Crossing London and heading out of Zone 1 with my newly aquired Oyster Card, I arrived at Shepards Bush for my second Summer of Sonic (I was there for last year’s event), and after a quick loop of the roundabout by the train station (for which I blame some terrible signage on the part of London’s travel authorities), I finally crossed into the main park and spotted the Pavilion for the first time – though honestly, the crowd was more of a pointer. =P
We entered the venue a little late thanks to the venue’s owners completely screwing up – in hindsight I don’t think anyone can blame the SoS team for anything that happened, what with not only work they’d paid for not being done but 3 grand in electronics being nicked right before the event started – I have to applaud the entire SoS team for recovering as quickly as they did, really. The hall itself was bigger than last year’s, but it didn’t feel it because there was so much more in it. Sure you had the cabinet of rare Sonic collectables and the drawing area from last year, but there were more gaming pods, a larger stage area, and even a shop for Crush 40 merch (and I believe a comics shop, too).
The event started with a countdown onscreen from 60 seconds downwards, with some familiar logos and Sonic moments associated with the numbers – for example, 10 and 15 seconds respectively were the 10th and 15th anniversary logos. At 7 it mysteriously stopped and went silent with a Loading screen – only for 06 to pop up with His World starting playing, to a large cheer from the crowd. From there, the Olympics rings logo and the box styles from Sonic 1, 2, 3 and 4 finished the countdown to the Drowning music – and SoS ’10 was go!
The stage had a variety of things up during the day – the Never Mind The Buzzbombers quiz was back, the cosplay competition (deservedly won again this year by the very dedicated Dr Robotnik who shaved off all their hair for the part, though I’d put in an honourable mention for the lovely lady in the Ulala outfit – I’ll be amazed if that’s not on UK:Resistance in the next fortnight. Also the guy who entered as Svend deserves a mention just because), a karaoke competition won by a guy who frankly sung the most epic performance of the Sonic Underground theme I’ve ever heard (he even did the Queen’s part. Now THAT’S dedication), and a piano performance of a couple of tracks from Sonic 4 by Jun Senoue.
Also back this year was the community sites wall, with new and updated posters. You get the impression someone might have been influenced by a certain =P doodle & name that may or may not have been on last year’s poster. 😉 New for this year was a Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing tournament, with the winner being crowned World Champion on stage and even got a trophy for his trouble.
Sonic 4 and Sonic Colours both made their (official) UK debuts at the show, and the lines for both were immense – I managed to play both (and have impressions elsewhere) but the queues were a good hour or so each. While some people somewhat hogged the machines (looking at you, guy in the red t-shirt who played though about 6 acts on Sonic 4 while the line stayed static), most kept the playtime down to reasonable levels and I believe everyone got to play at least one of the two titles.
The evening wound up with a live performance by Crush 40, performing several of their tracks from the games, everything from All Hail Shadow to Live And Learn (their finalé). Despite the completely incompetent sound technician who frankly should give back his fee for leaving his post during the middle of the gig, they were amazing – this is the only music gig I’ve actually ever been to that I’ve ENJOYED. And just like that, it was all over. Despite the venue issues, the show was unforgettable – re-meeting old friends from last year and other events, and meeting others for the first time (you know who you all are, and you all kick ass =P). Thank you to Kevin, Svend and all the team for their hard work – I’m sure that the vast majority of the show-goers will join me in this.
Next year’s SoS will be for Sonic’s 20th. Hope to see you there! =P