Sonic Adventures
August 16, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Sonic Adventures An astonishingly thorough history of Sonic The Hedgehog taking in the games, animated series and more.

There are games mentioned here I'd never even heard of, on long forgotten platforms, and the overall impression I have is that like most things, the essence of what originally made it brilliant has been degraded over time.
posted by feelinglistless (25 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
May I just submit the drowning countdown from the original Sonic as some of the most harrowing shit ever.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:46 PM on August 16, 2009 [15 favorites]


This looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

On a related note: I just got back from a recent road trip. There is a gas station somewhere in Tennessee that plays the "got a ring" sound from Sonic the Hedgehog whenever they ring something up on the register. It made me happy.
posted by JDHarper at 2:51 PM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


On a related note: I just got back from a recent road trip. There is a gas station somewhere in Tennessee that plays the "got a ring" sound from Sonic the Hedgehog whenever they ring something up on the register. It made me happy.

I bet you it was a Quickstop. I head that sound the other day and everyone else swore I was hearing things.
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:01 PM on August 16, 2009


I ran into a gas station outside Port Townsend, WA that did the very same thing. It drove me insane. I couldn't remember why the sound was so nostalgic. I ended up pacing down the aisles of junk food listening to it a few more times, in a mad attempt to shake the memory loose. I must have been very suspicious looking glancing at the register, staring at it for moments, and all the while wandering the interior aimlessly so as not to look strange. It was unfortunate I figured it out so much later, as I may have been tempted to prove their suspicions by finding out if the cash register also makes the Sonic ring loss noise.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:07 PM on August 16, 2009


Fans of Sonic ephemera would probably enjoy The Gonterman Shrine.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:15 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huh, just yesterday I was thinking that it would totally work to (1) hack a copy of whichever of the original Genesis games took your fancy to not play the music, then (2) record yourself playing them, and (3) dub in Parliament/Funkadelic.
posted by egypturnash at 3:27 PM on August 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aaaah, Sonic. The one game that made even many of my fellow Nintendo fan-boys grudgingly admit that the Megadrive had something to offer. The mascot that would spawn many schoolyard "If Mario fought Sonic who would win" nerdebates.

But wow, the series really started to suck after Sonic 2. Those first two games were pure fun in a cartridge, but Sonic 3 was a miss. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anywhere near as fun as Sonic 2 or even the first Sonic. And the less said of Sonic Spinball the better.

And then they went 3D. Oh god, Sega, why did you do that? All the 3D Sonic games forgot that the whole point of playing Sonic games was to go very fast. These games made it impossible to do that, either by making it hard to hit your enemies or by throwing in a dozen obstacles in your way. Sonic and the Secret Rings tried to fix this, but was still a dissapointment.

The Sonic Adventure games on the DS started to make amends but I think the franchise as a whole is pretty much on its way out. A shame really. Sonic was the first real challenge to Mario's supremacy of the video gaming world and had Sega taken more care with the series and nurtured it, less people today would groan at hearing "Hey, a new Sonic game is coming out!"

Hmmm, I guess if Mario fought Sonic, Mario really would have won... because he did, in the end.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:54 PM on August 16, 2009


Don't miss Spin Dash from MeFi Music.
posted by ageispolis at 4:33 PM on August 16, 2009


Nearly all the gas station/fast food/car wash/buy shit here complexes along the highways in Texas make the Sonic ring sound. I smile every single time.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:49 PM on August 16, 2009


"But wow, the series really started to suck after Sonic 2. Those first two games were pure fun in a cartridge, but Sonic 3 was a miss. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anywhere near as fun as Sonic 2 or even the first Sonic."

Ehh, I liked Sonic 3 the best of all of 'em, mostly because it was essentially the same game, but I could fly around and find interesting stuff as Tails if I wanted to.

"And then they went 3D. Oh god, Sega, why did you do that? All the 3D Sonic games forgot that the whole point of playing Sonic games was to go very fast. These games made it impossible to do that, either by making it hard to hit your enemies or by throwing in a dozen obstacles in your way."

I'm with you here. Sonic was ruined by going 3-D. Actually, I think a lot of games unnecessarily went 3-D, just to be modern or something -- and ruined gameplay in the process.
posted by litlnemo at 4:51 PM on August 16, 2009


I was really into Sonic the Hedgehog when I was in middle school, to an embarrassing degree - especially considering I didn't even own a Genesis. My best friend did, however, and we spent hours at her house playing Sonic 1 and 2. We even watched, and made a valiant effort to enjoy, the truly awful Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon. I called my friend "Tails" and she called me "Sonic." I had the stuffed animals, and a poster on my wall. Goodness, I was a dork.

A couple years ago, I learned about the existence of the Sonic 2 beta, and it briefly reignited my dorkitude. I really want to know what they had planned for the Genocide City zone, but I guess it will remain a mystery.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:54 PM on August 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I posted this in the Michael Jackson thread; I thought it was pretty great:

Did MJ compose the music to Sonic the Hedgehog 3? (1, 2)

That Spin Dash MeFi Music song is awesome!
posted by painquale at 5:36 PM on August 16, 2009


And then they went 3D. Oh god, Sega, why did you do that? All the 3D Sonic games forgot that the whole point of playing Sonic games was to go very fast.

Whoa, hey, Sonic Adventures had some bright bits of pure joy (uh...that punctuated what was generally a slow and camera-burdened game).

Sonic went bad when it started adding side characters. Including Miles "Tails" Prower.
posted by graventy at 6:18 PM on August 16, 2009


Sonic took up a huge amount of our time. The kids took to saying 'sega later' when leaving.
posted by tellurian at 6:36 PM on August 16, 2009


I'm surprised that more mention isn't made of the "Sonic and Knuckles" addition, which is, to my knowledge, a unique offering in the gaming world. I can't think of another series in which a product was both a stand-alone game and an add-on that inserted a new character into previous iterations. At the time, I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever heard of.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 7:53 PM on August 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


So, why is Sonic the Hedgehog fun to play? I've thought about it for a bit, and the answer I think is most likely is physics.

Sonic is a platform character who can turn into a ball whenever he likes. He can run very fast, but he has a maximum speed. However, if you're going downhill and roll into a ball, then there is no maximum speed to Sonic's movement. If you then hit a ramp, all that downward momentum is converted into upward momentum. And if you hit an enemy or monitor, you bounce upward with the same speed you had going down.

Notice: if you jump from eight blocks high and land on a monitor, you bounce back up eight blocks high, just like rubber ball. This is actually one of the biggest disappointments with Sonic Rush, a game that many people liked but I was kind of meh about; it abandoned some of the ball physics in favor of Sonic Adventure-style tricks.

Sonic's advertising was about attitude, but the gameplay was powered by a pretty good 2D physics simulation. When the designers started focusing more on attitude than good physics-oriented gameplay, Sonic began to falter.
posted by JHarris at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think the franchise as a whole is pretty much on its way out.

Not at all, but Sega has to be willing to save it. And the frustrating thing is that it could be done with one game. The way out of purgatory for the Sonic franchise is so blindingly clear that Sega has failed to see it ever since the Dreamcast.

All we want, all anyone wants from a Sonic game is a dope, super-fast side-scroller with funky music. Don't try and be Mario 64 or Sunshine or whatever - not all 8 and 16-bit era franchises need a 3D reboot, as I think Castlevania has admirably demonstrated. Just give us eight slick levels or so of wild, bouncy side scrolling goodness, rendered in the gorgeous graphics modern consoles are capable of. Keep the rules the same - no side characters, no virtual pets, no bullshit whatsoever. Just stunt-filled levels to zoom through and collect rings in. Something rad like a bonus stage kicks in when you hit a checkpoint or an end-level sign with > 50 rings. Running, jumping, ring-grabbing, spin-dashing. This is all anyone has ever asked of Sonic - just more of what made Sonic 2 magical. If Sega released such a game, all would be forgiven, I guarantee it.

Sonic Unleashed came so close to capturing what made the original games great, but it's like the developers couldn't help themselves, couldn't stand to release something pure & simple - they just had to shit that werehog nonsense into the game, too, just in case anyone started enjoying themselves too much.

I'm telling you, Sega, your flagship franchise is embarrassingly easy to save. Quit trying to improve a perfect formula and just whip up a new batch already! Then get to work on a sandbox-style Streets of Rage reboot, a Wing Commander-style take on Fantasy Zone or a whip-ass ESWAT FPS. You've got a lot of franchises that could be magical in 3D - once and for all, Sonic isn't one of them.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:37 AM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


EatTheWeak: They are not allowed to do those things until they let Mark Voorsanger and Greg Johnson make a sequel to ToeJam & Earl that they don't force them to ruin.
posted by JHarris at 2:44 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was bestest at drawing Sonic at my primary school. The accusations of tracing and copying flew, but I was confident. My friend and I used to make up our own lyrics to the game soundtracks - 'Never never forget about the weather' to the invincibility tune.

I have been playing a Japanese Sonic game on my DS - I don't think it's a port of the original games (are these available on the GBA/DS?)as it gives the option to play as a lady rabbit too, but, playing as Tails, I did feel as though my only input was to keep him going right. do I just remember the originals with rose-tinted memories?

I am amused by the fact that Sonic and Knuckles are known as Sonic and Knuckles, yet Tails is Miles 'Tails' Prowser.
posted by mippy at 3:03 AM on August 17, 2009


One can never escape one's past. Four books that I wrote for a quick buck in the very early 90s are described at some length in the second part. I am mentioned by name.
posted by Hogshead at 3:30 AM on August 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


The first console I ever owned (indeed, the only one, for many years) was a Game Gear..........Sonic 2, though, is the one to which I spent years glued (and you haven't known terror until you've spent hours playing through to the final levels of a game you can't save, knowing that if you accidentally jolt the machine to the wrong angle, or have it slip from your now-sweaty palms, the cheap universal power supply that's jammed into the thing might work loose and end the game in an instant).....which is why I still have my Game Gear. If I don't beat Sonic 2 before I die, I'll have the damn thing buried with me.
posted by Mblue at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2009


My other half has a pretty big crush on Miles "Tails" Prower.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:18 AM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


(what's the pun on Tails' name, aside from him having two tails?)

Man, I loved Sonic. My dad bought a Megadrive for my cousins and that was the game it came with. We played it ALL THE TIME, till the wee hours of the night - my female cousin and I needed her brother to clear the water zone, then we were fine.

And I liked the cartoons...

That MJ/Sonic connection is awesome. Who woulda thought. Also, all this and no mention of Sonic Shuffle?
posted by divabat at 5:23 PM on August 17, 2009


Miles Prower = Miles Per Hour
posted by a. at 8:57 PM on August 17, 2009


Miles Prower = Miles Per Hour

Wow.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:03 AM on August 19, 2009


« Older Needle Exchange in the USA   |   The leader is not the architect of the system but... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments