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Tails: between success and disservice of the character

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1 hour ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

then reference Batman

You know, Batman is kind of relevant here. Because when I play Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Adventure, etc., I see Sonic and Tails almost like Batman and Robin.

And that's a ripe area for characterization. When you look at Tails as a type of Robin, or Bucky Barnes, or young Obi-Wan from Episode I, you see a lot of areas he can be developed in.

(thinks about Batman vs. Robin and Cap vs. Bucky moments)

I can't believe Colors and Lost World both teased a mindcontrolled Tails without giving an epic bossfight against him. C'mon! He can make dummy rings that explode! He could... he could try to leap and tackle you into a bottomless pit, then push off you and fly to safety, with an "All's well that ends well" remark as you die! He could pilot a shooting mecha against you! Eh. Missed opportunities.

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In that sense, those characters differ from Tails in that they were able to strike out on their own; Dick Grayson became Nightwing, Jason Todd became the Red Hood, and Bucky became the Winter Soldier.

 

With how Tails is currently used, when hes not being outright ignored, they try to portray him as amazingly competent one second (Lost World) and then portray him as helpless without Sonic the next (Forces)

 

So like...which is it with Tails.

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8 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

With how Tails is currently used, when hes not being outright ignored, they try to portray him as amazingly competent one second (Lost World) and then portray him as helpless without Sonic the next (Forces)

 

So like...which is it with Tails.

...both? Because people are more complex than just "can do stuff" or "can't do stuff". Tails is a genius and is incredible with machines, but he's still an emotionally vulnerable kid.

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38 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

In that sense, those characters differ from Tails in that they were able to strike out on their own; Dick Grayson became Nightwing, Jason Todd became the Red Hood, and Bucky became the Winter Soldier.

Albeit, not exactly voluntarily for the most part.

40 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

With how Tails is currently used, when hes not being outright ignored, they try to portray him as amazingly competent one second (Lost World) and then portray him as helpless without Sonic the next (Forces)

 

So like...which is it with Tails.

Tails is generally supposed to be somewhat meek per his age and upbringing, but definitely capable due to his prodigious tinkering skills and his inspiration in Sonic.

In those two cases, we unfortunately get the result of having a pretty interesting way of exploring his character without the grace/balance to pull it off and a severe double back in a shallow premise that probably shouldn't have happened.

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1 hour ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

In that sense, those characters differ from Tails in that they were able to strike out on their own; Dick Grayson became Nightwing, Jason Todd became the Red Hood, and Bucky became the Winter Soldier.

 

With how Tails is currently used, when hes not being outright ignored, they try to portray him as amazingly competent one second (Lost World) and then portray him as helpless without Sonic the next (Forces)

 

So like...which is it with Tails.

Maybe so, but we have moments such as his Adventure story and the noncanon Tails Alone modes in 2D games.

Plus Tails Adventure, heh. Napalm goodness.

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You know, I kinda tire of Tails negativity. Tails in the games sucks, and he's sucked for a long time. Can we talk about how cool he is in the comics or something? Just something to change the post-Colors discourse of the character, because it honestly hasn't really changed for years at this point.

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1 hour ago, shdowhunt60 said:

You know, I kinda tire of Tails negativity. Tails in the games sucks, and he's sucked for a long time. Can we talk about how cool he is in the comics or something? Just something to change the post-Colors discourse of the character, because it honestly hasn't really changed for years at this point.

*Laughs in Sonic Mania Adventures*

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2 hours ago, shdowhunt60 said:

You know, I kinda tire of Tails negativity. Tails in the games sucks, and he's sucked for a long time. Can we talk about how cool he is in the comics or something? Just something to change the post-Colors discourse of the character, because it honestly hasn't really changed for years at this point.

I feel you're in the wrong threat for that.

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14 hours ago, BaronGrackle said:

 

I can't believe Colors and Lost World both teased a mindcontrolled Tails without giving an epic bossfight against him. C'mon! He can make dummy rings that explode! He could... he could try to leap and tackle you into a bottomless pit, then push off you and fly to safety, with an "All's well that ends well" remark as you die! He could pilot a shooting mecha against you! Eh. Missed opportunities.

I was gonna say I think the reasons they didn't are

  • the history of clunkiness when it comes to straight character fights
  • the lack of a reliable way to place that in the level order, with replays in mind

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21 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

I was gonna say I think the reasons they didn't are

  • the history of clunkiness when it comes to straight character fights
  • the lack of a reliable way to place that in the level order, with replays in mind

Character fights are only bad when they base them around their playable moveset. It's why the generations fights worked well and most other examples don't. A tails fight based on games where he's not playable would be as functional as the rest of the game.

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1 minute ago, thumbs13 said:

Character fights are only bad when they base them around their playable moveset. It's why the generations fights worked well and most other examples don't. A tails fight based on games where he's not playable would be as functional as the rest of the game.

I suppose that's true.

The question would've been how to do that for Tails.

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One issue I have with “technology Tails” is that he was upgraded into this role essentially for SA2. Maybe this is considered an extension of his SA1 independence plot line, but he was placed into a mech because the hero team needed a balance to Eggman’s mech gameplay. Repairing planes is impressive, but designing mechs is another level of engineering and tech skill. This is where Tails crosses over, but it’s only for SA2’s need for a mech.

It’s an uncomfortable spot for him because Eggman does not need a technological rival in most games. Sonic is his main rival. The story doesn’t include enough space for both, unless like we said before, Tails is gonna be playable in that game.

Another issue is that Sonic has no need for gadgets. He’s not 007, and we would complain if Sonic used any of Tails’ inventions in game. Sonic operates off his skills alone. But because Tails is ever present, he gets thrown into these “shut down the panel” or “analyze the artifact” roles that are sometimes awkward. “But that means the Phantom Ruby no longer has a vulnerable energy supply! It’s an invulnerable Ruby?” What the two-tailed hell are we even talking about anymore, Tails.

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6 minutes ago, Badnik Zero said:

One issue I have with “technology Tails” is that he was upgraded into this role essentially for SA2.

The kid repaired and strapped a jet engine to the Tornado in Sonic 2, built a chaos energy radar in the Japanese Sonic 3 manual, a rocket ship in Fighters, and a number of machines and gadgets in Tails Adventure. They've pushed "technology Tails" harder than "player 2 Tails" over time, but it was meant to be part of his character from the beginning.

10 minutes ago, Badnik Zero said:

Another issue is that Sonic has no need for gadgets. He’s not 007, and we would complain if Sonic used any of Tails’ inventions in game.

...I wouldn't, as long as they didn't suck. If we had a game where Tails made upgrades like the bounce bracelet and light dash shoes instead of just finding them sitting around wherever, that'd be fine. And there's more use for a character who's good with tech than to make gadgets for the hero to use himself; he's a pilot and presumably maintains the Tornado, he works on a wisp language translator in Colors, he monitors the state of the broken planet in Unleashed...there's all kinds of support he can give.

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I kind of get the complaint; Tails' tech tends to not really matter to the plot most of the time outside of piloting the Tornado.

Sonic can literally get the job done by himself for the most part, so there's not much tech he needs and it's be kind of jarring to have him start relying on it just to give Tails a larger role.

I do like the idea of Tails being the one who invents his upgrades as it makes his tech role more relevant without feeling shoehorned for the sake of plot.

 

If they're committed to making Tails simply tech support instead of a secondary player character (and that seems to be the case) they could at least demphasize how competent he is at it. I think it grates on people because most of the time, Tails is just used to build something because the plot needs. It's not very engaging and kind of devalues Eggman as the smartest guy around if Tails can easily rival what he does.  Like have Tails try to make something, but he kind of sucks at it first before learning. It at least makes the technical trait an interesting case to build character instead of just being excuse to have Tails railroad the plot.

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I can concur that Techno-Tails was definitely a thing before the Adventure games. As someone going through these old Archie comics, during a time before Sonic was even in 3D, he's very obviously being played up as a techno wiz kid, despite most of that responsibility defaulting to Rotor at that point in time. 

As for how effective his tech IS, it largely depends on how the story is written. If you've got a story with more nuance and layers to it then, "Thing needs to be destroyed. Go hit thing." then I can see the need for Tails easily being more justified. It was easier for Adventure 2 to do that, in part because he was playable, but it's not impossible with this Sonic only drought we're stuck in. Plus, him being playable doesn't guarantee anything about that would be taken advantage of either.

There were plenty of open chances for it in Forces. Hidden within all those text-boxes and missed opportunities were areas where he could have easily showcased what he had to us. Perhaps if there was more focus on Tails, preferably by making him a character whose arc you were properly following, rather than dusting off 'Classic Sonic', it'd be easier for the writers to let it shine through.

However, it always, always, always comes down to the storytelling.

That translator in Colors didn't have to be completely fucking useless is all I'm saying. It was just written that way because underwear to be worn by salad. 

 

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Sonic can still have unique power-ups, not necessarily the wisps. There is nothing wrong with power-ups.

I agree though that gadgets are more of a Tails thing… now if Tails got more of a role in the story or even playable, they would absolutely fit into the gameplay.

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On 7/11/2019 at 12:53 PM, Diogenes said:

Tails Adventure.

I was gonna try to argue this because the manuals are off screen and Fighters is way off the main series, but you got me on Tails Adventure. Actually the Sea Fox comes from a game I overplayed, Sonic Triple Trouble, which I totally forgot about even though I posted about it a few pages ago.

I like Tails to be inventive. Something about Tails and Eggman showing each other up doesn’t sit right with me though. Tails shouldn’t be able to compete with Eggman’s tech. He’s Eggman. Compare this to older games where Death Eggs explode simply because the boss robot explodes too, and Tails’ skills become unnecessary story fodder. The thing about technobabble is it should at least be consistent. I think that’s the difference between making a story and really just allowing anything to happen on the fly.

If Tails can hack anything and everything, he’s not interesting and the story’s not interesting. He’s bloated. What started as an interesting and humble trait, develops into an all encompassing aspect of the character. Shadow was bad enough in SA2, and then they went and put a gun in his hand to make him badder. Less can be more. This is just another writing complaint I guess.

On 7/11/2019 at 12:53 PM, Diogenes said:

...I wouldn't, as long as they didn't suck. If we had a game where Tails made upgrades like the bounce bracelet and light dash shoes instead of just finding them sitting around wherever, that'd be fine.

Tails could have been the upgrade guy for the last 20 years. It’s a good idea, but in execution it will most likely suck. Classic Sonic is now an entirely different Sonic, for reasons beyond anyone not employed by Sonic Team. I don’t have confidence in Sonic Team to handle simple ideas. Especially when they’re married to the idea of alternate gameplay so much.

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I kinda wish the Lost World gave us the option to defeat Zor Zeena and Zavok with Mecha Tails, or maybe had Tails shoot at them during Sonic's battle with them

They already shown him be able to make them piss their pants with lazers , it's a waste for him to sit in the sidelines after that 

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I always thought that the Sonic OVA characterization of Tails was the most spot-on for how I envisioned him. He is good with tech, but it doesn't solely define the character. He is right there with Sonic when they head to Robotropolis/Eggmanland and explore the city. He jokes/mimics/looks up to Sonic as that little brother figure, and sometimes even annoys Sonic with his antics, but he can hold his own when he needs to and helps out in the fight. Sometimes Sonic helps Tails when he is in danger, sometimes it is Tails coming in to help Sonic. But his knack for technology/hacking is shown when the situation arises. It drives the plot forward in a meaningful way rather than become the deus ex machina as is often the case in the current storylines, or sometimes it serves zero purpose and makes Tails as a whole feel shoe-horned in as a character. 

It's been shown between Unleashed, Colors, Lost World and Forces that Tails will cower in fear or remove himself from the action when faced with an adversary. Talk about a downgrade for a character that has his roots following Sonic wanting to be brave and the hero just like him and even has proven to take down Robotnik/Eggman on his own a few times. Now he isn't even seen as someone worth bothering with because he simply hangs out on the sidelines, hiding usually, with his piece of random tech. What a sad and unfortunate downgrade for this character. 

But, yeah, at least Sonic Mania was a breath of fresh air. 

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I've talked about this in the past, and it's that I wish that Tails could remain smart, but do it in a more interesting, curious, childlike way. Have him be more mechanically focused, show him with dirt on his hands on the floor dissembling an old radial engine he found lying around, trying to figure out how it works and eventually his work is paid off by putting it in the Tornado or some new aeroplane, stuff like that. Show his logical mindset, examining stuff he finds, always questioning things and taking them apart and trying to improve them literally or figuratively. He can get himself into his own adventures that way while still following Sonic around. 

There's little to nothing more dismal than present Tails making sarcastic and insecure quips holding up that tablet doing fuck all except being a douche. In LW they turned Tails into one of those generic sitcom "kid genius" caricatures where he can basically do whatever he wants and is a smug little shit the whole time about it. 

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Has Tails ever had a bad influence?

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Someone he admires like Sonic, but who’s genuinely bad for him, like a bad brother/role model figure? A figure like this could open up some new character dynamics for Tails as well as Sonic. Sonic would be protective, and Tails would be naive and not understand why.

This might be too complex for a game story. Would this work in the comics, as a subplot? Tails takes to some newcomer, but it’s a bad guy?

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If this was 15-20 years ago or something I could maybe see that working, but at this point I think Tails has matured/developed too much for it to be believable. Like, he's kinda moved past "idolization" in general; he still looks up to Sonic, sure, but they're closer to being on equal terms at this point, compared to the naive, wide-eyed worship where he started. Combined with him taking the role of the more levelheaded and thoughtful counterpart to Sonic's impulsive nature it's hard to imagine him being a bad enough judge of character as to be sucked in by someone that Sonic would recognize as a bad influence.

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