'Sonic Adventure' Was Lovably Weird


Sonic's Dreamcast debut was rough around the edges, but it had ambition to spare.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43aqww/sonic-adventure-was-lovably-weird


Danielle, I love you and your love for weird games but not with Sonic Adventure.


Ah, Yeah! This is happennin’!


The clips y’all’ve chosen for this Guide to Games are really choice. I think this is a pretty good summary of what made this game appealing at the time, as well as explaining some of the reasons why it’s easy to go back and brush it off as ‘always bad’ (particularly in comparison to much more solid games like Mario 64), when it definitely had its fans and isn’t unplayable to go back to today.

Plus, in hindsight, I think it’s fascinating to look at Sonic Adventure and see the seeds that have defined 3D Sonic games since. I can’t recall if this was fan speculation or a developer interview (so take it with a pinch of salt), but my understanding of Sonic has been that designing 3D spaces for Sonic to run around in is expensive. Environments need to be hand-crafted and revised to give them a good flow, but also need to be detailed enough that, if people slow down (because they hit a stop or due to the level design), they find something pleasant to look at. Just about every 3D Sonic game has tried to ‘water down’ Sonic’s fast gameplay, often with characters that let them really sweat their assets (see: Werehog, Classic Sonic, every non-Sonic character in the Adventure games). The other characters let them make new levels, often with the same assets, and lengthen the game. Nothing is quite as blatant as Big the Cat (except maybe the Werehog), but it’s interesting to note that even now, Sonic Forces will also have ‘slower’ characters than 3D Sonic, likely for this reason.

This is definitely one of the games that falls into the ‘fascinating’ category in Guide to Games for me.


I fuckin’ love me some Sonic Adventure. Once the Gamecube VC on Switch finally gets up and running I’m down as hell for both Adventure games on it. And also Shadow the Hedgehog because it’s Good Actually.

Also, like pretty much every Sonic game ever, KILLER soundtrack. Unknown From M.E. is still the best Knuckles theme, and Open Your Heart is up there as one of the best Main Themes in all videogames.


God, Sonic’s doofy facial animation with Believe in Myself playing in the background will never stop making me smile. It’s not the easiest game to back to, but if nothing else, its tone is one of my favorites in gaming, bright and summery to its core. And that music. It’s big and dumb and corny and 18 years later it’s still the best damn thing in the world.

I also just like that “hub world and action stage” structure. It sounds like they have no interest in doing so but I really hope they take one more shot at it someday.


Always makes me a bit bummed out when people choose Sonic Adventure DX to record footage from just because it’s more readily available.

The “updates” they made for DX are really inconsistent and in some ways actually make the game uglier. Textures are more compressed, they actually disabled the more robust lighting engine the Dreamcast version had, and in general the extras they added are just lame busy work. If you’re looking for “lovably weird,” the original Dreamcast version definitely fits that bill even better than the DX “update.”

Amazingly, a group of dedicated Sonic fans over the last 6-9 months have been working to restore the original Dreamcast graphics in Sonic Adventure DX. These are actually screenshots I took from the Steam version of Sonic Adventure DX just a couple of days ago:

If you have the Steam version of Sonic Adventure DX, it’s worth looking in to BetterSADX, which will install the two dozen or so mods for you. Or you can always download all the mods separately and figure everything out for yourself.