Imagine that one day you awake to find a magical door in your bedroom.
The first few times you open this door a man gives you a new bike, a very large box of chocolate, and a $75 gift card to amazon.com.
When you open this door again, the man leaps out and thoroughly beats you with a wet newspaper.
Confused, you try again, and again you get the soggy beating.
How many more times are you going to open this door?
This is important, so don’t forget it.
Not long ago a friend pointed something out to me that made me feel like the most ignorant person on the planet.
It was something along these lines.
“So, I have been using the same programs that were good when we were in high school, so I’m going to go see what’s changed.”
I’ve been using the same things that were good when I was in high school ever since. It didn’t make any sense, but I’ve just been assuming that these things wouldn’t change. It’s written in stone, that nothing can beat that free antivirus, or that torrent client, or that file converter. They are insurmountable masterpieces the likes of which the Earth shall never bear witness to again.
Why did I do this?
I thought about it, and I noticed that a lot of people do this. For a lot of things.
People don’t look for new websites once they find one that fills a purpose adequately. They might stick with this website for years.
People will follow an Author’s works for years, possibly ignoring alternatives who write similar books, even when the writer’s work declines in quality.
People will continue to go see a famous director’s movies, even if they are terrible, because they loved one that they made in past.
It seems like people will go out on a limb once for something new to fill a need or desire, either consciously or not. Once they find something that fills this need, that’s it. When the want or need returns, they won’t bother looking again, they’ll just go right back to what they found before.
This becomes a very comfortable habit, and their familiarity with whatever they become attached to will effect their actions.
This is why when they need import games they go to Play-Asia because it worked before.
This is why when they walk past a row of new books the only one they really even notice is the one with Stephen King written on it.
This is why when they see a trailer on TV loudly declaring that this film is a product of M. Night Shyamalan, they are reminded of The Sixth Sense and consider seeing it.
I believe this is why people still care about Sonic the Hedgehog.
Remember that Magic Door? Long term Sonic fans are the people who kept opening that door.
There was that time when Sonic was very good and it left an impression on a lot of young people, but that time has been long over. Sega didn’t stop making sonic games, and fans didn’t stop buying them. Even when they were repeatedly far below expectations. Even when they were terrible.
It’s nothing short of incredible how long people have been able to put up with this and keep coming back to give Sega chance after chance to not give them whatever it is they want from the franchise. Other games with a lot of potential for improvement get shunned for not being flawless the first time, but not Sonic.
2010 was better for Sonic than most years have been since the Genesis died out, and I know the fans were back to try out Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 and Sonic Colors.
Sonic 4 was okay, if not a bit disappointing.
Sonic Colors was good, but far from great.
What Sonic was in the past still hasn’t returned, but it doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t have to. Many of the people who have been following the franchise for years have disregarded the many disappointments and will keep coming back. It’s their habit. Sega is going to announce a new Sonic game soon enough, and the fans will get their hopes up. I can’t tell you how it will turn out, but I can tell you that it doesn’t matter. It will sell regardless. I can’t imagine how the developers might feel knowing their game will sell regardless of how good a job they do.
I don’t know exactly whether or not this habitual return to Sonic amounts to any sort of sincere affection for the franchise, more than a mechanical reaction to fulfill a desire for that old good feeling Sonic gave these people years ago. I do know that they aren’t getting it. What I would like people to consider is that maybe in the years that they have been following Sonic so faithfully something more deserving of their attention may have come out. Something that can give them a better experience more consistently than maybe one out of three or four times.