The Spin: Maybe We Need A Better Way To Talk About Sonic Games?

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Disclaimer: The views in this piece may not reflect the views of TSS or other writers on the staff team. The intention of The Spin is to promote debate and discussion of an issue or something that’s happening in the fandom or the world of Sonic.

So the last time I did an instalment of the Spin, one user got so angry he wrote 4 whole lines of abuse on Tumblr, but panicked and deleted the post after it was pointed out that what he wrote and accused me of wasn’t exactly what I had said at all, and instead just wrote a whole 1 line about why he now doesn’t like the site… ok then. In fact one or two people got angry at the notion that I dared to suggest that people should not rush out and pre-order stuff when you know nothing about the product and how people shouldn’t be just saying “Whoa good on Sega for delaying a game!” and ask “Exactly why has it been delayed? Show us what’s wrong with it so we can see your improvements.”

So today, we’re all going to do a Big the Cat, we’re going to relax. We’re going to chill, we’re going to talk about language, and specifically, how we describe/talk about Sonic games.

I’d like to quote for you a number of things which I’ve read both recently and in the past over a number of different forums, odds are visit any site which has an active Sonic discussion and it won’t take you very long to read something like it, to save embarrassment I’m not going to directly link to these, but really do you need that? Odds are you’ve seen stuff like this from time to time, in fact just visit the Sega forums or GameFAQ’s forums, odds are you’ll find something very similar.

I want a new Sonic game which takes the adventure formula, polishes it, brings back crush 40 and adds exploration elements!

Here’s another.

I want a Sonic game which just focuses on Sonic, Tails and Knuckles! It’s gotta be linear with multiple paths and mustn’t have puzzles!

And another….

I want a game which takes the adventure formula and builds on it!

  And just for fun one more

I want a Sonic game which brings back the edge! Sonic must be edgy again! That’s why he was popular in the 90’s! When I first played Sonic it wasn’t like Mario! That’s why I like Sonic

Incidentally, that last guy was born in 2001…. Do the age math.

Anyway, am I the only one, who doesn’t really understand what all those people want? Would I be completely wrong in saying ‘I bet you don’t even understand what you want?’

Despite what many people think, when it comes to describing videogames, there is no universally agreed terminology or language structure. I’m sure you’ve all heard terms like polish, mechanics, flow, linear, open world, sandbox etc etc right? Well… around 20 years ago, two developers whose name escapes me right now, noticed that there was no language to describe game development so they tried to apply some terms and phrases to try and help communicate what it was that they did in order to aid development.

But these terms were never formally recognised and they never have been.

Think of it this way.

I can remember first playing Sonic 1, getting to Robotnik and saying out loud “Oh it’s the boss!” but before that, I don’t remember playing games which specifically used the word ‘boss’ to describe an end of level boss, I never collected magazines at this time which said ‘boss’ but I still called it that. Why?

dropthecriterseggman

Well, odds are it was because from other media, such as comics, cartoons and other TV shows, boss was a word used to describe the man in charge, or in the cases of comics and cartoons, a big foreboding person who was powerful and in charge. So it made sense to call it a boss, and to this day we call these fights ‘boss battles.’ But is that right? Are they really a strict definition of what a boss actually is? Think of a game like Dark Souls or Bloodborne where the boss fights are giant monsters, demons or other hunters like the player.

If we look at the definition of what a boss is, no it’s not right, but in gaming culture, it’s absolutely right!

In case you’ve not realised it yet. What we do when it comes to describing games and the culture is to take pre-existing words and try to apply them to the world of games. Polish, mechanics, flow etc, are all pre-existing words with pre-existing definitions, we’ve taken them because it best helps to describe the structure of a computer game, but because these words have all these pre-existing definitions, the interpretation of them can often be twisted or changed based on a persons own baggage or use of language.

Now over the last 20 or so years, both gamers and developers have used these words and built up some kind of understanding, for instance, when we say ‘this game has good flow and pace’ we all sorta understand that it means that the game seems to run or move along at a pace which doesn’t mean that the player becomes bored, but even then we can go deeper with that analysis, is it because the player is going through sections where nothing is happening? Or is there too much happening and it’s becoming dull? Or is the inaction not as engaging as it was previously?

But that said, there is still no defined universally agreed definitions for such terms. There’s a really close to home example here, in the last instalment of The Spin, I talked about the use of the word polish and how it was a term used to mainly describe aesthetics, well some people said “No I use it for bug fixing,” now from my experience and even from making my own games, I would never use the word polish to describe bug fixing, I would call it exactly that, bug fixing, or bug hunting, never polish, but some people do.

Nothing wrong with that, we’re just using the same word which has no defined or agreed term to describe problems with a game that need correcting.

Exploring

Sonic Colours Green Hill Zone

Now lets chat about Sonic, and everyone’s favourite subject, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice. Something I have seen fans say about Fire & Ice and even the developers is the following line.

There is a lot less exploration than the last game.

What does that say to you? Think about it, exactly what do you mean about exploration when you hear that? Now try to contextualise it in a Sonic game, are you thinking about something like Unleashed and finding those sun and moon medals? Are you thinking Classic Sonic eras with hidden items in walls? Or going down seemingly dead end paths which offer the player a reward with items (think that Marble Zone wall with the extra life and rings)?

There’s quite a difference with both those.

I ask you to think about that because this is a quote from the original Sonic Boom Fire & Ice announcement.

The new title also delivers gameplay that enables players to run through the game at top speed, or take their time with deeper exploration and puzzle play.

Does this mean that exploration is optional? That it’s like Sonic 1 in which you are only penalised by lack of lives or point rewards? Or that it’s like more recent games in which you have to explore in order to either progress or get some kind of final unlock?

See the issue. The word exploration can be taken to mean a multitude of things when it comes to Sonic. If we think about the original Green Hill Zone, there is exploration to be had in that, we can take different paths which offer different experiences, but all roads eventually lead to the goal.

However, if we look at exploration in more recent games, it means going out of our way to find objects and other things to unlock stuff, some may argue that this should be called ‘collecting’ but since a lot of the time these collectables are hidden away or placed in these hidden areas, we can also apply the term exploration here too.

Sometimes, these exploration segments are required to progress, other times it’s to unlock key items or rewards, the exploration is not a natural curiosity, but a forced mechanic devised on the player.

Then we have games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles or Sonic 2 & Knuckles, games which reward player for exploring with unique character abilities, for instance, I can’t climb this wall with Sonic or Tails, but with Knuckles I can, there’s an extra life up here. Also, I can’t jump or glide over to that platform, but as Tails I can, there’s another reward here.

So in this instance, one word can mean a multitude of different possibilities, some reward for natural curious gameplay, a forced mechanic required for progression, or a device for rewarding unique play styles.

As a fandom, we don’t have an agreed definition as to what ‘exploring’ means, then when a game comes out which offers ‘exploring’ depending on the level and complexity of that, it can often backlash for the majority because it’s different/not what they wanted or expected.

The description also mentions puzzles, puzzles are another thing which we can’t seem to agree on. Everyone remembers that puzzle in Sonic 4 Episode 1, mainly because of how awful it was to do, nobody wants that back, and if you do… why? Same with Silver and his balls, but even some of the classics had some stuff which you could argue required you to think, remember those segments where you endlessly fell and had to jump off at the right spot? Not the most advanced thing, but it existed.

Then the Adventure games came and we had a lot of puzzle elements, ranging from a door password, to navigating a maze like area.

Now we have, swap out a character to use a special ability to push a switch then switch back to another character to run through the door.

What do we want or expect when we talk or hear about puzzles? There’s a lot here which can apply.

That Adventure Style Thing

Sonic-Generations-3DS-Emerald-Coast-Screenshot
How many times are we going to see this?

If you’ve been on any Sonic forum, odds are you’ve seen this said in some way.

The adventure formula.

I have what I think is a reasonable question… Do we actually all agree as to what it means? Please don’t go to a random Facebook campaign group and quote what the group admin thinks it means, what does it actually mean to everybody?

This phrase is often used to describe the Dreamcast Sonic games, but which ones? Let’s be honest here, on the surface, Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are really different, you have to get to really deep levels of analysis before you notice that they’re similar. So what are we talking about?

Even if we take away the most basic aspects of how Sonic in Sonic Adventure works, we can easily argue that up until around Sonic Generations, this hasn’t really changed or gone anywhere, lets be real here, Sonic 06 attempted to be some kind of glorious mess of an SA remake, we’ve got Wales, we’ve got Egg Carriers, we’ve got all this other stuff from SA which people had been asking for a return to… just one problem, the game is a tragic mess.

So wait, that doesn’t count? …Urm… well, actually.

Some people will argue tooth and nail that Sonic 06 isn’t using the SA formula, even though when you look at something as basic as ‘how do I play this/how does it work’ it’s very similar in some areas, and the same in the others. But because it lacks a chao garden and is terrible, and it is terrible, if you think it isn’t you’re wrong, yes you are, it therefore according to many doesn’t count because it lacks these added features which both the original SA’s had. How many times do you have to say that before it sounds a little silly?

So what exactly does ‘Adventure formula’ mean if we’re happy to apply it to SA 1 and SA 2, but not fine with applying it to Sonic 06? I’ve seen some say ‘well it has no chao’ urm… what? That has nothing to do with the core gameplay, that is an extra mode which some don’t bother with which has nothing to do with what makes the SA games somewhere between good and great games.

Lets think back to one of the original quotes.

I want a game which takes the adventure formula and builds on it!

But they’ve done that, they’ve been doing that for the best part of 10 years. Even Sonic Heroes which started off life as SA 3 still has elements of what the basics of SA is, however when we move onto Sonic 06, whilst it’s a complete mess of a title, how is that not taking the adventure formula and trying to do something else with it?

Sonic Generations Planet Wisp Screenshots 25

Unleashed and Generations. Pretend your boost button is broken, same question, however here we have gameplay and level design which means that the gameplay requires the use of the boost button, so whilst we’re still building on the SA era gameplay and methodology, we have built upon it in some radical way.

Yet still people say ‘we should go back to the adventure formula’ or ‘we should build on it’ or ‘we should polish it’ but… we have been? Right? I mean, that camera for one thing is so much better these days than it used to be, we have levels which get bigger in scale which still try to push hardware. Or is what we’re really asking for is ‘we want a game ‘exactly’ like one of the first Adventure games?’

Dark & Edgy Kids

sonic the hedgehog gray silhouette xbox sonic ps3 game sega 1920x1200 wallpaper_www.animalhi.com_76

At some point, someone decided that Sonic should be dark, then at some point after that, someone decided Sonic should be edgy, and at some point, some people started using that to describe what games should be like.

What happened here?

I think again it goes back to Sonic Adventure and to another point Sonic Adventure 2, for years we had games which were basically the bad guy did something bad and then he started to… … … you know what… no, let’s talk about this in another instalment of The Spin.

In this section, I want to write here about how some fans often use the words’ dark and edgy’ to somehow describe games, yet whilst on the one hand some fans are saying SA 2 is a dark game, then a few months later out comes Silent Hill 2. But I think there’s a more interesting discussion to that, so let’s park that for now and go back to our big blue hedgehog chasing a giant Eggman as flowers bounce around him which totally isn’t a kids game.

As for the edge, we can laugh about the use of that word in another instalment. For now enjoy this related video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbHSinGGvQY

I think I’m going to leave it there for now, not a huge in-depth look at language, but a starting point. What about the rest of you, ever seen someone describe a Sonic game or even Sega themselves describe how a game should be and then it’s nothing like how you interpret that?

Also feel free to vote on the next subject that I should talk about, again this doesn’t set the next one in stone, just gives me an idea where to go with these.

76 Comments

  1. Wales, that one part of the UK, was in a Sonic game? How did I miss this?! 😮

    On another note, I completely agree with the whole part about SA and ’06, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve gotten into arguments with people who claim ’06 is nothing like SA just because it’s full of glitches even though, well, neither SA was exactly glitch-free, now was it? Glitches aside, you couldn’t get any closer to a true SA3 unless you added a new chao garden! ’06 has the exact elements that make the SA games what they are, it has multiple characters, each one with their own story which also intertwines with everyone elses storys to form one giant plot. It has edge. It has the big, epic boss battles. It’s set in some weird version of Earth where humans exist alongside Mobians/anthro animals. It has the character-specific upgrades. It even experiments with a new visual style (which everyone chooses to ignore when it comes to SA2).

    1. Hehe, didn’t you know? Princess Elise is actually a Welsh princess.

      Put down the pitchforks, Welsh people…

  2. It’s never easy to talk about Sonic or anything other games. Someone always gonna say something. That game I see in front of my face, whatever I watch on my TV screen. Things I see (and try to hear) what is occurring on in that game. And I assume (hopefully) that Shadow’s solo and Sonic 06 is what we DON’T want ever again. For Sonic’s sake.

  3. well its SEGA choice if they want to bring back the sonic adventure style all the way 9 years ago and i knew sonic heros is a sonic adventure 3 game for some reason yeah those segments they said its just strange how they develop such a good old sonic game but i wonder if they can combine sonic adventure and sonic unleashed elements and make it in to a big 25th anniversary game for a good sonic title but i know SEGA stop listing to fans because after what happen a few months ago they decided to take there company in to a new direction yeah to be honest i think sonic adventure 2 and sonic heros and sonic the hedgehog 3 was the best game i ever played back then yeah i hope they make a better 25th anniversary game to be available for all home consoles i was thinking Sonic Origins is the best title for the 25th anniversary.

  4. I think you’re absolutely right. Everybody has a different idea of what words mean for gaming. Maybe we should make an Sonic Stadium dictionary that provides clear, concise definitions for those words? Hey, if Webster can permanently change the English language with his dictionary, we can surely properly define gaming lexicon with our own dictionary. Yet again, that would require Sonic fans to find common ground on something. I’m not quite sure if this fanbase is capable of such a thing anymore given how we’re still debating what edge is.

    I think that edge is a really flimsy excuse to like something. “Edge” is an element, its not the whole thing. You need quality substance to back your edge or else you just look desperate, incompetent, and out of touch. Yet again, what defines quality? What paradigms do we use to define stuff like “scale” and “enjoyability”? Riddle me this: Why do people claim that Unleashed had a great sense of scale while Colors feels too small and restricted, when they both have massive settings, the former being the whole world and the latter being a amusement park in space with six planets attached to it? Why do people claim to enjoy Sonic 06 for the effort, but deride RoL for being lazy when they both clearly had the same amount of effort put into them with similar final results?

    Dammit, I sound like a Theory of Knowledge essay now.

  5. As the person who sent that hate comment a few weeks ago, even though I knew there’s no chance in hell it will repair my image in anyone’s eyes, I feel the need to apologize for what I said. There’s no dancing around it, it was “abuse” as ypu said.

    I’ve had problems controlling my anger for a while, and that was one of those times where I was too belligerent to realize just how embarrassingly hypocritical I was. My emotions and my nosiness shouldn’t be paired together.

    (And yes, I lurk around the SSMB sometimes, though after this episode, I suppose signing up is out of the cards.)

    1. I can’t speak for the Merchman, but we all make mistakes. After all of Hogfather’s talk on Sonic game semantics, I’d be curious to know what you’d like to see in the next Sonic game. At this point, I’m not sure Sega can please everyone (thought I have a few ideas), and everyone has his own idea about what he wants in the next game without necessarily understanding every facet of what that would mean. That doesn’t make it any less fun or stimulating to dream, though!

  6. I think I’ll try my hand at this ‘clear’ version of talking about what we want from Sonic games. Ahem.

    “I think it would be a splendid idea if they combined some of the ideas of the original Sonic Adventure, such as multiple characters with the same basic style of control, hub worlds with some level of depth, and a soundtrack by Crush 40, and combine it with the actual game mechanics introduced in Sonic Unleashed and used until Sonic Generations, such as the boost system. In addition, I am of the opinion that puzzles should be phased out and replaced with a focus on platforming, including multiple pathways upon which to platform, each with different befits.”

    1. You sound like one of those Joseph Ducroux memes. XD

      Joking aside, I could get behind a game like that. I’d love a Sonic game that built off the best of all titles.

  7. Before you make fun of “Dark and Edgy Kids,” you should realize that many of us 1996-1999 kids grew up with the Dreamcast Era games, leading us to associate that Sonic is a darker, wilder, and cooler Mario. Even if you go back to the Genesis days, Sonic was always branded as the “cooler” kid in town, featuring a more detailed visual style than that of contemporary Mario games. Commercials made him very aggressive, which I think found its peak around 2004.

    Yes, we’re talking about a blue hedgehog that fights a egg-shaped scientist. The Legend of Zelda is about a elf-like boy saving his country from a pig. Metroid is about a girl fighting a brain in a jar and assorted aliens. Mega Man X is about an android shooting down robot animals. Conker’s Bad Fur Day stars a squirrel being hunted by a panther king. All of these series are taken very seriously. (Not saying Sonic should be as raunchy as Conker, though)

    Sonic 1 is a story about a mad scientist using forced animal labor to take over the world, a pretty messed up concept.
    Sonic 2 is the same thing, now with a Death Star knockoff.
    Sonic 3&K is a tale about an endangered islander being exploited for his ignorance, helping the mad scientist buy time to rebuild his Death Star.
    Sonic Adventure is about the mad scientist trying to tame an ancient water monster to level a city and build a metropolis of his design on the ruins.
    Sonic Adventure 2 has the antagonist hold Earth hostage on threat of destroying it, being helped by an immortal being clouded by revenge.
    Sonic Heroes is about a robot massing giant armies to overthrow his creator and eliminate the hero.
    Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic ’06 speak for themselves.
    Sonic and the Secret Rings is about a spirit trying to wipe his world to oblivion and do the same to our protagonist’s.
    Sonic Unleashed speaks for itself.
    Sonic and the Black Knight is about a sorceress plotting to freeze time in her world – FOREVER.
    Sonic Colors is about the mad scientist forcibly harvesting energy from peaceful aliens to power a mind-control ray.
    Sonic Generations is about the scientist attempting to REWRITE HISTORY.
    Sonic Lost World is about the scientist harvesting the very Earth’s life energy for his own uses, causing his planet to shrivel and die.

    Sonic has always been dark.

    1. You can play that let’s make it dark game with anything.

      You are transported to amysterious world where the evil king and his army of monsters lay waste to the land. Inside the castle you find the reanimated corpses of the dead. But struggle on you do until finally you defeat the evil king and save the land.

      Now… was I describing Demons Souls… Or Mario?

      1. You wanna add Ghost and Goblins and Castlevania to that mix….along with any video game with a storybook setting filled with supernatural antagonists and a vaguely medieval aesthetic.

  8. “If you think it isn’t, you’re wrong, yes you are.” I agree with you on the topic, but I think you love using that line a bit too much, Hogfather. No offense, but it’s kind of asking people to become irate and think of you as dismissive.

    1. Agreed. His last article was full of what basically amounted to “I’m right and you’re wrong because reasons,” and then he wrote this article about how to talk about Sonic games because… a few people called him out on it?

      For one particular example, just look at the conversation about polish in the comments of the last article. Someone pointed out that his definition of polish (as only pertaining to graphics) was inaccurate, to which he said someone needed to provide proof as to what it really is. A few people explained it (as it pertains to tweaking any aspects(s) of a work to give it a more refined feel) and he said he knows he’s right – and everyone else is wrong – because he “has a really good idea of how game development works.” In other words, he’s right because he’s right.

      No offense, Hogfather, but you need to learn how to take criticism and stop using circular reasoning to justify your claims. Right now you’re just acting childish and, as the guy above me said, dismissive.

          1. When one of them quoted what I said in relation to the article and that moment in question.

            I’m assuming you have read the article and not just the comments?

          2. I did read the article as is obvious in my big comment at the top, did you read all the comments or just the ones that offend you? Even then though, you didn’t read the comments properly since neither of the ones you replied to mentioned ’06 or used a quote from the article that relates to it.

        1. Hogfather, I just said, “I agree with you on the topic.” Both in regards to this article and the moment in question. I think Sonic ’06 is awful too.

        2. And now we can add “strawman” to the list. Please tell me where I mentioned Sonic 06 or anything to do with it.

          1. How about you bother to back up your accusations and get your facts right first then maybe I’ll consider giving you some time?

            Fun fact, I mentioned weeks ago that I intended to write this article in fact it was one of the options on a pol which won out. So boy howdie your apparent reason as to why I wrote this article sure looks stupid right now.

          2. So you can’t tell us where he mentioned ’06 or anything to do with it because he never did.

            How about you read comments properly and use relevant arguments in response instead of just assuming everyone has the opposite opinion to what your article says even though they never mentioned the theme of the article?

          3. @kamifox.

            I have already explained this to you in your earlier comment. Read what is actually said instead of trying to win some non existent point.

          4. What are you even talking about anymore?

            You originally said “When did they even mention Sonic ’06? Way to avoid the point… T_T”

            I answered.

            “When one of them quoted what I said in relation to the article and that moment in question.”

            Discussion over.

  9. Author understand nothing, takes some stupid quotes from schoolboys who understand even less, and then starts mocking EVERYBODY. Did Hogfather really wrote that?

  10. We sure are misleading to some aspects that Sonic was meant to be edgy and cool, definitely because the sonic games were clearly emphasise that. We like Sonic more than a plumber because Sonic games have a more detailed story writing by not just saving princess all the time. As for gameplay, it is still fun, lovable and deserved to be called as a game! No no no, we’re not talking about S 06 and boom. But if Sonic games plots are just come out with some lame thing like saving princess or some s**t from now on, I should consider just ignore the franchise for being how shameful it was now and not cooler anymore.

    Nevertheless, this is JUST MY POINT OF VIEW! I still respect your point of view, and agreed on some point of what you said, some of them.

    And, hogfather, as a public, you shouldn’t enraged by some of the comment, as you said specifically, 2 to 3 of them. You may not aware, your action right now was just like my 13-year-old nephew who tried to cry out loud about his candy snatched by a mere 3-year-old baby.

    1. I recognize that style. Are you from SA3?

      The only Sonic games that actually had damsel in distress situations are Sonic 06 and Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal. Sonic 2 (Game Gear) had a dude in distress plot, and Sonic Adventure and Sonic Lost World had Amy and Tails respectively be briefly kidnapped, but those don’t fit the standard “princess gets captured, noble hero rescues her” mold. Besides those example, kidnapping plots are pretty scarce in Sonic and were just as common in the Adventure era. I think you just fabricated that to whine about how Sonic is like Mario.

      And yeah, if a game is fun, then it has succeeded as a game. Everybody defines fun differently, but just because the story is bad doesn’t mean you can’t find fun in the gameplay. Plus, no need to be snobby here. Everything that uses inputted commands to move a graphical representation across a screen is a video game. If we got to call every game we didn’t enjoy “not a video game”, then I could easily say that Sonic 1 is not a video game because I find it kind of boring.

      Also you say:
      “Nevertheless, this is JUST MY POINT OF VIEW! I still respect your point of view”

      then follow it up with

      “You may not aware, your action right now was just like my 13-year-old nephew who tried to cry out loud about his candy snatched by a mere 3-year-old baby.”

      Which makes me less inclined to believe that you are just expressing your opinion, and more inclined to believe that you’re just bitter about Hogfather’s opinion.

      1. ““You may not aware, your action right now was just like my 13-year-old nephew who tried to cry out loud about his candy snatched by a mere 3-year-old baby.”

        Which makes me less inclined to believe that you are just expressing your opinion, and more inclined to believe that you’re just bitter about Hogfather’s opinion.”

        Granted, yelling out IN ALL CAPITALS LIKE AN ANGRY CHILD in an UN-subtle attempt to convey that he wishes to state his opinions while being respectful to others doesn’t win anyone any points. But to be fair to random-3-letter-initials-that-I-don’t-care-to-remember, his logic on critiquing Hogfather isn’t that flawed.

        I understand that the article was meant to attempt to clarify the terms and vernacular regarding the often vague and sometimes incomprehensible nature of fan ideas. Who knows? Maybe Hoggy had more loftier ambitions as to paint a a more concrete clarification of the several fractured fan requests and finally figure if the collective fanbase can all agree on something (don’t know, just a theory). But by leading the argument with past negative experiences about opposing opinions and then trying to use factual evidence to denounce certain ideas, like the eternally annoying SA3 believers, his opinions appears a bit too biased toward a certain direction, and it feels like he’s talking down to you. It doesn’t help that he’s flaunting his supposed “game development experience” as if that suddenly makes him an authority on the game development of a major Japanese game development studio. It’s not the first time he’s been accused of this and it certainly won’t be the last, so maybe IBM or whatever his name is, has some merit in making such a opinionated observation.

        Normally, I applaud Hogfather. All his logic is sound, his questions are legit and reasonable and he doesn’t take anyone’s bullshit. I like this topic and I should actually talk about it another time. However, if I were given the chance to write a similar article, nobody would really give it a second glance. After all, I’m just a nobody who occasionally visits the comments section in order to stir people up for the sake of discussion and my own amusement.

        Like what-his-face has stated, Hog is a um…Mod…contributor…part of the staff, and despite the CLEAR warning that he is merely stating his opinion, people tend to take the opinions of the SS Staff a bit too seriously, like a gospel truth. For some odd reason, Sonic fans and people in general consider this place some grand nexus for all things SANIK, and the people in charge must be the Grand Poobahs of SANIK, so in the eyes of the LCD, whatever they say MUST be true. So when you have enough influence to get your own blogging series, you either have to be careful with what you say and try to write your opinions in an impartial tone or be prepared to face the incoming shit storm of angry nerds who don’t agree with you and who might call you out.

        And that is my two pennies…ok maybe 2 pennies and a dime.

        1. Yeah, I get what you’e saying. My point was less “Hogfather is completely justified!” and more “You’re being ridiculous here.” I’d compare it to NervousWreck’s comment over on Hoggy’s Fire and Ice article. Yeah, I don’t agree with the article but NW took it way too far, so I responded accordingly. Its the same principle here.

          Eh, its the fault of the people for taking this stuff as gospel truth in the first place. You’d think the Game Grumps LP of SA1 would teach people not to blindly follow the opinion of popular people. If I recall correctly, Hogfather really has been studying game development at college for quite some time, but I agree that he can flaunt it about too much– for example, telling Jason Berry that Fire and Ice can’t make any major changes in 3 months because his development experience says otherwise, when Jason had actually asked how he knew that the game was getting only 3 months delay in the first place.

          1. Once again, you miss the point. Jason asked how you knew the game was only being delayed for 3 months. Whether or not core game changes can be done in 3 months is irrelevant to the question, as you were asked for proof that the game is being delayed for 3 months at all. Your development experience would also be irrelevant because to discern how long a game is being delayed for, you’d only need to research developer statements surrounding the game and look at the company’s habits. No technical knowledge is required, just basic research skills.

            In other words, you didn’t answer the question and tacked on your developmental experience to substantiate the irrelevant answer, making it seem like you dodged the question and made a fallacious argument from authority. In fact, you’ve once again dodged the primary concern of you being dismissive and flaunting your experience as though it automatically makes you right, to tell me that core gameplay changes can’t be made in 3 months. Do you realize how condescending that comes off as?

          2. It’s fucking common sense. In any development environment. When a game is delayed so close to launch you cannot make any deep changes in a 3 month period.

            The testing alone would mean this isn’t possible. Since one small change in the games code can affect a totally unrelated part. Be it the main game loop or something smaller which is using the same or part of pre-existing code.

            Also as I said in that article he 3 months thing was an estimation due to what the game was, a handheld spinoff tv show license…

          3. The question: “How do you know that the game is getting 3 months delay?”

            Your answer: “You can’t make core gameplay changes in three months! Its common sense!”

            You didn’t answer the question. That’s my point. I’m not arguing against the fact that you can’t make core gameplay changes in three months (which frankly, I agree with), I’m arguing that its irrelevant to bring that up because the question asked where you got your estimation from, not what your estimation entails, and thus makes you come off as dismissive, dodging the question, and missing the point. Its also irrelevant to bring up when I’m expressing concerns that you’re being dismissive, and comes off as condescending to boot, like my major concerns about your attitude towards addressing others’ criticism aren’t worth addressing because the bigger issue is obviously convincing me of something I never indicated I didn’t believe in.

            Let me try to clarify with a metaphor. It would be like if you asked me how I figured out the right temperature to bake a cake at, and I answered “You never bake a cake in a 50 degree oven! I am the cake expert, I know these things!”. Yeah, I wouldn’t exactly be wrong there, but I also would have given absolutely no information as how I figured out the correct temperature. Thus, your question has not been adequately answered. Continuing the metaphor, what you’re doing right now is like if somebody else later asked why I didn’t answer your question properly, and I kept saying “You just never bake a cake in a 50 degree oven! Its too cold! Its fucking common sense!” Not only would I continuing to not address the actual question, but I would also come off as trying to avoid concerns and being insulting about it to boot.

            Yeah, the “fucking common sense” line doesn’t sit well with me. Not only is it used as a lead in for repeating the same argument I just said was irrelevant, but it implies that I’m being stupid and unreasonable for not believing the argument, when I never indicated disbelief in the first place. Again, I agree with the argument that you can’t make core game changes in three months. However, that particular factoid is irrelevant to the question of how you got the three months estimation, and your insistence on continuing to use it indicates dismissiveness of basically everything I had to say on the matter.

            Hopefully that clears things up.

          4. For gods sake.

            The article said it was an estimation based on a number of reasonable factors.

            If you’re seriously going to keep harping on about this 3 months thing at least read the article and the justification for the conclusions.

            Oh hey and since then we found out that the game is due out in Japan in wasn’t it early Jan? Hey isn’t that 3 months?

          5. Thing is you don’t really need any experience in game development to know that 3 months isn’t gonna mean jack shit in the development cycle of a game – you just have to look at the past examples of poor games with quick development cycles and have some common sense. And maybe some optical receptors.

            At this point, I’d be surprised if they’re able to do any bug checking and minor Q&A let alone make any major changes in 3 months. Anyone who says otherwise is a dumbass, whether you’re a fan or you’re a suit (sadly, it is mostly the suits; the results speak for themselves).

            Then again, if people already came to the logical conclusion: that no amount of delay or improvement would change the fundamental truth that the game is a simple rushed to order, tv tie-in licensed title destined to become a stocking stuffer for poor children who don’t know any better, then the only relevant discussion worth having about the game is thus….who gives a f$%^?

            It’s the sequel that nobody asked for to the obligatory Nintendo handheld license tie-in, that at it’s core is another so-so 2D Sonic game. This will wind up being 7/10 if anyone was being generous, and any significant improvement would just bump up the score to a 7.5. Sure, it looks better than Shattered Crystal, but is that really saying much. I know I said before that I thought Shattered Crystal looked at least decent to play, but any game would be the better option when compared side by side with Rise of Lyric. Is a temperature based gimmick REALLY the only improvement needed to sell this game? No 3 month delay is going to change it’s fate among the Gamestop Bargain bundle. Is such a game REEAAALLY worth arguing about?

            Otherwise, the reason you don’t see any information regarding the title is because it’s not really worth any attention from the general media outlets; It’s another Sonic game that only Sonic fans make a fuss about, and the bigger fuss isn’t really about the bloody game. The real heart of this conversation, the core around which Hogfather forms his entire argument against the fact that SEGA isn’t revealing any information regarding the delay, what type of improvements the game could receive, or any press what so ever, is that SEGA – a company INFAMOUS for cutting corners, poor management and rushing productions just so they can score a quick buck – is DELAYING a title, to “improve the game”… whatever the f$%£ that means.

            This occurrence is as rare as a blood red supermoon, so of course, that gets people asking all sorts of questions, but nobody is asking the most important questions:

            If SEGA is willing to participate in some honest-to-God quality control for this one little title, does that mean they’re willing to do the same for their more important IP, like a real f%^&ing Sonic game?

            Or are SEGA just making cautionary measures that they won’t lose even MORE money on a title that has SONIC BOOM written on it…again?

            So Crazy Optimus, in the end what Hoggy knows and how he knows it and if he’s willing to share is largely irrelevant in the big picture. Because you don’t need a GED in making Flash games to tell whether any sort of improvement will help Sonic Boom: Shake n Bake make a dent in the holiday sales rush….it just won’t …ok maybe a small spike, but nothing major. It will be at least worth renting 🙂

          6. You know what guys, I give up. I’ve tried explain twice that it was the principle of ignoring the question that was the issue. I’ve tried to explain that the issue was the tone, not the content. You continuing this condescending attitude, acting like I’m some irrational idiot for so much as criticizing you while still avoiding my primary concern, only helps my point that you tend to be kind of an ass to people who disagree with you.

            But if you want to tell me things you assume I don’t know even though I never did anything to indicate as such, if you want to continue ignoring my concerns about your attitude to talk about said things even though they’re irrelevant, then I can’t help you.

          7. @ Mad Convoy: Some people just can’t be helped or understood man. There’s at least one in every fan site team.

          8. I know what you mean Hero. It’s like commentating who leave sly comments in conversations which have nothing to do with them but they want to make themselves feel important in some way.

            There’s one in every article.

    2. “We like Sonic more than a plumber because Sonic games have a more detailed story writing by not just saving princess all the time.”

      Mario games does have a story. It’s just simply put. Therefore, he remains to do platforming everyone remembers him by.

      Sonic and Mario are my both favorite series cause they’re unique in their own way.

  11. If you were to ask me, the adventure games were fun and meh respectively. If you want a good game, take the generations act 2 formula with color’s wisps. Also, I am one of those people who had NO enjoyment with the choa garden. Only adventure 1, but the demo for 2 turned me off.

  12. Sweet, I love opinion-based topics:

    Exploration: This depends on what one player considers as exploration. Like the banner right above that specific paragraph with the layout of Green Hill 1, you don’t need to have a maze to actually make the player feel like he’s in a large world. Notice that half the stage is only one path, and the other half has at most 2 paths, the higher and lower. But the game hides the second path. You also can go from the high path to the low path a lot easier than the opposite, and almost at will, which makes exploring the high path somewhat harder and taking longer to do successfully. And whenever you’re in one path, you do not see where exactly you’d appear on the other if you switched, giving an element of doubt when wondering if you should jump on that platform or on that spring etc.

    Sonic Unleashed on the Wii is a good example of why the argument that there is less exploration going on takes place. The game doesn’t even have alternate paths, it merely has shortcuts. You entered a shortcut? Either you go back and follow the main path, or move on and meet again the main path after a few seconds, without having the option of going from/to the main path at any other points.

    The Adventure Formula: I’ll admit I’m biased towards it, mainly because I was 16 when I first played Sonic Adventure. To me the “Adventure” formula means that the Emeralds are an important part of the script, the characters all play a role without which it would be impossible to reach the end (but not necessarily playably, Amy in SA2 being a good example), characters have flaws and something can happen that will make them lose their cool and act out-of-normal, there are unexpectedly expected plot twists (like Eggman tricking Tails to tell him about the fake Emerald ,which even if a player knew beforehand that Eggman knows there is a fake one due to having played the Dark Story, they still don’t expect Tails to fall for it and therefore bring Sonic almost to his death, not twists like the one in Lost World where Tails reveals to not be robotized or Eggman surviving the fall), and finally music that fits well with not just the stage, but the emotions being depicted.

    Sonic 06 had the Adventure formula, but unfortunately it was dumbed down terribly. If it wasn’t for Mephiles and Shadow’s Story, it’d be easily considered more kid-oriented than Chip’s lines in Unleashed. As a note, Shadow The Hedgehog went in the exact opposite direction, making the script seem like it was written by someone who hates life.

    Dark and Edginess: No, Sonic doesn’t need to be dark or edgy. Sonic needs to be rush and send blood first to his legs, then his brain. He needs to cause problems because he acts without thinking (a big thank you to Lost World here) and other characters have to step in to fix his mess (not necessarily playably, but I wouldn’t mind Tails being playable).

  13. To be fair, isn’t everybody getting a bit worked up about what Hogfather has said? I mean, he’s just a fan who has no deeper insight than any other fan. Although maybe he does tend to give the impression that if you disagree with him you’re a piece of trash, but I still don’t think people should really worry about his opinion that much. It’s just as arbitrary as the next fans opinions really.

    But if his opinion really is “insightful”, maybe someone should right an article quoting his opinions and run them down, as he has done with other fans…

    1. Like I stated before, for some odd and bizarre reason, Sonic fans and oddly enough, general internet visitors, kinda consider the insights of the staff of Sonic Stadium to be “influential” among the Sonic fanbase. Maybe is because of their close ties to SEGA or how they’re responsible for most of the fan-events and fan-projects that has a strong impact on the Sonic community, I really don’t know.

      But you know, I think if Hogfather put this on a private blog, or a reddit or did this on a podcast, nobody would bother him and make such a fuss about his opinions…you know other than the regular idiots that spam any comment section, but that’s just a given.

  14. “But I think there’s a more interesting discussion to that, so let’s park that for now and go back to our big blue hedgehog chasing a giant Eggman as flowers bounce around him which totally isn’t a kids game.”

    Ouch, nice jab at the dark and edgy crowd. Although, you must have missed those parts in Sonic CD in which a giant Eggman devastated the future of an entire planet if you did’t succeed in stopping him. You know, those apocalyptic Bad Futures that many modern fans claim never existed in the classic games? I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but…you only described the first level of the first game.

    1. It’s hard to find Sonic CD that dark when most of the levels have remix SFX of Japanese bands yelling ‘Yaaaayyyy!’ Even when Eggman does appear he usually laughs like Santa Claus.

      And with level titles like Wacky Workbench. It’s just not all that super serial.

  15. Honestly, it feels like we’re in an endless loop, day in and day out, because we always come back to the same topic as a fandom… Every. Single. Day.

  16. Good article, but I have some issues with some of the things you say.

    For instance “Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 are really different, you have to get to really deep levels of analysis before you notice that they’re similar.”

    I would argue the exact opposite is true. On the surface they certainly appear similar, and at least in Speed stages appear to play similarly too. It takes more analysis of the actual level design and more speed-oriented nature to distinguish them more appropriately, hence why most people group them together when it comes to gameplay.

    Furthermore, many of the people clamoring for a return to the Adventure formula are referring largely if not fully to the Speed gameplay with other aspects like the “genre roulette” thing generally drawing criticism, I have rarely seen anyone want THAT back. To this end this is a perfectly reasonable request since the only game that ever attempted to bring that core gameplay back was Sonic 06. Regardless of whether some people claim 06 wasn’t fundamentally like the Adventure games (which it CLEARLY was, I absolutely agree) this WAS very much built like an Adventure game moreso than any other Sonic game since. Heroes was completely different in its approach to level design and mechanics with the character switching and entirely different physics system, no spindash and unlock abilities etc.

    The other Sonic games are even more divergent to the degree that I think it’s unjustified to claim they HAVE been building off the Adventure gameplay “for 10 years”. Unleashed, Colours, Generations and Lost World are completely and utterly different on a fundamental level with almost no resemblance beyond simply having speed in them.

  17. I really feel like you ended that pretty abruptly. Aren’t these things typically on the long side? Or do you feel that what you have to say about edge will likely take up an entire Spin article length? Because that felt like such a tease and break from the train of thought, you actually had me following you for a bit right before you booted me off. Well in either case I do agree with the general message you’re trying to convey here, which I believe is “KNOW what you want”, since the whole theme here has been about misinterpretation of vaguely defined terms.

  18. I always took the Adventure formula to mean multiple characters with different play mechanics, a hub world and a storyline plus a camera hell bents on killing you before Eggman could.

    And to be rude, I always assume when people says they want Sonic to go back to his roots, back to when he was edgy and cool that they mean they want a new 16 bit Sonic game. Doesn’t help much that someone saying this always posts links to a video of Sonic2/Sonic 3 and K or tells people to go play the first four games in a later post.

    As for the modern times, when people say they want Modern Sonic only I always take it as they want it to be just 2D/3D boost gameplay and nothing else, a gameplay style that bores me to death these days.

    Maybe that’s why I like Sonic Unleashed so much, it was in my opinion a perfect blend of the Adventure era mixed with the genesis and ‘ung’ the modern boost era.

    1. They have a point. I mean, it seems like you (of Sonic Stadium) never bothered to really understand what they’re trying to accomplish.

      Just because some angry youtubers like Sonic Adventure and bully those who like Sonic Boom, it doesn’t mean all of them are that bad.

      1. I was never born from the depths of Sonic Stadium. I proudly support the SA3 community’s direction.

        Also, the hashtags we’re directed at Hogfather. =P

      1. >implying that he’s laughing too much to comment
        >is just using that as an ignorant excuse

        Come back when you have successfully posted a rebuttal within the comments.

      2. Have you even bothered reading the full article? You certainly didn’t read Dracold’s Sonic Boom arguments, so I don’t see why you’d fully read something from a group that you’d consider blasphemy.

        And your “I’m too busy laughing” comment is a fine example of your ignorance, as you clearly cannot find a way to debunk the article. If you did, you’d post a thing.

        And that’s why you laughed.

        “They have a point. I mean, it seems like you (of Sonic Stadium) never bothered to really understand what they’re trying to accomplish.”
        –FearTear, that one guy above you or something

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