Asks TSSZ.

*sigh* It’d be nice if the guy didn’t flaunt his college status and years of playing Sonic as a means of giving credibility to his argument. 

A brief summary, this cat is out to prove journalists wrong about the quality of 2 fan demos vs the quality of official Sonic games while missing the big picture of why people (not just the journalists) are full of contempt for this company. This “assessment” of the fangame’s quality isnt wrong persay (I never played the game so I wouldn’t know eitherway) but it feels… out of place, if you will. 

Take his opening paragraph where he discusses the disagreements people have with Sonic Team’s handling of 3D titles. But immediately after, we get a large overview of something called Sonic Utopia. I’m thinking “well wait a minute. Wouldn’t it be logical to look at the official 3D titles rather than fangames?” That is until I realized the author is, overall, talking about translating 2D mechanics into a 3D perspective. That’s the theme i’m getting from the article. By that notion, the answer would be an astonishing fuck no. Though you wouldn’t have to hyper-analyze/review a fangame (which just sounds like poor design choices rather than an inherent problem) if you understand the nature of Pinball. Obviously that isnt the case if you believe it needs fucking brakes.

Pinball is the foundation of Sonic’s world. And its more than just the springs, physics and bumpers. Without it, you’d have just a normal action game. When you play pinball, what do you see and do? 

You see a flat board behind glass with lights, flippers, and bumpers. What you are looking at is something from a 2 dimensional perspective. 

What you do in pinball is… usually just watching the ball, taking note of it’s location and making sure it doesnt fall into the pit. If you’re lucky, you wont have to move a muscle and just watch the spectacle of a kinetic ball rebounding from nigh everything it touches. It was an incredibly simple game where most of the time, you were just watching the damn thing. 

Pinball is 5% gameplay and 95% spectacle

Now with Sonic, there’s obviously a greater balance between the 2 extremes, but for the long haul, Sonic is a spectacle driven franchise. Gameplay is a secondary factor. One that is at the mercy of the spectacle. Sonic Generations has tacky gameplay, but holy shit is it awesome to look at. Despite that, Sonic games (until now) have been incredibly simple to play. Like pinball, you dont need a lot buttons to press.

But then you introduce the 3D shit.

What happens? You have to start adding extra button controls. What worked seamlessly in 2 dimensions requires more effort in 3. And you can’t replicate everything. You have to sacrifice elements to make the shit work in 3D. For Sonic, it was it’s very foundation that was nicked. Course, if you tried putting actual pinball into a 3D perspective,  it would impossible to design or enjoy. Pinball is not possible to translate into a 3D context.

This is a redundant argument. Im basically parroting what Campbell already said, but I inferred this all from the context of Pinball. You dont need a fangame to tell you that. Infact, it makes his argument less sound as it is predicated on the works of amateurs

The whole “appreciation for what Sega changed to make Sonic work in 3D” sounds just as silly  as the fuckwits who praised the removal of the slide and charge shots, how the games show you never needed them and what not” (Mega Man 9). Its all in the game’s design and skill of the designer to make things work (to the best of their ability).For one, he takes at least 2 paragraphs to praise splines (what madeup monkey shit of a word is this!?) and how they are necessary for loops to work in 3D. 15 years of playing Sonic and he doesn’t even bring up Sonic R. Loops work the same way as they do in the old 2D games with the added bonus of having invisible walls to keep you from falling off the sides. No scripted nonsense to be found here! What necessitates it in current titles other than it being easier to design?

This is why I felt it would be more appropiate to look at the official games exclusively rather than doing a comparative analysis between those and fangames. Especially since these games are mere demos. But at the end of the day,  the soup man is missing the point.

Going back to his opening statements, he seems more eager to challenge the perception that these 2 fangames are infact better than official sega titles. I’ll ignore the loaded statement that people are only praising these games out of contempt for Sega.

On several occasions, Campbell references the 2 Adventure titles as a means of proving the media perception wrong, even stating that they serve as the foundation. There are 2 things wrong here. 1, these games are 18 years old. They aren’t relevant as to why there is such contempt in the 1st place. If the crux of your article was “go back to the Adventure style”, that statement alone would’ve sufficed. Secondly, the dude only assesses these games based on mechanics alone. Its more complicated than that. 

Sonic games (like pinball) are supposed to be simple. Not just by its controls or objectives, but also by what is expected of you, the player. The 2D Sonic titles demanded very little aside from running, jumping, avoiding traps and kicking robotic ass. Later games? You have to use enemies as homing attack footstools, use light dashes on rings to make it across gaps, perform QTEs to pass certain areas, search for emerald shards, find sun and moon stones, solve puzzles, go on more fetch quests, you’re now required to complete special stages to beat the game, you have to find Red Rings, you have to equip items to make the game feel more like Sonic, GODDAMMIT! All this bullshit you gotta put up with, people just want a simple Sonic game. And judging by the reception for these fangames, they’re getting what they wanted. Sure, the level design may be ass, but Sonic is all about showing off, and fangames are the kings of showing off. Its like a… symbiotic relationship, fuck. Campbell looks at the games strictly from a design standpoint and not an entertainment one. Why is that bad? Well if youre still praising the games, then the design is negligible and does not interfere with your enjoyment, unlike Lost Mind and its moronic overuse of puzzles. Or the Adventure games and their genre shifting nonsense.

Thats the idea. To, as you say, “cut the fluff” and keep shit simple. Infact, there is less bile thrown at Sonic Colors and Generations because they keep things simple. Now, if the games were fun, you wouldn’t think about poor design choices. That kind of shit wouldn’t be noticeable. Naturally speaking, you only think when there is a problem. How bad was the design of Utopia if the games are still fun to play? Is bypassing a loop that big of an issue (especially since you could bypass them in the classic games as well, this being a “literal translation” and all). Or did these issues become apparent when the media (and actual fans) took a liking to it more so than official games which, as of recent titles, can only be appreciated by cracked-out retards? And even if it is just contempt, this would make a better article if Campbell investigated why people felt this way instead of downplaying fan games to make 2 out of 12 games look better than they are. Im still trying to process how thinking a game is better than another makes you illiterate

It’s bothersome. Sonic fans are so eager to attack certain games from their own franchise if they get too much praise. 2D Sonic and Adventure 2 being the sacrificial lambs so to speak. 

Because of how silly this article was, all I could conclude from it was “TSSZ is a shill site and this is another attempt at damage control”. But hey, its better than anything Westgarth wrote.

And “rolling” being something of a metagame? Mother fucker, I couldn’t oversell the 2D games like this!