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Mountaindewandsprite

Does Sonic really work as a game?

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From time to time,  I've heard some users claim that Sonic would work better as a cartoon series rather than a video game series, and you know what? I actually agree. I believe it would've better as a cartoon. I'd imagine something like an animated series emulating the Ian Flynn written Archie Comics storyline. I feel that the concept of a speedy blue hedgehog and his friends going on adventures and stopping evil doesn't really work as a video games franchise, but hey, that's just my opinion. What does everyone else think?

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6 minutes ago, Tornado said:

Perhaps I should've elaborated. I'm not saying it wasn't successful. Shit, at one point Sonic was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. I was just saying that I felt the concept would work better as a cartoon. I wasn't denying the games' success.

Just now, Sean said:

Have you ever played a Sonic game?

Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be a member of this forum.

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 Sonic was designed as a fun game that doubled as a mechanical/technology showcase more than it was to tell a story. He owes his popularity to that. If you were to introduce Sonic as a cartoon a lot of that uniqueness would go out of the window.

This isn't to say a cartoon couldn't work as a supplemental piece though. I always love to see more Sonic animation

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I think...as a pitch, it makes more sense as a cartoon. Like, if you were trying to sell me on this new idea about a speedy blue hedgehog fighting a mad scientist trapping animals in robots, I'd point you to disney channel or something. HOWEVER, that only works if you frame it with the characters and scenario. Framing it as a "momentum based platformer that rewards skillful players with speed and new level routes", it sounds, naturally, like a game. Part of the genius of Sonic is that it marries these two concepts so that you feel like you're playing an old saturday morning action cartoon (with the classics anyway).

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Sonic was literally born from the idea of "speedrunning a Mario game"...

Sonic's origin concept is "faster Mario"...

Sonic's finalized concept is "momentum based platformer"...

The story is: A fast animal critter frees other animals from a mad scientist who uses them as batteries for his robutts.

There is nothing about this that doesn't work for a video game.

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@Mountaindewandsprite If you can't provide reasoning as to why you believe Sonic doesn't work as a game franchise then I will lock this topic under the assumption that it was created without proper consideration for it. I see no merit in this discussion unless you show that you're actually willing to engage in it yourself.

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Yeah, all the speedy aesthetics for Sonic came about as a result of the game design.  At the very least, Sonic the character and the gameplay of Sonic 1 were developed in tandem, they didn't make the character and THEN the gameplay.

I feel like pitching Sonic as a cartoon would just make someone be like "Oh, like The Flash/Speedy Gonzales/Road Runner?".  The cartoons are popular because the games were popular first.  Controlling such a fast character who wasn't a race car was a big novelty at the time.  It still sort of is - no-one has really ever tried to eat Sonic's lunch in terms of "fast cartoon mascot platformer", the copycats always just focused on the "cartoon mascot platformer" part.

 

To be honest, it's KIND of a meaningless discussion, because no-one has any idea whether Sonic would have worked "better" (however you quantify that) as a cartoon than a video game. That's not the universe we live in.  It's as hypothetical a discussion as it gets, there's nothing really to draw from as evidence.

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There have been some good criticisms of Sonic in this vein, such as this video which argues that Sonic is too fast paced to react to obstacles and so encourages trial and error, which is bad game design. This therefore punishes playing quickly or the game has to be automated to accommodate human reaction time.

The OP's not really doing it, but I guess you could call Sonic unsuitable for gaming if you hold this view.

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1 hour ago, Plasme said:

...which argues that Sonic is too fast paced to react to obstacles and so encourages trial and error, which is bad game design.

With this logic it sounds like that person has only ever played the Boost games.

Maybe they should do the good skills.

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Just now, StaticMania said:

With this logic it sounds like that person has only ever played the Boost games.

Maybe they should do the good skills.

He talks about Sonic 2 and 3 in particular.

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24 minutes ago, Plasme said:

Sonic is too fast paced to react to obstacles and so encourages trial and error, which is bad game design. This therefore punishes playing quickly or the game has to be automated to accommodate human reaction time.

So, you're telling me that when I play a Sonic game, I should ace every stage and boss on my very first try? While running at the speed of sound?

Games are supposed to be challenging. If you could ace it the very first time it would boring and unsatisfying as hell. Which is even worse game design.

You fail at first a few times. Then when you know what to do, you can ace the stages and feels a lot more satisfying knowing you overcame challenges.

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27 minutes ago, Plasme said:

There have been some good criticisms of Sonic in this vein, such as this video which argues that Sonic is too fast paced to react to obstacles and so encourages trial and error, which is bad game design.

That's why most of the good games of the series don't rely on obstacle spam to increase difficulty, even though the rings are a conceit to allow it to dip into that sort of thing occasionally.

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I see this thread was spawned by something I said elsewhere.

For the record, when I said that Sonic would work better as a cartoon than as a videogame series, never did I imply that it cannot work as a game, since this franchise despite a rocky and inconsistent track has definitively given us titles that are good and enjoyable, contrary to the idiotic statement of "Sonic was never good".

My opinion comes mostly from how Sonic's main selling point - his speed - is somewhat contradictory within the context of platforming games where a priority is that the player can be in full control of a very fast moving character and still have precision. In the 2-D games for the most part this is hardly even an issue, however Sonic's ventures into the 3-D realm have been pretty underwhelming and pose a lot of design challenges to the point where the most succesful attempts have featured a mix of 3-D (which are mostly glorified corridors) and 2-D segments.

A cartoon IMO, while taking away interactivity, has much more room than what the games have at their disposal to not only tell stories, but also give other characters spotlight, develop their interactions, have them deal with different situations, etc. Also it has the benefit of reaching a wider audience since purchase of a game console and software are not required to enjoy the ride.

That said, just like how the games reflect the result of the work and decisions taken by the developers, the same applies towards an animated show, since how well all it's elements are played and executed will be what makes or break.

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2 minutes ago, Tornado said:

That's why most of the good games of the series don't rely on obstacle spam to increase difficulty.

I know what the video maker means though, even in good Sonic games there is often ridiculous enemy and trap placements which you could never see coming if you were running at full speed. Even Mania falls victim to it sometimes.

7 minutes ago, Tarnish said:

So, you're telling me that when I play a Sonic game, I should ace every stage and boss on my very first try? While running at the speed of sound?

You fail at first a few times. Then when you know what to do, you can ace the stages and feels a lot more satisfying knowing you overcame challenges.

The game's challenge should be clearly communicated to the player. Sonic's challenge often comes from throwing things at the player with no time to react. In these cases, you end up going slower to react in time, which defeats the whole purpose. Titanic Monarch is particularly bad for this.

What you are describing is trial and error, which is bad game design.

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29 minutes ago, Plasme said:

This therefore punishes playing quickly or the game has to be automated to accommodate human reaction time.

I would say the "modern" Sonic games are the ones that punish playing quickly, as they pretty much make the boost mandatory throughout the entire game, so the player is so used to using the boost they want to use it even in sections where they are not supposed to.

Whereas in the oldschool games the stages were designed more carefully by deviding the stages into speedy and slow sections. It was pretty obvious where you had to go slow and where you could speed up.

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5 minutes ago, Skull Leader said:

 

My opinion comes mostly from how Sonic's main selling point - his speed - is somewhat contradictory within the context of platforming games where a priority is that the player can be in full control of a very fast moving character and still have precision.

This is entire the appeal of the series. Breaking the traditional game design rule that platformers have to be slow and precise. That's not even mentioning how there are many, many platformers these days focused on fast movement.

3D Sonic isn't there yet, but the simple fact that you can see what's coming in front of you makes it far less daunting of a task than the classic games in theory. 

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There is an argument to be had about Sonic's speed being both a blessing and a curse but honestly, the arguments posed for it only really seem to stem from the idea that it's sometimes really hard to do. Which is true, I'd imagine, but I've already seen Sonic pull it off and I've seen games that aren't Sonic do something similar just as good, if not better. As far as sections where you go fast for a bit.

You'd be surprised by how innovative some people can get when it comes to getting a character to cross terrain really quickly. I'd love to have a Sonic game where Sonic could move across the hub in a similar way Spider-Man did in that PS4 game. Not only was it really fast but it controlled well and it was stupid fun. 

I'm no game designer but tweaks and tricks to break the conventional way a mascot character platforms seems like it should be up their alley. The problem today just seems to be that the passion is kind of gone. Even Lost World felt more like a tech-demo that didn't seem to want to be new and interesting but more so as an excuse to see if it were possible to copy Mario Galaxy.

What if Mario Galaxy but Sonic everyone? What if Mario Galaxy but Sonic?

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