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Is Sonic still "cool"?

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A lot of iconic, fictional characters do actually have some outstanding trait that separates them from others and let them stand out. Mickey Mouse is the perfect hero character, Donald Duck hat anger issues and his unique voice, Goofy is clumsy, ALF has a loudmouth, Garfield is lazy, Crash Bandicoot is a bit insane, Wario is greedy and Sonic was considered to be the cool 90s kid oft the bunch. 

Sonic coolness was kinda one of the reasons (maybe even the main reason) why people liked him so much. He was the cool new kid in school, that got all of the attention from the other kids, while the uncool ones like Mario and DK got ignored for a while. The coolness factor made Sonic who he was back than. He was radical, hip, cool, did ride a skateboard, super fast and did this cool tricks etc. He was pretty much everything that was cool in the 90s crammed into one single character

But... the 90s are long over and Sonic Team and Sega knew that, that is the reason why the had to re-design Sonic into Modern Sonic, because the 90s coolness can't really appeal anymore to modern kids of the 2000. 

Because of that I always wanted to know... is Sonic still considered as "cool"? I personally still find him some how cool in his own unique way, but I kinda have the feeling that he lost his coolness and that could actually be an issue for Sonic. Sonic became so popular because he was cool, he had attitude, he was unlike Mario and the other more the in your face action hero type of character. 

What do you guys think. Is Sonic still cool in your eyes and do you think he needs this coolness to survive in this day and age?

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I don't know if Sonic still has his cool factor anymore. (I honestly started to find him a tad bit annoying when Roger took over..) 

It'll be interesting to see what Ben Schwartz and the writing team of the movie brings to the character in 2019. They might reinvent the character and make him feel fresh again.

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What do you guys think. Is Sonic still cool in your eyes and do you think he needs this coolness to survive in this day and age?

No and No

I'm gonna talk about sonic's personality because my opinion on the game front is " Maybe people would find him more cool if his games were shit less frequently "

Now Do you need coolness? No and that's what being cool is in todays market.

Have you seen modern protagonists? While I don't think this is ever confirmed, but there is a " Sonic is inspired by goku " sentiment in  a lot of the fanbase. If that has any truth, that's sort of the issue. Our modern goku is a kid in green clothes who cries alot but is super into what's doing and is very passionate about people he cares about. What cool protagonist character is, in media around the world, is Dorks. Dorks are what's cool, people coming into who they are , learning and making mistakes. Dorks run shit, even edgy characters are dorks now.  Seeing the dorky side of these characters allow for people to relate to them, kids in particular because they aren't perfect , and seeing someone like them who's a little weird is relatable.

Sonic isn't that because Sonic Team wont let him be that. And for sonic to be cool in the modern day, they have to let him be what sonic's character would actually be. A 16 year old dork who makes mistakes, gets beaten up, but gets up and tries again and is kinda goofy. Sonic's obsession with being cool is some shit that should have been left in the 90's its time for sonic to evolve, its time for sonic to dork up. Its time for sonic to be questioned and to fuck up, and not fuck up  like " I couldn't beat the bad man " but by sometimes being a bad friend and having to apologize, or being to arrogant.

Its time for sonic to be what he should have been a while ago, a 16 year old dorky kid. Let classic sonic being a cool not talking customer, it works for him. But if you are gonna keep modern sonic around, you have to keep him modern. And that means updating him, and that means allowing him to be sort of a fuck up.

 

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This was never the reason that Sonic appealed to me in the first place. If anything, Sonic stood out to me because he was a unique mix of Western and Japanese design sensibilities: a rubber hose-style animal with superhero powers and a rebellious personality. He never would have endured had "coolness" been his most important trait. It's a finite quality.

Good characters are adaptable either way, as Mickey himself has demonstrated over the years. Despite your assertion that he's the perfect hero, that's not always been the case.

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Man Sonic probably hasn't been cool since the Genesis, maybe somewhat into the Dreamcast era.

But what's considered "cool" has always been ephemeral and ever-changing, so I don't think the series' mistake is that it's failed to accurately chase trends. If there's anything consistent about being cool it's (at least the feel of) not caring about or trying to be cool. What they should be doing is getting a clear idea of who Sonic is and figuring out the most earnest, interesting, likeable version of that. Even if they end up with something that, on paper, isn't "cool", it's more likely to be cool in practice than rushing to adapt him to the flavor of the month, and it'll last longer too.

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Sonic to me is definitely no longer cool. He is no longer the rebellious and aloof youth who lived life his own way and true to himself that inspired so many back in the day. It was never nineties coolness to me that made Sonic cool, but his can do attitude and give it your all approach and find a way to enjoy yourself and be true to yourself while doing so. The reason that worked so well with the nineties mentality is because going out and being you was seen as rebellious, and in an age where tolerance and acceptance is being encouraged Sonic's rebellious be yourself no matter what outlook should still be preached as something and even encouraging for a lot of people to find the courage to stand up and be themselves. Turning Sonic into a jerkass comedian was never necessary, because someone who preaches and practices be yourself while helping others is always someone special to look up to. Again though, calling Sonic cool is kind of a subjective matter and as someone who was introduced to Sonic between the ages of 5 and 6 I always perceived him as the larger than life teenager that all the school talked about and wanted to be like in the school yard so it's easy for me to not see Sonic as col these days. But does Sonic need to be cool? Probably not anymore as most people desire relatable characters so that way they feel better about themselves and represented rather than having a character who gives you something to aspire to. I think that's a shame because I'd rather have Sonic still be the aloof larger than life character worth aspiring too and leaving the relatability to supporting characters like Tails and Amy who show that normal and even not considered normal people can also aspire to be like Sonic. It's to an extent why I actually don't like most of the cast with their various super powers from a series message perspective as they undermine more relatively normal or not socially accepted as normal characters like Tails and Amy and the thematic message that they potentially can represent, which again works well with today's audience demands.

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Sort of?

The 90s is generally a thing that's treated as a punchline nowadays. Sonic at the very least has a generally attitude and philosophy that can and has been adjusted to much up better with Modern audiences. And to his credit(and some of his arguable ridicule), the series generally makes attempts to place him in newer stories and environments that do just that--adjust him and/or his series to be down with more up to date trends and status quos.

And in a millennium that has things like the later Ben 10 series, Teen Titans, Gumball, and the Ducktales reboot, there's definitely a place for Sonic. Sonic Boom itself was proof of this.

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4 hours ago, Myst said:

 

It'll be interesting to see what Ben Schwartz and the writing team of the movie brings to the character in 2019. They might reinvent the character and make him feel fresh again.

I couldn't have chosen a worse time to post this XD

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2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

But what's considered "cool" has always been ephemeral and ever-changing, so I don't think the series' mistake is that it's failed to accurately chase trends. If there's anything consistent about being cool it's (at least the feel of) not caring about or trying to be cool. What they should be doing is getting a clear idea of who Sonic is and figuring out the most earnest, interesting, likeable version of that. Even if they end up with something that, on paper, isn't "cool", it's more likely to be cool in practice than rushing to adapt him to the flavor of the month, and it'll last longer too.

This is a good start, but for any lasting mascot some adaption took place to match current trends. Mario didn't gradually come to resemble a cutesy western animation style character for no reason. There's a sort of balancing act where you tweak the right things to roll with the punches while staying true to whatever your base happens to be. 

 

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Depends on your definition of "Cool".

For me, Sonic is like, the embodiment of the 90's. His rebellious attitude, impatient foot-tapping after a few seconds of not touching a button, the way he speaks with lines like "Aw yeah, this is happenin'", he's a 90's teenager. Of course, a lot of the 90's "attitude" today is stuff we look back at and cringe at decades later, but for Sonic, that 90's cheese factor is what makes him so enduring? 

 

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1 hour ago, DreamSaturn said:

Depends on your definition of "Cool".

For me, Sonic is like, the embodiment of the 90's. His rebellious attitude, impatient foot-tapping after a few seconds of not touching a button, the way he speaks with lines like "Aw yeah, this is happenin'", he's a 90's teenager. Of course, a lot of the 90's "attitude" today is stuff we look back at and cringe at decades later, but for Sonic, that 90's cheese factor is what makes him so enduring? 

 

Maybe just me, maybe i'm just stuck in the past... but I still find that 90s stuff cool! Honestly I wish SEGA had more faith in it... I feel sometimes the modern Sonic writers don't believe Sonic's 90s attitude is actually cool anymore and kinda play him off as slightly lame in the stories nowadays. Surely i am not crazy here, they just don't portray him the same way that they actually would had back in the 90s lately.

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To me, Sonic's best representation as a character in recent years has definitely been in Sonic Mania. I feel like it's cliche to say, but Sonic is a character who is the coolest through his expressions and reactions to the world around him.... without dialog. 

In my opinion, Sonic, as well as any character in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, has(have) become less and less 'cool' with each iteration in which there is dialog. Perhaps that could be fixed with better writing; but, to me each game just gets more and more noticeably lame with its presentation of story and character-driven dialog. Then again, I am older now and I guess it's hard to for SEGA and Sonic Team for find that sweet spot for both old and young. Presently, particularly after Forces, I would find it hard to believe that Sonic can flaunt a 'cool' demeanor to anyone over double digits in age.

Keep in mind I am not trying to put anyone down who still enjoys the 'modern' games. I'd still call myself a fan. But, the fact of the matter is that now as I'm looking back, I can watch old episodes of Spongebob Squarepants and find myself longing to binge the series today. Though a different medium, that's tough to do with any Sonic games past the Genesis era (which I don't think even count because there barely was any story).

Apologies if I got a bit off topic; can't help but feel like I did. That's how I view the topic of Sonic and the association with the word "Cool".

And if you so do plan to ask, am I saying the Spongebob is cooler than Sonic? I would say... well kinda?

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To be honest, I'm not sure how many kids in the 90's even thought he was 'cool'. I think there's truth to the speed factor in his appeal, but I think his over the top cool qualities in the marketing were always seen as a bit daft at the time.

When I played the classic Sonic games in the mid 90s, I thought he was more cute than cool per say. And I think Sonic still has that cute quality, while also being serious when he needs, when he's done properly.

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No.

Not at all.

Ever since probably Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic's cool factor exponentially declined up until the point where calling Sonic cool anymore will get you either ridicule or an eye roll. I'm not entirely sure what the reason is, tbh. It happened well before Roger Craig Smith voiced Sonic, but I think Sonic probably lost the cool factor entirely when Shadow the Hedgehog came out and that game is the antithesis of cool.

I'm leaning towards the voice acting playing the biggest role in all of this, combined with Sonic losing nearly all of his simplicity in favor of ridiculous stories. Classic Sonic is cool to me because he's not a try hard. He's a little cocky, but his actions show that rather than his annoying ass voice and idiotic puns. Classic Sonic was cool not because the games necessarily tried to portray him as cool, but because he rightfully earned the honor of being cool from the high quality of his games and media.

Btw, Smith is still easily the worst voice actor Sonic has ever had. And I'm taking everyone into account, from the cartoons to those wacky ads from the 90s

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Sonic is the extreme person who will do unnecessary dangerous things just for the fun of it he even thinks fighting robots was a good date activity this is what separates him from the others not him being made in the 90's.

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I'd say 100% no , and to be honest I don't really understand how people see him as such, but I wasn't alive during the Genesis era so I wouldn't really know. I can say however that even as a kid playing Adventure 1, he was not cool in any way, shape or form, just an alternative to Mario, just listen to his dialogue. He's got a really 'cool' design though, especially the classic one, with modern being a bit too busy.

 

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22 minutes ago, Fire-N-Space said:

Sonic is the extreme person who will do unnecessary dangerous things just for the fun of it he even thinks fighting robots was a good date activity this is what separates him from the others not him being made in the 90's.

You're not wrong.

7 minutes ago, Underground123 said:

 He's got a really 'cool' design though, especially the classic one, with modern being a bit too busy.

 

"Too busy" how?

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For Classic Sonic, yes. But for modern Sonic? Not really. Classic Sonic to me had that edge that at least make people, especially me, appreciate him in the 90s and even now because how much badass things he could do while fighting robots without being a try hard. He even exuded some of that coolness factor in his expressions. Sonic Mania at least managed to bring back that feeling, especially with Sonic Mania Adventures. It's the details like that seem effective. Modern Sonic I feel comes off obnoxious rather than cool in the recent games, or at least too try hard while trying to tell lame jokes or make really awful puns making us think that he's cool, but that's due to really inept writing. They could really use some better writers to write better dialogue. Also the design I feel is a part of that factor as well. I guess this is probably why I'm favoring more to Classic Sonic these days.

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12 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

 

"Too busy" how?

Bad choice of words, maybe not busy but definitely not aesthetically pleasing. The eyes don't complement his other colors well, since blue, black, red and white complement each while the eye color is just unnecessary and his whole body just seems extremely disproportionate, since his torso is so small and his legs so lanky. But those are just silly nitpicks, they're basically the same character and I wouldn't change his modern design for the world haha.....

which apparently the movie failed to get the memo on. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Underground123 said:

 

Bad choice of words, maybe not busy but definitely not aesthetically pleasing. The eyes don't complement his other colors well, since blue, black, red and white complement each while the eye color is just unnecessary 

 

I mean, there is the whole Red, Blue, and Green color trio of light.

7 minutes ago, Underground123 said:

and his whole body just seems extremely disproportionate, since his torso is so small and his legs so lanky. But those are just silly nitpicks, they're basically the same character and I wouldn't change his modern design for the world haha.....

I think that came about because they wanted to further anthropomorphize Sonic to look like he's thin with long hair, which a number of things already changed into being a mohawk, so they tried to find a middleground where he has hair that can still look vaguely like spines.

8 minutes ago, Underground123 said:

 

 

which apparently the movie failed to get the memo on. 

 

Yeah, I saw that by accident.

It honestly looks like a mix between Classic with a closer approximation of Modern's hair.

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The main difference between sonic now and sonic in the classic era, is that back then sonic (in the video games at least) didnt try to act cool. He just was cool by the things he did, the actions he took. This is a key difference between the two.

This changed a lot with modern sonic, mostly because sonic team thought to make him say "cool" things. Hes still action oriented but more often can be annoying and somewhat talkative in later games.

I still find both classic and modern to be cool personally but I do think classic sonic is a lot more cool in his action-first, impatient, minimally talkative way.

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12 hours ago, Lord-Dreamerz said:

Maybe just me, maybe i'm just stuck in the past... but I still find that 90s stuff cool! Honestly I wish SEGA had more faith in it... I feel sometimes the modern Sonic writers don't believe Sonic's 90s attitude is actually cool anymore and kinda play him off as slightly lame in the stories nowadays. Surely i am not crazy here, they just don't portray him the same way that they actually would had back in the 90s lately.

Oh yeah, definitely! My point was more so how easy it is to cringe at how cheesy that "cowabunga, totally knarly, dude!" stuff is.

But I still love it!

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God no. 

I mean, Sonic was cool because his rival was Mario. Mario ruled the gaming world. He was the king. 

What Sonic did was kinda be the antithesis of what Mario was doing. He was edgier, but not so much that it was controversial. 

But as time went on, Sonic isn't so edgy by today's standards. Even back then, that edge probably started to dull with other more mature titles breaking into the mainstream like Doom and Mortal Kombat. 

Now, violence has kinda become the standard. It's hardly controversial anymore. While Sonic wasn't about violence, it's hard to be "cool" and rebellious when other games do that. And Sonic can't do that - it's dumb. 

But that's fine! Sonic doesn't need to be cool.

The series just needs to play well and have enough nuance to it to keep players engaged. 

As for my own taste: In direction with atmosphere, I would suggest taking things that may seem cool on surface, exaggerate the hell out it to the point of ridiculousness. 

The GUN Truck is a good example of this. It's a car chase scene. That's cool. But it's also exaggerated by being too large to fit the street - it takes up both lanes. Generations knocked it up by giving it rockets and saws. 

It's superficially cool but also makes fun of the idea of cool. 

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What even is "cool" anymore? Being a nerd was considered "uncool" before, and nowadays its considered a virtue. 

That's kind of the fundamental issue with Sonic, the way he's designed and his concept are not built to last like Mario (or Mickey Mouse, or any other iconic character similar). Mario gets to be the fun everyman character that is adaptable in any situation, while Sonic is desperately trying to fit in with modern times because his concept of "cool" stopped being relevant almost two decades ago. He really is the washed up old man who can't get with the times, which is depressing to say the least.

"Cool" is something that is esoteric and hard to pin down; what's cool today may be considered uncool a few years down the line as with the nerd example above. Sonic has been trying so hard to keep that "cool" factor that he has, inadvertently, created so many different versions of himself that appeal to many different facet of fans.  You got classic fans, Dreamcast fans, Modern fans, Archie Fans, Boom fans, etc etc.  All of them feel Sonic is "cool" in their own way.

Appealing to so many different people is a double-edged sword. Because while that does mean Sonic has pretty widespread appeal overall, it also means that those same fans may not see eye to eye on "what Sonic is" and Sega has been desperately trying to reconcile that with...mixed results. Every section of the fanbase thinks their version of Sonic is superior to the others, and tend to feel slighted when Sega caters to one section more than another. You only have to look at how some Modern fans reacted to Mania's success, because that isn't what Sonic is to them and while they were stuck with...Forces.  This is why we have so many civil wars, because we all want the same thing, for Sonic to be "good" again, we just have different ideas on what that entails.

So this topic is kind of a loaded question; what's "cool" to you depends entirely on what era you came up in and what drew you into the series to begin withs; you may be a classic fan and find the intricate physics based gameplay as well as the simple environments and characters to be "cool", you may be a SATAM/Archie fan and find Sonic being a rebellious punk fighting a dictatorship "cool", you may be a Dreamcast fan and find Sonic being a righteous Shonen protagonist that fights larger than life threats with an ever growing supporting cast "cool" , or you might be a Modern fan and just prefer the breakneck fast-paced racer gameplay as well the laid-back and satirical script.

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