Should Sonic target adults?

Forum devoted to Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe and the entire Sonic line by Archie Comics.

Should Sonic target adults?

Postby BlazeHeatnix » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:39 am

Sonic has consistently always been targeted at children. Some may say making the series be more mature would ruin it, or they're just afraid of it ending up like Shadow 05 and Sonic 06. But would it? Watch this guy's analysis of SEGA's success with Sonic in both sales and reviews (Click the picture):

Image

Ignoring his drastic proposed redesign, the evidence is pretty clear. Kids just don't care about Sonic anymore. Or at least not near as much as they used to. Is Sonic's true audience then adults?
Last edited by BlazeHeatnix on Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby OncleSam » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:17 am

Okay there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with this chart.

I can understand the 5.1 Million units for Sonic Unleashed because it was a good game, I can understand the UNDER ONE MILLION for the last two games, but under 4 millions for Sonic 3 & Knuckles ? What the frak ? And 5.4 Million for Sonic Heroes seems a bit much, it was a good game, but not that good.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Scruffy » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:20 am

I'm pretty sure the only adult that Sonic targets is Eggman. ...with a homing attack. :mrgreen:
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:40 am

Only in the capacity of having its own Archie Horror book, which is Shadow the Hedgehog by way of the Omen (in the same sense that Afterlife is Archie Meets Sam Raimi, and Chilling Adventures is Sabrina by way of Rosemary's Baby).

All Hail Shadow.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby BlazeHeatnix » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:55 am

OncleSam wrote:Okay there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with this chart.

I can understand the 5.1 Million units for Sonic Unleashed because it was a good game, I can understand the UNDER ONE MILLION for the last two games, but under 4 millions for Sonic 3 & Knuckles ? What the frak ? And 5.4 Million for Sonic Heroes seems a bit much, it was a good game, but not that good.


Interest in Sonic and SEGA in general was waning in 1994 due to the failure of the Sega CD and the SNES dominating the market. Sonic 3 also wasn't bundled with the system like 1 and 2 were. As for Heroes, SA2B and SADX sold really well on the Gamecube beforehand and it was the first Sonic title to be multiconsole, thereby reaching a mass audience that either had never played a Sonic game before or hadn't touched the series since the Genesis era.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby SonicBlueRanger » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:34 am

No. No No No and No. No
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:22 am

Something else was bugging me about the main post, so I'm gonna go ahead and post again beyond my initial suggestion.

BlazeHeatnix wrote:So should the Archie series become more mature to compensate? Not through guns and cursing, but by the SEGAverse characters becoming stronger and more compelling?


Unpopular opinion time: Pointing out you want to be talked to like an adult, but telling someone "not through guns and cursing", is a subtle sign of immaturity. Follow me here.

I've mentioned on and off that one of my truly big fan loves is exploitation film and extreme cinema. My username is even a reference to August Underground's Mordum, the second installment of the fairly notorious August Underground trilogy of horror films (don't google, kids, but suffice to say that "simulated home movies of serial killers" will not provide you with the best imagery) and a film that I consider to be among my favorites/most significant of my life. So I'm big into stories that, generally, tend to involve insane amounts of obscene content in various, narratively appropriate amounts that're usually frequent due to the narrative needing them to be. I've joked with my friends that my love of extreme cinema and love of more kid-appropriate stuff means I'm someone who tends to not like things subtly and blow things out into extremes.

But let's play a game, just for a second.

When I think of something that should be aimed "at adults", I DO think of something involving content that could only be marketed to adults: a certain level of violence, certain level of acceptable presentation of sexuality, and all of that good stuff. I don't think of something intrinsically tied to narrative depth or maturity. That CAN be there, but it's incidental. Anyone associating adult with depth has missed out on some TRULY wonderful, wonderful mindless schlock. At the same time, I also see that extremity as an important social responsibility: if I want to see stories covering, say, slavery in America, I don't want to go for Oscar bait tripe trying to get me to acknowledge how important it is. I vastly prefer the raw, transparent honesty of something like Goodbye Uncle Tom, which is STILL the finest exploration of the American slave trade in film partially because of it utterly grungy and dirty it is as it adheres to the whole Mondo style. Just like any other aspect of entertainment, something adult can either be incredibly shallow or incredibly thought provoking, and really, I couldn't live without both.

So when I think of "adult" Sonic, I DO think of Sonic as allowing that level of content. But only, of course, where thematically appropriate. And what IS thematically appropriate for Sonic? Depending on your perspective, it's either stuff relating to his place as a revolutionary freedom fighter or his status as a vague Messianic figure. He certainly draws a lot from old heroic myth, stuff that's filled to the brim with adultery, incest, bestiality, murder, etc. The religious overtones, depending on where you go (and Sonic leans Western overall) lends to a lot of interesting themes that're maybe too sensitive to approach children with. And the social rebellion stuff leads to very obvious parallels with totalitarian regimes that would result in some interesting explorations of the involved characters. And it's not like any of this would really be inherently humorless: Enkidu's domestication and rejection by his animal friends due to his bedding by a prostitute is pretty humorous.

...So...sure? Sonic's various ancestors in term of literary tradition are filled to the brim with dirty, grungy, inappropriate stuff. It wouldn't really be an absolute stretch to match Sonic's absurdity with it. There's a great comic somewhere in there, and as long as those aspects were integrated with an understanding of what about Sonic ISN'T like its ancestors, it wouldn't be too difficult to adapt. There's an old fashioned story in Sonic's DNA that could be some weird combination of The Epic of Gilgamesh, old pulp serials, and the racier aspects of Looney Tunes and I'd probably really enjoy that comic.

I don't really want it, though.

I feel like if someone's a fan of all ages entertainment and asking it to be "more adult", but only on the level of "deeper characters' or whatever, they...probably don't really actually indulge in a lot of adult entertainment. But they have this PERCEPTION of what adult is, and they want it...in the context of their colorful cartoon hedgehog. Even though all "deeper characters" really means is having a better kids comic, it's not really any more "adult." Star Wars is for everybody and how many people argue it has some of the most well drawn, memorable characters in cinema? The things you ask the comic to do don't really necessitate ignoring the child audience, unless you have such a skewered perception of what it means to be talked to as an adult that you actually think "slightly more characterization to a purple chameleon with a gambling problem" is too intense for children.

There's adult work with depth, but rather than wanting Sonic to be that I just...read or watch that adult work. I don't need Sonic to be a Hellraiser or Mister Lonely, or a Gasper Noe or George Orwell (even though Animal Farm is the closest you'd ever get to the grown up version of Sonic's weird, vaguely political overtones as defined by Ben Hurst and others). I'm pretty content with Sonic as it is: a goofy, all ages commercial for a crappy video game series that has endearing characters, silly adventures, and occasional dramatic stakes. If I want it to be adult, I have a laundry list of stuff I would want it to include. But it doesn't really need any of that.

Associating adult with "deeper" writing shows an ignorance of actual adult-oriented entertainment, which can be just as deep and shallow as something for any other demographic. I suppose one could argue that a truly deep adult work is more involving than a truly deep children's work, and that's generally true, but I can't help but suspect you wouldn't like Sonic like that.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby BlazeHeatnix » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:33 pm

Your massive essay of a post doesn't disguise the fact that you just called me immature, which is rude and totally unnecessary.

Also I never once even implied that I want Sonic to become Citizen Kane or whatever. I just want Ian to be given free reign to make the characters less one-dimensional than their game counterparts, where they're one-dimensional due to their juvenile nature.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:06 pm

Your thread title asks about targeting an adult audience. You discuss the need for depth. And then, of course, now deny actual adult works with depth even though you want Sonic targeted at an adult audience who wants depth...

Though, I mean, the Citizen Kane comparison is kind of a strawman. I really think the ACTUAL Sonic equivalent, as far as adult oriented fiction goes, is Animal Farm. It's talking animals with silly names dealing with political oppression, which defines much of Sonic fiction before it had really gotten heavy into it's fake religious overtones, and playing out their story once they gain a leg of power amongst themselves and against humans who see them as tools for labor. They're not exactly precise parallels, but I wouldn't be shocked if the early Sega story guys, Ben Hurst, et al. happened to see the opportunity in the gameplay footage to crib Orwell something fierce (albeit, of course, in a more accessible, streamlined and kid-friendly context that's a bit more optimistic in its allegory).

And immediately, you get fairly defensive. For once, I'm really NOT trying to be rude. You say you want the comic to talk to you like you're an adult, but you don't want the actual content the comic allows to change. You just want the characters to be deeper in the context they already exist in which, again, is just a better kid's comic. And there's nothing WRONG with wanting to read a comic for children. I unashamedly love things like Power Rangers and Yu-Gi-Oh!, which are very much written for people much younger than me. And, y'know, I'm posting on a Sonic board and unironically love what's really a pretty mediocre franchise.

Insult is not my intent with that post. It's a fair question. WHAT are you actually defining as adult? Because "better written characters" is not adult. I can name several properties that're essentially better written monomyths about characters fighting against political and social oppression that're still aimed at children: Star Wars. Gargoyles. X-Men. I could keep going and going, it's an INCREDIBLY COMMON format for all ages media. And none of these properties need to be "adult" to be entertaining (though I guess the X-Men comics get a bit adult depending on what you read, in fairness). But they work well at what they do within their parameters...but by your standards, these are "for" adults, because your idea of not worrying about the child audience is just to do all ages fiction anyway.

And referencing Citizen Kane strikes me as really suspect, because it's the film. The big sophisticated film man's story. Which you don't want. Fair enough. I don't want Orson Welles's Sonic either, no reason to have it. But Citizen's iconic status as having flawless depth and quality seems like an easy target, even though you're really ignoring my entire point: adult ISN'T sophistication, which I dedicate a bulk of my post to. I can't say Salo has particularly complex characters, or even particularly challenging or complicated philosophical themes, but it's one of my favorite films and of course very, VERY much for adults. Hellraiser 3 isn't for children, but it's a glorious, schlocky b-movie apocalypse farce with paper thin characters. Your notion that "deeper characters" is something that is a benefit from thinking less about the child audience really makes no sense in light of Sonic's thematic contemporaries in all ages genres and the various adult works that fall into shallow, shlocky subgenres. Nothing you want Sonic to do necessitates ignoring children as a demographic, as noted by...Sonic's themes being fairly standard in cartoons and kid's comics.

The issue really is less about making Sonic appeal to adults, and more in line with simply disagreeing with Sega about what can and can't be deemed appropriate for children. Plenty of all ages entertainment do the sort of thing you're asking for, but calling them inherently adult for it is a bit suspect.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Penguin God » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:54 pm

Yeah, being adult really has nothing to do with what you're asking for, you just want a more character-based franchise with higher quality writing than the games. None of that is really about adults or kids or demographics, it's just a change in focus. Also that graph doesn't really say anything except that Sonic sells less (which has a ton of reasons behind it) and comes from a video that takes a small amount of data and takes huge somewhat stupid leaps with it.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Gonzo » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:30 pm

I'm all for parts of the Sonic series skewing towards an older audience (games-wise, the highest rating I'd go for is T), but catering EXCLUSIVELY to that older audience could just end in disaster and wouldn't be fair to the younger kids who DO care about Sonic.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby The Swordsman » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:41 pm

Gonzo wrote:I'm all for parts of the Sonic series skewing towards an older audience (games-wise, the highest rating I'd go for is T), but catering EXCLUSIVELY to that older audience could just end in disaster and wouldn't be fair to the younger kids who DO care about Sonic.

This. Many game franchises that have lasted through the years are now catering to both (LOZ, Pokemon, etc.) and even kid's cartoons are now catering to both if what Nostalgia Critic says is true, so why can't Sonic? Its a win win for both sides.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby GentlemanX » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:20 pm

I lean more towards Mordum on this. Adult = serious. Serious and quality storytelling can be achieved while still making accessible to kids, adult only simply means including material that as far as I'm concerned I don't want in the Sonic series. I like a serious Sonic that can explore concepts and themes that both kids and adults can enjoy; I like SatAM, SA2, and the pre-reboot comic continuity. I don't like a Sonic that features adult content like blood, language, and realistic fire arms. I don't like Shadow the Hedgehog 2005.

As far as I'm concerned the most mature a Sonic story should get would be Sonic 06, and even that comes with conditions like 1. Have more humor, 2. Keep most of the darker stuff like Mephiles primarily in the company of characters like Shadow and Omega, 3. Don't choose romance as a major plot line of a Sonic game etc. It's okay to raise the stakes, it's okay to have consequences, and it's okay to have characters grow and learn, but don't change what makes Sonic Sonic. Sonic isn't Batman, his brand can't go from Adam West to Killing Joke the way Wayne's can. He can go from AOSTH to Fractured Mirror, and I think that's good enough.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Starsy » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:14 pm

Young kids are playing COD and FIFA.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Pengi » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:33 pm

Sega shouldn't target the series at adults. Kids are still a significant part of the buying audience, and the series was successful in the first place due to its accessibility.

They should, however, be inclusive of the adult audience in the same way that Super Mario, Pokemon and Smash Bros are. Which basically amounts to - make a good game, and make it layered. A typical child could easily play, enjoy and complete any of those games, but more experienced players would try to get all of the Star Coins/Green Stars in Mario, create competitive teams in Pokemon, master multiple characters and play through the harder difficulties on Smash Bros. And so on. But the important part is, the game needs to be good.
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