On the Subject of Hedgehogs

D-pad, start, Select, B and A. This is pretty much all I’ve known for most of my childhood. I can admit that I’m a bit of a “Nintendo fan” when it comes to video games. Mario and Zelda were my games of choice and with slight bias, I didn’t really care much for anything else.

But in-between the battle of Nintendo and Sega, I have to admit that I’m a bit of a Sonic fanboy. I’d have my Nintendos and my Super NESs but I would always look forward to going over to a friends house to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis (I always had to be tails of course, not by choice.) There was something about how those games were made that really excited me into playing them. The funny thing is I wasn’t even good at those as a child, so it usually resulted in playing the first couple of levels or so then I would turn it off satisfied.

Years later, I struck a deal with a friend of mine and bought his Dreamcast + games off of him. I’ve had the occasional experience with the system and decided I couldn’t pass up on this chance feeling like it would never happen again. [a year later, the system was dead. Sega’s Hardware department closed down, nobody was making games for it.] I mostly got the system so I could play Sonic Adventure. The newest generation of Sonic games in full 3D and crazy fast. From being a closet Sonic fan, it was clear that I was no longer in that closet.

I guess I was making up for the years of never owning Sonic games myself. I bought all the sonic collections that got released on the Gamecube, even that crappy Sonic board game on the Dreamcast. It seems there was something very different about these newer Sonic games… I can admit that they weren’t as good, but that didn’t really stop me from playing them. Some could look at that and think that I keep giving the games a chance every time. I just figured that they were competent enough to play and that’s all I was happy with. (Although Sonic 2006 is probably the least amount of playable, but I’m really determined to play through it…. when I’m in the mood of course.)

So I sit here for years watching other’s reactions to the Franchise, and nobody likes it anymore. People that used to be fans either disown it, or cling to it desperate that the next one in the series would be good. The gamers that never cared, just rant and rave that the series is just no good anymore and it’ll never get better and decide that cynicism is the answer to an inflating problem. Yet, I still play through them as though nothing is wrong and always willing to defend with a piece of my own experience.

So Sega themselves are really trying to struggle in capturing their audience again, and trying to make everyone happy. That’s supposedly what Sonic 4: Episode 1 was all about, being a throwback to the Sonic of old, while still keeping some modern Sonic Tropes in-tact.

One of the things I was apparently NEVER aware of were the complaints on how the more modern sonic looked: Taller, a dark shade of blue, green eyes. People seemed to think it was an insult to update the look of Sonic, much less grow him up a bit. Now we’re just being nit-picky and looking for excuses to never be happy about a game that’s trying to keep up with modern gaming rather than continue to be the same thing over and over again. The more people want change, the more they want things to stay the same and Sonic is gamings number one character of experiencing exile in the eyes of pouty game-folk everywhere.

Supposedly Sega has an answer for that. Sonic Generations takes the old Sonic, and the new Sonic and puts them together in the same game. What does that mean? The people who want old Sonic should be satisfied and the people who just like playing Sonic games won’t really care. I’m digging this, because it’s just Sonic all over the place. It looks like select levels throughout Sonic’s history remastered and laid out to satisfy the purist and the ‘just plainly a fan’.

Will it satisfy the fans that was their demands met? Probably not, there’s always going to be something for them to complain about but I’m looking forward to thing. For this trailer though, it invokes a new kind of nostalgia for me. Sure it has old school Sonic in there, but I never got into the Sonic franchise until it was far too late. Sonic boarding down the city with a bit of a plane, is as big as fan moment to me, as battling Metal Sonic by the Master Emerald in Sonic 3. I guess you could call me “not a proper fan” but I think that point it moot when I actually enjoy what is new as well as old.

Why I even bothered to take on this subject in the first place; I find it funny that this is where Sonic is now, Sega trying to make everybody happy rather than continuing to figure out for themselves where to take the Franchise. I think they’ve almost found their footing. Sonic Unleashed was a pretty good game, and I hear nothing but positive things about Sonic Colors. Plus I hear Sonic 4: Episode 2 is going to be on it’s way.

Regardless of how much people seem to hate the series now, It’s coming along a lot better than anybody wants to admit. So even if Sonic Generations fails to grab the audience that shunned them away in the first place, then Sega should just pick themselves up and make the Sonic games they want to make, because those people just are not worth it at this point.


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