“Sonic is both a dead-serious topic and a joke at the same time”
Normally, it’s Kotaku that we point to for various indictments against Sonic fandom. This time around, it’s the website of The Guardian, Britain’s most respected and one of the country’s very few non-tabloid newspapers, that has put fans under the microscope.
More specifically, it’s writer Leigh Alexander, who argues that while the hedgehog’s prime has long passed, it’s the fans that keep the spirit alive in more unpleasant ways:
Today’s fans hunger after a memory of something that never really existed in the first place. Yet everyone still seems to care, urgently hanging onto the idea that there should still be some dignity for Sonic, that the radical blue guy with the bright red sneakers deserves a real game, and that every new announcement from a Sega struggling in the modern business environment might finally be Sonic’s return to glory. He remains as recognizable as Super Mario or Lara Croft, yet eminently less playable.
Sonic is both a dead-serious topic and a joke at the same time, a curious condition for one of gaming’s longest-lived icons.
Alexander cites various furry, fetish, and other pornographic fan art of the hedgehog circulating as proof of Sonic’s “arrested development,” in the article’s words. Sonic Boom is also discussed in some detail, and in particular the new designs given to the core four characters.
In close, Alexander writes:
It’s surreal: the distinctive and particular fate of a character whose relatively grown-up image and attitude helped Sega’s Mega Drive get a leg up in the console wars of the 1990s, but image is all Sonic has these days, with fans feeling free to imprint their own definitions of “rad”, cool, sexy, grown-up and weird all over him. The new design was critiqued for making Sonic’s legs longer than they’ve ever been – it must be so that he can have one foot in our distant past and the other one who knows where.
Our poll the next two weeks asks if you agree with Alexander’s assessment. You can also chip in with your remarks in the comments area below.