I learned something interesting today about the modern gamer, or at the very least one person in particular I had a debate with online. I have always held the belief that all opinions are valid as they are opinions but I'm struggling to find validation in one I heard earlier today. Someone had posted a comment that Sonic has been bad since Sonic Adventure because of the story, strictly because of the story mind you. For anyone who has been a gamer for more than a year of their life I would believe could point out how hilariously ridiculous this opinion is. Sonic has never been about story, he's been about game play and it's pretty clear. Sonic, like Mario became famous on well tuned game play and defined himself by being the faster edgier version of Mario. That's all we knew about Sonic really. He fought a guy who builds robots who...I guess was taking over the world? I dunno, it wasn't very clear but there in lies the entire point. We played those games because they were fun, not to learn some deeper meaning about golden rings or deformed flying foxes.
I don't need to beat this point into submission, it's fairly self evident if you're a gamer. If you aren't I'll set you aside and explain it to you better, lol. But the purpose of this blog is to ascertain whether this opinion is objectively stupid or not. The argument against it is simple enough. He could be a fairly young gamer who started out playing Sonic Adventure which had...some semblance of a plot I guess and he played it strictly for that reason. This is somewhat understandable given how terribly Adventure played (though still better than some of his more recent games), and yet I still can't help but call this opinion completely stupid.
If we just look at gaming in general we can see that it's a medium where the interaction between player and software is paramount. From the get go game play is king regardless of opinion, the very medium itself is about this. Games have indeed become more complex as we've grown and there are some that are more about the story than the game play such as Final Fantasy. But is Sonic one such game? Is the narrative so deep and compelling we can argue that's the reason we should play them? I've never met an individual that would argue this point until today. Frankly, if the story was so compelling why did it take nearly a decade to learn what the lead villain's real name was, Eggman or Robotnick?
Can we still argue that this person really does want to play Sonic for the plot? I mean, that is his opinion after all. But then we have to ask obvious questions. Should I be playing Devil May Cry for the platforming, should I be playing Tetris for its AI, should I be playing Far Cry to improve my map reading skills? I think there can be a "wrong" reason for playing a game, and this would be one of those cases. If I were playing Devil May Cry for its platforming I would be ROUTINELY disappointed, but who's fault would that be? Would it be my fault for expecting great Mario-like platforming, or the game's fault for me not recognizing the game is about slashing demons? I think it's pretty clear, again. But maybe I have my blinders on? Let me know if I'm just crazy on this issue.