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Is the fanbase as large and as active today as it was 10-15 years ago?

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1 hour ago, sonic 1-derful said:

when I made the comment about sonic's popularity in the 90's, it wasn't just about the fans, it was about the general public. he was more recognisable than mickey mouse during that time. everyone knew who he was. 

I've heard this claim, that Sonic was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse in 1992. But I don't believe it. I was a kid myself during that time. Do you know what was going on with Disney in the early '90s?

1989- The Little Mermaid

1991- Beauty and the Beast

1992- Aladdin

If you owned any of these video cassettes, you saw an image of Mickey Mouse in his sorceror's apprentice clothes for a logo before the movie began.

I don't care what that study said. You're not going to tell me more children had played the SEGA Genesis than had seen any of those three movies by 1992. I think this was a case of "blast processing" marketing.

Sorry, that was a tangent! :)

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I think that people are interested in the movie nowadays, that's what made people talk recently, and the reason they all went to SXSW, and obviously Mania. The movie is bringing in a lot of folks who don't often play Sonic.

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5 hours ago, BaronGrackle said:

I've heard this claim, that Sonic was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse in 1992. But I don't believe it. I was a kid myself during that time. Do you know what was going on with Disney in the early '90s?

1989- The Little Mermaid

1991- Beauty and the Beast

1992- Aladdin

If you owned any of these video cassettes, you saw an image of Mickey Mouse in his sorceror's apprentice clothes for a logo before the movie began.

I don't care what that study said. You're not going to tell me more children had played the SEGA Genesis than had seen any of those three movies by 1992. I think this was a case of "blast processing" marketing.

Sorry, that was a tangent! :)

yes, that was a tangent, and I accept your apology :) 

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8 hours ago, sonic 1-derful said:

when I made the comment about sonic's popularity in the 90's, it wasn't just about the fans, it was about the general public. he was more recognisable than mickey mouse during that time. everyone knew who he was. 

Fun fact the reason for that is because disney had basically put mickey in hiding and didn't want to use him. Not saying this negates sonic's popularity. But the reason that is is a mistake on disney's part more so than sonic. You could make the argument that goofy and donald were more known than mickey at that point and it would be accurate because they were making content with them.

8 hours ago, sonic 1-derful said:

the problems began to surface around '94 in terms of games. I remember reading reviews in magazines that claimed that the formula had gotten stale. this was in regards to 'sonic & knuckles' and 'knuckles chaotix'.

Magazines say things.

8 hours ago, sonic 1-derful said:

I also remember reading comments on fan forums in the early 2000's from people not liking 'sonic adventure 2 battle', and longing for the days of the 2d gameplay. this is probably why the advance series was created.

People like different things and have preferences yeah

8 hours ago, sonic 1-derful said:

the cartoons were, and still are, always able to remain popular and bring in new fans. I think if all else fails, this is where the focus should be. I can only speak for the uk, but in terms of 'edge',  'adventures of sonic the hedgehog' was always much more popular than 'sat:am'. that should tell us something.. comedy has been part of the brand for a long time now. it wouldn't make sense to abandon that.

And Sonic X was super popular and aired even after its end for several years in multiple countries. Speak for yourself, some people like jokier sonic. Some people like adventure era edge. Sonic is a brand that existed for quite some time had has gained a fan base of variable age and interests,

That's it

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There's also a Huge diffrence between the more physical and slapsticky humor from 90's Sonic and the more "clever dialogue" self aware humor of post Colors Sonic.
So even when I agree Sonic should have comedy, I can still massively disagree on which brand of comedy.
 

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1 hour ago, Shadowlax said:
1 hour ago, Shadowlax said:

 

 

like everybody else in this thread, I was only stating my *opinion* based on my experience and personal preference. I wasn't trying to enforce a law. I don't deserve to be addressed in such a snarky manner.

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16 hours ago, MainJP said:

Just because it's not "the second coming of 06" doesn't mean it's even a remotely decent product. I'd hardly call it mediocre at best in terms of quality...it IS that bad.

Being better than the absolute bottom of the barrel isn't much of an accomplishment.

Any version of Sonic X can't be that good if Chris still exists.

The only thing really bad about it is the short levels and the story, which was also rather short and not that well developed.  To be honest, I enjoyed the Avatar system, the control is solid, the levels are fun while short, the soundtrack is great(save the Classic Sonic ones though that's minor at best) and the VAs were solid especially Infinite.  It's a good game overall, just not as good as it could have been!  Still, I don't think that's reason to be all doom and gloom.  

English Sonic X Chris is horrible, yes...I will not disagree with you there.  Plus, he has a very very annoying voice.  Japanese Sonic X Chris however is fine!  He's well developed and has some social issues...his parents neglect him and only has the wait staff and his grandfather, who is buried in wacky science stuff apparently, to raise him for the most part.  He finds a crutch in Sonic and friends and when they leave in the second season's final episodes, Chris has a mental breakdown and stops Sonic from leaving.  Sonic just goes with it and lets Chris get it out of his system....he's understanding with him and Chris admits his faults in the final episodes.  In the third season, he goes out of his way to become useful to the cast and not just be a cheerleader from the sidelines.  Honestly, if you haven't watched it, I would if not for the tearful Tails and Cosmo goodbye....there's some good acting in the series, it's just not domestic here in the United States.

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2 hours ago, Roger_van_der_weide said:

There's also a Huge diffrence between the more physical and slapsticky humor from 90's Sonic and the more "clever dialogue" self aware humor of post Colors Sonic.
So even when I agree Sonic should have comedy, I can still massively disagree on which brand of comedy.
 

If you wanna get really dirty, we can just talk about the quality. I personally don't really mind the modern version of sonic humor, I think humor that is at points self critical can be enlightening and really bring out why you value the characters. It has to be done well and it has to be balanced with really cool stuff .Or in a lego batman kinda sense where its an absolute dissection of what the thing is Modern sonic doesn't really do that though so it kinda falls flat.

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I think there are many Sonic fans still, but not exactly everyone likes to mention that they are or like to interact with other fans since many people have a dislike for our fandom.

I have been a Sonic fan since Sonic X aired here (which was somewhere around 2005-2007) but I didn't interact with the fanbase like at all. Most I did was watch gameplay videos or let's plays on Youtube since I didn't have any console at the time. I only "joined the fanbase" in around 2014-2015 when I joined this place.

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I think this is one of those things that isn’t easy or simple to measure.

For one, I think it’s easy to forget people who are into the series but don’t really bother with getting involved with the online fandom. I can’t say I’d blame them— there was a point on this forum where so much as saying that you liked or preferred something about Forces got you mocking or negative replies instantly. I also recall an instance on a Boom fan group where this poor guy talked about getting made fun of and insulted because his first Sonic game was Rise of Lyric. He loved playing that game with his sister, and it actually helped bring them closer as siblings. He rarely ventured outside of the group too, which is really sad.

It also highlights a simple truth: Your average person doesn’t really want to deal with getting constant negativity and shit about things they like. People can justify and defend that behavior until the cows come home. Maybe they’ll even present a valid point in doing so. But it remains true that nobody welcomes having to hear the same negativity and sometimes blatant or implicit judgements about their character every time they bring up something they like. I see it happen with Sonic Forces fans— they’d rather just play Forces than risk having to hear the same complaints again by bringing it up, so people who like the game end up underrepresented online. Which people take as proof that everybody hates the game, so jerks use that to excuse escalating obnoxious behavior towards fans, which proves repulsive, and so the cycle continues until the next thing comes along. And I’ve been that jerk before— I knew Sonic 4 wasn’t the greatest thing ever from the first screenshot, and when the hype for the game died down, I was amongst those who rubbed it in the faces of anybody who mentioned it. It changed no opinions, and it annoyed and alienated people, who often decided they didn’t want to deal with nonsense like mine and ducked out of discussion.

So in that sense, the online fandom is its own worst enemy. I see substantial elitist elements, from promoting the notion that older fans somehow deserve this or that more than recent ones to labeling people who like or don’t like things as blind, in online Sonic fanculture that doesn’t exist on a significant level offline. I blame GIFT for this— it’s a lot easier to be a petty jackhole when you have the veneer of anonymity over what you write and say to people. For many, the best way to win is by choosing not to play and sticking to expressing their fandom offline or in private online formats like Discord. The solution is a simple one— if you want more people to participate in Sonic discussion, be more inviting and respectful towards people participating in Sonic discussion— but that’s impossible to reliably enforce on a large scale. A cultural shift away from elitism is needed with the Sonic fandom online, and that’s the kind of thing that’s linked to a larger problem with internet culture as a whole, takes time and effort, and is hard to enact on a large scale.

(This happens with other fandoms too for the record. I know Star Wars fans who wouldn’t dare bring up that they like anything outside of the first three movies and maybe some aspects of the expanded universe on public internet, because they don’t want to hear “SJW Disney ruin everything!” or “I don’t like saaaaaand” for what feels like the billionth time. And so many Mario fans who don’t like Odyssey end up walking on eggshells trying to talk about 3D Mario, because people with way too much time on their hands have actually harassed and even sent legitimately terrifying threats to people over them having a different opinions about video games. Who would want to deal with that over something so petty and stupid? “Opinions on Mario games” is not a hill worth dying on. And it goes on and on.)

So in short, I don’t think it’s large scale fading interest so much as it is more people not wanting to make their voices heard on the internet for understandable reasons. Of course that’s not the only thing though. Social media still attracts a lot more Sonic fans and discussion than most give it credit for, after all. It’s also a matter of natural fluctuations in interest as news and content comes and goes, people age in and out of the target demographic, and people just casually lose and gain interest. I’ve gravitated a lot more towards Boom in recent years, and with that being out for the foreseeable future I’ll admit I’ve drifted away from the series somewhat. But that’s just kinda what happens with things— franchises shift directions all the time to avoid getting stale and whether it’s in a direction that’s good or bad or whatever, that too contributes to fluctuations in interest.

Sonic peaked in the early 90s anyway. So if there were a statistically significant and consistent trend of fading interest in the franchise, I would point to it starting in early 1995 when the hype for S3&K started fading and having very little to do with anything that was introduced after SA1.

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Eh, kinda?

Like @Mad Convoy mentioned, it's sort of hard to measure how big a fandom is. Sure, most Sonic fans do buy the games, but there's also a sizable section of the fandom that doesn't or can't for any number of reasons. There's also small children who are fans that, if they or their guardian(s) are smart, won't be interacting with anyone online until they're old enough to know what kind of things go on online.

The short of it is, there's a lot of people we simply can't account for. Another factor to consider is, as others have mentioned:

Forums in general are kind of dying as a medium. Sure, places like this still stand, but it's far from bustling with activity outside of like, the Sonic movie thread, but even then that just boils down to a few regulars and a few others who wander in every now and then. I'm sure if you went into something like, a Sonic Discord or subreddit it would be a different story, but as Stricker mentioned, Sonic games have also kinda slowed down. TSR came and went, and the last major, mainline game (Forces) is almost 2 years old at this point, and I believe it was mentioned that the next mainline Sonic game will be the 30th anniversary game. Something we're still about a year and a half out from, so it's not entirely unusual that we don't know anything about it other than "Sonic Team is working on something".

I dunno. I guess the best analogy I have here is that, like most fandoms, Sonic is just sort of a series of hills and valleys. When we have a ton of info dumping or a major game coming out like Mania or Forces or Generations or whatever, expect a lot more buzz. But we're just kinda waiting around for the next thing currently.

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I think the online fandom has definitely died down a bit but I dont think Sonic in general has disappeared from the public conscious. He's still extremely recognizable... though the brand is much weaker than it was 20 years or so ago in terms of selling power. Reputation has taken lots of hits and I think the effect of the poor releases over time have definitely taken their toll. But it's not like people are.going to forget what Sonic is or what he was in the 90s anytime soon. It really goes to show just how enormous the brand was in the 90s. Sonic was freaking everywhere. If I wasnt a diehard fan I'd be incredibly annoyed.

 

The timing of the 3D revolution was also an interesting case study in reference to sonic. I honestly believe Sonic, though no fault of his own, missed out on the hype bump from the early 3D wave. In his absence from the gaming mainstream between Sonic and Knuckles and SA1, Mario 64 was launched and introduced the 3D platforming genre. Crash Bandicoot released 3 titles, all of which were incredibly successful. There were a handful of other imitators as well. Tomb Raider (although not an E rated platformer) already had 3 installments, and was at its peak of popularity. SA1 was arguably the most ambitious game in franchise history and graphically it was the market's superior platformer upon release...but it missed out on a lot of the early trend factor that the early 3D platformers had. And by the time SA2 was released in 2001 the graphics and presentation were no longer ahead of the curve, even though they were very nice for the time; the ps2 was released and was busy digging SEGA's console grave. Sonic's first 3D outing came probably a year or two too late to knock everyone's socks off the way the original Sonic 1 title did. But what made it unfortunate was that the games didnt have that extra gameplay polish underneath to keep people hooked like sonic 1-3k did. They were much more cinematic experiences that wore off a little too soon compared to their competition, which is a big reason why the early 3D titles didnt age well in terms of reputation either.

I dont think Sonic will ever be as popular as he was in the 90s again, but interest in the series in terms of sales (and reputation) can definitely be resurrected as we saw with Mania. Though making the games is not easy, I think Sonic Team putting out a few high quality games in a row is the true, straightforward solution to the series biggest issues right now. Not games that are considered good because they're better than the terrible games that preceded them (like colors) but games that are legitimately excellent on their own and considered among the better offering of the year. Again, like Mania. Since Mania already did this, we just need this to happen for 3D sonic. And Sonic Team should be putting all their efforts into figuring out what is necessary for that to happen.

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On 8/16/2019 at 4:17 PM, Tangled Jack said:

I think that people are interested in the movie nowadays, that's what made people talk recently, and the reason they all went to SXSW, and obviously Mania. The movie is bringing in a lot of folks who don't often play Sonic.

Will be curious what kind of effect that movie will have in general. Honestly though, the fact it looks so utterly divorced from what the current game Sonic is like, I wonder how much crossover appeal there will be. It's like Satam or Sonic Underground again, except they were made in the era before game Sonic really had any cohesive narrative yet.

I'm still curious to see if any other Sonic characters will appear in it, aside from Sonic and Eggman.

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There are people who still play Sonic games sometimes - and then there are active fans who enjoy spending time discussing the intricate minutiae of the series, making fan-content, speculating about the franchise's future, etc. I feel like that latter category just isn't as active or as optimistic as it used to be.

Even some of us that are still hanging around the fandom just seem less invested or hopeful for the series at large than we were a decade ago. Just speaking for myself here, I've gone from someone who really cared about the characters and world of the series to someone who'll occasionally play the games if they're exceptionally good (like Mania) and skip most of the rest.

But I think shifting from a hardcore fan to more of a casual appreciator has actually been good for me. I no longer get mad at this series when it does things I don't like. I no longer invest time and emotional energy into something I know I'll get diminishing returns on. If a Sonic game is bad, or if my favorite character is portrayed poorly, I can just go "Oh Sonic Team, you're so silly" and move on without being too bothered. It's certainly a healthier outlook than I had back in the day when I'd rage about how much I hated Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06, but continue to buy games that inevitably made me mad anyway. 

I stick around because there are things about Sonic I still like. I like most of the classic games and Mania. I like the Adventure games. I like the Advance and Rush games. I like a lot of the multiplayer spinoff titles. Obviously, I like Eggman as a character and still find him entertaining - even if I don't think he ever had nearly as much depth or complexity as I used to always go on about. So even if pretty much every mainline 3D title since Heroes failed to win me over, there are still things I enjoy about the series and the fanbase, and because of that I'll never fully leave.

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On 8/16/2019 at 11:37 AM, sonic 1-derful said:

the problems began to surface around '94 in terms of games. I remember reading reviews in magazines that claimed that the formula had gotten stale. this was in regards to 'sonic & knuckles' and 'knuckles chaotix'.

 

It's probably because by itself sonic and knuckles offered very little new. When you add it to sonic 3 you got 8 (I think) extra zones two extra bonus rounds another 7 emeralds to collect and new character to play as with cool unique abilities. by it's self though you lost tails (I always play sonic and tails so playing sonic solo like Mario without his cap) you had no save feature the graphics were identical to sonic 3 it used the same special stages. It just felt like less rather than more. As for Knuckles Chaotix that's been quite heavily critised due to its rubber band mechanics personally I liked it but it is a difficult game to play because your in this costant tug of war with the controls with your characters being constantly yanked back and forth.  

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4 hours ago, supersonicwarrior said:

 

It's probably because by itself sonic and knuckles offered very little new. When you add it to sonic 3 you got 8 (I think) extra zones two extra bonus rounds another 7 emeralds to collect and new character to play as with cool unique abilities. by it's self though you lost tails (I always play sonic and tails so playing sonic solo like Mario without his cap) you had no save feature the graphics were identical to sonic 3 it used the same special stages. It just felt like less rather than more. As for Knuckles Chaotix that's been quite heavily critised due to its rubber band mechanics personally I liked it but it is a difficult game to play because your in this costant tug of war with the controls with your characters being constantly yanked back and forth.  

 

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On 8/16/2019 at 5:37 AM, sonic 1-derful said:

the cartoons were, and still are, always able to remain popular and bring in new fans. I think if all else fails, this is where the focus should be. I can only speak for the uk, but in terms of 'edge',  'adventures of sonic the hedgehog' was always much more popular than 'sat:am'. that should tell us something.. comedy has been part of the brand for a long time now. it wouldn't make sense to abandon that.

Really? In the US I only ever hear about fans of SATAM  or fans wanting characters from SATAM to be in the games. I hardly ever hear about AOSTH apart from the occasional "PINGAS" meme.

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On 8/21/2019 at 3:40 AM, UpCDownCLeftCRightC said:

The timing of the 3D revolution was also an interesting case study in reference to sonic. I honestly believe Sonic, though no fault of his own, missed out on the hype bump from the early 3D wave. In his absence from the gaming mainstream between Sonic and Knuckles and SA1, Mario 64 was launched and introduced the 3D platforming genre. Crash Bandicoot released 3 titles, all of which were incredibly successful. There were a handful of other imitators as well. Tomb Raider (although not an E rated platformer) already had 3 installments, and was at its peak of popularity. SA1 was arguably the most ambitious game in franchise history and graphically it was the market's superior platformer upon release...but it missed out on a lot of the early trend factor that the early 3D platformers had. And by the time SA2 was released in 2001 the graphics and presentation were no longer ahead of the curve, even though they were very nice for the time; the ps2 was released and was busy digging SEGA's console grave. Sonic's first 3D outing came probably a year or two too late to knock everyone's socks off the way the original Sonic 1 title did. But what made it unfortunate was that the games didnt have that extra gameplay polish underneath to keep people hooked like sonic 1-3k did. They were much more cinematic experiences that wore off a little too soon compared to their competition, which is a big reason why the early 3D titles didnt age well in terms of reputation either.

To be fair, Sonic Adventure 2 was absolutely incredible graphically when it came out on the Dreamcast and looked better than most contemporary PS2 games. I remember being blown away by it when I first played it in 2001.

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2 hours ago, Mark_The_Dephiles said:

Really? In the US I only ever hear about fans of SATAM  or fans wanting characters from SATAM to be in the games. I hardly ever hear about AOSTH apart from the occasional "PINGAS" meme.

That's mostly within Sonic communities, honestly. Outside of them, the Adventures memes are classics, and are arguably some of the most memorable stuff in the franchise. It's like comparing the '87 Ninja Turtles to the 4kids Ninja Turtles. The latter is technically better and more fondly remembered by turtle fans, but the original is a classic with a ton of memorable stuff, so it's the one everyone'll talk about.

I'd argue that X is serious and well remembered (If not well liked), though.

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11 hours ago, Mark_The_Dephiles said:

Really? In the US I only ever hear about fans of SATAM  or fans wanting characters from SATAM to be in the games. I hardly ever hear about AOSTH apart from the occasional "PINGAS" meme.

I was speaking of the uk. 'adventures of' was shown in repeats over a decade after it originally aired, on multiple stations. it has also made the transition into digital formats such as Netflix, iTunes, and amazon. not only was it heavily referenced in the recent 'ok ko' crossover, but also in 'sonic boom'. it's basically the 'sonic 1' of the cartoons over here. 'sonic boom' is currently popular. time will tell whether it's able to sustain a legacy beyond this era..

17 hours ago, supersonicwarrior said:

 

It's probably because by itself sonic and knuckles offered very little new. When you add it to sonic 3 you got 8 (I think) extra zones two extra bonus rounds another 7 emeralds to collect and new character to play as with cool unique abilities. by it's self though you lost tails (I always play sonic and tails so playing sonic solo like Mario without his cap) you had no save feature the graphics were identical to sonic 3 it used the same special stages. It just felt like less rather than more. As for Knuckles Chaotix that's been quite heavily critised due to its rubber band mechanics personally I liked it but it is a difficult game to play because your in this costant tug of war with the controls with your characters being constantly yanked back and forth.  

I think 'spinball' and '3d' had the potential to inject some freshness into the games at the time. they just weren't executed in the right way. 'spinball' was dark and crude and didn't control well (I won't even comment on the music 😮 ). '3d' lacked the speed - which was essential to the games in general.  I don't count 'chaotix' because it's not a sonic game..

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I think Sonic still has fans but it isn't as strong franchise as it was back in the 90's I think most children today would know who Mickey Mouse was but not Sonic, (unlike the 90's) Sonic fans also don't just spend money on anything Sonic-related anymore. The older fans have become more skeptical. 

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3 hours ago, Kellodrawsalot said:

most children today would know who Mickey Mouse was but not Sonic, (unlike the 90's)

I still don't believe Sonic was ever more recognizable than Mickey. A SEGA marketing guy claimed it, but we can't verify it.

Some of you were alive in the early '90s. If you had access to a T.V., or stepped in a toy store, or saw a recent G-rated film, then you knew who Mickey was in 1992.

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On 8/31/2019 at 2:09 AM, Mark_The_Dephiles said:

Really? In the US I only ever hear about fans of SATAM  or fans wanting characters from SATAM to be in the games. I hardly ever hear about AOSTH apart from the occasional "PINGAS" meme.

According to Youtube Sonic Underground vids have more views than SATam vids

 

It's just that SATam fans are extremely vocal 

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