This has certainly been a bit of a Sonic week. Yesterday, Sega gave everyone a reason to revisit Sonic Frontiers by releasing the first of three free content updates. Today? The existence of Sonic Origins Plus has been officially confirmed, with a trailer featuring what they’ve added to last year’s celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog.
On June 23rd, 2022, Sonic the Hedgehog’s legally recognized birthday was celebrated by releasing a game compilation featuring some of his greatest adventures. Called Sonic Origins, it was a collection that many considered a no-brainer to put together. After all, people had been asking for the 2013 mobile versions of Sonic 1 and 2 on consoles and PCs for years, with the added hope that Sega could finally clear up the legal issues that were preventing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (and/or Knuckles) to get the same widescreen, Retro Engine treatment. At a point when it was extremely unclear how Sonic Frontiers would turn out (spoilers: Frontiers ended up being pretty good!), Origins seemed the safe bet of having one solid, if not fantastic, release featuring our favorite hedgehog.
Then the game came out. And. Well. It was fine.
To preface: Sonic Retro was sent a review code for the game. I had intended on writing a review months ago, yet when I sat down, nothing came. After some false starts, I just sat there going “what do I actually want to say about this game?” So I kept on sitting. And thinking. And sitting. Got up to get some coffee. Played the game a bit more. Then gave up.
I know, I know. Exciting story.
It’s been over eight months since Origins came out. And with news that a physical version has been given a rating, it’s made me think once more about Origins. What worked, what didn’t, and why I couldn’t bring myself to write a review.
I don’t know if what follows is a review or not, but here we go.
On this SEGA Talk we dip back into the world of Classic Sonic with the portable classic Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble! We look at this Game Gear exclusive and the creation of Fang… or is it Nack?
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With Sonic Frontiers only days away, it’s been easy to forget that the upcoming 3D platformer isn’t the last we’re hearing from Sonic in 2022. Having been teased for nearly two years at this point, Wildbrain and Man of Action’s Sonic Prime has been sitting in the wings, waiting for its time to shine. Until today, aside from some Green Hill-filled teaser trailers, a concept art leak, and the knowledge that the show was meant to involve the multiverse in some form or fashion, we hadn’t heard much else. Not even a release date! Today, we finally got world on the exact day Sonic’s figure-eight run will hit the small screen: December 15th. Sure, the date was leaked some time back, but hey, now it’s official. They even released a trailer for it!
Its the Blu-ray news Sonic fans have been waiting for since the release of the original Sonic X Blu-ray in 2019. Discotek Media has recently aired a panel on their Twitch channel showcasing new releases leading up to the current plans for next year. Among the announcements was a new Blu-ray set for the ‘subtitled’ version of Sonic X labelled as ‘Original Japanese Version.’ This set features all episodes uncut with the original audio tracks previously unreleased to home video outside of Japan. This includes the “Metarex” story arc that was not broadcast in Japan until 2020. Brought by popular fan demand and even a push internally at Discotek from producer Brady Hartel, this release comes in featuring the best possible standard resolution presentation these episodes have ever seen with the launch window slated for winter of 2023. (Edited 10/26/2022) Which is a few months from now!)
Ed. note: The following is provided by the staff of Sonic Hacking Contest for the year of 2022.
Before we begin…
Twenty years ago, the Sonic Hacking Contest started, run by Ayla for many years. The winner of that first contest in 2002 was Sonic 2 Delta…20 years later, the hack is still going, as Sonic Delta 40mb.
Things have massively changed over these 20 years (and 19 contests), we have gone from binary ROM editing with a hex editor and a few tools, to split disassemblies and bringing more flexibility to game modification. But we also have 3D entries too, on many consoles and PC, and for the last few years, mods based on the Retro Engine Sonic games, with decompilations available and tools in the works, offering another way to mod games, rather than just the traditional 16-bit method. There are more people making entries than ever before, no matter when they first started playing Sonic.
The contest itself has changed in these last 20 years. We have gone from private entries being shown behind closed doors to judges only, to fully public entries where everyone can access them. We went from deadlines being missed out and late results at times, to guaranteed set dates.
We went from only offering a contest, to having an expo option where people can choose not for them to be judged. We used to have judges look at everything possible – now they are split between three categories, for judging to be easily managed, and looked at in finer detail than ever before. The introduction of the Evaluations, gave detailed explanations and opinions on each enrty.
We have gone from just being promoted on a few Sonic hacking sites (some still around, some no longer with us) to wider exposure through its own website and the interactive Contest Week, with entries easily accessible, streams during the week on YouTube and Twitch, and of course, allowing the public to vote for their own trophies, something people would not have expected decades ago.
And whilst it all used to happen on forums and IRC channels, these days there are other places to discuss hacks and mods too, such as Twitter and the many various Discord servers out there that cater to different types of games and so on, for people to learn the craft and make their own.
I do not want to thank just this year’s participants, judges, streamers and of course those who played the entries this week. But every single person over the last twenty years who, at some point of their time on the internet, took part in the Sonic Hacking Contest. I hope in twenty years later, we will still have the SHC, in some form or another, and the same applies for fangames with SAGE.
People come and go, their interests and their lives change, but these entries are eternal, especially with the SHC Vault for the last ten years, keeping these entries available for years to come. Without the people who participate, there is no Sonic Hacking Contest. To keep this up for two decades is remarkable and impressive. Who could think in 2002 that the SHC would still be here in 2022.
That being said, for all the pushing about it being SHC’s 20th Anniversary, we weren’t able to celebrate it this week and we are truly sorry about it. We have a few ideas in mind to do something about that, although we have shown many old entries before through the previous pre shows.
And now, here are the results for this year’s Sonic Hacking Contest! (Ed. Note: after the jump!)
Recently revealed is the trailer for this year’s Sonic Hacking Contest of 2022 by BlueVivacity as seen on Twitter. The event goes live next week from October 10th to the 16th. Many ROM hacks, mods and add-ons for your favorite Sonic games will be up for grabs. If you’re not sure what to play, you’ll have a chance to see them in action from streamers as the week goes on. Of course vote for your favorite entries to earn one of several awards. After the jump you’ll be able to see what trophy awards are up for grabs this year and of course what will even show up at this year’s contest.
The upcoming Sonic Hacking Contest for this year (2022) was previously announced for would be entrants to await for further information. That time is now! The contest is now accepting entries on their website. Check out https://shc.zone for more information.
There is some guidelines and additional information available on the website. This includes entry eligibility, the quality control guidelines and submitting footage to this year’s trailer. The rules now list information regarding Copyright and Intellectual Property.
The SHC Twitter account also put up notices on additional features for this year’s contest including one-click installs for mods, as well as the ability for multiple uploads to limit access to the media panel or to contest judges. Splash screens are currently being prepared for this year’s contest with a splash screen ready for Sonic 3 A.I.R. mods.
Finally a reminder of important deadlines and the date for the contest week are as follows.
CONTEST SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 4th September
CONTEST UPDATES DEADLINE: End of Sunday 11th September
EXPO SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 25th September
TRAILER CLIPS DEADLINE: End of Sunday 25th September
CONTEST WEEK FROM: Monday 10th to Sunday 16th October
Further information can be found on the Hacking Contest website and the official Twitter account. Check out discussion on the contest at the Sonic Retro forums as well as the Sonic Stuff Research Group forums.
During the holiday season of 1991, the Sega Genesis was already two years old. Jumpstarting the 16-bit era, its sales still paled in comparison to the Nintendo Entertainment System, and with the Super Nintendo finally coming out in the United States, it might have been a safe bet to think Nintendo would continue its dominance in the market. But SEGA had an ace up their sleeve, something that could directly compete with Super Mario World – Sonic the Hedgehog. Suddenly, that safe bet was called into question. Come January ‘92, SEGA had done the impossible – market share in the U.S. for the home console market was split down the middle, with SEGA just ever so slightly having the edge.
Aggressive marketing, mall tours, a character design that instantly encapsulated everything that was hip and cool in the new decade. There was no doubt “Sonic Mania” was just beginning. It’s easy to look back and go “of course Sonic would succeed.” But what was it like to have lived in that moment? Not even as a kid who got a Genesis for Christmas, but as someone who picked up Sonic the moment it came out? Imagine being one of the SEGA faithful, having already bought a Sega Genesis, playing Thunder Force II and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker late into the night. Waiting impatiently for that one game that would prove without a doubt the system was here to stay.
Imagine being one of the first to experience Sonic the Hedgehog. Walking into an Electronics Boutique, and seeing Sonic’s self-assured smirk on the shelves. Finger pointed, a rendition of the Green Hill Zone teasing the obstacles that would block their way to saving South Island. Did they know they were buying a piece of history as the clerk rung them up? Or was it not until they went home, sliding that cart into their Genesis, flipping the switch, and running through that first checkered loop? So filled with excitement, they just needed to tell someone about how great this new game was. Rushing to their computer, firing up that blistering 14.4 kbps modem, sharing with the world what they had experienced. No doubt, June 11th, 1991 became a date they would not soon forget.
Last year, the folks over at Sonic’s social media team rolled out the first Sonic Central, a short digital presentation talking about upcoming projects featuring the blue blur. Giving the impression it would become a somewhat regular feature, the second installment has finally happened. Has this concentrated burst of news been worth the year long wait?
Well, it’s not like there hasn’t been anything said about Sonic since May of 2021…