"which basically meant games that required a fair amount of skill out of the gate" So Sonic was the original DARK SOULS, a game I've heard is very hard.

This is a really interesting well thought-out point. It is fascinating to think about what it would be like if say, for example, Sonic became the game that we judged and compared all other titles to. I'm not sure how much I'd actually mine trial and error gameplay since I'm not sure how representative Mania is of the older titles, but I tend to prefer playing platformers as memorization type games anyways. 

Too worthless to live, too scared to die.