Fan Works, Hacking

Sonic Hacking Contest Now Accepting Submissions

A few months ago, we let everyone know the when’s and the where’s regarding 2021’s Sonic Hacking Contest. For those hard at work coming up with something they hope will dazzle and wondering when they can submit their entries, wait no longer! Submissions for SHC2021 officially opened the 10th of August, and will continue to be open until next month.

Due to some unforeseen delays getting the site ready for submissions, the original contest deadline announced back in March has been extended. The new dates are down below:

CONTEST DEADLINE – End of Sunday 12th September
UPDATES DEADLINE – End of Sunday 19th September
EXPO DEADLINE – End of Sunday 26th September
CONTEST WEEK – Monday 11th to Sunday 17th October

So if you were worried about getting things done in time, that extra week will hopefully be enough, if you’re wanting to be part of the contest. Either way, the show is still set to go on come October. For all the details, be sure to read the newsletter so you don’t miss out on how to get your work in the show.

To keep up to date, be sure to follow the SHC on Twitter, and don’t forget that you can still chat about it on the Retro forums.

[Source: Sonic Hacking Contest Official Site]

Game News

Sonic & Tails Announced For Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania

Sure, we all know it’s Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th anniversary. But did you know that Super Monkey Ball turns 20 this year? That’s right, those rolling simian’s are celebrating their own milestone, and in a moment of corporate synergy, the two franchises are colliding.

That’s right, both Classic Sonic and Tails will be guests in the upcoming Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania. Look at them go! They’re rolling. They’re collecting rings instead of bananas. For those keeping score, this is the second time Sonic has popped up in the Super Monkey Ball franchise, the first being 2019’s Banana Blitz HD.

Sonic and Tails aren’t the only ones joining in. Beat from Jet Set Radio was announced earlier this month, but he’s not collecting rings or bananas! He’s collecting spray paint cans. Because. Well. That’s what you collect in Jet Set Radio. Will any other SEGA characters pop in on this Monkstravaganza? Who knows. But you can pick the game up on October 5th, 2021 in all the usual places.

[Source: Super Monkey Ball Official Twitter]

Opinion

Once Upon A Time (Or Thirty Years Ago)

It’s hard to imagine a time where Sonic the Hedgehog didn’t exist. A time when he wasn’t ever present on video game shelves, where a cartoon featuring the character wasn’t airing on television, when a monthly comic book wasn’t available to buy at your local comic shop. But back in 1990, Sonic was just a dream. Springing from the mind of Naoto Ohshima, there was certainly a time when he was nothing more than a simple doodle scratched upon a napkin. Mr. Hedgehog, one drawing among a sea of many, all of them vying to become the face, and the hope, of an entire video game company.

What was it like when Ohshima sat in Central Park all those years ago, signaling for random passersby to see his funny, slightly strange doodles? How many of those people had the slightest idea what SEGA was? What videogames even were? Did they just think of him as a cartoonist who had made his way to the big city, looking for inspiration among the towering skyscrapers? When shown the drawings of that egg-shaped man, or that spiny blue critter who couldn’t wait to run off the page, what did they say? Did anyone have the slightest inkling they were witness to history?

Likely not. After all, it was just a drawing on a piece of paper. No grander sense of the world that was being created. Of the gameplay slowly being refined in Japan. No idea that this character, who would take the name Sonic, was destined to forever alter the video game industry. If they had been told ahead of time, those who were aware of Nintendo’s dominance would have surely laughed. Video games were dead in America until Mario brought them back to life, how could anyone attempt to overthrow them? Where would you even begin?

Well, with a hedgehog. As blue and cool as the planet he called home.
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Game News

“Sonic Central” Announces A Slew Of Sonic

Hey, guess what? There’s Sonic news.

It’s no secret that people have been waiting to hear what’s next for Sonic the Hedgehog. We’ve had rumors, we’ve had wild speculation, but now we have something to actually talk about! As advertised, “Sonic Central” went live earlier today. Running for twelve minutes, the team over at Sega HQ were able to cram in all sorts of Sonic goodness, including some game announcements. So let’s just dive right in!

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Game News

“Sonic Central” Broadcast to Announce New Projects, Events, and More

Sonic Central image, May 27th, 2021. 9:00am PT | 12:00PM ET. Tune in for a first look at some of our upcoming projects, partnerships, and events to celebrate Sonic's 30th anniversary!

This image from the tweet dishes all the juicy details. Click through to see the tweet.

This morning, the official Sonic Twitter account shared the above image to announce a broadcast titled “Sonic Central.” As you can see in the attached image above, it promises a look at what we can expect throughout Sonic’s 30th anniversary. While small tidbits have been shared regarding SEGA’s plans for the franchise this year, it’s not a surprise that people have been wanting to hear more, especially when it comes to what games are in the pipeline for the blue blur. Recently, there have been some rumors spreading thanks to two now removed product listings on the French gaming site “SoGamely.” Sonic Colors Ultimate and a Sonic Collection were listed, with no further details. Could these give some indication of what to expect? Come May 27th, 12:00pm ET, we’ll definitely have a better idea.

SEGA HARDlight, the developers of mobile games like Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Chu Chu Rocket Universe!, quote tweeted the announcement with their official account, adding “Be prepared for some exciting HARDlight game announcements! 👀 #Sonic30th”. Whether this is alluding to a new game from them or new content coming to an existing game remains to be seen.

Accompanying this announcement was a short video titled “Unstoppable.” Uploaded to the official Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel, it celebrates Sonic’s history while looking forward to the next 30 years. It takes some time to highlight folks like Evan Stanley and Tyson Hesse who have contributed to the franchise. And if you look closely, you might spot some never-before-seen CG of Sonic running through a forest. What’s that from? Guess we’ll find out soon enough!

 

 

Fan Works, Hacking

Sonic Hacking Contest Announces 2021 Dates

The 30th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog is upon us. Among the celebration of three decades of the blue blur comes the annual Sonic Hacking Contest. This year the contest has revealed the deadlines for entries as well as the date for the contest week which you can see below.

CONTEST DEADLINE – End of Sunday 5th September
UPDATES DEADLINE – End of Sunday 12th September
EXPO DEADLINE – End of Sunday 26th September
CONTEST WEEK – Monday 11th to Sunday 17th October

This year includes a change to the judging process including additional judges separated between the three categories, Retro (For hacks based on vintage Sonic titles), 3D (For mods based on 3D titles and 2DPC which includes mods for 2D titles such as Sonic Mania including the RSDK decompilation projects.

For further information regarding the contest you can check out additional details, such as contest judges and categories, from the Sonic Hacking Contest website here. You can also join the discussion on our forums regarding the contest on the dedicated thread for 2021 here.

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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