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Mountaindewandsprite

Does Sonic really work as a game?

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Trial and Error in video games will most certainly kill you.

And dying is da punishment.

Nobody likes dying.

The only Sonic games with true trial and error are Sonic Unleashed, Advance 2, Advance 3, and Sonic Rush. Maybe one of the GG games.

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I don't agree with that. Some of even the classic games have level design that is a problem even though it rarely goes so far as to kill you for it. Sonic 2 has it quite a bit, especially the parts where it outright hurls you around with no player control; and the only time it outright makes sure you're dead is Mystic Cave. Sonic CD had problems with it as well (though usually you don't take damage from it's level design so much as fall to lower parts of the level), and the conceit that you're supposed to memorize the levels so you find the place where you can time travel doesn't really wallpaper over the cracks when the game is loaded with boost pads and springs. Parts of Knuckles' levels in S3&K go to the well a bit too, basically brute forcing you to play slower as Knuckles than you would in those same levels with Sonic by putting in extra spikes in places, but without adequately showing in advance since they didn't change enough from Sonic's levels. Chaotix is just a fucking disaster, Sonic CD with all of it's problems amplified x10 whenever you try to move fast, even though it's very rare to actually take damage from anything at all.

 

 

I just disagree with the notion that it's an inherent trait of Sonic's speed and gameplay, since the Sonic games with better level design do make it clear when you should slow down in a level and knockoff games with similar character abilities (Jazz Jackrabbit, Bubsy) are frequently much worse than even the nastiest parts of Sonic 2.

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1 hour ago, Sean said:

@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.

You want reasoning? Here it is. Sonic's gameplay is easily the first thing that comes to mind. For a platforming game, whether 2D or 3D, it's kinda hard, but not impossible, to control such fast paced gameplay. Second, the whole atmosphere feels more cartoonish, from the design, the characters, and setting. Hell, Sonic Team was using Felix the cat and Mickey Mouse for inspiration. Third, Sonic already has, or tries to have, a cinematic feel to it, which is why I think it would work as a cartoon.

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I asked me the same question over and over again. And I have to say, that Sonic fits better in the role of an animated cartoon/anime or comic character than a video game character. After all, the reason why he was created is to be a mascot for Sega and not a videogame series first. Ratchet and Clank or Sly for example where created to be videogame series and this is why most of their games are good or solid, while with Sonic the focus lied way more on the character rather than the game, which is why many Sonics games feel half baked. 

It was the character of Sonic, that sold the games and not the games themselves, which is the reason why even the worst games of Sonic like Unleashed, Forces, and even the infamous 06 sold really well.

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I honestly can't think of a single thing that a Sonic cartoon could do that would really set it apart from and above other cartoons. That's not saying a Sonic cartoon can't be good, and I'm sure we've all enjoyed at least one of his several different animated incarnations, but it's never really done anything that couldn't be found in probably dozens of other cartoons.

On the other hand, nothing else out there plays like a good Sonic game. The way Sonic moved and controlled in Sonic 1 was unlike anything else out there, and of the imitators it spawned, none of them managed to truly nail it. Even now, well over a quarter century later, nothing else has stepped up as an alternative. And that's certainly not because the gameplay wasn't good; the Genesis games didn't become classics of the genre, nor was Mania such a highly-rated success, simply because Sonic had a cool design or because of their limited storytelling. There's something unique and compelling about Sonic gameplay, and while it may be hard to get it right, I'd absolutely argue that it's enough to justify its existence, compared to being just another Saturday morning action cartoon.

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11 hours ago, Mountaindewandsprite said:

You want reasoning? Here it is. Sonic's gameplay is easily the first thing that comes to mind. For a platforming game, whether 2D or 3D, it's kinda hard, but not impossible, to control such fast paced gameplay. Second, the whole atmosphere feels more cartoonish, from the design, the characters, and setting. Hell, Sonic Team was using Felix the cat and Mickey Mouse for inspiration. Third, Sonic already has, or tries to have, a cinematic feel to it, which is why I think it would work as a cartoon.

Sonic's hard to control when fast: Some people find 3D games hard to control, some still do for reasons beyond that.

Atmosphere feels cartoonish: So does Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Banjo Kazooie etc...some more traditionally cartoony than others.

Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat used for inspirations: And Mario as Jumpman was inspired by Popeye.

Cinematic Feel: This can apply to most anything, lots of action games since the PS2 era of games were applying more cinematic elements with QTEs and Action setpieces.

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Sonic works fine as a game, everything desgined about him is for a game, the big and better quistion is was hé desgined to be a 3D game ?

Because the 3D games have a hard time being consistence

 

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7 minutes ago, Kellodrawsalot said:

Sonic works fine as a game, everything desgined about him is for a game, the big and better quistion is was hé desgined to be a 3D game ?

Because the 3D games have a hard time being consistence

 

He wasn't designed to work in 3D but no 2D game was, initially. It's why you adapt.

Basically Sonic is fine. This thread is kind of going nowhere.

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Yeah. Sonic is fine. 

The people in charge of him aren't. A better question would be "Does Sonic Team (in name only) work as a game development team anymore?" 

There's an argument to be had there at the very least. Even if I personally think the answer to that is also obvious. 

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I just would like like to say that Trial and Error isn't a bad concept by itself or else games that thrive on them wouldn't be popular. The problem is the context of the use of said tactics. 

For example, on one case you have a game where levels last 10 seconds and have  a death trap in each of them. On another one you have a game where levels last 5 minutes with no death traps until the last section of the levels. 

Of course this isn't taking into account visibility or speed, as these would be other factors.

I think there is a place for Trial and Error design in Sonic, it just should be linked to mostly keeping speed and not to keep living. A player should be rewarded for knowing the level and how to obtain the most speed in them.  

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This thread is bonkers talk. Not only does Sonic work extremely well as a game, the best of the franchise are literally my favourite games!

 

Replayed Sonic Mania the other day. That game is f-ing perfection!

In summery, yes, I feel Sonic works as a game.

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8 hours ago, Catallena said:

you know what

"good game design" is bullshit anyway

Is bad game design equal to good game design.

 

11 hours ago, redhellc said:

I just would like like to say that Trial and Error isn't a bad concept by itself or else games that thrive on them wouldn't be popular. The problem is the context of the use of said tactics. 

Strongly disagree. Trial and error promotes memorisation, it isn't a test of skill or a true challenge, but forces the player to play through the game until they know what to expect. I don't consider this good game design.

 

12 hours ago, Tornado said:

If he's talking about Sonic 2, yes there is. If he's talking about Sonic 3, no there isn't.

Let's be clear here: Only a small handful of Sonic games, meaning the most horseshit ones like Unleashed or Sonic Advance 3, are anything like true trial and error. 

Simply getting hit by something in a level because you were blowing through it is not inherently trial and error. 

Sonic 3 does have a lot of trial and error though, it isn't the holy grail of perfection that a lot of fans bewilderingly claim it is. Marble Garden has swinging spikes which are virtually impossible to predict, Hydrocity has fly badniks which appear from nowhere, Lava Reef has those falling blocks and moving platforms which appear from nowhere and crush you when you are running at full speed.

The problem here is that I find your definition of trial and error unsatisfactory. To me, trial and error doesn't have to be as egregious as a death and especially a game over. Slowing the game's pace down is a trial and error sin in itself, and it's even worse in a game like Sonic when going fast is its defining feature. In levels such as Lave Reef, you are discouraged from going fast so as to avoid crushing deaths. This is a dreadful trial and error problem, because it actively directs you to go slowly and so betrays what makes Sonic fun.

But this applies to Sonic's core design too. A lot of badniks are completely impossible to predict by the nature of speeding through a level quickly. It doesn't matter how well the enemies are telegraphed if you don't have the human reaction time to avoid them or jump into them. And it isn't even just about taking damage, it makes the game have a stop-start pace and greatly hurts the game's flow. That you can only really 'go fast' by memorising the levels is a problem.

My best friend hates Sonic games because he thinks the game has horrible pacing and forces him to keep stopping and starting. I disagree with him,  I think Sonic games are great, but I can also see where he's coming from.

 

Additionally, your point that Sonic must have been good to be a success is also wrong. A lot of entertainment which becomes hugely successful commercially are devoid of quality. Reality TV shows such as Big Brother were huge successes, but are vapid. A game being a huge success has no bearing on its quality.

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1 hour ago, Plasme said:

Is bad game design equal to good game design.

No, of course not. But, if "trial and error is bad game design", then why are From Software'Souls series games, including Bloodborne, so critically acclaimed and well received? What about Prince of Persia? (Both the original DOS games and the Sands of Time trilogy apply to this.) Or Rayman? Or the classic Mega Man gamesTetris for that matter?  Here's a better question for you: How difficult do you like your games?

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7 minutes ago, JustAfooL said:

No, of course not. But, if "trial and error is bad game design", then why are From Software'Souls series games, including Bloodborne, so critically acclaimed and well received? What about Prince of Persia? (Both the original DOS games and the Sands of Time trilogy apply to this.) Or Rayman? Or the classic Mega Man games? Tetris for that matter?  Here's a better question for you: How difficult do you like your games?

These games are at their best when the challenge is clearly communicated and I think it's uncontroversial to claim that they are at their worst when the challenge is trial and error. A good example for the Souls games actually is in the more recent entries when the enemies delay their attack animations to trip the player up. This just encourages the player to learn the enemies' attacks, which isn't about reacting to the bosses and beating them with skill, but learning about how the game actually functions. This is even worse in the Souls games because it decreases immersion (a key aspect of the series); you are no longer in the shoes of the warrior and reacting to the situation in real time, but are instead memorising the game design as a external participant.

The issue is that memorisation is a completely different challenge to difficult game design, and has nothing to do with challenges in actual playing a game whatsoever. You could have the same experience playing Simon Says.

I think its a disservice to say the games are founded on trial and error, I'd say they are games which mostly communicate their challenges clearly to players.

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9 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

How in the fuck is Tetris trial and error gameplay?

... Yeah, I'm not even sure where that one came from. Maybe from my own frustrations from Tetris 99 today? Oh well, my mistake.😣

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6 hours ago, Tarnish said:

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.

Outside the games which one plays for the sake of a telling of a story (Like point and click and that stuff), this is definitely true.  There are plenty of MADLY successful games which excel due to trial and error.

Case in point, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

There are many ways of accomplishing many of the Shrines, collecting Korok seeds or defeating enemies.  However, while there are convenient and obvious ways, sometimes the better and more efficient ways can only be discovered through experimentation.

For example, speedrunners have discovered the fact that by using stasis, a metal door found in a pond on the Great Plateau and a strong weapon, you can go from the Great Plateau straight to the Hyrule Castle (Not recommended unless your trying to speedrun, but very efficient nonetheless.

Also, rather than using a Korok leaf to use the air to push a raft along, you can use a metal chest and Magnesis:

What I'm trying to say is, it depends on HOW you use trial and error if it is or isn't great game design.

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1 hour ago, Plasme said:

Trial and error promotes memorization...

Memorization is literally the point in learning how to go fast in Sonic games.

Short levels, time limit, multiple routes, replayability, speedrunning.

It's not bad game design to force memorization, dying is gonna do that anyway...

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