“It’s not funny anymore / try different jokes”
— Kanye West, noted philosopher of our time
Breaking News: The Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games is primarily aimed towards grade school children and pre-teens.
As such, the fanbase around Sonic the Hedgehog, as a whole, is mostly comprised of pre-teens and teenagers—most of whom, if they have any sort of artistic expression, share it in things like fan fiction and fan art. It’s understandable: drawing is a lot more accessible than, say, making a fangame—especially if you’re a girl.
I should know. I’m a left wing queer progressive lady interested in video games, just like Danielle Riendau. And that’s why I think Polygon’s “Sonic fan art expert rates the pornographic potential for Sonic Boom cast” is bullshit.
It’s easy for those of us who are adults to look at fan art through the lens of someone older (and likely someone who either didn’t have the Internet or the early, lost to memory portions of the Internet) and mock something like a kid’s piece of fan art, but I know everyone goes through a phase of awkwardly, excitedly sharing what they like (hello, bad websites from 1997!) It’s just that in the age of DeviantART, these things are much more accessible to everyone—both for good and for bad.
So it’s easy to focus on the bottom of the barrel of this output and sneer. Honestly, I’d rather focus on making things better. But: I get it. It’s easy to make fun of kids doing weird things and people on the autistic spectrum, and hey, it’s cheap laughs and clickbait.
I know, because I’ve been guilty of it, too. Although I genuinely find the conflation of fandom and faith interesting, I put up an article a few years ago on Christian Sonic fan art knowing it would be just a laugh to most, and it did well because of that. It’s not something I’m proud of, and reflecting on it made me realize that it wasn’t worth it and I’ve steered away from things like that since.
Whenever any publisher does this, though, it perpetuates the very things that sites like Polygon claim to decry this “Bro culture” that discourages girls from wanting to pursue making video games on the exact same day, it’s two-faced to go and punch down towards the same girls who make fan art. I should note that the author has since apologized about the article, but the fact that a site like Polygon chose to even run a piece like this at all is disheartening.
And let’s be honest: if it was pornographic Pokemon or Zelda fan art, we wouldn’t be talking—because those series, to the gamer community, aren’t as fun to beat up on. It doesn’t matter that these same things happen with every game targeted towards the same preteen demographics; the Sonic series is just the lazy joke to fall back on.
So maybe Polygon and gaming culture as a whole could take it down a notch. Fight the fights worth having and cut the crap.
And hey, Danielle? If you wanna grab a drink the next time I’m in SF, I’m good for it. I’ll just be over here working on what I learned to do instead of making games.
This past weekend, SEGAbits writers Ben, Shigs, and Nuckles hit San Diego Comic Con and SEGA’s game preview event located at the nearby Nerd HQ. While Comic Con isn’t as game centric as E3, there was quite a bit of SEGA goodness to be found. We were able to check out the latest preview builds of Alien: Isolation and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, as well as interview Archie Comics on the upcoming Sonic Boom comic book series. But the main event had to have been Sunday’s Console Wars panel. The panel, which centered around the SEGA and Nintendo rivalry of the 90′s, featured special guests Tom Kalinske (Sega of America), Al Nilsen (Sega of America), Bill White (Nintendo of America), and Perrin Kaplan (Nintendo of America), as well as Console Wars author Blake J. Harris and Julian Rosenberg, producer of the upcoming Console Wars documentary.
Thanks to Blake, our guys were given the VIP treatment and secured some awesome seats – allowing us to film the panel and Q&A session and meet the SEGA and Nintendo legends! Check out the full panel above, and make sure to pick up your copy of Console Wars if you haven’t already!
Want more Console Wars discussion? Check out our three part interview series with Tom Kalinske, Al Nilsen, and Blake J. Harris.
We already knew that both Sonic Boom games will be coming out in this November, but now we know when exactly we can expect them to be in stores. In the US Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will be released on November 18th, while Shattered Crystal will be out a week earlier on November 11th. We don’t know yet when the games will be released in Europe, but this post will be updated when we do.
Along with these dates SEGA released the box covers as well, both of which feature Sonic looking at the customer and doing something potentially threatening. The Wii U box has a Nintendo Network logo on it, meaning the game does have some sort of online functionality.
[Source: SEGA Blog]
With the San Diego Comic Con coming up, SEGA is already showcasing some new Sonic Boom stuff. First up is this behind the scenes video about how the animated series
is made. It shows various people who work on the series saying some stuff and we see some work in progress stuff. But more importantly, at one point in the video you can see concept art of Eggman playing volleyball with Orbot
in the background. We at Sonic Retro hope that there will be an entire episode dedicated to this piece of concept art, because there really needs to be one.
And now for something all Sonic fans like for sure: new characters! All of whom will appear in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
, with some also popping up in the animated series. Sadly only a couple of them are recolors of Sonic, but I’m sure that there will be a lot of fan-art of at least one of them. All of them can be seen in the gallery below, you can read SEGA’s blogpost about them if you want to know more about them
Mostly made by forum member Stephen “Strife” DiDuro, the 16-bit-ish platformer Freedom Planet
has finally been released on Steam after a few delays. This game is inspired by Mega Drive games with lovable protagonists like Rocket Knight Adventures
and, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog
. You can play as three different characters, of which two are playable in the story more. The third character will also get a story mode later on as free DLC. One of those characters is a cat who drives up walls with a motorcycle, bet you can’t find a Youtube video of real-life cat doing that! (But if you can, please link it in the comments below)
Freedom Planet can be bought on Steam for 15 bucks right now
. If you don’t like this Steam thing, a DRM-free version will also be released soon. Also, Gene did an an interview with Strife at Florida Supercon
, so read that if you want to know more about the game.
Miami is known for quite a lot of things, but a burgeoning event for comic and game aficionados of South Florida, the Florida Supercon, bubbled to one of its biggest shows yet. Invading the Miami Beach Convention Center located a stones throw from South Beach during the Fourth of July weekend, the event featured several game development studios showing their works. Joining the likes of Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight
and Dennaton Games’ Hotline Miami 2
was a small group under the banner of Galaxy Trail, makers of Freedom Planet
For those unfamiliar with Freedom Planet
, take a moment to consider the halcyon era of the MegaDrive. Taking cues from Sonic The Hedgehog
(or Rocket Knight
, if you prefer), Ristar
, and Pulseman
among others, Freedom Planet
stars speedster Sash Lilac, the brawler and biker Carol Tea, and the timid but imaginative Milla Basset, on a journey to save the land of Avalice from certain peril. You know, the typical thing that will send heroes out to smack a few baddies in the face.
Given its origins as a Sonic fangame that grew to its own style and found great success not only on Kickstarter
but on Steam’s Greenlight service, Galaxy Trail’s presence at Supercon definitely warranted checking in on the game, now that its Steam release of July 19 is just around the corner. There, I met with the lead programmer and creator of the game Stephen “Strife” DiDuro.
Back in 1998, our first glimpse of Sonic Adventure showed what would be the first true 3D experience with Sonic and friends. After the game’s release, the level we were told was Windy Valley was nowhere to be found in the final game, instead having been completely reworked before hitting store shelves. Even though shots of the original design were used to advertise the GameCube rerelease Sonic Adventure DX, the original look and feel of Windy Valley became one of the holy grails for Sonic enthusiasts interested in the development process.
After the retrieval of the AutoDemo, work has been performed by several people including many dedicated members of the Retro community, who have pooled their efforts to get these stages back up and running. Finally, after fifteen years we can witness this one of a kind experience with a mod for the 2004 PC edition of Sonic Adventure DX, with a fully playable beta version of Windy Valley. With recreated graphics and fully functioning camera angles, CorvidDude wants you to jump over to his YouTube video for more information as well as instructions on how to download and install the mod. Special thanks go to CorvidDude, MainMemory, ItsEasyActually, Catley, Melpontro, and many more who were involved with this project.
Sonic Jump Fever
has released today for both iOS
platforms today. Unlike the previous Sonic Jump game, its a free-to-play endless jumper that also lets you boost stats of your characters and use items and uncover Chao to increase your score by either playing the game or paying for micro transactions.
There has been no word if the original Sonic Jump
will see any future updates, however the game largely plays similarly to the previous Jump game with the introduction to Fever mode where your character shoots up for a brief period of time, collecting rings. Level themes rotate daily and has the usual trappings of a freemium title, including playtime that is limited until your energy “recharges” over time, watching free ads or spending red rings.
I’m a little disappointed that the level progression from the last game is absent, and the new features don’t add that much, though the original game is still not free on Android. For those who haven’t played a Sonic Jump game before, its a decent place to start. Albeit you don’t even start as Sonic until you collect character tokens to unlock him along with the others, probably because each character has different attributes. (You start off with Tails, if you were wondering.) Also for people hoping to see a triumphant return to the Chao Garden, the Chao are additional helper items that will disappear if you don’t use them often enough until you earn their loyalty by using them in the main game. This isn’t quite the Chao Garden app we’ve been waiting for.
Its still largely an arcade game, which is ideal for quick play. Why not give it a try and tell us what you think in the comments? You can also check out E3 impressions by Shigs from SEGAbits here
Download Sonic Jump Fever [iOS
This week on the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show, hosts Barry and George welcome a guest who has helped shape the sound of SEGA’s speedy mascot – Roger Craig Smith, voice actor of Sonic the Hedgehog! Roger is also well known for voicing Batman, Captain America, Chris Redfield, Ezio Auditore, and more. Recent projects include Batman: Arkham Origins which features the recently released “Cold, Cold Heart” DLC pack and SEGA’s Sonic Boom which spans video games and a television show which release later this year.
Join us as we talk with Roger about voicing Gotham’s Dark Knight and Green Hill’s Blue Blur. Roger also provides details on how he got into the business, and has some great advice for aspiring voice actors. Yes, we even asked him about his work on Valkyria Chronicles and his earliest work as Sonic at Alton Towers.
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