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Is Sonic dated?


Blazey Firekitty
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Back when Sonic was first introduced, he was marketed as the anti-Mario. While Mario was portrayed as an average, run of the mill everyman who just happened to have extraordinary abilities, Sonic was a symbol of raw individualism and edgy counter-cultural.

I've heard it argued that Sonic's brand of edginess was one that fit a certain time, but that feels out of place today. That, basically, Sonic is stuck in the 90's while the world has moved on.

Do you feel that this is true? If so, is it something that is holding the character, and thus the franchise, back, or is it something that you feel is a unique positive that can be seen as endearing?

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I really don't think Sonic is stuck in the 90s. He's really deviated away from that ETR333ME!!!1!1! image from the days of old and is now more like the cocky bastard type character, if Black Knight is anything to go by.

If anything, I think Sonic should continue deviating away from his old 90s image. It'll only lead to him looking like a complete fool. He should try staying with in a more basic, universal type of 'cool' and try not to be over the top like he used to be. Like Dante!

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Indeed, Sonic's 90s characterization is horrifically outdated, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that about the whole of his current character. Sonic's merely updated into a more contemporary version of the young, cocky hero. He still has the capacity to be an asshole, but it takes a backseat to his devil-may-care attitude and upstanding morals. It's a popular archetype nowadays, especially with the proliferation of shonen which has a strong appeal to the franchise's target audience. Frankly, it's not hard to imagine Sonic having another shift in personality as the archetype continues to exist and change with the times.

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I remembered watching the Game Overthinker's thoughts on this. Sonic definitely started out as a character made for marketable hipness, and cool most certainly does have a shelf life...sort of. As much as I love SatAM, Sonic's lines are pretty corny at times. Of course "cool has a shelf life" doesn't necessarily apply to fictional characters. Batman and many other Golden Age superheroes are examples of this. With someone like Axyl Rose from G&R? He's real. He can't change with the times, he can't stay young. Batman and Superman and Sonic? They aren't real. They can change characteristics about them, they don't grow old (unless its a plot point). You can see that they do this way of handling their character once the Dreamcast adventure games rolled a round. They changed Sonic's design to make him a little cooler, reworked a bit of his personality as well as changing Eggman and the setting. And it worked. Kids now a days do still love Sonic and think he's cool. I baby sit a lot. What do the kids like? Almost all of them pretty much demand that I play either the old Sonic games, Unleashed or Brawl because Sonic is in it. The only reason Sonic is less prevalent is because platformers in general are less prevalent. I mean it was only a couple ago when Sonic had a tv show that lasted 78 episodes.

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I think as long as Sonic stays true to a "good guy with a sarcastic attitude and impatience problem" motif, then there's no likelihood of aging anytime soon in that field.

It's when Sonic starts going "RADICAL!" "TUBULAR!" "WAY PAST COOL!" And the like, that it gets to be old. Some catchphrases are classic and timeless, but Sonic doesn't have that many that people remember him for. (in a good way)

Other than that, as long as the games are still good, he's still a likable and timeless character, than there should be very little wrong with his future. Besides, his new design seems a tad more universal with the times, not that he doesn't take any artistic licences at times, so in terms of visual design, Sonic seems more flexible than he was before. I mean, compare his Unleashed model with his Chronicles, Adventure, Classic and Riders one. He still looks like Sonic, just a little different. As long as we can recognize him as Sonic... he should be good.

I can't say much for his friends and supporting cast. They seem rather timeless in their own right, so maybe it applies to them too.

Edited by Indigo Claus
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Quite to the contrary, Sonic has done almost as well as 007 in keeping with the times. The biggest irony of course is that so many fans seem to prefer that Sonic be dated, as if the 90s were his only glory years. Besides, Sonic has successfully integrated into culture, and something would have to work towards not changing in order to become dated after doing so.

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Is Sonic dated? No. But is Sonic still Sonic? No. Individuality and free-spiritedness weren't exclusive to the 90s- Sonic's traits would have been admirable throughout the entirety of history. The problem today is that Sonic is completely going against his original appeal: He's trying to be what he's not by trying to conform. Just because people like guns, swords and brawling now doesn't mean he should be involved with that stuff just to fit in. Whether those games turned out good or bad, Sonic was not made for them and they were not made for him. If the developers want to capture the true image of Sonic, then they shouldn't look solely towards the current zeitgeist or even that of the past. They should just look to Sonic and wonder what they can do with him alone.

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I've heard it argued that Sonic's brand of edginess was one that fit a certain time, but that feels out of place today. That, basically, Sonic is stuck in the 90's while the world has moved on.

I for one think Sonic's "edginess" was largely exaggerated and more a product of American marketing than anything actually present in the games. Yes, Sonic was always intended to be confident and cool, but I feel SoA's image made Sonic something of a jerk.

In the 90s, Sonic's marketing repelled me, and made me rather quickly disinterested in the concept. Only after I accidentally discovered the games and understood the actual characterization behind them did I realize what a great series this was. Really, Sonic's a lot more similar to Mario than he is different- And to me, that's certainly not a bad thing.

Edited by Dr. Mechano
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No, I don't think so. He's with the times. Wanna know who is really dated? Pengo the Penguin. Yes, he is quite dated. Pengo is not around anymore. Man, imagine if Pengo became Sega's mascot.

He'd push blocks...To the extreme!XD

I for one think Sonic's "edginess" was largely exaggerated and more a product of American marketing than anything actually present in the games. Yes, Sonic was always intended to be confident and cool, but I feel SoA's image made Sonic something of a jerk.

In the 90s, Sonic's marketing repelled me, and made me rather quickly disinterested in the concept. Only after I accidentally discovered the games and understood the actual characterization behind them did I realize what a great series this was. Really, Sonic's a lot more similar to Mario than he is different- And to me, that's certainly not a bad thing.

Heh, you seem to have a point there...Sonic seemed to suffer somewhat from the mentalities that Westerners will not buy something that is cute...which seems rather silly considering the heaps of cash that Mario has made for Nintendo.

I get the general impression that Sega of Japan Sonic was strong because his steadfast determination to stick to his optimistic ideals, while the Sonic that Sega of America Sonic(The scowling, somewhat off-model figure shown to us on the boxes), was all about being rebellious at all times...regardless of whether or not he actually had something to rebel against("Hey, you, yeah, you looking at the box! Don't make me hurt you!"). Likewise, Sega of Japan's Sonic seems more about looking at the world in wide-eyed wonder, while SOA Sonic seems likes he thinks the very ground he walks on is unworthy of his greatness.

I figure the rest of the Western Sonic material(The cartoons and comics) was a bit more balanced, showing Sonic to have a heart despite still having him speak in an exaggerated "super cool" manner. Still, I can certainly relate to your feelings...Sega of America's ad campaign was lacking in charm, and, for lack of a better word, heart.

For all the mixed feelings it caused in the fandom, I felt that Sonic Unleashed helped bring Sonic back to his more Mario-esque roots, presenting a colorful wonderland for Sonic to inhabit, and trying to get back to his somewhat antagonistic, yet somewhat playful rivalry with Eggman. Hopefully it's a good sign of things to come.

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I don't like how Sonic is somewhat lacking his personality lately. Sure, SoA completely took his "cool" personality over-the-top, pulling him off as a complete selfish jerk. But that doesn't mean I wanna see Sonic as a goody-two-shoes that helps everybody out and is uber-friendly. When he does that, he does almost seem like just a somewhat more freespirited and cockier version of Mario.

I like how Sonic was in the OVA; which was a nice balance between the two personalities. He was laid back, didn't take anyone's crap, cocky, and a show-off at times, and didn't really give a good first impression. However, he had a soft spot, and had an overall set of good morals that led him to care about his friends and do the right things.

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I like Sonic as an asshole with an attitude problem. Were it not for that abysmal VA, his OVA interpretation is probably the best to have come out of Japan.

And I simply love his wise-ass personality in the comics... I guess it's because I grew up with the whole 'hedgehog with an attitude' thing, but it's ironic since retro is SO in now. You can see that in all types of media: fashion, automotive, and video games.

I absolutely despise Sonic's personality in the games these days. It's a little better for what I've seen in Black Knight, but otherwise I was banging my head against the wall from his antics in Unleashed. I'm sitting there thinking, like, "Dude, Amy is up your ass again? Tell that bitch to take a hike."

And to say that the SOJ Sonic was always oodles more 'optimistic' and 'friendly' than the westernized Sonic is a fresh heap if you ask me. What judgment could you make that off of, his smile? Sonic's smiling on the American box cover of Sonic 1, 2, AND 3. In fact, there's more Japanese clipart of Sonic frowning or looking 'angry' than there is American. And I hate to beat this dead horse, but from a pure mannerism standpoint, I think Sonic in the OVA is just as inhospitable as the westernized version.

There really never was any difference in Sonic's personality depending on the region, not generally speaking anyway. He was designed to be a cool hedgehog with a sense of freedom (which leads to rebelliousness).

Edited by nUcLeArEnVoY
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Being free doesn't inherently lead to rebellion. Sonic's actual level of freedom has remained the same over time, so there's no real relationship to note between that and his shift in demeanor.

If you ask me, the problem with Sonic's so-called rebelliousness back in the day is that he doesn't really rebel against anything (excluding Satam and Archie). All he did in the OAV was procrastinate until the various problems in the storyline got so severe that he had no choice but to fix them. It's amusing to watch, but ultimately that's not rebellion, or at least meaningful rebellion. It's counter-productive teenage bullcrap-- being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole-- which gives one prime artillery to actually dislike the characterization. And of course, it's much too ironic considering that same character gets pissed at you for not moving in most games.

The Sonic of today is much more admirable. People put him down for being a goody two-shoes, but I see nothing wrong with being charitable, especially when one is so unselfishly. I find it more influential and even funnier to know that he busts his butt saving the planet because it's genuine fun for him, a mere game or hobby, instead of because it's an obligation due to his own inaction and "attitude."

Edited by Nepenthe
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Being free doesn't inherently lead to rebellion. Sonic's actual level of freedom has remained the same over time, so there's no real relationship to note between that and his shift in demeanor.

If you ask me, the problem with Sonic's so-called rebelliousness back in the day is that he doesn't really rebel against anything (excluding Satam and Archie). All he did in the OAV was procrastinate until the various problems in the storyline got so severe that he had no choice but to fix them. It's amusing to watch, but ultimately that's not rebellion, or at least meaningful rebellion. It's counter-productive teenage bullcrap-- being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole-- which gives one prime artillery to actually dislike the characterization. And of course, it's much too ironic considering that same character gets pissed at you for not moving in most games.

The Sonic of today is much more admirable. People put him down for being a goody two-shoes, but I see nothing wrong with being charitable, especially when one is so unselfishly. I find it more influential and even funnier to know that he busts his butt saving the planet because it's genuine fun for him, a mere game or hobby, instead of because it's an obligation due to his own inaction and "attitude."

Tails was the only one who could help Old Man Owl until he strayed near the cliffs, He believed Robotnik to be lying, and that he had no reason to be solving Robotnik's problems. and those were the only times where he didn't take the initiative.

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How is Tails the only one who could have saved the Owl Man when Sonic can run across water and launch himself impossible distances into the air? Saving him shouldn't have been a problem for either party. Sonic just didn't really care until they were about to hit the cliff simply because he was ticked off that the whole fiasco had previously interrupted his relaxation.

And while Sonic found Eggman shifty, he didn't believe him to be outright lying. Otherwise, there would've been no rational reason to decline helping on account of it wasn't his own problem because that gives its validity credence anyways. Of course Sonic had plenty of reason to be wary of Eggman's true motives because it's Eggman, but to sit around with the intent of investigating nothing at all?

And you're right. These are the only times in the film where he didn't take the initiative, but really they were the only conflicts in the film that gave him leeway to decline in the first place. Sonic is a jerk, but only so when he can be without getting killed as a consequence which was ultimately my point. Metal Sonic's intent to destroy the planet doesn't fall into the relatively harmless category.

Edited by Nepenthe
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How is Tails the only one who could have saved the Owl Man when Sonic can run across water and launch himself impossible distances into the air? Saving him shouldn't have been a problem for either party. Sonic just didn't really care until they were about to hit the cliff simply because he was ticked off that the whole fiasco had previously interrupted his relaxation.

Sonic never ran on water in the OVA, even though it would have allowed him to take a much shorter route. I don't think the people responsible for making the OVA were aware he could do that.

And while Sonic found Eggman shifty, he didn't believe him to be outright lying. Otherwise, there would've been no rational reason to decline helping on account of it wasn't his own problem because that gives its validity credence anyways. Of course Sonic had plenty of reason to be wary of Eggman's true motives because it's Eggman, but to sit around with the intent of investigating nothing at all?

He tried to actually, but it turned out to be a hostage situation.

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Sonic never ran on water in the OVA, even though it would have allowed him to take a much shorter route. I don't think the people responsible for making the OVA were aware he could do that.

Didn't seem like there were any moments for him to do so beyond the Owl Man instance, really. And even then one could potentially argue that the water route wouldn't have been significantly shorter, if at all, since the cliff seemed tied to the beach he was on anyways.

He tried to actually, but it turned out to be a hostage situation.

You mean before they met with the President? I give you his initiative with that instance then, but this doesn't excuse his response to Eggman's problem and the potential catastrophe not playing along might have caused anyways.

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Sonic didn't believe him. It turned out he was right.

I think you're somewhat misinterpreting what I'm getting at, I'm not saying that I like Sonic being a total jackass, I'm just saying Sonic's behavior in the OVA seemed largely reasonable. I want Sonic to be fundamentally nice, but some of his recent portrayals have been too sugar coated and boring. He could really use some whitier writing.

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I never meant to imply that you yourself liked that portrayal in the first place. Sonic just seemed unnecessarily prude and even part of the problem at times when he could've afforded to be. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, although I don't actually dislike that portrayal myself. I should say I prefer his "sugar-coated" appearances more instead... with the exception of the one in Heroes.

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I like Sonic as an asshole with an attitude problem. Were it not for that abysmal VA, his OVA interpretation is probably the best to have come out of Japan.

And I simply love his wise-ass personality in the comics... I guess it's because I grew up with the whole 'hedgehog with an attitude' thing, but it's ironic since retro is SO in now. You can see that in all types of media: fashion, automotive, and video games.

I absolutely despise Sonic's personality in the games these days. It's a little better for what I've seen in Black Knight, but otherwise I was banging my head against the wall from his antics in Unleashed. I'm sitting there thinking, like, "Dude, Amy is up your ass again? Tell that bitch to take a hike."

Basically this, except I had little problem with his character in Unleashed. It was a step in the right direction for sure.

I see Sonic as basically a jerk with a heart of gold. Only thing that makes it dated is time specific slang

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Basically this, except I had little problem with his character in Unleashed. It was a step in the right direction for sure.

I see Sonic as basically a jerk with a heart of gold. Only thing that makes it dated is time specific slang

Yeah, I could go without him saying stuff like 'tubular', but Asshole Sonic is the only Sonic for me. Without that, he just comes off as an incredibly generic character. I'm not saying he has to actively be mean to people, but his recent portrayal isn't nearly as good as the OVA's was. Besides, he can just use Tails every time the need comes to be diplomatic.

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