Sonic and Autism/Lolcows: What's the connection? -


Grave robber of the internet
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but it's pretty uncanny how many of these people have some connection to Sonic (OPL and Sammy are some easy examples). The characters are probably one reason, most characters in Sonic are identified pretty much only by surface characteristics or some shallow character traits. No social skills required here. What do you guys think?


Creator of verseesrev
Global Moderator
True & Honest Fan
Like what Jewelsmakerguy and Segue posted, the series mostly consists of colorful characters and talking animals.

The series is also pretty notable for its simple gameplay, (hence the popular "HOLD RIGHT TO WIN" quote) and autists are somewhat attracted to fast speed stuff.


So long, and thanks for all the sekclintons
Not to mention a surprisingly expansive lore/background which is supplemented by the Sonic comics and cartoons, which allows for obsessive people to create self-inserts into the Universe easily.
Like this one


(not actually volcel)
Fourth time posting. My thoughts on Sonic and autism as an Aspie.

I'm an Aspie, but I was never a Sonic fan since my first exposure to video games was by way of N64 and GBA. (I did pick up Sonic Colors about a year back to see what all the hype was, I actually really liked what I played but I haven't finished yet.)

But I am an MLP sperg, and I think one of the reasons I like MLP can also explain kind of what the attraction is to Sonic.

I don't watch "adult" shows except Arrested Development and Seinfeld, and a big part of that is because of something that a lot of autistics tend to have at least in part: face blindness. I legitimately have trouble keeping multiple characters straight in live-action TV shows and movies because I can't distinguish them, and this detracts from my enjoyment of them because I can't just sit and enjoy, I have to ask whoever's with me "who's that guy again?" or whatever and it just results in me getting unnecessarily confused. By comparison, MLP and Sonic are both super-colorful, cartoonish and feature animals instead of people - nobody who was paying attention to a Sonic game or an MLP episode would ever have trouble keeping the characters straight from one another, when the designs are very much intended to differentiate them. Especially given that lighting changes are never an issue in cartoons like that. It's easy to just watch an MLP ep/play a Sonic game without having to worry about trying to keep characters straight, which is how both those things differ from more mature series that depict humans that can be hard to distinguish from one another for an autist.

I also think that animal-based media in general tends to attract more autistics than otherwise. I mean, anyone who knows anything about Temple Grandin knows that her contributions to society took the form of understanding how cows might be thinking and the problems they might be facing when people are herding them around man-made things. I think it's legitimately easier for autistic people to connect to animals - see: Chris caring more about Patti than anyone else, except perhaps when Bob died; see: my best friend who has mild Asperger's really hating interacting with people but having a ton of animals; see: my feeling like my now-deceased cat was my friend. I think autistics find it so hard to relate to people that it's easier to relate to animals, because animals never hide their feelings the way humans do. Social norms are the most obvious thing that autistics fail to grasp because a lot of the time they're counter-intuitive (why the hell do we ask "How are you?" if we don't expect an honest answer?) when autistics tend toward honesty. Animals are honest. And even if they act like humans, I think that autistics still kind of feel the connection to them moreso than humans. At any rate, it might explain the excessive number of spergs in the Sonic, MLP, Pokémon, and Warrior Cats communities (Chris being the former three; myself being the latter three; my best friend being the latter two - we actually met over a Warrior Cats forum).

Sonic I think is especially a symbol for autistics because of what people mentioned before: he's "cool" and yet at the same time he does not go against autistics' tendency to follow the rules to the letter. I think there's a similar reverence in the MLP community for Rainbow Dash, who is essentially a female pegasus version of Sonic. I actually kind of look up to Rainbow Dash - despite being a 19-year-old girl who's not super autistic either - because she kind of represents the personality I wish I could be: bold, brave, fearless, and above all not shunned by society, and I think the same thing might apply with Sonic to some autistics who don't have any friends but desire them.

I think the fact that Sonic's whole gimmick is "gotta go fast" is extremely appealing, though for what reason I couldn't tell you.

Pine Tar

Disrespecting skeletons
True & Honest Fan
All I need to know is that spergs really like blue for some reason. Sonic, Mega Man, Thomas the Tank Engine, the Kansas City Royals....

Okay, I made that last one up, but still. Maybe it's because blue is soothing?


Domo Arigato
All I need to know is that spergs really like blue for some reason. Sonic, Mega Man, Thomas the Tank Engine, the Kansas City Royals....

Okay, I made that last one up, but still. Maybe it's because blue is soothing?
Either that or they think it's a cool color (and not in the technical sense) and think that to be cool themselves, they must like it and everything associated with it.


True and honest Khajiit
Sonic just seems so cool. You know, I was a teenage sperg. A teenage sonic fanatic. Just fast and cool. Something that I wasnt. Its like what Everyone in this thread says. I had an obsesssion with Sega genesis when I was 13 and dug up my old system. The cartiges felt so cool in my hands. Inand out of the slot.

I had dreamcast then. Chaos. Chaos in the VMU. Carry em to school with me. Chaos races. Raise chaos. Give them animals and those what are they again.....crystal things. I fed one all red crystals and he had hair like Shadow. Really fucking cool when your a spergy 13-year old. There was the dark chao garden and the hero chao garden. Total black and white goodness.

I dodged a bullet. Dodged a huge cycle jerk. If I was a teenager now, or even a couple years ago, their would be a good chance I could have been drawn into this scene.

Either that or they think it's a cool color (and not in the technical sense) and think that to be cool themselves, they must like it and everything associated with it.
There could be some truth to that. At my middle and high schools blue, followed closely by black, were considered to be the cool colors. Given how many people listed blue or black as their favorite color I strongly suspect very few of them were actually honest given the size of my schools. It's quite possible part of the reason why spergs like Sonic is because he's blue, which some or most of the kewl kids say is the best color.

Personally I have always assumed that the Sonic series has, a few exception nonwithstanding, been so bad for such a long time that only overly obsessed people, stupid people and kids still care for the franchise and therefore almost exclusively represent its fanbase. I don't think there's anything about the content in particular that attracts autism but actually sitting down and thinking about it... well:

I suffer from Aspergers (Yeah, anecdotal evidence, I know) and while I've played some Sonic (Mostly the two "Adventure" ones for the GameCube) when I was a kid/early teen and I enjoyed them well enough I always liked Mario better. Sonic never really did it for me... I just found him too loud and obnoxious and the games themselves, while decent, not overly engaging.

What might draw some autists to Sonic might be the false maturity that both Adventures, 06 and Shadow the Hedgehog with their try-hard Shonen Anime stories, forced character-drama and edgy "emotional" scenes. Even when I was, like, twelve, I realized that alot of the stuff in the games was really unintentionally stupid. I mean, you had a mad scientist blow up the moon as a demonstration of his power, Shadow griefing for his lost childhood friend and Sonic and Tails breaking into the limo of the American President all in a game populated by characters who look like Mickey Mouse.

Then there's also the unapologetic 90s-ness of Sonic that panders to the nostalgia that mildly autistic people, absolutely including myself, tend to fall for. Novelist Thomas Pynchon once wrote that we all suffer from "a temporal homesickness for the decade we were born in." and even I have to admit, playing the first level of Sonic Adventures 2, running through not-quite-SanFrancisco with billboards advertising Soap-shoes and "Escape from the City" playing in the background makes me feel strangely melancholic. I'd assume it serves as an escape for many autists who remember their childhood when their life was still simple, and fun before they had to realize that life can be pretty harsh, especially to people like them.

I don't know. In conclussion it's probably just the right combination of a lot of factors autists would find appealing, actual quality very decidedly not being one of them.

Henry Bemis

just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself
Retired Staff
I posited before that Sonic's popularity among the socially challenged - be they autistic or just plain dim - might be because liking him allows them to be "cool" by proxy. One of the most consistent factors of "coolness" being a sense of rebellion, coloring outside the lines, that sort of thing, something that is undoubtedly hard to comprehend if your brain is rigidly wired (or, again, just plain dim). Sonic goes fast and thumbs his tiny nose at bumbling fools and utmost evils and saves the world and gets the girl, so he's cool.

And these kids' parents let them watch it because they can see Sonic for the big square that he really is. (This at least applies to 90s Sonic, if those Sonic Sez segments are any indication. Don't know about later years.)


A thousand years old
True & Honest Fan
As I think I've written before, there seems to be an element of "collectibility" about Sonic, in that the characters mostly seem to be patterned along the lines of "[x] the [species]." That use of categories in place of personalities seems to be common to a lot of sperg-friendly franchises. I came into contact with the Thomas fandom a few years back for my dissertation, and I noticed that while not many fans cared if an engine acted out of character in a story, woe betide the writer who put a freight engine on a passenger train, or portrayed an American-built engine on a British line.

Ryan Rash

I was just thinking of making a thread like this. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

I've had my own thoughts on the connection between Sonic, autism, the internet, and lolcows. Strap in, because this is gonna get long.

The reason this topic interests me so is because it affects me somewhat. I have PDD-NOS (which, nowadays, is inseperable from Asperger's and HFA) and, since the age of four, have been a fan of Sonic. Anyway:

Mr. Needlemouse

Sonic kicked off a subgenre of platformers that featured "mascots with attitudes", such as Punky Skunk, Rocket Knight Adventures, Crash Bandicoot, Bubsy the Bobcat, Awesome Possum, and countless others; a testament to the original series' runaway popularity. It was bright, colorful, easy to pick up, and thus would likely appeal to the autistic youth.

The one burning question I have is: Why Sonic? Bright, colorful, and easy to pick up describes a lot of platformers that have been released before and since Sonic's debut. Mario had a decade-long head start on Sonic and is a superstar in comparison to Sonic, whose fame is, by comparison, a flash in the pan. Megaman was also bright and colorful, though it's more understandable that he wouldn't compete as well in popularity considering his games were harder in general. Crash Bandicoot games handled 3D platforming better than most of Sonic's 3D endeavors (at least back on the PS1).

Perhaps Sonic games being, in general, easier and less frustrating could account for how he latched on better to autistic children. But how does this all translate into lolcowism later down the road?

Resistance to Change

One common symptom of autism is a preference for routine, and stress whenever something comes along that disrupts their routine. This may factor in to the collective rage at modern Sonic games released since the end of the Genesis era: Sonic has undergone several gameplay changes since Sonic 3D Blast, and to many autistics, this constant change can be frustrating to no end.

However, Sonic isn't the only series to shake things up: Mario, once again, comes into the picture. Mario games have encompassed several different genres, including platformers, party games, puzzle games, RPGs, fighters, sports, racing, minigames, typing tutorials, and so forth. In general, though, Mario tends to handle the transition to other genres better. What of Sonic? Hit-and-miss. Some games, like the latest racers and Sonic Battle, were fine, but others, like Sonic Chronicles and Sonic Shuffle, were pretty bad. With such inconsistent quality, anyone would be testy, autistic or otherwise.

However, none of this would matter for autistic Sonic fans were it not for one key factor...

The Asshole Amplifier

The internet is a double-edged sword. It has improved commerce and culture in ways unfathomable in the past. It has also, however, given a megaphone to every Tom, Dick, and Joe with access, and as pointed out in Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (GIFT), give a sperg an audience and the curtain of anonymity, and you've got a recipe for disaster. While anonymity is not always a factor with lolcows (especially if they're too liberal with their personal information online), the theory still holds true: give idiots an audience, and they'll turn into bigger idiots.

So, you now have a Sonic fan with autism. He's pissed to hell and back because the series has changed so much since the halcyon days of his youth and the games that are released nowadays pale in comparison to the likes of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. He has access to the internet. The whole world is watching. What are you gonna do?

Of course, this doesn't apply to every internet connected autistic Sonic fan. You've got people who are completely chill with Sonic, even if they don't care for the games nowadays. You've got neurotypical individuals who sperg out just because they're that dumb. 'Tis not an exact science, but the connection between Sonic, autism, and lolcows is a most interesting phenomenon, one that warrants further research by those more qualified than myself.