175: Fast-Track to Fanaticism

Fast-Track to Fanaticism

Nintendo may have won a decisive victory against Sega in the 1990s, but for some console warriors the battle rages on. Peter Parrish documents the evolution of the Sonic the Hedgehog fanboy.

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Holy hell. I consider myself a huge Sonic fan but I think I speak for the vast silent majority when I say that that love was as a child for Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Not being blessed with a MegaCD Sonic CD was simply a source of childhood dreams.

I am concerned that the mental patients took over the asylum in the case of Sonic. If a development team was to recreate the fast paced simple joy of his first four outings but use the ridiculous space and technological improvements now available they could make the best 2d game around.

P.S. As a kid of about 9, Sally Acorn was definitely a reason to watch that cartoon show. Although to be honest I don't think I realised why. Erotic cartoon animal fanfic writer need sectioning.

All i got from this article is 'hahaha fanboys are lame' And last time i checked The Dark Brotherhood was a competant RPG with a good story made by bioware, a respected rpg creator

Its true that the sonic franchise is not what it used to be but i always figured it was the struggle of the creators to turn the fast based platforming into a current gen concept in the same way scrolling beat em ups dont really cut it nowadays...and nothing more...

Tails starring in stalker? is that a pun?

It was in reference to this: http://furnation.ru/files/a_1195886702_tails_-_stalker-tails.jpg (safe for viewing and whatnot, just quite odd.)

Great article. You gave a competent argument to why the Sonic series has devolved into the cacophony of garbage it has become. Kudos.

It is true that Sonic has become a shadow (no pun intended) of his former self, but let us not forget that even once worshipped human icons have since fallen foul of this fan curse. Manchester United singing? John Barnes rapping?? Ian Wright in Pantomine!

To be fair, I think Sonic is still holding up well. After all, fans still buy the games, and if we're happy, isn't that all that matters?

Sonic (1991-2008)

Sonic was born in 1991 at a video game development company called SEGA.
He enjoyed instant success with Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, gained recognition and became the world's favourite Hedgehog.

Unfortunately Sonic's parents SEGA sought to monopolize on this commercial success and soon abused Sonic by making him star in one after the other in increasingly worse games to wring as much money out of their child's fortune as possible.

In 2008 faced with the prospect of starring in the next game alongside a preteen love interest and dress up as a Werewolf, he suffered the curse of many child actors and turned to a life of hard drugs and alcohol which would be his end.

R.I.P. Sonic, we will remember the good times, when a little blue hedgehog had a dream of running up and down hills and spin jumping onto his enemies heads.

The dig at Sonic Chronicles didn't seem to have any relevance to the article. It'd be like someone claiming Super Mario RPG represented the decent of the Mario franchise into fan-fiction. Neither game was a traditional title. They were off shoots, made by RPG-specific companies.

I am not saying people do not over-obsess, but it just seemed like he was ranting a bit. Besides, there are worse fanatics than Sonic, and there is nothing wrong with over-obsessing to a point. Definatly better than most sport fanatics who like to scream at the top of their lungs, annoying their family. I know I am not the only one with one of those in their house at one point or another.

Protip: The creepy people on deviantArt probably number in the hundreds, but every Sonic game is expected to be a million seller. They aren't catering to them. It's just plain old bad writing.

It bugs me how some people seem to think there is some kind of immutable force preventing Sonic games from being good, and I'm sure that this is going to be problematic for Sonic Unleashed (Which is looking like what I've been waiting for).

And someone needs to mention rule 34 to Mr. Parrish.

Ah, Sonic fanboys.

Mario is clearly the greater of the two.

Not even all recent sonic games are bad. I had one, which was a 3dplatformer with some kind of story based on arabian nights i believe, and I liked it. But it was about speed and reflexes, just like the old games.

And yeah, I know aaaall about fanfiction, I even have joined the shame when I was younger. But I was scared away when I stumbled upon a star trek fanfiction site by accident, decided to read on of the stories, and it happened to be about data with his emotion chip, exploring his new sexual feelings.

You know, if some of those people who have written novella-length fan-fiction stories had put their minds to some original fictional stories, they might well have gained some success in genre fiction at least. It's a minority of the writers, assuredly; the average standard of fan-fiction works offers instant verification of Sturgeon's Revelation, but putting that much work into a fiction based on somebody else's work just suggests to me that the better writers lack their own settings to put their concepts into.

I suppose, though, I can hardly complain about people wasting their time writing fan-fiction when I consider that I have written over 180,000 words in two drafts of one of my own science-fiction stories, one of exceedingly poor quality and full of the sort of clichéd writing which would make your eyes bleed.

I honestly have something of a fascination with the people who've churned out 200,000+ words of Sonic fan-fiction. There's a level of dedication there which is ... well, I'm not sure I can say 'admirable,' but thinking about it is like trying to comprehend our place in the universe, or something. It's almost too much to grasp.

There's an interesting point to be made here, about how serving your base and only them, eventually becomes eating your own tail, really.

Liked it.

The Sonic fanboy-base is the most annoyingly vocal. The roots of the issue probably lie in that way that not long after Sega found themselves with a financially sound game concept, they immediatly commissioned third party comics and cartoons which probably gave the birth to all fanfiction and fanboys, starting it off with those audiences. There is no example before them, so their rage is unyielding.
All the while, Nintendo went on a successful stratagy of less-is-more.

The first Sonic games were in a climate where we just had games of a simple "beat this guy" story. That's probably why it's so awkward to push him into this world of full 3D up the arse cinematic epic. I have no idea what they were thinking with '06. If your analysis of serving the fanboys is correct, then the only plusable reasoning behind that is that nobody likes it when you try to please everybody, so Sega just tried to please them instead. Unleashed also seems to be a replay of that, so don't get your hopes for a few years still.

Bob_F_It:
The Sonic fanboy-base is the most annoyingly vocal. The roots of the issue probably lie in that way that not long after Sega found themselves with a financially sound game concept, they immediatly commissioned third party comics and cartoons which probably gave the birth to all fanfiction and fanboys, starting it off with those audiences. There is no example before them, so their rage is unyielding.
All the while, Nintendo went on a successful stratagy of less-is-more.

The first Sonic games were in a climate where we just had games of a simple "beat this guy" story. That's probably why it's so awkward to push him into this world of full 3D up the arse cinematic epic. I have no idea what they were thinking with '06. If your analysis of serving the fanboys is correct, then the only plusable reasoning behind that is that nobody likes it when you try to please everybody, so Sega just tried to please them instead. Unleashed also seems to be a replay of that, so don't get your hopes for a few years still.

Have you forgotten the mario bros. super show? Don't think that mario didnt get the same treatment, and less is more doesnt really count when we are one step away from mario netball on wii lol

Wow, just wow... It's like you're talking about me! This article is not only funny, but as far as I'm concerned it's true! Every bleeding word of it! Granted I've never given it a shot at a fanfic, but just this month I've discovered they've been re-releasing all the old sonic comic books, and I already went out and bought every last book they've put out! What I like about sonic though is the feeling of nostalgia I get from him. I am 20 years old, introduced to sonic very young. Since then he's always stayed with me in some shape or form. I like to think I'm not that terrible of a sonic fan, and yet I still hope to this very moment that Sonic Unleashed won't be a big crock of shi*, and I check websites daily to see if any new news has been released about it. The truth is though, is I am a loser, I have no friends, and have been living alone for two years now with no idea how to connect to anybody. I go to work, and even there I occasionally utter the name of the blue hedgehog, because that, among other things, is all I know. Sonic is the least vague topic of what I can converse about that someone might relate to, after all someone else out there had to have played his videogames or watched his show when they were younger, right? My point is, sonic or any other mascot are more than characters to some people, they're a crutch that help people get on with there lives, because when they get lonely there is nobody else to turn to.

Wow... brutal. I'm a huge sonic fanboy, sonic the hedgehog 2 was the first computer game I got to play, and remains my favourite game. Even halflife and its various spin-offs come second to jumping on brightly coloured robots to free the little animals.

I got the duvet cover and read the comic and learned to draw because of him. I still doodle sonic (he's very easy to draw) on deviantart. But I never owned a megadrive, so playing remained a special treat whenever a couple hours could be snatched at a friend's house. Maybe that helped keep it special.

But then at uni when the recent games came out they turned out to be horrible, bastardised versions of the mascot I grew up with. Maybe it was the over-saturation of sonic during the 90's that made me even care but I was disappointed with sega. Mario had won (yeah it was a fight between the two) so the fans turned inward for new material. The resultant intellectual inbreeding has produced some odd and disturbing offspring indeed. Maybe the old warhorse should be finally laid to rest before his memory is tarnished beyond all recognition by terrible obsessions. Or maybe something that can still evoke such strong reactions does so for a reason and may never die.

Hopefully sonic unleashed will make up for all the damage to the franchise, maybe not.

But I still love the classic foundation of sonic, bad scientist imprisoning animals in increasingly larger robots to take over the world. Simple, great and expandable. Bring on the fanfic and fan art... give monkey's enough time and a type writer and they'll produce Shakespeare.

i would like to know how sega could fail with the dreamcast when it seems that the Sonic fans are more rabid, or at least more loyal than the fans of Mario or Snake.

broadband:
i would like to know how sega could fail with the dreamcast when it seems that the Sonic fans are more rabid, or at least more loyal than the fans of Mario or Snake.

Not to mention the fact that Sonic Adventures was a really good game. Of course, it all went downhill from there and now the responsible thing to do is take our spiny friend out back and blow his little brains out.

Which hurts, honestly it does. I've started my gaming career with Sonic The Hedgehog.

Good article. I was instantly reminded of other forms of entertainment: the best example of which is Star Wars Episodes I-III. We saw it all: Yoda fighting with a lightsabre, Anakin Skywalker getting chopped to bits, oh and did someone's hand get chopped off in one of these as well? Oh right. Who cares. Screw those fan-fellating trainwrecks.

I played the original two Sonic games as a kid. I remember running around brightly colored backgrounds to bouncy music and popping cute little animals out of mean ol' robots.

A few years ago I was flipping channels one Saturday morning and saw Sonic the Hedgehog floating in space glowing gold like a super-saiyan and waxing profound about destiny and prophecy or some other blather.

What happened to the cute little blue fuzzball freeing animals from a mad scientist?

Very well-written. Yes, I remember buying things like that as a kid. "Sonic Bubblegum" was my favorite, and the trading cards that came with it made me squeal with joy. At the age of three, I would always run around my house and pretend I was Sonic, and I would always make sure to watch the TV show when it was on. It really is fascinating how the video game industry decided to branch out, and it's even more fascinating to think about the effect that it has made on people.

To be fair the biggest complaint I've seen from designers seems to be that fans often want games to remain too similar to the original they enjoyed and stifle innovation.

Sonic in recent times is an example of dog-shit bad game design, there's surely a better article out there that could be written to examine why anyone is still buying the games... Now that's loyalty.

Oh and gotta say it - those have to be the best suggestions I've ever heard for Portal and L4D :)

Rule #1 of The Escapist: "The fanboys of something I don't like are much more rabid, obsessive and loudmouthed than the fanboys of anything I do like."

But all kidding aside, I don't think that "fan pressure" is the reason for the problems with recent Sonic games. From what I hear, it's exactly the opposite: Yuji Naka is an obsessive control freak who won't listen to anyone else's input for fear it will wreck his creative vision.

As someone who could very much be one of the most Vilified from Sonic fans, if not the most Vilified from Sonic fans, (In fact, I get it so bad that Yahtzee would want to take me to some brothel in Australia for some consolation pie, and an evening of fish and chips afterward. And let's be honest, Sarah Palin may fare better in a NOW meeting than some people with my problem in a SoniCon. Yeah yeah, bad pun, I know.) I have to agree whole heartedly to this particular fandom. It might be a halfway decent and somewhat constructive fan group when I made the first version of "Blood and Metal," but now even those who've been around there when Sonic was just in Genesis Games are backing away--and then making Road Runner-like dust clouds--at what the fandom has become. In fact, I'm using National Novel Writing Month to begin a remake of "Blood and Metal," just so I can paint over the bad image I got when I was part of the fandom myself. (Any and all well-wishings on that goal are very much appreciated.)

Thought I'd revisit this before it drops off the front page. Thanks for all the comments - especially the ones from hardcore Sonic fans, which have been extremely civil.

To those who feel my "fan pressure" theory is overstated, I think you may have a point. My intention was to highlight the problems which arise inside insular fan communities and the effect this POTENTIALLY has on the connected games. Sonic was my focal point, as there is a fairly obvious progression through the explosion of internet dickery, fanfic/art and the drop off in Sonic game quality. I still think "fan service" is a factor in this, but I agree with the person who said that perhaps the reverse was happening too - the games were so rubbish that the fans just turned inward to create their own 'content' instead.

To clarify something else, I was never trying to say this is purely a Sonic issue. Or even a problem confined to games. To throw out a sitcom example, I think the same type of thing occurred when The League of Gentlemen started wheeling out Papa Lazarou at every opportunity. It pleased (most of) the fans, it got them an easy laugh/bit of audience interaction for their stage show ... and it was creatively bankrupt.

man, how i wish i would see this thread have more replies.

i would like to see the problems of another fanbases pointed out and all that...

good article mr. Parrish

broadband:
man, how i wish i would see this thread have more replies.

i would like to see the problems of another fanbases pointed out and all that...

good article mr. Parrish

Agreed: as pointed out on the third page, it's a universal worry that seems to be growing.

Great article Parrish, with a surprising amount of truth.

I'll come out now and admit I've witnessed first hand - in abundance - of what Parrish is talking about (those fanart and fanfiction communities). Having been exposed to the 'diamonds in the rough' first - the well written, humane and understandable ones which are simply a way of expressing an interpretation on events or characters without bastardising any of them, and makes reading one feel like a discussion rather than a masturbatory resort - I'm inclined to be lenient in my understanding of them.

Then I look for another diamond in the rough, and simply find "the rough".

I'm inclined to leave it to another poster to describe how unceremoniously illiterate that is for the sake of my sanity.

A part of me just wants to yell at them that they're wrong. Another part of me is worried, like Parrish, that more developers will actually start to listen to this side instead of rightfully permitting reason to prevail.

that l4d game sounds pretty cool tbh.

 

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