Border Break. A spiritual successor to Virtual-On is exclusive to Japan. 😦 Assholes.

Sega of Japan remains Top dog of Japanese developers who are absolute assholes to everyone that works for them. And apparently to their fans if the Shining Force controversy is anything to marvel at.

They did another port of Sonic 1… to the 3DS. Why the fuck would you even bother!? Everyone who’s breathing can readily access Sonic 1 on every damn piece of hardware in existence. Even the PC has better hacks of Sonic 1 than the GBA remake.

This honestly goes to show you that SOJ has no real desire to improve the series and milk the fuck out of it for cash. They probably don’t even acknowledge him as the mascot of Sega anymore. Infact, looking upon this further, they probably regret having Sonic as their mascot in the first place.

Awwwww.

Similar to Capcom, Sega has had multiple mascots over their early years, and not just Alex the Kidd. There was another one for the Sega Master System called “Bock Lee Temjin”. Otherwise known as “Wonder Boy”.

Sega’s “Link”. Basically.

Bock Lee had only appeared in 3 of his 6 games. You had Wonder Boy where he was a caveman (fitting for crackas), Wonder Boy 2/in Monster Land where he became a knight, and his most popular title Wonder Boy 3: Dragon’s Trap where he could morph into several other forms. Dragons, Lions, Hawks, Mice, etc. You can see all the forms here.

Then, they kinda ditched him for 4 new random characters in the later games “Monster Lair, Monster World, and Monster World 4”. Most famous of these new characters being an Arab, ironically. Only 2 of the games were Action games. The other 4 were mostly Action RPGs with bad controls. Monster Land still had a Stage-by-Stage format going on and that did not work well for an RPG, so after Monster’s Lair, Dragon’s Strap set the course for the next 2 games by being a straight forward RPG stripped down to it’s most basic elements like Zelda (you know… before they fucked that up). But the company said “hell with him” after the Genesis had it’s Mascot.

He was probably not intended to be a Sega mascot due to the issue of him not actually being a Sega owned entity. Some unknown company named “WestONE Entertainment” owns the rights to works, but Sega’s been the main people to benefit from the Wonder Boy series. They’re probably the reason why Hudson made drastically different characters for their versions of the series (Westone tried to make Wonder Boy for more consoles than just the weak ass Master System since NES had better sales).

But even before that, you had Opa Opa of the Fantasy Zone Series

Yes, it’s a ship.

Many of you probably know him thanks to that racing game. Much more well known than Wonder Boy, this was the guy who made Defender look cute. That’s… that’s all I can really say about him. The game was a Japanese Defender. The goal being to destroy generators (flowers) and kill the bosses. I remember playing the Super Fantasy Zone game back on Genesis. The 1st boss raped me to crumbs.

That said, Sega had been looking for a mascot since 82. They wouldn’t find one until 9 years later with Sonic the Hedgehog. And I’m assuming they outright hate him.

There’s no reason to suggest otherwise. SOJ has an issue with Sonic being their mascot. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be using him as nothing more than a vehicle to generate revenue (they had the perfect excuse with Hajime’s Pachinko bullshit).

1. Sonic’s purpose.

Back in the day, it’s always been a confusing to try and figure out Sonic’s universe. No franchise in the history of video games has there been a character that confused the hell out of people in terms of what kind of universe Sonic was in. Even Mario’s universe was more comprehensible than what ever the hell Sega cooked up in 91. Hedgehog’s killing robots!? A Kitsune with only 2 tails?! Why is that fat bastard doing these horrible things!? Sonic’s universe has, and continue to has, no real grounding defined for it’s universe. Grounding being what is the “reality” of this world? What the hell makes sense? What are the properties of Chaos Emeralds?

It’s like concepts for Chaos Emeralds are forever changing. They used to just make shit fly. Now they absorbed Time Stones and can apparently warp time and space. But then they can resurrect people. And then they can make giant monsters calm down. And make nice batteries for equipment. Then Sonic can telepathically warp them to his possession and turn into Super Sonic. Eh, they’re called “Chaos” Emeralds for a reason. Shit never makes sense.

Anywho, Sonic’s universe has no grounding. Sonic’s world changes from Techno Dreamworld to Realistic Planet Earth with little to no explanation given. We got Yuji Naka talking about Sonic’s World always being on “Earth” which would be fine if it wasn’t the actual Earth and was an alternate dimension without “boring real humans”. Bullshit. Sonic didn’t exist on Earth until Sonic Adventure 1 and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Sonic’s only real conception came about the desire to advertise hardware power. It didn’t matter what story was going on, as long as they had something to show off their hardware. Sega has ALWAYS been about showing off hardware power. As an Arcade centric company, they kinda had to. Arcades were always spectacle driven showcases. Everything was a party, so Sega’s mentality was to always show off hardware power. Almost every game they made was to show off, which is probably why they have a raging hard on for Altered Beast even though it looks like ass compared to After Burner. Vectorman was made to prove Nintendo wrong about the Genesis not being able to do psuedo-3D like the SNES did with DKC. And they did it better with 3D Blast.

Sonic became the perfect character to show off hardware power. I’m assuming Sonic (aptly named) CD was made to show off the memory of the CD format for their games (having multiple variations of single levels, MP3 quality music, etc.). Knuckles Chaotix was probably also made to show off the zooming effects of the 32X.

But notice that Sega never likes to make sequels? Many of their series gets killed off before ever hitting another console, it’s like Sega has this tendency to be embarrassed by their pasts to the point that they never look back. Sonic got lucky. Infact, too lucky. Kalinske was the main brain behind wanting to compete against Nintendo. Ballsy mother fucker, he was. With his fierce marketing techniques, Sonic became a household name, and was synonymous with Sega, period. Now Sega is dependent on the character to bring in fast money (Sonic 1 ports  are probably working since they keep doing them). Without hardware, Sonic’s purpose is null and void, so why would Sega put up with him otherwise?

2. Sonic isn’t cute.

Look at some of the most popular Japanese game companies and tell me which of their mascots isn’t cute? You’d be hardpressed to find even one. The Japanese love cute shit. Hello Kitty, Hatsune Miku, Pokemon, you name it. It’s rare that anything with gore or edginess appeals to the Japanese. Even Mario is considered cute in some ways.

Little fucker!

Sonic was marketed as an “edgy” character, one that would appeal to the West more than it would to the Japanese. Is it any wonder why Sonic’s never been big over there? Look at Sega’s last 3 Mascot choices. A monkey in a jumpsuit, a blond kid (the Japanese LOVE blonds), and some space ship with wings and eyeballs. They’re all ridiculous, but all designed with desire to appeal to the Japanese. No one in the west would even guess that these were candidates for Mascots for reasons beyond their obscurity. The cuteness was already apparent, but none of them became famous. Sonic isn’t cute. Period. His origins were steeped in way past cool. He was the epitome of coolness, and hip. He called every cute gaming mascot a bitch and was able to get away with it.

This probably didn’t sit well with SOJ considering Sonic’s later incarnations started becoming campy as fuck. We could point to Sonic Heroes/Colors/Generations, whatever. The point is Sonic’s entire world crumbled the moment SOJ gained full control of all Sega branches. With that, SOJ seems hell-bent on cute-ifying his ass up to mortifying levels. cuteness appeals to Japan, and SOJ seems more and more dead set on appeasing Japanese audiences. But in order to do that, they have to start with their mascot who is the embodiment of the edginess. I guess if they can’t have their Alex Kidd, we can’t have our Sonic being a bad ass and instead, have him as a Mary Sue. Sucks for us.

Hmm, maybe best not have Chao put back in either…

3. Sonic steals all the Spotlight.

Ok, work with me. Which of these characters do you recognize? Aside from Alex Kidd and Opa Opa? Some of you may notice the Golden Axe characters in the top left, Joe Musashi on the left (Thank you Transformed for putting him in), Opa Opa on the bottom, but anyone else? Kid in the red Jacket up top is from Space Harrier, Black guy is Edgar from “Quartet” along with the other 3 people beneath him, blue duck is Bin from “Dynamite Dux”, the retarded looking armored suit dude beneath Harrier kid is from a game called “E-SWAT”….. and I don’t know the rest. I assume that’s Flicky on the bottom left. What’s that cat!? Hey, isn’t that Wolf Altered Beast?

Most people wouldn’t be able to recognize…. any of them if they tried. I think that is due to Sonic completely over-shadowing everything that Sega has made. No one truly recognizes Sega for any game other than Sonic the Hedgehog. And maybe Nights since the fanboys won’t shut up about that crap. This is mostly Sega’s fault as they rarely advertise any of their games these days. But even when they do, you can count on the rabid journalists to bash the fuck out of them anyway.  All-Stars racing does a decent job of letting people know about the characters that came with the Sega package, but it’s not exactly the most popular thing on Earth, especially since Sega keeps using poor characters to go with (Bonanza Bros. has always been shit). Give me some Vectorman, or even Adelie from Penguin Land. Why would you give me Billy Goddamned Hatcher!?

And even then, people still wouldn’t care who they were. Because Sega makes little to no sequels, people wouldn’t give a damn if Ristar’s 17th anniversary. Yet most people would probably blame Sonic for this anyway.

This more or less goes back to Sega being mostly an Arcade entity. I don’t think Arcade game developers advertise Arcade machines like they do for console games. And I’m talking about on TV. Stupid posters don’t draw people into something as well as TV adverts do.

But I think a bigger issue is the lack of distinguish-ability. Many of Sega’s characters are humans. Not any unique ones, just humans with guns. And they encompass a load of Sega titles. How can you have loads of appealing characters if many of them are carbon copies of the same damn thing? Even the Yakuza series could lack appeal based on that. It doesn’t help that many of their human characters are made to be so realistic, they aren’t even fun characters to begin with. You know, unless you put in Issac Washington and create more stereotypes based on the distorted perceptions of pasty tea bags.

That said, of course Sonic is going to over-shadow a good majority of them. And serving as a mascot, that’s an even bigger factor as to why. Mario isn’t at all an interesting character, so he can’t over-shadow any of Nintendo’s other franchises, most of which deserve more praise than Modern Zelda (*sniff* Star Fox). Virtua Fighter’s cast of characters are largely boring and have no real character, making fucking Ryu of Street Fighter look like the greatest video game character of all time. Panzer Dragoon? Awesome concept, but no cool characters.

As well, Sega has a bad habit of changing the main characters up in sequels they DO bother with. Joe Musashi was replaced like… 5 times already. There was Hayato, that… guy from Legions, Hotsuma, Hibana, and Jiro. Alien Syndrome has a new female lead, Ax Battler can never keep his spot as the “He-Man” of the Golden Axe Trio, why the fuck does Adam Hunter make appearances but NOT join in the ass-kicking, what happened to those kids from the first NiGHTS, etc. It’s like Sega can’t keep up with their own catalog of characters unless it’s a Sonic Team game. And even then, who cares that Nei dies in Phantasy Star 2? Bitch wasn’t rendered in 3D.

And her remake wasn’t easy on the eyes.

So when it comes right down to it, SOJ couldn’t escape Sonic’s popularity no matter how much they try to kill his games. It goes to show that even the worst games in the package could not diminish his popularity (to the point of having zero interest period).So they try the next best thing and cute his ass up just so they can stomach him. And that won’t be enough to kill him in the end.

Believe it, Hajime. Believe it.

Advertisements