I was born in 1993, very much in between generations. I was born much too late to experience the NES and for reasons I'm not even aware of the SNES remained out of my range. According to my parents, they purchased for myself and my older brother a Sega Genesis in 1995. Now I don't know what games came with this Sega Genesis or in what order I got them in, but up until I received the N64 in '98 or '99, and well after, I was a Genesis kid and all my friends up to the point I received that N64 were Genesis kids as well. One of the games I had on my Genesis was Sonic 2. This game was beyond my level of experience at the age of 3 and I never did beat the game (hell to this day I have yet to beat a Genesis Sonic game) but I would always return to it. It's one of those games that I always enjoyed playing and would always come back to even though I never got any further.
Sonic was a huge influence on me as a gamer and helped influence my choice of games forever, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time. My friend, Justus, had all the other Sonic games which I would borrow and I would also never beat but would always have a blast playing. I never noticed a lack of Sonic during my N64 era and I don't recall ever even knowing about the Dreamcast sadly, but when the Gamecube era came about I picked that thing up with Super Smash Bros. Melee and was one of those suckers who tried to unlock Sonic and Tails fruitlessly for months upon end (damn you Nintendo Power!) and soon after picked up Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. This game was incredible when I played it and I always loved playing it, hell I could put the game in right now and have a fun time even during the Knuckles/Rouge stages. It may just be my eyes not wanting to see a flaw in Sonic based on my nostalgia but I also really enjoyed Sonic Adventure DX when I rented it years ago.
Now I know I seem like a watery-eyed nostalgia freak gushing over games that in many people's eyes are considerably flawed, but Sonic Adventure 2 Battle remains to this day one of my favorite games on the Gamecube. Though sadly I eventually had the take off the Rose-Tinted glasses and reveals myself to the incredible mediocrity that was Sonic Heroes. This game was just a big disappointment for me and I never found it that fun and it just didn't sit right with me. It was the first time I felt a Sonic game was truly, truly flawed and was a huge turning point for me. This allowed me to be fully subjected to the horrendous nature of Shadow the Hedgehog, a game which I still despise to this day.
The Sonic flame was over and done with for me and it would never be ignited as brightly as it was the first time I played Sonic 2 back in 1995. But like everyone else, when I saw Sonic 2006 for the first time I was hugely excited, but when the game finally came out I didn't get it because I didn't have a 360 and I am glad for that. The last game on the Sonic chain and the most recent one is one that lives in infamy, Sonic Unleashed. Now I do not own this game... but I do like this game. That's right, I do not think Sonic Unleashed was a bad game. The Werehog levels never bothered me and the Sonic levels were a blast. Now I think everyone may just hate the idea of the Werehog more than the implementation but that's just me.
Sonic will never be a lost franchise in my opinion because I am a lot more excepting of the games and their flaws. Now if I look at things from a technical aspect the games are flawed, but not beyond all belief. I still remain hugely excited for Sonic 4 and Sonic Colors and whether they disappoint will have to be seen. I love Sonic and that will never change, but I do hope that one day he can be loved by everyone else again.
NOTE: I didn't touch on the hand held games considering the have remained pretty consistent and I also didn't touch on the story book series solely because I have absolutely no experience with them.