I read a story yesterday about Sega wanting to make Sonic an entertainment icon and my first thought was immediately, HOW? Just how are you going to make sonic a master across multimedia when you can’t even seem to get his core mechanics and current dominate platform in video games right?
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Sonic Cartoons and Other Media
I’m not saying all of this put down Sega for its ambition, but honestly they need to get their priorities straight. Before you do anything you need to get the games right. Sonic has had some lofty hits in the past like the original Sonic games on Sega Genesis and my personal favorite, the Sonic Adventure series but following that Sonic games have all been pretty mediocre or just plain unplayable (Shoutout to Sonic 06!). Outside of gaming Sonic had some hits on TV with a couple of awesome TV series and one very very bad one that I will not even mention by name because doing so gives it power. The best of these in my opinion is Sonic SATam. It featured a stellar plot and managed to make Dr Robotnik scary and at times relatable. Point is, there have been times that Sega has gotten Sonic right.
The Sonic Boom Generation
Recently Sonic got a refresh with a brand new TV show and game called Sonic Boom and both are very mediocre. They gave sonic a neck bandana, some bandages and absolutely no soul. The show and the game both feel unfinished and lacking. If this is how you plan on making Sonic an icon, you’ve got a lot of work to do. I read a quote in the article that said the producers of the new games are making an emphasis on quality for Sonic from now on and my thought is, Shouldn’t that have always been the case? Gamers have been complaining about Sonic properties for years, why are you just now making sure the vehicle that got him started is handled right? A lot of fans have written Sonic off and just look at him about as fondly as they do Bubsy and that’s a shame because Sonic really does deserve to be an icon.
How Sonic the Hedgehog Can Become an Icon: Be Like Mario
So how can Sega achieve their goal to get Sonic superstar status? It’s easy. MAKE GREAT GAMES. FOCUS ON THE GAMES FIRST AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW. Super Mario had a terrible movie, a pair of bad run of the mill cartoons and yet his star shines brighter than ever. Even if you don’t play video games you know and love Super Mario. Nintendo achieved this by making a quality foundation for their character. 90% of the games that feature Mario are amazing, challenging, fun and work to cement his status in our hearts and minds. Sonic can follow this formula and he too will finally get the respect we know he deserves.
Good luck Sega! I’m rooting for you.