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Are we in a new dark era?

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1 minute ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I don't understand this response. What does the fact that I enjoy the comic have to do with what I just wrote about the state of the games and the people in charge of them? Yeah, not literally everything is bad because there are somethings not made by Sonic Team that are allowed to branch off and be better than what they are. The prescene of things like the comic or Sonic Mania Adventures is nice but its not something I should have to keep bringing up as an aside whenever talking about the horrible boring state the games are in. Even in the early 2000s, there was still stuff to like about the series. I say as much in the post.

This isn't the first time someone's responded to me chastizing the series by bringing up the fact that I like the comic. Its a little irritating now.

You also mentioned a non-Sonic Team game in TSR when you did that post. 

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14 hours ago, Conquering Storm’s Servant said:

Somewhat.

The thing that I feel mitigates it is that Sonic survived the previous dark age and kept going. That and Mania being successful.

Even with all that’s happened, Sonic still maintains a strong following that loyal even while acknowledging his ruts and downsides. He has other media in cartoons and comics that manage to rake in much better reception, and he still popular enough to stay relevant. So despite all the bad that we’ve gone through now, it’s a dark age that will pass once Sonic Team gets their shit together—don’t hold me on when that happens tho.

Not that he’s doing stellar, but things have been much worse. 

Pretty much all of this.

Its not a secret that fans have a tendency of exaggerating how bad things really are. Its because they have a lot emotionally invested in the franchise (arguably too much in some cases, though that's for another discussion) and unfortunately that results in accentuating the negative of now while exaggerating the positives of the past. Suddenly a few mild disappointments are going to usher in the death of the franchise. The past can be lifted up by spinoffs, but the present can't because we're negative now, dammit, and things are only allowed to be so good.

One attitude I especially dislike is its better to have bad games because they're funny and get attention-- nevermind how little people actually had a healthy laugh about it until years after and instead got angry and toxic and dragged the series through the mud way worse than they ever did with Lost World or Forces. I mean, is this what people would prefer for the franchise over games that are, at least, functional? For it to be a laughingstock that blows up in flames, is used to make fun of fans for years, and gets remembered as an embarrassment, the franchise equivalent of that kid who acts out in class just so that they get paid attention to? Because hell no, that's just sad, won't really make anybody happier where and when it counts, and way worse for the franchise long term. If the franchise is gonna have a dark age, its much preferable for it to be not memorable, because when the series improves, the memories are just baggage that get in the way of the recovery.

And if we must look at Mario... Mario's had more terrible and disappointing games than Sonic ever did. Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japanese version, which apparently Miyamoto deeply regrets for having too much of the common flaws at the time like being a clone of the first title but with cheap difficulty amped up, and Western version, which was just weird even by the standards of the not-yet-fully-established franchise), the stagnation of the NSMB series, Galaxy 2, I could go on and on without even mentioning spinoffs. But Mario's terrible additions aren't memorable, so people just move on when, if not well before, the next thing comes out. They don't feel inclined to drag up dead horses the moment something disappointed, because why would they? The lack of memorability makes how irrelevant they are obvious. And those bad-interesting Sonic games are equally irrelevant-- its just less obvious because they're more memorable, and that makes it harder to move on.

Not that I think its a dark age, because its one of those things that are impossible to define due to how subjective the whole concept is, or that I haven't heard good arguments for this being a dark age even if I'm taking the agnostic position on the whole matter. But I think the Sonic fandom is deeply entrenched in this myopia where everything lines up with somebody's agenda or what's personal comforting rather than the actual reality of the situation, and it results in these beliefs that are, at best, exaggerated becoming not only normalized in fan groups but practically a requirement for everybody to hold to be taken seriously.

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4 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Sure. Mainly because you seem to lump it in with Sonic Team’s work.

No, I didn't. I was talking about the game series as a whole within that first post. TSR is a Sonic game thats doing the same nonsense the recent games are doing so I considered it a relevant example.

The post I just typed said that there are some things not made by Sonic Team that try and do things well but that doesn't at all mean that all of those are going to be good like you weirdly assumed I meant. Which is why I assume is the reason you brought up the comic.

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Another thing I noticed is that a lot of fans who were complaining during the first dark age or early in the second one have left and never returned. E-25, Flame Reaver, Nicochi, Sky Hedgehogian Maestro, Dr. BaconStein, etc. 

 

I wonder why they never came back?

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2013 possibly, but 2014-2017 was basically another dark age for me personally. Where the horrid vomit inducing sub series took over, and it basically got all the attention. It was what made me quit the forums here the first time. I was done. Sonic was dead to me if that was the direction they wanted to go. I had nothing good to say so there was no reason to pollute a bunch of topics about how much I hate this or that.

If not for Sonic Mania, I'd be done. It's the only reason I came back. I'm not even a classic purist, I'm more of an Adventure era guy since I grew up with those games. I mean they didn't age gracefully as games, but what they stood for is what made me a fan of the series and characters. I think we're onto something good with the Classic Sonic stuff. I want to love Modern again, but he's been polluted, and fucked hard to the point it's not at all what I love anymore. What I love is basically dead in the Modern universe with what it represents now.

The classic universe which I wasn't even that into before became appealing to me from Mania, and the animated shorts. The way the characters act is much more loving and charming to me than what they did to the modernverse. Mania sold me on a future focused on Classic Sonic. No horrid lines and delivery to push me away from the characters, Sonic's friends given actual respect without them being useless damsel fodder, a colorful fun world that's not a rainbow eye gouging puke that's trying to herald to Classic ala Lost World, and enjoyable gameplay no matter who you choose to play as.

Aside from Forces which I KNEW was fucked from the start, Mania gave me what I needed. I wanted Forces to prove me wrong, but I knew the modernism's would fuck it. The minute Classic Sonic showed up I knew it was screwed. I want the heart and soul of the series I loved to come back, but I'm sure the adventure era spirit is long since dead. The Neo Classic Sonic era though shows promise and well does more help to fill the void than anything in years has. 

2014-2017 was the darkest age of Sonic for me. When I said fuck all. I thank the Mania team for giving me a reason to care again. Even if I only have faith in them, and no one else who works on Sonic games.

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If we're talking about personal dark ages, I'm in mine right now. That moment when I saw Classic Sonic show up in the Forces trailer is gonna stick with me possibly forever as far as this series is concerned. 

The excitement of seeing Sonic overlooking a destroyed city with Eggman robots everywhere and seeing a title card about him needing help. That breath I took when I foolishly, for a single second, considered or at least hoped they were talking about Tails, and then the chair smacking me in the back of my head when Classic Sonic showed up.

Then I went...

Yeah, I think as far as the games are concerned, the magic's gone. 

 

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17 hours ago, Rowl said:

 And than there where the other games like Secret Rings, Black Knight, Chronicles and the Rivals and Riders series, which where either bad or boring.

Yeah, gonna have to disagree right there. Black Knight pretty much had the best story, best voice acting, and decent gameplay. Also, the first two Riders games were really fun.

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2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Maybe you should because, uh...maybe Lost Levels aside those are all good games? SMB2 US is weird but it's still a solid game that ended up adding quite a bit to the Mario universe, the NSMB games got kinda samey but they were all fairly solid and fun games, and Galaxy 2 is great.

I'm not saying Mario has an entirely flawless record, but I'd struggle to call any Mario platformer bad, and he's certainly not had anything on the level of Sonic's biggest failures.

I did and I don't appreciate the sarcasm just because its something you don't want to hear. While those games have their fans, they are polarizing and many criticisms from the their window of release describe them as disappointing in some way or another. This is something I kept in mind when I was answering-- there's even more Mario games that I personally find to be terrible, but the overwhelming majority of people would disagree with me on that judgement and so I decided against giving them a mention.

Forces is also fairly solid despite being same-y (so I don't see how NSMB is much different in that regard) and Galaxy 2 gets flack for the same reasons as Forces does pretty much. Outside of a few characters who people probably wouldn't guess came from the game to begin with, Mario 2 is generally something that none of the Mario games that came after it really tried to emulate or take notes from. Its very telling that Mario Maker doesn't even bother to represent it outside of the aforementioned few characters despite repping Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, the former of which was widely and understandably (if too harshly) criticized on launch for being a pared-down reskin of Super Mario World. Super Mario Bros 2 in both forms is more or less that odd footnote in the series that represents that time Mario tripped after his debut.

I'd merrily call plenty of Mario platformers disappointing for a variety of reasons; however, that's beside the point, which is that people tend not to hold them as harshly against Mario because the disappointment are done in a way that's more forgettable. If you didn't like Galaxy 2, it's easy to brush it aside as a lackluster lull in the series because there's really not much of note there that can't be found in Galaxy 1, and same goes for the later titles NSMB series. But something like Sonic 06 happens and suddenly everything gets under a magnifying glass.

My point there was that memorable disappointments and letdowns are harder to brush aside. People generally don't perceive Mario's letdowns as bad as Sonic's not because Mario is lacking in that department, but because Mario's disappointments are more forgettable than Sonic's. Perception becomes reality. With that in mind, its really not clear to me what good regressing back to when new Sonic games were legendarily terrible would do for anybody-- maybe a few good things short term for a small group of people, but certainly nothing good for anybody long term.

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I definitely think "Gray age" is a more fitting name for this rut we're in right now.

Sonic Lost World kinda sucked, Sonic Boom was alright but not great (going purely by the general subfranchise, not any one particular aspect of it), Sonic Mania was spectacular and Sonic Forces was probably the most polarizing Sonic game to date. Outside of that, we've had some hit and miss mobile games and some comics. All of these are generally looked at as "Alright, but not great".

I don't see how that's even remotely comparable to getting a string of absolutely abominable games like ShadowTH, '06, Secret Rings, Genesis, Chronicles, etc. Sonic's not in the best of places, but he's hardly looked at with almost universal scorn like he was 12 years ago.

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36 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Maybe the way in which Mario's disappointments are forgettable is that...they aren't actually all that disappointing? At worst Mario'll put out a game that's a little awkward or unambitious, but still fairly polished, well designed, and generally fun. Sonic, on the other hand, has put out games that are genuinely trash. Not simply rough around the edges, but outright badly designed, mechanically broken, with some absolutely baffling storytelling, or sometimes all of the above.

Like to emphasize this particular point to lead into the one I'm about to make: the reception of how Mario and Sonic games are received work under different parameters. By that I mean the demands are different, the responses are different, the context is different. Expecting Mario games to be analyzed in the same way Sonic games is a bit misguided because it doesn't acknowledge these differing standards and expectations. It's why something like NSMB2 being "more forgettable" doesn't hurt the Mario series in the same way a game like Sonic 2006 gets put under a microscope.

Moreover, that's just contrasting franchise expectations between actual followers without taking the generic opinion of  into account. As much as Mario fans can take to task about the NSMB series for being stale and uninspired, that hasn't really stopped the general market of accepting them in the millions of units, or the games generally getting decent-to-highly positive reactions in the critical space--they've received a reception in ways some games and series wish they could obtain. Same goes for the argument that Galaxy 2 is a awful game, which in light of how the game has been otherwise analyzed is an outlying point of view.

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4 hours ago, Mad Convoy said:

And if we must look at Mario... Mario's had more terrible and disappointing games than Sonic ever did.

Yeah.... no. Non of the Mario games are as broken, glitchy, unfinished or boring as some of the Sonic games. You can not tell me with a straight face that Odyssey, Sunshine and Galaxy are really worst games than 06, Boom and Unleashed. 

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I consider Lost World, Boom and Forces to be some of the worst games in the series but aside from Boom they just kind of came and went with no fanfare. Nobody was really bothered by them as much as me and some other fans. I don't think we'll ever have an era like the "dark age" again for a variety of reasons. The melting pot of bad circumstances and ideas that created the mid 2000s games and the conversation that surrounded them will be pretty tough to emulate, even if you can still feel the effect that time had on the series today. 

I think @Diogenes has a point that the series is in a popularity decline, but one thing that's consistent about the Sonic brand is durability. It's probably not going anywhere and I could even see it hitting a second wind sooner or later. It's something that seems easy to be pessimistic about, but when I really think about it I've seen bigger comebacks from much worse circumstances. 

A lot of us value different things, though. Sonic might never "bounce back" for you or me even if it does bounce back in general. I think that's a line that's being blurred in this discussion that's making things confusing. 

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6 hours ago, Mad Convoy said:

Pretty much all of this.

Its not a secret that fans have a tendency of exaggerating how bad things really are. Its because they have a lot emotionally invested in the franchise (arguably too much in some cases, though that's for another discussion) and unfortunately that results in accentuating the negative of now while exaggerating the positives of the past. Suddenly a few mild disappointments are going to usher in the death of the franchise. The past can be lifted up by spinoffs, but the present can't because we're negative now, dammit, and things are only allowed to be so good.

One attitude I especially dislike is its better to have bad games because they're funny and get attention-- nevermind how little people actually had a healthy laugh about it until years after and instead got angry and toxic and dragged the series through the mud way worse than they ever did with Lost World or Forces. I mean, is this what people would prefer for the franchise over games that are, at least, functional? For it to be a laughingstock that blows up in flames, is used to make fun of fans for years, and gets remembered as an embarrassment, the franchise equivalent of that kid who acts out in class just so that they get paid attention to? Because hell no, that's just sad, won't really make anybody happier where and when it counts, and way worse for the franchise long term. If the franchise is gonna have a dark age, its much preferable for it to be not memorable, because when the series improves, the memories are just baggage that get in the way of the recovery.

And if we must look at Mario... Mario's had more terrible and disappointing games than Sonic ever did. Super Mario Bros. 2 (Japanese version, which apparently Miyamoto deeply regrets for having too much of the common flaws at the time like being a clone of the first title but with cheap difficulty amped up, and Western version, which was just weird even by the standards of the not-yet-fully-established franchise), the stagnation of the NSMB series, Galaxy 2, I could go on and on without even mentioning spinoffs. But Mario's terrible additions aren't memorable, so people just move on when, if not well before, the next thing comes out. They don't feel inclined to drag up dead horses the moment something disappointed, because why would they? The lack of memorability makes how irrelevant they are obvious. And those bad-interesting Sonic games are equally irrelevant-- its just less obvious because they're more memorable, and that makes it harder to move on.

Not that I think its a dark age, because its one of those things that are impossible to define due to how subjective the whole concept is, or that I haven't heard good arguments for this being a dark age even if I'm taking the agnostic position on the whole matter. But I think the Sonic fandom is deeply entrenched in this myopia where everything lines up with somebody's agenda or what's personal comforting rather than the actual reality of the situation, and it results in these beliefs that are, at best, exaggerated becoming not only normalized in fan groups but practically a requirement for everybody to hold to be taken seriously.

I think people move on from or just forget the bad Mario games because that series hasn't had something on the level of '06 or Rise of Lyric, at least not in the main series. Arguably, the worst Mario game ever in terms of reception and commercial success is Hotel Mario, which failed in both fronts, but at the same time, was just a spinoff title not developed by Nintendo. Another thing to consider is that Mario games are generally well-made and polished, at worst they can be mediocre or boring. On the other hand, Sonic games are notorious for having rushed development, featuring untested or downright broken mechanics, and just being mediocre in general.

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1 hour ago, Rowl said:

Yeah.... no. Non of the Mario games are as broken, glitchy, unfinished or boring as some of the Sonic games. You can not tell me with a straight face that Odyssey, Sunshine and Galaxy are really worst games than 06, Boom and Unleashed. 

This

3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Maybe the way in which Mario's disappointments are forgettable is that...they aren't actually all that disappointing? At worst Mario'll put out a game that's a little awkward or unambitious, but still fairly polished, well designed, and generally fun. Sonic, on the other hand, has put out games that are genuinely trash. Not simply rough around the edges, but outright badly designed, mechanically broken, with some absolutely baffling storytelling, or sometimes all of the above.

And This. Plus, not to attack you or anything Mad Convoy, but I have not heard of ONE person that said that Galaxy 2 was awful. Maybe slighty inferior to Galaxy 1, but not awful.

Edited by Ruomarta
misspelled something

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I think it's pretty delusional to call this another dark age.

To start with, both Adventure games were poorly received before Heroes came out, check out the Gamecube scores for Adventure 1 and 2, they aren't pretty. I remember the previews for Heroes hoping it could make up for the disappointing Adventure titles.

Fans like to claim the dark age was Heroes, Shadow and 06, but to a great number of people, it's Sonic Adventure 1, 2, Heroes, Shadow, Riders series, 06, Secret Rings, Black Knight, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic 4. The vast majority of people agree that the final 7 are terrible, and that the first 3 range from terrible to fun. Completely dwarves the current 'dark age'.

Sonic Unleashed has received praise from fans now, but I agree with critics. The hub world and werehog were boring and out if place. Even the daytime stages were hampered by a poor framerate, trial and error level design, and terrible controls (same button for homing attack and boost etc). Unleashed lay the ground for future games, but its very flawed.

Most people think Colours and Generations are fun and Im inclined to agree. The All Stars Racing was good too.

The 'current' dark age is nowhere near as bad. Lost World and Forces are only Sonic Heroes mediocre level, only Sonic Boom is Shadow, 06, Sonic Free Riders levels of atrocious. And Mania is the best Sonic game since Sonic and Knuckles, so that throws a massive wrench into the idea. You cant say that for Sonic's dark age. And while the new racing game looks bland, it looks a hell of a lot better than riders. To say the current 'dark age' is as bad or worse than the last is patently ridiculous.

I wonder how many people who share this sentiment actually lived through the releases and hype of Adventure, Heroes, Shadow, Riders, 06, Unleashed, Sonic 4 etc. Its very different to read about it than to have lived through it. I know several people started with Heroes or Unleashed, and I think it'd be hard to appreciate just how dire the dark age was in that circumstance.

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1 hour ago, Plasme said:

I think it's pretty delusional to call this another dark age.

To start with, both Adventure games were poorly received before Heroes came out, check out the Gamecube scores for Adventure 1 and 2, they aren't pretty. I remember the previews for Heroes hoping it could make up for the disappointing Adventure titles.

Fans like to claim the dark age was Heroes, Shadow and 06, but to a great number of people, it's Sonic Adventure 1, 2, Heroes, Shadow, Riders series, 06, Secret Rings, Black Knight, Sonic Unleashed, and Sonic 4. The vast majority of people agree that the final 7 are terrible, and that the first 3 range from terrible to fun. Completely dwarves the current 'dark age'.

Eh, as much as I'm not exactly big on the Adventure titles (or to be more specific, okay with Adventure 1 but dislike Adventure 2), they actually got good reviews --great metascores even-- at the time of their original release. The Gamecube versions you're mentioning are re-releases, rather than the Dreamcast originals:

Adventure 1: 86% GR >>> Adventure DX: 57 MC / 64% GR

Adventure 2: 89 MC / 83% GR >>> Adventure 2 Battle: 73 MC / 72% GR

That's especially important to note in regards to Adventure DX, which (arguably) changed up quite a bit from the original DC release and was released four/five years afterwards. And while the reviews for the GC re-releases aren't great, they aren't terrible either--they're squarely mediocre.

I will say this, however--considering how Adventure 2: Battle was much closer to the original DC release compared to Adventure DX, and was released only a few months after the DC release, it does call into question (IMO) on why the original DC release was so highly-regarded in comparison...

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Even Mario's blandest is still fundamentally solid games. You can pick up any of the NSMB games and have a good time, especially with friends. Lost Levels is what I'd call bad since the level design is quite cheap, unfair, and feels more like a rom hack than a game. Paper Jam played things safe and kinda bored me on the story front, but the gameplay was fine. I didn't play Sticker Star but that's something people weren't fond of.

And what is with this Galaxy 2 was bad speak? I mean....really? I can understand preferring the first game, but Galaxy 2 is basically more of that. It's also harder which is why I prefer it since Galaxy 1 is kind of a breeze. I think it's utterly crazy to call Galaxy 2 a bad game. It plays just like the first, only more challenging without going into BS territory...except for Grand Master which is supposed to be the Super hard level.

I really don't think there is any comparison as Mario's worst games are still not even close to as bad as Sonic's worst. But I will say judgement on Sonic is different. Funny enough I think it's the opposite. Even a bland game of Mario is usually still fundamentally solid, so it tends to be forgiven because they tend to be fun casual games to play. Funny enough I think Sonic can get too much credit like a dog who only slightly did good. The dog didn't shit on the carpet, but took a leak on it. I mean that's better, but not exactly great. Sonic Forces didn't shit on the carpet, but did drag some mud on it. Better mud than shit, but still not that great.

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13 minutes ago, Yeow said:

Eh, as much as I'm not exactly big on the Adventure titles (or to be more specific, okay with Adventure 1 but dislike Adventure 2), they actually got good reviews --great metascores even-- at the time of their original release. The Gamecube versions you're mentioning are re-releases, rather than the Dreamcast originals:

Adventure 1: 86% GR >>> Adventure DX: 57 MC / 64% GR

Adventure 2: 89 MC / 83% GR >>> Adventure 2 Battle: 73 MC / 72% GR

That's especially important to note in regards to Adventure DX, which (arguably) changed up quite a bit from the original DC release and was released four/five years afterwards. And while the reviews for the GC re-releases aren't great, they aren't terrible either--they're squarely mediocre.

I will say this, however--considering how Adventure 2: Battle was much closer to the original DC release compared to Adventure DX and was released some months later, it does call into question (IMO) on why the original DC release was so highly-regarded...

And the digital version of SA1 had an even worse reception. 

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I just kinda hate this franchise right now and tiny beacons of light like Mania and the comics are the only thing that kept me going. Forces man.....that game just...broke me finally, and id always consider myself a optimistic fan of the series!  Ill still be around when they decide tonot suck and make a good game again but until the this series is so far off my radar now because they just... refuse to do anything about their current situation and how its hurting their flagship brand.

Idk it just blows my mind that Nintendo have such careful control over the quality output of their IPs while Sega doesnt even seem to give two fucks, toss out rushed poorly made games constantly (NEVER LEANRING THEIR LESSON THAT IT DOESNT END WELL FOR THEM EVER WHEN THEY DO THAT), making shitty live action movies that completley betray the spirit and tone for some nonsense...idk man I just dont know what they're thinking right now

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The only bad things about Mario games that I can think of are maybe the lack of fanservice (like for example given some fan favorite characters a role in the game. Looking at you Daisy and Waluigi) and also the lack of a story. But other than that Mario games and Nintendo games in general are always very polished games. Even their worst Mario, Zelda, DKC and Pokémon game can be even sometimes better than some of Sonic's best games. As sad as this sounds. 

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