Sonic the Hedgehog Finally Makes Sense
"And in the 16-bit era, 'edgy' meant 'he impatiently taps his foot when you don't move.' Standards were way, way lower."
And it's true, Sonic is a kids franchise. We are no longer kids. We are not supposed to like Sonic anymore (despite the obvious decline in quality as well).
I have to agree with you Jeff. The Sonic franchise has totally lost its touch ever since Sonic Adventure. It seems that Sega has not quite figured this out yet unfortunately. I hope that they stop making games from this franchise in the near future in order to help Sega in creating new IPs that could overtake Sonic's place as Sega's golden boy. The franchise needs to be put down Old Yeller style.
Sonic's time has come and passed, let it go Sega.
I have two things to say:
First off, Sonic CD was the shit, Jeff, and I salute you for being one of the few people outside of the OMG HARDCORE old school sonic fanbase (Of which I am an admitted part of) to realize so.
Second, I think SEGA should hand the franchise off to a better developer. Seriously, imagine a (don't you dare draw comparisons to where Megaman has gone) Capcom done Sonic. They did alright (fantastic IMO) with Zelda, so they can work with IPs they didn't create just fine.
As a kid, I loved playing games like spyro and sonic that, once i really got into gaming, i found out got horrible reviews. i remember the sonic game i played was the 3d game with the second game with shadow. it was pretty fun; sure the controls were bad but it gave an extra challenge. these games are catered to kids who buy games their friends have or have gotten gifts from people who know jack shit about games and get the $20 game compared to the $50 or $60 games.
Wait--if Sonic games are aimed at kids, why are some of them so hard? I finished Sonic Unleashed (for a review, not for fun), and some of the platforming in the final levels was really, really frustrating. Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine that any kid would be into that. I'd argue that, regardless of the target audience, plain old poor design is still the main issue here.
In my opinion, some smarter design decisions could actually produce a good Sonic game. Not that it would ever actually happen.
I've been saying this for years... Sonic has always had cartoons, comics, merchandise, etc. all aimed at kids. His best outings are on portables, which are mostly played by kids. His games still come out on the PS2 and on the Wii, which are cheap to make, and bought by parents for their kids. Etc.
The article makes sense. I loved sonic back then. So that's why I'm only playing the sonic games on XBLA. Sonic isn't meant for 3D from what us adults see. You put sonic back onto 2D then he's great again.
Anyways, lets just leave it at that and not talk about anymore future sonic games. For God sakes dont talk about it. Leave him for the kids.
Sonic games have to only be for kids? Look, I don't know about you guys, but I don't think that Sonic should have to be of the same par and quality as, say, Looney Toons Acme Arsenal. That's kind of a ludicrous idea. Now, are we the target audience? No, and Jeff makes plenty of good points to show that. However, that doesn't mean WE shouldn't be able to enjoy the game either.
- Stick with one style of gameplay through the whole experience
- Offer branching paths
- Bring back the Chaos Emerald levels
- HIS NAME IS DR. RO-FUCKING-BOTNIK, NOT DR. EGGMAN!!!
"you could argue that I'm making the assumption that kids don't know any better when it comes to good and bad games, or that they aren't as good at games as, say, I am."
You said some could actually know the difference and I kinda agree but I also know that if I was 6 or 7 right now and you handed me Sonic Unleashed, I'd be like "This is awesome, yay, Sonic!" But that doesn't happen. I really hate to see parents at stores looking through Wii games and being like hey, that has Sonic, he'll love it, and honestly, that's true but still, the game is garbage and I give props to every parent that actually want's their kids to play good games.
Sonic love is a pretty subjective statement. And this is an topic i actually have a couple things to say on.
look im not gonna lie or sugar coat it: I personally hate all the new mario games since Super Mario World. On the flip-side im a total psycho for anything Sonic. I play all the games, i read the comic on occasion, and ive even gone back and watched the SATAM cartoon , both seasons, in 2 sittings.
I dont regret a second of it.
Both Mario and Sonic have grown up with the times, Mario is still, very much a kids game, and so is Sonic. People have less hard feelings about Nintendos fatass plumber getting shot through space as he cutely wiggles his arms everywhere, and nobody complains when his core platforming mechanic is immediately changed when he turns into a fricking BEE.
Oh but no, not for Sonic, the moment a new gameplay mechanic past Run and Jump is introduced, no matter how silly or logical, people cry blood. You know, at the very least, the mode WAS done well.Opening the mind for 20 seconds and letting something for a change youd come to realize that its not simply a half-baked thrown in feature, but integrates into the core gameplay quite well, which is more than alot of franchises can say in the first place, ESPECIALLY Sonics!
He COULD have been running around collecting Treasure or Fishing. Thats all i gotta say. They delivered a pretty-polished gameplay feature, and i dont know about you, but it was JUST fine the way it is. How you played it, was your own deal.
No, Unleashed isn't perfect, and NOBODY expects it to be a competitor to the Mario franchise. And no, i don't expect everyone to love the Werehog, id be daft if i said "just look past it". But what you said up there Jeff, is one very specific thing: growing up with a franchise does certain things to you, especially if the franchise refuses to grow up to your expected standards. Everyones got their own opinion on what a good game is and isn't, everything is a pretty subjective statement, your most hated game in history could be my favorite game of all time (obviously bad titles aside of course [aka Big Rigs and Sonic 06 :p]), its all about letting in a little understanding and a bit of an open mind when it gets into the grey area. So of course, its not gonna be for everyone.
Of course, im one of those "fans" who take his favorite franchises for what they are and does his best to enjoy what hes given, rather than what the so-called 'fans' THINK it should be.
The customer isn't ALWAYS right you know.
I liked Sonic Adventure 2, i liked Shadow the Hedgehog, and Sonic CD, and I like Sonic Unleashed. But i didn't really like Sonic '06 or Sonic Heroes. My favorite in the franchise is Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and the Second season of the original Saturday Morning cartoon show is the only way to go. Does this show i have bad taste in franchise adoration? Hell no, it means i stick to my principles through thick and thin, take the punches, and keep coming back for more. As a famous fictional boxer once said "Its not about how hard you can hit, its about how hard you can GET hit, and keep coming back for more" (or close to that anyways)
heres an answer to your ails though, this is from my perspective:
Sonic isn't for "kid kids" like Mario is, Sonic is an alternative character for those who are supposed to desire more than what a baseless mascot has to offer. Its a true shame that many of those who consider themselves a Sonic fan do not realize that themselves.
For the record, Mario is fine dont get me wrong, im just not a fan.
But truthfully, i don't know what everyone wants in a Sonic game, im hearing "if they just did speed levels" but then i hear the complaints of "Hes now going TOO fast" and even absolutely RIDICULOUS claims such as "The speed stages have terrible camera" make me want to punch an Xbox Live Squeaker in the chops everytime.
And with such CONFUSING feedback, how do you expect SEGA to take it? They've already taken it back to the drawing board based on the popular feedback. And honestly, a game comprised entirely of the speed stages would wear its welcome so thin itd make an anorexic cry in jealousy. Remember, the SEGA games could be completed in a couple hours if your taking your time, and a game in this day and age being sold for $60 a pop needs to have some length to it, and people whine bitch moan and complain when the same level geometry is used in a title.
So i dont know wtf you guys want, so what im saying here is: I dont want SEGA to change what its doing NOW. As they're doing just fine.
(Besides, its not like the Werehog is a permanent character anyways)
i await the flames :)
Jeff. You forget one thing. These people, the Sonic fans, will NEVER give up!! If they could they would have done so a long time ago.
But I still appreciate you saying it. Some of the worst offenders of irrational Sonic fandom is from within the gaming press itself. Guess what? I just read a preview on the next Sonic game (the one where he wields a fucking sword) and it said something like "Yes we know all the other games sucks ass but this one looks to be pretty good". When will it end!?
The only reason I personally don't enjoy the game is simply the lack of control... I mean, its not a genius game, but any part when you don't have to control more then two directions it is ok. ANy other part though, you don't seem to be able to turn fast enough to avoid the walls. Which is really REALLY annoying. I think if they had kept to the 2D stuff, and just threw in shiny graphics, and left the 3D for fighting, and added some depth to the running stuff, it would be 10 times better.
Great article, Jeff. I'm as jaded for Sonic as you were, but as you said, I also remember the glory years, where I would spend 6-8 hours on the floor playing Sonic on my gamegear. One time my legs fell asleep, and I thought I was done for.
I downloaded the demo for the sonic game that was released about a year ago, and vowed then to then play another new Sonic game. Pretty sure that still stands.
Obviously their aim is to appeal to the kids, but that doesn't mean they can't still make good games.
Look at Mario, Pokemon the Lego games or even something like Spyro. They're all very clearly aimed at the kiddies, but they also still have very good gameplay and can be enjoyed by those of all ages. I'm perfectly happy to accept the fact that Sonic isn't aimed at someone my age, but that doesn't excuse the crappyness of *all* the recent games. Why has Mario been able to move into the 3D realm so well and still be enjoyed by everyone where as each subsequent Sonic game has been worse and worse?
And yes, I consider Unleashed to be worse than 2006.
Thanks for the article Jeff and yeah Sonic games have declined in quality for the last few years and to me the last good Sonic game was Sonic Adventure 2 and after they started called Dr. Robotnik "Eggman" that's when it also when downhill, but thank goodness we still have the older games and fan hacks to get away from the newer games.
The problem with Sonic, as you have said has been documented over and over again usually beginning with the incredibly sophisticated concept that Sonic games should be focused on...Sonicrunning....and that the product should also be technically sound. So far Sonic Team has shown time and time again the lack of understanding regarding these very, basic concepts.
The reason Mario has had such success is that the developers at least know who he is. Sonic Team by contrast is turning their mascot into a fucking werewolf.
I'm not going to give up on Sonic due to the fact, as you pointed out: Everyone knows how to fix this problem. Why the heck do you think their are so many blogs documenting it? It's transcended the concept of fanboys wishing their mascot be handled with more (any) respect at this point. The whole situation is just infuriating to me now: watching a chance for what could be something more than a trash product turn into another missed opportunity.
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