Should Sonic target adults?

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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby WiNTER BELLS » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:17 pm

Focusing on a single demographic in a time where children's programming is constantly pushing the boundaries as to how far they can go is foolish. Shows like Adventure Time, ATLA, Steven Universe, and even MLP have shown us that you can still make something for children while tackling very grown up themes and subjects.

Push the boundaries, but you don't need to target adults to appeal to adults.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby TurboTailz » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:58 pm

WiNTER BELLS wrote:Focusing on a single demographic in a time where children's programming is constantly pushing the boundaries as to how far they can go is foolish. Shows like Adventure Time, ATLA, Steven Universe, and even MLP have shown us that you can still make something for children while tackling very grown up themes and subjects.

Push the boundaries, but you don't need to target adults to appeal to adults.


Pretty much this or heck look at some all age Japanese anime for an example minus the blood and fan service. As long it's written well with decent action it can appeal to any age and have some subtle themes for the adults.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:37 am

Most all ages anime tend to be really condescending, in my experience.

Like that one episode of Naruto where we learn Rock Lee taught himself to murder people so the mean old bullies would stop laughing at him on the playground. That doesn't age even remotely well if you're older than seven.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Pengi » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:16 pm

WiNTER BELLS wrote:Shows like Adventure Time, ATLA, Steven Universe, and even MLP have shown us that you can still make something for children while tackling very grown up themes and subjects.


No adult has ever bought a Sonic game for grown-up themes and subjects. For the comic, I think it's less about deep themes and more about just telling a fun and compelling action adventure story.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:36 pm

Not to mention that the two subject matters Sonic best leans into (politics and religion) are probably the subjects someone would want tackle the least.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby BlazeHeatnix » Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:28 pm

Alright, I made the mistake of spinning this thread to be about the comic rather than the franchise as a whole, and I'm sorry about that. But since some of you are PMing me and calling me names over this thread, I guess I HAVE to say something about it.

Let me be clear here: I don't think the comic needs to change at all from where it is. While I would prefer SEGA let Ian have more freedom to explore the characters instead of adhering as best he can to the godawful characterizations in the games, I feel the comic itself is already sortof aimed at older fans while still being faithful to its source material's tone. And in terms of being mature, the only thing I think it would mean for the games themselves would be proper writing, (whether that means hiring people who write it as something other than Teen Titans GO!-esque crap or throwing cutscenes out the window entirely) and an actual solid effort to make a game that older fans with developed tastes would be hyped about and enjoy.

Because as an adult, I've learned to tell a good game from a bad one. And looking back at Sonic Adventure 1&2, speaking objectively I can say those games were pretty bad despite the enjoyment I can get from the speed stages and the nostalgia factor. While some of it has to do with SEGA being broke at the time, some of it also has to do with a shift in focus from targeting any and all age groups to targeting kids and teens specifically, making the quality quota drop significantly.

The opening topic will be edited to remove anything related to the actual comic. Now please stop antagonizing me for absolutely no reason.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:42 pm

BlazeHeatnix wrote:Alright, I made the mistake of spinning this thread to be about the comic rather than the franchise as a whole, and I'm sorry about that.


The mistake was not really defining what "adult" means and then getting into a hissy fit when called on it. Nothing you described as what the franchise needed was something that necessitated neglecting the child audience or "targeting" adults, and then you proceeded to deny things of actual adult sophistication.

What you equated with adult showed little sign of understanding what "adult" actually means. THAT'S your core mistake: "the same comics/games but with better writing" showed less a desire to be adult and more a desire to stay a child, at least by implication. There was no chance of an ACTUAL adult conversation coming out of both your stated goal and then the parameters you actually set for the conversation.

Now please stop antagonizing me for absolutely no reason.


Stuff like that isn't necessary, though, I agree, if only on the basis that you're not even remotely the level of laughability I've seen of other people here. Your deal is pretty bog standard, kidvid nerd stuff and hardly worth any mockery. The grand majority of people PM bombing you are most likely massive hypocrites, just by pure statistics.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby BlazeHeatnix » Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:54 pm

Mordum wrote:The mistake was not really defining what "adult" means and then getting into a hissy fit when called on it. Nothing you described as what the franchise needed was something that necessitated neglecting the child audience or "targeting" adults, and then you proceeded to deny things of actual adult sophistication.


That doesn't matter now. I just detailed what maturity in regards to the franchise would mean with my last post, and none of that would neglect the child audience in any way whatsoever. Also I never "got into a hissy fit" because of me being "called out". I got annoyed because you decided to call me immature and childish in the most passive-aggressive way possible. Which you are STILL doing, by the way, on top of literally calling me laughable(?) and having the nerve to call other people on this forum laughable(??) instead of keeping such comments to yourself. So quit with the unnecessary drama you keep trying to start up, and try actually contributing.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:45 pm

I'm nothing if not honest.

But, fair enough, I SHOULDN'T be rude and have been reprimanded for it regularly. Strictly no-drama, strictly assessing Sonic's writing as is and assessing what should and shouldn't change, even JUST going by the games?

I wouldn't have it any other way.

And I actually, just to show I'm not just picking on you, disagree with GentlemanX a lot on that assessment of Sonic 06. And I happen to LOVE that game. It's my favorite Sonic game, bar none, entirely for the story. Its story that really moves me for being so incredibly somber, melancholy, apocalyptic...and immature.

There's something to be said for its ambition, though. Shadow's weird allusions to being a Jesus Christ figure, but all out of order, giving him this last final subplot all to his own slammed right during the temptation of the devil (He's even crucified in the future!) and ending Shadow's story arc on the lowest point of the Christ arc is some really compelling @#$%. Sad, too. Silver's ending, where his idyllic childhood being destroyed means the sun finally shines, isn't exactly much better. The entire thing pushes Sonic's faux-theology to its utter limits, where these cosmic, destiny defying beings who spiral into sentient miracles suddenly find themselves locked in fates that can't be avoided, whether because of the future or because of themselves.

Part of me is biased. I grew up with nearly no trauma myself, but those around me weren't as lucky. My closest friend growing up was a victim of sexual abuse who grew up way too fast, and I found myself seeing a lot of her in Elise. The metaphor isn't exactly hard to fabricate: someone whose facade is to never ever cry or show her pain to those she's meant to rule and help fit in WAY too well with having a best friend who grew up way too fast and cared for her siblings in the face of their shared abuse. The fact I've essentially BEEN Sonic my entire life (an ultimately arrogant jerk who nonetheless has a goofy sense of humor)...well, you can see where this would resonate.

But the story is immature. Perhaps downright insidious and evil. Sonic RIPS ELISE'S TRAUMA FROM TIME ITSELF. He doesn't just show her life can be better. He completely eliminates the fact he ever has to. One of the most illuminating conversations I've ever had with my friend was her telling me that, if she had a time machine, she wouldn't change what happened to her. That she wouldn't save the little girl from the dark fate that was waiting for her. Her trauma was who she was, her pain defined the circumstances and context that actualized her into the person she became and the friend I had made. To rip the pain from her and prevent it would be to change who she is, fundamentally, as a human being. To be something that shares her name, rather than the woman with the name she has.

What Sonic does is completely evil.

Even as a 16 year old who'd used his summer job to get an Xbox 360 JUST to get Sonic 06 (I had other games, but the newest Sonic, before all the bad reviews had hit me, was my ultimate goal), I knew what Sonic 06 advocated was wrong. That the ENTIRE spine of its story ultimately ran contrary to a rather basic human truth that we are who we are, and it's our experiences that define us and we should cherish who we are above all else. That while Shadow and Silver had very melancholy, sobering stories about everything defining them only meaning pain, Sonic's story was all about how he could take the pain away from others...and how HIS pain was the fact he was TOO good of a friend that nobody really needed him anymore.

It is, fundamentally, an immature game, loaded to the brim with darker symbolism, realistic looking characters and settings meant to convey from grounded planet Earth, and the most insane stakes humanly possible to present the idea this story, more than any other Sonic story, is SERIOUS. And DARK. And IMPORTANT. And...loaded with a big escapist ending that runs completely contrary to all of the game's themes, stakes, and attempts at self imposed seriousness and realism. Like an anime version of Justice League Unlimited, the show that tried to be an intense political drama that ended with comic book escapism straight out proving that adult nuance is frivolous in the eyes of comic book, childlike escapism. Sonic 06 raises incredibly nuanced, human ideas that must be handled carefully and, perhaps yes, maturely only to squander all of its good will and attempts at importance with an incredibly insulting, possibly damaging moral that it's right to fundamentally change a person on a spiritual and chronological level without really their consent being involved in the matter.

...But I love it.

And part of being an adult, I think, isn't so much wishing entertainment should have to calibrate itself so it can ALSO be acceptable for me as well as a child audience as much as accepting I like something for the reasons I do. I don't ENDORSE Sonic 06's conclusion, but am more than willing to admit there's a bit of an escapist feel in playing an interactive story that lets me do that in a context where nobody real will be hurt by it. To be able to at least feel the raw catharsis of taking a friend character's pain away without it actually robbing someone of their humanity. In a medium largely defined by being able to kill anyone with no consequence, this seems like a fairly reasonable fantasy to indulge by comparison. I even think there's some underlying sophistication in the game TAKING that raw, honest route rather than trying to restrain itself. As far as pretentious garbage goes, it's pleasantly honest pretentious garbage. I love that feeling Sonic 06 gives me, and I can even appreciate the maturity (and yes, to contradict my disagreement with GentlemanX) that comes with it admitting that this escapist catharsis means you can't really have this person anymore. All or nothing. That single moment, that nugget of an ending, is probably the most mature Sonic will ever be.

If I want more adult, realistic takes on those themes, I can get them. Just last week I watched Deadgirl, a pretty well done (but not very deep, as it doesn't have to be) take on what happens when the adolescent male libido can run wild with no consequence. Ken Park, one of my favorite movies and one of the few good movies Larry Clark ever made (by virtue of a script by Harmony Korine, as Clark's only worthwhile contribution to cinema is...Harmony Korine), is an incredibly well done take on the horrors of suburban life for abused teenagers and the adult world that tries to mold them into vessels to compensate for their sexual wish fulfillment and personal inadequacy. I'm generally interested in heavier, adult subject matter and don't really need my kid's stuff to qualify for it, liking it for different reasons. But when there's overlap, I don't necessarily mind: it just requires taking that overlap in a context slightly different than other works. Sonic 06 is a hot mess of incompatible tones and theming that I wouldn't accept in other things, but a combination of personal resonance, when I first played it, and its nature as interactive entertainment in a medium largely defined by simulating morally reprehensible things for sport and recreation makes it intriguing to think about and enjoy for its own reasons. "Objective" quality be dang.

As a teenager, I always liked the pseudo-religious aspects of post-Sonic Adventure because I was a big theology goober, and I liked that Sonic was a sentient miracle going around stopping completely unrelated apocalyptic end times scenarios just on the basis that it was the right thing to do. Reading so many different religions and messiahs was a difficult fascination for me to truly reconcile: to feel the admiration I did for these figures with whom I severely disagreed with morally, along with my status as a gay man not making them think too highly of me either. But Sonic, while not quite a Jesus Christ, being the messianic figure he was and doing what he did was endearing to me because he was the only messianic figure I'd encountered in my reading that did what he did without asking for anything in return. Sonic's a freelance messiah stopping completely random apocalypses and defeating completely random devils entirely on the basis that he happens to be around. That was such a powerful, compelling notion to me that I don't CARE that the larger game series just happens to be mediocre-to-terribly written. The thought is ABSOLUTELY what counts, and I'm not going to dismiss a shelf made in 7th grade shop class meant to be given to me by a child who worked hard just because an expert craftman's shelf will hold my books a little better.

I really love how Metal Overlord has a really underwritten, but clearly defined characterization that never really gets explored and thus gets to be left ENTIRELY to the imagination. The idea that he has this horrible personality disorder and he can only feel like himself, like Sonic, if he's absorbing the essence of LITERAL GODS. And Sonic is completely oblivious to the implications, which endears me. I love that Shadow's personal arc mirrors the basic arc of Jesus Christ, but goes COMPLETELY out of order and has hilarious equivalents (his parents beyond his human family being WEIRD DEMON ALIENS). I love the weird, clumsy nature of Sonic Adventure and how their first instinct when making the first truly large scale, theologically influenced Sonic game story meant including FISHING GAMES. And I like that, given Sonic's above described selflessness, that taking Sonic 06 in context presents the unique view into the one time he truly DOES decide to be selfless, that he can be a little human too.

Sonic is such a weird, specific combination of incredibly heavy but oversimplified subject matter, underwritten characterization, OVERwritten mythology, Looney Tune shenanigans juxtaposed with meeting God and the Devil, and unrelenting earnestness that I feel like, to change it in any way is to ultimately dilute and eliminate its value to me. Again, a lot of Sonic's broad themes are covered much better in other all ages fiction...but those stories are also much less insane. Sonic's merit to me isn't in its successes, but in its earnest attempts in trying over and over again. To adjusts its quality in any way makes it much less unique. I WANT Sonic as is, warts and all: the mediocre plotting, overambitious themes, incomprehensible and idiotic worldbuilding, endless flux of supporting characters...all anchored by the simple, earnest story about how no matter bad things get, there's always somebody looking out for you and never at any point does he stop. Much like its central character, the series goes about itself as an obnoxious hot mess without any intent of stopping.

To adjust or try to modify or improve any of these elements may result in a technically better product, but it robs a core aspect of what makes Sonic appeal to me. It is the whole package, and Sonic is unique and endearing in its heavily flawed, laughable, and ridiculous state. As an adult, I consciously choose it over the alternative.

Spoiler: show
Incidentally, though this is off topic, I think you're dead wrong about Teen Titans Go. It's the most underrated, and one of the most intelligent, cartoons airing today.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby TurboTailz » Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:53 pm

BlazeHeatnix wrote:Alright, I made the mistake of spinning this thread to be about the comic rather than the franchise as a whole, and I'm sorry about that. But since some of you are PMing me and calling me names over this thread, I guess I HAVE to say something about it.

Let me be clear here: I don't think the comic needs to change at all from where it is. While I would prefer SEGA let Ian have more freedom to explore the characters instead of adhering as best he can to the godawful characterizations in the games, I feel the comic itself is already sortof aimed at older fans while still being faithful to its source material's tone. And in terms of being mature, the only thing I think it would mean for the games themselves would be proper writing, (whether that means hiring people who write it as something other than Teen Titans GO!-esque crap or throwing cutscenes out the window entirely) and an actual solid effort to make a game that older fans with developed tastes would be hyped about and enjoy.

Because as an adult, I've learned to tell a good game from a bad one. And looking back at Sonic Adventure 1&2, speaking objectively I can say those games were pretty bad despite the enjoyment I can get from the speed stages and the nostalgia factor. While some of it has to do with SEGA being broke at the time, some of it also has to do with a shift in focus from targeting any and all age groups to targeting kids and teens specifically, making the quality quota drop significantly.

The opening topic will be edited to remove anything related to the actual comic. Now please stop antagonizing me for absolutely no reason.


Oh wow I mean you would kind of expect that behaviour on some mmorpg forum / in game after you beat some player badly or dislikes you. Unfortunately they're a few posters on this forum that have a way with their words with no remorse about it over dumb stuff that can be a misunderstanding and could have handled it better.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby WiNTER BELLS » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:28 am

Pengi wrote:No adult has ever bought a Sonic game for grown-up themes and subjects. For the comic, I think it's less about deep themes and more about just telling a fun and compelling action adventure story.

Games should generally focus on gameplay above all else, but both story and gameplay has been rather lack-luster as of late as far as Sonic's been concerned. The comics have already tackled some adult themes from time-to-time; love, loss, political such-and-such, dealing with the future... It's all done in a way that's interesting for kids, while the adults can capture a deeper meaning from what happens.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Penguin God » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:13 pm

That stuff isn't necessarily adult, and honestly I hate whenever Sonic tries to go political. It was the same song and dance every single time and it was never any fun, and it was also the shallowest form of government vs man that ever existed. That's really the only type of government story you can do with Sonic's personality, but oh my God did it get old fast.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:25 pm

Penguin God wrote:That stuff isn't necessarily adult,


Adult to kidvid fans is basically "vaguely not comedic."
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby WiNTER BELLS » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:36 pm

Penguin God wrote:That stuff isn't necessarily adult, and honestly I hate whenever Sonic tries to go political. It was the same song and dance every single time and it was never any fun, and it was also the shallowest form of government vs man that ever existed. That's really the only type of government story you can do with Sonic's personality, but oh my God did it get old fast.

And it's not necessarily just for kids. The Nostalgia Critic's video, Are Kids Shows Better NOW Than Ever?, can probably explain it better than myself.
Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I do agree that a lot of the Sonic series' political arcs were a dull mess. Though I will point out that Ian Flynn's take on the subject was a bit more varied at times with the Council of Acorn.
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Re: Should Sonic target adults?

Postby Mordum » Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:41 am

WiNTER BELLS wrote: The Nostalgia Critic's video, Are Kids Shows Better NOW Than Ever?, can probably explain it better than myself.


I really doubt it can.

The Nostalgia Critic can't be in any conversation about maturity because he himself represents the vast infantilized pop culture.

EDIT: Aaaand just watched. Agreed with the basic point (because, yeah, on average, shows for kids are better now) but he makes a lot of leaps and assumptions that, like usual, hold basically no weight.
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