Sonic: The Hedgehog Isn’t Made For Us

Sonic: The Hedgehog Isn’t Made For Us

So there have been a lot of complaints about Sonic: The Hedgehog these past few generations. Sonic has had a TON of crappy games come out, with half-baked stories, horrible level design, and crappy controls. Sonic was a werewolf, a knight, a character in Arabian Knights, and now he’s some sort of post-apocalyptic explorer with a fetish for athletic tape in the recently unveiled Sonic Boom . His image has been remade time and time again, he has fought against any number of cartoony throwaway villains, and his games seem to change from goofy, to dark, to edgy, to retro depending on what sort of Sonic animated TV show is on at the time. Sonic is anything but the spunky blue blur that oldschool Sega gamers remember.

But then I thought about it. What if Sonic isn’t meant to be that spunky blue blur? What if Sega isn’t trying to appeal to classic Sega gamers? What if Sega isn’t trying to appeal to gamers at all?

You see, Sonic has been around for some time, and not just in video games. If you check the Saturday morning cartoons, you’ll see that Sonic has been a mainstay there for quite some time. When we were young, we had The Adventures of Sonic: The Hedgehog and Sonic Saturday Morning . As time went on, newer Sonic cartoons came out, like Sonic X and the recently unveiled Sonic Boom .

A recent interview with Sega has revealed that the Sonic Boom video game is largely being based off the Sonic Boom TV series… and that’s when it hit me. Sonic games aren’t being developed to appeal to Sonic videogame fans anymore. They are being developed to appeal to fans of the Sonic TV shows!

Think about this for a while. When Sonic X came out, Sonic was brought into the world of humans… somehow. The whole anime was this dark and gritty handwavey BS that has approximately nothing to do with the oldschool Sonic plot. But kids ate it up, and it is STILL ON THE AIR TO THIS DAY! Originally, we could say that Sonic X was based on Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Battle , but as Sonic games continued to be made, it felt like they were being made off of Sonic X .

They were being made more anime like, more cartoony. They were focusing on cool situations rather than gameplay. Shadow the Hedgehog is probably the best example of this. In Sonic X , Shadow is a dark, gritty, brooding anti-hero who has used far more than just his speed and chaos powers to get what he wants. All of the sudden, we have a game with Shadow using guns to defeat his enemies.

Sonic: The Hedgehog Isn’t Made For Us

So maybe, Sonic isn’t a video game icon. Maybe Sonic is, actually, a licensed property? Maybe that’s why he is sucking so much? Like, if Sonic Team isn’t trying to please fans of the Sonic video game, than making choices like “Sonic is a werewolf now” or “Sonic uses a sword now” could keep the Sonic image fresh for fans of the animated series or comics. Or at least, that’s the idea. As we all know, in practice, licensed video games suck.

But that’s where Sega’s priorities are. Sonic Boom isn’t being made to be an awesome Sonic game. It’s being made to be an interpretation of the TV show. That’s why you see Tails shooting people with guns, Amy using her hammer as a grappling hook, and Knuckles taking steroids. This isn’t “go fast, speed run, have fun” it’s “take these lovable cartoon characters through a fantasy land to please your kids.” It’s more Skylanders than it is Mario … and heck, it’s more Barbie Horse Adventures than it is Skylanders .

What do you think? Is Sonic more a “licensed property” than he is a mascot? Let us know in the comments.

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