This edition of The Spin series of columns doesn’t really want to go in depth about anything right at this moment. It simply wishes to represent The Sonic Stadium and extend an apology.
Our coverage of Sonic and the Black Knight has been somewhat controversial. We do not apologise for our “NO” outburst. This is an opinion. In the vast reaches of the Internet, one is allowed to express an opinion, even based on one scan. Can we say the game will suck in terms of gameplay? No, of course not. Can we say it’s a terrible idea? Yes, we can.
The SSMB Forums have been another forum of hot controversy regarding the new game announcement. A few months ago, you couldn’t say anything positive about a Sonic game unless you wanted to get flamed. This situation is very different, and we are thankful for it. However, now there is a situation whereby nobody can say anything negative about a Sonic game unless you want to get flamed. This is unacceptable, and a reason behind why I have been vocal and cracking down on certain people on the forums as of late. All I want is a balance and respect of opinion. If you don’t allow positive opinion, you look like a “Classic Fanboy” website. If you don’t allow negative opinion, you look like an official SEGA Europe forum.
I want to extend apologies to ArchAngelUK. We had a good and healthy debate about the Sonic and the Black Knight news, but it appears he seems to think it was an argument. I have never treated any discussion with AAUK with anger, and the debate the other night was no exception. I’m not exactly sure what drove him to believe TSS and myself were against him for simply voicing an opinion about an announcement, but perhaps it’s a sure sign of the dangers when a website can get too close to the official source.
When a website gets critical of an idea, the official source steps back, reacts against the website. Believes that, despite the years and years of continuous support to them, that we are ‘anti-Sonic’. Those who appear unable to even formulate an opinion of their own have taken to attack The Sonic Stadium for the same. Yes, how dare we go against the status quo and hump every new announcement there is? What kind of Sonic fans are we anyway?
Tired ones, really. And ones that can do without the drama we have had to endure the last week, let alone drama from an official source that we’re supposed to be on good terms with. Again, I wholeheartedly apologise if anything I said has offended AAUK, but we cannot apologise for fighting what we believe is a worthy cause – the choice of being negative about a game (even if just a concept) without being ransomed (not that we have been, before you jump to conclusions, it’s a figure of speech).
This was one of the first golden rules I said to SEGA Europe, when it became apparent we were to work closer together back in 2005. I told them that our ‘friendship’ (so to speak) is based on us providing them with publicity (i.e. getting fans pumped for new titles by simply letting them know about them), and a source with which they can directly connect and get feedback from their fans. In return, SEGA is agreed not to intervene – we are free to exert editorial opinion and not have anyone change or influence what we say – for better or for worse.
When your forum starts bashing people for having a negative opinion, a webmaster has to wonder whether those values and agreements made in 2005 are actually going to last much longer. Or in fact, whether SEGA can actually get a good idea of fan’s reactions when everything negative/positive is gagged.
Furthermore, AAUK is someone I consider a very personal friend of mine, regardless of the situation under which he works. I have never fallen out with him, but if the conversation we had the other day said to him otherwise, then I apologise profusely. I have never personally attacked him and have the utmost respect for him. With regards to the “Rt. Hon. Romily Broad” comment (which Roareye only just made clear to me, because I’m a sloth), this was not intended as a pithy comment against AAUK or the work he has done. In fact, the Rt. Hon. was a joke, and mentioning Romily was a simple case of namechecking who I spoke to first when TSS became close to SEGA. But I can understand how it can be construed and I also apologise.
In closing, three posts regarding Sonic and the Black Knight (the original announcement, the ‘Defend Sonic’ brigade and Slingerland’s defence this morning) may seem excessive but the latter two were only created once it became apparent that there are more problems with the Sonic online community (at least this side of the internet) than simply ‘Classic Fanboys’. There are also ‘Modern Fanboys’ and ‘Holier Than Thous’, which will essentially say yes to everything SEGA pump out and if someone decides to speak out against it, then they shall attack us with their wrath. To you people, we do not apologise, and we do not apologise for defending a portion of the Sonic fanbase that again feel isolated by the Sonic Team.
Perhaps the state of the Sonic Community itself is a topic for another debate. But for now, we will let this be the last time any drama becomes of Sonic and the Black Knight. We will continue to cover it in our own, unique way, and will not rise up to the ‘Holier Than Thous’ of this world. As has been shown with all the unnecessary drama happening in the last few days, when you try to defend yourself against something you believe in, people start to question whether you really believe in it at all. And then trouble ensues.
Have a good week everyone. Sorry.