn days. Controversy regarding "That guy" aside.

 

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I appreciate that alternate media tends to use the supporting cast better--and to be frank, I don't just mean compared to Unleashed and onwards.

Beyond that I find it hard to compare across mediums, and as far as personal enjoyment goes there's been good and bad in each one the franchise has dabbled in (like most long running franchises, really), so...yeah. It depends, I guess.

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Despite it's obvious flaws, I still enjoyed Forces narrative. More than many Boom episodes, even if ""objectively"" Boom is better, Forces had elements I wanted to see more.

And Mania is good as a game, so " arms shrug". Let's hope movie won't mess the good streak.

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How exactly are you supposed to compare them, though? On a case by case basis? Even the games are a ridiculous crapshoot in terms of tone and quality, let alone something like old Archie, or the 5 television shows. I mean, I think many of the game stories are utter crap, but some of them are really good, and I would take those in a heartbeat over The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

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Can't really hold gameplay against the games when you are comparing the games to other media like tv shows and comics where there is no gameplay.

I like the main games' canon better than the other media - it is more open and able to handle more varied stories. Though I have to admit the other media write their stories with better entertainment. Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Unleashed are the best Sonic stories of the modern era but even they are flawed (Adventure's humor is a little flat, Unleashed does not have enough in the middle of its story). Comparatively Sonic Boom is just a joke show where Eggman is a weak villain and Knuckles has the IQ of a rock instead of either being a powerful challenge or rival to Sonic, but it has made me laugh out loud.

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