Merchandise

LEGO Approve toastergrl’s Sonic Mania Concept

Almost exactly two years ago we featured this on the front page when it was in the initial pitch phase. Almost exactly one year ago we reported that it had almost reached it’s signatures goal and interviewed toastergrl herself. Today we can report that LEGO have officially approved her Sonic Mania concept and are going ahead with it!

Do bear in mind that the image featured is not final and details are yet to be finalized, including timeframe, price and design so we’ve yet to see how big the set will end up being and how close it will be to toastergrl’s initial proposal, though here’s hoping we’ll know more by the series’ 30th anniversary. Until then, why not speculate on the forums?

Community, Fan Works, Interview, Podcasts

Feature: A History of Sonic The Hedgehog Podcast, Tom Campbell

Everyone loves podcasts. Podcasts are great, and with some countries still imposing lockdown measures into early 2021, the mini podcast renaissance we’re experiencing looks set to hold with so many working from home or otherwise just having more time on their hands – but what is surprising is the relatively small number of Sonic-related offerings out there.

This is where Tom Campbell comes in. Well-known to wrestling fans for his work at Cultaholic, Tom has launched a new podcast series called A History of Sonic the Hedgehog which covers, well… Sonic’s history. It’s all fairly self-explanatory, but there are a few things that set this effort apart. Not only is it extremely well produced, it’s absolutely packed with information while keeping things relatively brief and is peppered with various snippets of adverts and interviews from back in the day to tie everything together, as well as a few new interviews and some roundtable discussions that give the whole thing a nice personal touch.

Episode 1 and 2 go over the history of the main series games with a few pit stops along the way and while the amount of new information here will depend largely on how familiar you yourself already are with the tale (and why not acquaint yourself with our wiki?), the way it’s all presented here is very entertaining. Episode 3 goes into the history of the comics and touches mostly on Fleetway and Archie with a quick swing around to IDW to close it out. This episode is utterly fantastic for anyone with even a passing interest in any of these comics, featuring interviews with Nigel Kitching, Michael Stephenson, Ken Penders and Ian Flynn! What a line-up!

All in all, this is not only a fantastically well-written and well-produced look into the entire Sonic franchise, it’s origins and history and how things got to where they are today, it’s also a love letter to it from someone who is very clearly a passionate, lifelong fan and whose expertise has allowed him to do it the justice it deserves. It goes without saying that I think you should absolutely check it out wherever you get your podcasts from, or go straight to the source!

I reached out to Tom to ask him a few questions about the podcast and his plans with it, and what brought him here in the first place. I was pleasantly surprised by his final answer and you might be too! Hit the jump to read on.

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Podcasts

SEGA Channel Retro: Astro City Mini Livestream on Sunday at 8PM Central/2AM GMT

Neo Hazard and I are kicking off the new year with the Astro City Mini. Neo got his in and will be going through SEGA arcade classics. The stream starts Sunday night at 8PM Central, 2AM GMT. The stream will be embedded to this post once it goes live.

Game News, Game Secrets

Finally – A Prototype For The Original Sonic the Hedgehog Has Been Found

There are a handful of games that one could point to and say they forever changed the course of the video game industry. Among them? Sonic the Hedgehog. First released on the Sega Genesis on June 23rd, 1991, it challenged Nintendo’s dominance. It introduced a new kind of platformer to the masses. It sparked the imagination of an entire generation. Nearly 30 years later, the world of Sonic continues to grow and thrive, but it all started in a little black cart with six unique zones hiding inside, waiting for someone to plug it in and explore South Island.

As the kids who played the game grew up, it was only a matter of time before many became curious as to how this game came to be. Through research, interviews, and a lot of persistent digging, much of the game’s development has come to light. The process as to how Sonic and Eggman were designed. The months spent perfecting Green Hill Zone. The debates between the American and Japanese branches of SEGA, arguing how the game would be formed, advertised, and all the million little details inbetween that could make or break the company’s hopes in the 16-bit era. It’s a fascinating story, but there was always one piece that was missing. An early piece of media that would let someone take a peek into the development process, to experience a version of Sonic just a bit different than the one that hit store shelves.

That puzzle piece has finally been discovered. And it is glorious.

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Fan Works, Hacking

Sonic Hacking Contest 2020 Trailer, Entry List Revealed

SEGA’s recent sale-a-bration has provided a trove of Sonic games for low prices. After expanding your game library, now you can expand them with brand new content. This year’s Sonic Hacking Contest has revealed a list of entries and a trailer by redhotsonic.
Check out some of the highlights for this year’s entries. A texture makeover for Sonic R turns Sonic Mania zones into 3D raceways. Add more options to Sonic Heroes‘ multiplayer mode with the Extended Multiplayer Edition. Sonic 2 Pink Edition replaces the usual duo with Amy and Cream. A mouse interface to move objects around in Sonic 1 is now possible with Sonic 1 Point and Click Edition.
 
The trailer also shows several streamer personalities showcasing this year’s entries including AntDude, Argick, MegaGWolf, redhotsonic, Sam Procrastinates, Somecallmejohnny, Tails’ Channel, Just Jesss, Garrulous64 and DaveAce.
 
The contest week lasts between Monday 26th of October to Sunday the 1st of November. You’ll be able to find all entries to download and vote for when the event goes live at www.sonichacking.org. You’ll also be able to find the streaming schedule and updates for the contest as they happen. For the list of entries, be sure to expand this article by hitting the jump link below.

 

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Opinion, Podcasts

SEGA Talk Podcast: Sonic Advance

On this episode of SEGA Talk, we fire up the Game Boy Advance and discuss Sonic’s first 2D platforming adventure on a Nintendo handheld! What is Dimps? How does a speedy hammer wielding Amy Rose control? How does the game hold up almost 20 years later? Listen and learn!

[iTunes – Stitcher – YouTubeRSS – Download]

If you want to give us feedback, suggest a topic for the next podcast or want to ask a question for us to answer on the next episode you can add  them as a comment below or send theme directly to our email. Make sure you use subject line ‘SEGA Talk’ and as always, thanks for listening!

Movies

Trailer for “Console Wars” Documentary Released, Premiers September 23rd.

Back in 2014, Blake J. Harris released the novel Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation. As one can guess from the title, it told the story of the quest for market domination between the two parties in the early 90’s, which resulted in some of the best video games ever released. At the same time the book was published, there were already reports that it would be adapted into a live action film, with later reports also confirming a proper documentary being produced.

Originally meant to premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in March, those plans were delayed for…obvious reasons. But through the wonder of modern technology, the documentary is set to go live on September 23rd, 2020, exclusively on the CBS All Access streaming platform. The trailer features Tom Kalinski and Al Nielsen, two men who were instrumental in the success of Sonic the Hedgehog – and SEGA as a whole – in the United States.

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Game News

Unseen Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Art by Yasushi Yamaguchi Comes To Light

Sonic the Hedgehog 2. For some, it represents everything that a Sonic game should be. The pinnacle of the series, an entry point for millions of kids who would become life long fans. Due to its development, an extra layer of mystique has also surrounded the game, which is why when anything new comes out regarding its creation, people get excited. Just one more piece of the puzzle that showcases how such a beloved game came into being.

You might remember that last month, we posted about Craig Stitt. Not only was he an artist on Sonic 2, he went on to have a pretty impressive career outside of SEGA, working on such classics as Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank. Over at the Facebook group SEGA Retro Gamers, he’s been sharing stories of his time working in the gaming industry, and posting content that has never seen the light of day. That Treasure Tails pitch? Yeah, he’s the one who shared that.

Well, earlier today, Craig posted another slew of art connected to the development of Sonic 2, drawn by none other than the creator of Miles “Tails” Prower, Yasushi Yamaguchi.

These are photocopies I made of Yamaguchi’s oringal drawings; to help me stay in sync with the game’s style while designing the art for the levels I was working on. (Hidden Palace and Oil Ocean)

Hit that jump to check out the gallery.

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Animation, Movies

Production Demo Recordings From Sonic OVA Soundtrack Shared

With the full version of “Look-a-Like” being unearthed and shared to the world on Sunday, many fans wondered if the source that shared it with the community had a full version of the Sonic OVA soundtrack in their possession. illuminor, who had reached out to the anonymous contributor on the OVA, ran that question by their source to find an answer. They received a reply that provided a single .mp3 file containing production demo recordings of the soundtrack. The file isn’t from the master sound source, sporting occasional sound artifacts and issues with stereo, but considering that the OVA is nearly 25 years old now just being able to hear this at all is astounding.

The quote below from the YouTube description shines a little more light on the tracks themselves  specifying that the tracks they don’t seem to have any official names, for instance. It is also worth noting that this .mp3 file also doesn’t contain every single piece of music created for the OVA, but it does include the South Island track, don’t worry.

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Animation, Movies

Full “Look-a-Like” From Sonic OVA Unearthed After Nearly 25 Years

This morning a member of the community  under the handle @SAAC_RUS tweeted out a link to the above video. Rather surprisingly, the video contains the full and proper version of “Look-a-Like” from the Sonic OVA. The two episode shorts originally released in Japan in early 1996 and featured “Look-a-Like” as part of its backing music. However, the only official release of the song since was a truncated version available on the True Colors: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2 CD, but now the full version is available for our listening pleasure thanks to illuminor. The video and its description explains how they came into possession of the song, shared below:

The universe of Sonic the Hedgehog is full of its own secrets and mysteries. And so it happens that some interesting things might be hiding in the most unexpected places. And today we would like to share with you an amazing discovery our good friend and the community member illuminor has made. illuminor specializes in translations – Japanese translations in particular. Having looked the Japanese version of Sonic OVA he noticed that the credits song «Look-a-like» has certain words that have never been used anywhere else and that differ from what fans usually document. «Look-a-like» is the ending theme of Sonic OVA performed by Riyu Konaka. Its full version was never officially released, though most of the song can be heard in the original Japanese release of the movie. And its short edit was later released in the official «True Colors: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2» album. In all variations available on the Internet we can hear the line «A short while ago, I was born» which then repeats twice, but in the movie the first time sounds as «A long time ago…», though we cannot hear the rest due to the dialogue of the characters. illuminor decided to get to the bottom of it and reached out to one of the people who was involved in creating of Sonic OVA. We will not disclose the identity of this person not to cause them any troubles. The original plan of illuminor was to ask for the song’s lyrics, but his interlocutor exceeded all expectations and just sent the whole track instead of the plain text. And so, friends, for the first time in history we are happy to introduce you the full and original version of the song «Look-a-like». Have a nice listening! We are thanked to illuminor for the news and for such a great material!

How great is it to finally have it after all this time?