Friday, April 4, 2014

Gotta Twist Facts: How Sonic the Hedgehog and His Fans Are Being Short-Changed

What do you think of when you think of the Sonic the Hedgehog fan base? Do you think of gamers who are suffering from battered wife syndrome? Do you wonder how there could even be a fan base since most modern Sonic games aren't very compelling or good? Perhaps you think of all of the disturbing art and stories the fan base comes up with? While the Sonic the Hedgehog series has been anything but consistent, I don't believe it's fair to always bring up fan art and fan fiction made by the few to represent the many Sonic the Hedgehog fans there are on this earth. By constantly associating the franchise's fans with a great minority, it does a disservice to the Sonic the Hedgehog series and the majority of its young and old fans. A certain article written recently stuck in my craw and inspired this piece.

This is what a lot of the fan base
draws. (Created by CPC.)
The truth of the matter is that every fan base has its share of weirdos. For instance, Mario has fan art of princesses Peach and Daisy in soiled diapers. Star Fox's Krystal has been sexualized in many forms. Even Kingdom Hearts gets its share of craziness and disturbing "artistry" and that series involves minors, for Pete's sake! The point here is that every conceivable series that is relatively or immensely popular has a group of fans on the outskirts that act truly bizarre.

It just seems that the Sonic the Hedgehog fan base gets proverbially crapped on more than it deserves. It seems that the oddities of a certain extremely minor portion of the community gets represented as the entire fan base. It's sort of a running joke now that "all Sonic fans are disturbing individuals" when that is absolutely bogus.

Perhaps some of this stems from Sonic being involved in more than his fair share of poorly received and reviewed games. It makes the character an easy target, but it also paints the fan base in a less than favorable light for continuing to support the series despite its subjective lack of quality.

This is what outsiders (wrongly) focus
on when talking about Sonic's fans.
You even get some people who like to play revisionist history and pretend that the Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games were never good to begin with. While a person is entitled to not like the classic Sonic the Hedgehog releases, it's hard to argue that one could not feel in control playing as Sonic; or that the level design didn't support segments of sensational speed and other times pockets of pure platforming action; or that the art design was superb. All of the mechanics, design, and gameplay add up to something that is still impressive to this day.

It's okay to dislike Sonic the Hedgehog in his current form. However, even then he's starred in some well received and some might debate, truly fantastic games. (I know the staff here certainly would!) I'm alluding to titles like Sonic Colors, Sonic Generations, and both Sonic & All-Stars kart racing games.

To completely deride a fan base on the basis of a huge minority of creepy fans. In truth, Sonic is still a series that is a million-seller for most titles released. The azure hedgehog is still relevant and has been for over two decades now. To paint all of those millions of players, a fair amount being children who probably have never heard the term "fan art", with the same "that fan base is made up of freaks" brush is absolutely disingenuous. The sad part is that most who do such things probably already know they are being disingenuous and simply do not care.

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