Unit 12 Primary research:
For further investigation into my FMP topic/hypothesis, I will be doing primary research to add some interest and opinion based information from people in my target audience- who know about Sonic the Hedgehog and who are fans/have experience playing the games. I intend to involve as much of my target audience as I can for my research so that my overall video piece may be more relatable to them and others like them watching it at the end.
(Unit 12 2.1)- By conducting primary research I want to find out two things: how my target audience think the franchise has changed over the years with the mascot himself and the 2D to 3D transition. Secondly, how famous the game ‘Sonic the hedgehog 2006’ (or Sonic ’06) is to players for its infamous reputation.
(Unit 12 2.1)- First of all, I will be investigating what my target audience thinks about the change in the Sonic the hedgehog franchise and what has happened over the years to make the games and mascot what they are today. For this, I will be conducting a set of interview questions and I will be interviewing one of the games development lecturers who I’ve been told know pretty much everything about the gaming industry- including my FMP topic! This will give me the perfect opportunity to find out some information that possibly can’t be found using secondary research. Using my knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research and open and neutral questions, I have conducted seven interview questions I will use whilst keeping in mind my four subheadings for investigation:
How do you think the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has changed the most, between his first appearances in the 1990s and the most recent releases?
What do you think makes the mascot stand out from other gaming legends such as Super Mario?
How would you describe Nintendo and SEGA’s relationship today, considering their extreme rivalry in the early 1990s?
Which games from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise do you think have made an impact to the franchise (either positive or negative)?
Why do you think the character of Sonic the hedgehog has been appealing to teens and older audiences?
How would you describe the game Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 (or Sonic ’06) in three words?
(Unit 12 3.2)- Using my interviewee’s responses, I will be presenting these as written transcriptions as this will allow me to highlight the most important opinions and information and allow me to factor them into my FMP piece where applicable.
Here are the answers I received:
The first thing is I’m not a huge fan of Sonic, so I’m actually quite critical of Sonic as a character because I think that a lot of people like Sonic but for me, his creation was quite flawed in the first place because what they were trying to do was create a mascot as an answer to Nintendo, to Mario. But trying to do something that was the opposite. It wasn’t really opposite but they misunderstood the appeal of Mario. It wasn’t about him being cool or anything like that and that’s what they were trying to do for Sonic, have this cool, edgy alternative to Mario. But in terms of they way that the games work and the design, ultimately is wasn’t about game design- it was about difference from Mario. That’s how I’ve always felt about it. Fundamentally the games have followed particularly strong because they don’t have an identity as a game. They’re about the character, not the cool gameplay. Sonic as a game franchise never really had that same identity in that with Mario games, you could essentially swap out Mario and have anything you like in there and the game would still be incredibly appealing because they’ve spent a long time understanding how game mechanics work, experimenting different things that you can do with the character. It’s all about running and jumping, avoiding enemies or jumping on enemies and fundamentally remain the same. Even when they’ve moved into 3D, the spirit of the Mario franchise is still there. Sonic, they’ve tried everything- they’ve had the werehog, (Sonic Unleashed) they’ve introduced all of these other characters and tried so many different things to make Sonic work. The thing that you see time and time again is that the thing they have to keep going back to is the 2D games. To kind of contradict why a little bit they probably were the best. That’s Sonic in his purest form and that’s where it makes the most sense because of the nature of the player. It’s about speed. So I think for me the changes of that identity crisis with sonic and almost that he’s not organic. Mario was perhaps a little bit more organic- he became a plumber because of funny little things like technical limitations, his dungarees so you can see the little animations. With Sonic they’ve done lots of things where they’ve done sonic cartoons and this kind of stuff. And I think that that’s probably the biggest issue that’s affected Sonic’s development as a character, never really given him a strong kind of identity beyond that visual element and that he’s fast.
I think in some ways today it’s perhaps a little bit about survival and that you’ve got two companies like Nintendo kind of disagreeing but they are a rich company. I think part of it is about survival but there is some commonality about that even though they were rivals. Obviously, they were fighting for people’s money for their consoles. What you see now is two companies trying to I supposed level each other’s intellectual property to help two companies that are commonly perceived as struggling. People look back at the days of Mega Drive in particular still ask what happened to that SEGA. Nintendo- people would kind of do it With Nintendo but they found ways to survive and perhaps again, we get a little bit of the difference there that they’ve always known what they are.
I think really its got to be the first couple of games. Some of the modern 2D games people quite liked as well but 3D generally has been a disaster for Sonic. So I can see they always come back to 2D. They did two or three early 3D games around the early 2000s and they didn’t work particularly well and again come back to Sonic and the Secret Rings, or the werehog (Sonic Unleashed), all these really gimmicky things. Again, where Sonic is best, as far as that goes, is in those 2D games.
As highlighted, I didn’t ask every question I planned because I received answers from some which already answered that questions o there was no point in asking it again.
(Unit 12 2.1)- As for the research into the ‘Sonic the hedgehog 2006’ game, I have decided to use vox pops for this area of investigation because I want to really find out how famous the game is for being such a poor quality. To do this, I am yet again, planning to interview people within my target audience with those being some of the games development students since they may have an understanding of the game of may even have played it themselves. I will be asking only one vox pop question which will be: How would you describe the game ‘Sonic ‘06’ in three words? (Unit 12 3.2)- Once these have been recorded, I will be putting together a SoundCloud clip of all the responses to have them all in one easy-access clip and to compare everyone’s three words on the game. I will also be putting together a tally chart or pie chart of the answers that were voiced the most to see any trend in answers and to see if they all think the same of differently of the game.
(Unit 12 1.2)- I decided to use vox pops because of how I want to apply the research from them to my FMP video; I plan to just feature the individual responses when it comes to examining how ‘Sonic ‘06’ has impacted the franchise. However, I want to use the statistical data to decide on which single-word answers to use, as I will be using the most-used and powerful answers.
Here are my answers (which I have kept anonymous but are from students within the media and game development courses):
- Rushed, interesting, different,
- Glitchy, rushed, poor,
- Pile of excrement,
Class discussions (Unit 12 2.1):
Primary research here has also consisted of class discussions where we gathered round and talked about our ideas and what we plan to do with the intention of sharing feedback and suggesting ways of improving ideas or saying what we thought would go well. When I shared my topic idea and how I wanted to go about it I receive various feedback from simply what areas I was going to research all the way to delving in deeper into the reasons why I chose my topic. For example, I was asked why I loved the Sonic the Hedgehog games so much to the point that I wanted to base my final course project on it. I did struggle a bit with answering this because I had never thought about it thoroughly. I knew that I loved aspects of certain games and Sonic as a character with his aesthetics and personality but I soon realised it all stemmed from nostalgia of playing them over 10 years ago. Realising this really helped me to engage more with my research since several of my findings mentioned nostalgia from the very first Sonic the Hedgehog titles. More feedback related to my intended medium of an animation; because I was (and still am) planning on using the main characters and Sonic himself in my video, the issue of copyright was brought up and it was suggested to me that I research into SEGA’s copyright policies as this student told me that a company like Nintendo are very harsh on fan-made content but that SEGA’s may have softened a bit more than Nintendo. Another student suggested an idea to me that I could invent my own character to use if I couldn’t get away with using the existing ones. At first I wasn’t so sure on this idea as I was unsure of how to turn it into a video piece that still met my intentions. However, after researching SEGA’s copyright and recent articles I knew I could still use the original franchise characters. (Unit 12 1.2)- This idea of using my own character did give me an idea later on which was to start my video as a way to bring in my topic gently but surprise the audience with the main focus and main points of my topic.
Another discussion I had was with one of the games development tutors who I described my topic to and she took me through some areas I might want to investigate further. These included: shape theory with how characters are shaped to display their nature/personality; from looking at various game covers, how Nintendo games look all soft and playful while SEGA games are edgy and commonly fighting games. (Unit 12 1.2)- Going through all these in-depth elements to the franchise really helped me to understand more about Sonic’s design and why he may have appealed to such a wide audience and this is definitely information which I could apply to my animation when promoting what made Sonic stand out from the rest of the gaming crowd.