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Sonic's Return

Dee Yun Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-09-14 07:47:42

Just Put Him Out of His Misery

There was a time when Sonic was edgy and cool and hip and made Mario look stodgy and boring. That was 1991. Nearly two decades later, Sonic has had two good direct sequels, and one passable 3-D renaissance on the Dreamcast. AND FIFTY DUJILLION TERRIBLE FOLLOWUPS. Meanwhile, Mario continues to dominate, from the revelation that was Super Mario 64 to the greatness of Super Mario Galaxy.

My compatriot Vargas, for reasons inscrutable to me, has been a huge Sonic fan over the years. We're talking absorbing the cartoon, comic books, and doodling the blue hedgehog. So when I recently read about Team Sonic working on a return to basics emphasis on running because THAT'S WHAT'S FUN ABOUT SONIC, I thought I'd tell him the good news. I didn't get the response I expected. He jabbed a finger at me, exclaiming, "Oh no! I've been burned too many times!" Good for you, Dave. You're free of the Sega spousal abuse syndrome.

That GameSpot link above leads to an interview with Sega brand manager, Ken Ballough. They still don't get it. He waxes at length about the "richness" and "depth" about the Sonic supporting cast:

"I think the one character that has yet to find his place is Bark the Polar Bear. I hope he does eventually. It'd be nice to have a cool bear character."

He gives me a pulsating tension headache INSIDE MY EYEBALL. How do people like him have the jobs they do? This is his idea of cool!

And this teaser trailer for the upcoming franchise relaunch:

I don't know about you, but it reads to me as the following admissions:

1) Yeah, we done fucked up by making Sonic games where he doesn't run fast.

2) We don't know how to make 3-D work. We have no idea how those Nintendo guys pull it off with Mario.

3) OMG we're actually going to kinda try this time. We're not skimping with rehashed assets; this one's "from the ground up" yo!

A lot of us nerdcore gamers are currently observing the 10th anniversary of the Dreamcast. Ten years from now, we may be lamenting, "Hey, remember Sega? Whatever happened to them?"

(Thanks to Mike Corse for this comic strip idea. I liked it way back when he first posited it to me, but it was too soon off the heels of us mocking Sonic and the Black Knight.)

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