This past weekend at California Extreme, an annual coin-op arcade and pinball table expo in the Bay Area, a little piece of Sonic history was made. For the first time ever, the long lost SegaSonic Bros., an unreleased Sonic arcade game that first made waves two years ago, was playable to the public. I had the opportunity to attend CAX and spend over an hour with the cabinet – playing it, filming it, and taking pictures for posterity, as the game’s files may not be released to the public for a very long time.
Check out the gameplay footage above, and hit the jump to see my in-depth thoughts on the game.
Sonic Retro sister site SEGAbits (say that ten times fast) is collaborating with Galloping Ghost Arcade, America’s largest arcade, for SEGA Week from Monday, April 25th to Saturday, April 30th at midnight. Galloping Ghost Arcade is located just outside Chicago in Brookfield, IL, and features over 500 classic and modern arcade machines, and several of them are made by SEGA. SEGA Week’s main focus will be tournaments covering 10 SEGA arcade titles, of which will remain a mystery until the day of the tournament. Still, if you want an idea of what to expect, the arcade has SEGA titles which include OutRun, Space Harrier, Thunder Blade, Monkey Ball, Crazy Taxi, Zaxxon, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, Golden Axe, Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder and several more. It is also the only arcade in America to have both SegaSonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Championship.
With the Sonic series getting older, it’s also becoming harder to find copies of prototypes of both released and unreleased games in the series. Aside from old video game companies not having put enough effort into archiving their work, game cartridges and arcade boards don’t last forever and will probably start to decay in a decade or two. Meaning that the sooner they’re found and archived the better.
So it’s a good thing that arcade board collector ShouTime found a copy of a long lost unreleased Sonic arcade game that none of us even knew about. The game in question here is SegaSonic Bros., a puzzle game similar to Cleopatra Fortune which would have been the last game for which Fukio Mitsuji would have been credited as designer. Mitsuji was most famous for designing the classic Puzzle Bobble. (also known as Bust-A-Move in North America.)
I’m sure a lot of you will probably want to try the game out. Thankfully ShouTime isn’t one of those collectors who wants to keep their collection precious and special by not sharing any of it with the world. He’s helped dump both released and unreleased arcade games in the past. This includes SegaSonic Popcorn Shop, which he helped dump in the October of last year. So he’ll probably share SegaSonic Bros. online as well at some point, meaning that you’ll be able to play the game using MAME.
Now that one can be marked off the list because it too has now been dumped and should be hitting MAME. The main notable note is that this game also operates on MegaDrive-type hardware named the SEGA C2. It also curiously comes with an English switch, meaning there is a possibility the game came to the West in limited numbers, or at least was planned to.
You won’t find much of a game here since this was more a little video demo that played as the “player” waited for the selected popcorn to be finished. The cabinet did have button and a crank to distract the player, but it didn’t particularly matter if you played or not. Naturally, emulating it won’t yield much unless you have a microwave near your general vicinity and some flavoring agents (salt, butter or curry, if you want to keep the authenticity of the machine.)
But this could make for a neat arcade board to setup at home for the more dedicated.
The story is pretty simple: Sonic and Tails want popcorn, Eggman wants to bludgeon Sonic with a hammer (because that’s his way of saying he wants some too or something), Eggman steals popcorn as it pops, Sonic blows up the machine and roasts Eggman, because he’s a jerk and doesn’t share. Enjoy those calories.
So that now makes two of the rare three obscure arcade Sonic titles dumped and preserved on the Internet. That basically leaves the most obscure of them left: SegaSonic Cosmo Fighter Galaxy Patrol.
Much like with Waku Sonic, I encourage those that want to or are interested in arcade game preservation to look into sending in donations to the dumpers (as it’s usually not cheap to do this) or join up communities that specialize in preservation.
Full disclosure: I’m not taking any credit for this happening, but it does amuse me.
One of the few remaining Coelacanths in the Sonic series is coming to a PC near you soon. Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car is a relatively obscure arcade title where the player drives in a car booth and assists a police clad Sonic. It’s also one of the earlier instances of a fully voiced Sonic early in the brand’s life, albeit in Japanese.
Sadly, it has been increasingly difficult to find a working machine in public, with one of the most recent reports being that some friends over at Sonic Paradise found the machine in a Spanish mall, albeit with a broken steering wheel.
Starting with the next release of MAME, you can enjoy this odd bit of Sonic history too, thanks to an effort to secure the board and the generous donations of many people. Further documentation about the game can be found here.
The video below, recorded by Gavin Hugh, shows one such working booth in Japan in 2012 and features game play. Using the steering wheel, the player drives through the busy city streets and avoids traffic until an encounter with Dr. Eggman happens. Regardless if you do well or nothing at all, you’ll reach the Eggman encounter and even if you beat him or not, the game is soon over.
No tickets are dispensed and the player is only awarded a score and a star ranking. It’s pretty basic as far as arcade games go, but that isn’t a big shock. It’s an attraction ride game for kids after all.
It’s not a unique game as there are many others with similar gameplay that remain undumped, but it is another obscure bit of Sonic history down. That doesn’t leave much left to dump, short of someone going crazy and finding/repairing a SegaSonic Popcorn Shop machine.
That said, if trying to preserve and dump old arcade boards interests you, definitely explore MAMEWorld and other preservation and documentation groups.
Do you live in Tokyo and want to see Sonic’s ass in front of you while you run on a treadmill? Well soon you can in a new arcade game called Sonic Athletics. In this game you will need to run as fast as possible on a treadmill to get the highest score. While you do this you will also see a Sonic character run on a screen in front of you. The faster you run, the faster Sonic or a different character runs as well. This game can be played with up to eight players, each as a different character. The playable characters are Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Shadow, Metal Sonic, Silver and Blaze.
This glorified treadmill will be open for all starting from April 25th at SEGA’s Joypolisin Tokyo and will cost 500 yen per game. It also seems like this will be the only place where it can be played, everywhere else people will probably have to stick to boring ordinary treadmills.
Way back at last year’s E3, Sega has been testing the waters for releasing games based on the ever popular vocaloid from Japan, Hatsune Miku. At the showfloor they were demoing a quickly put together English build of the Playstation Vita version of Hatsune Miku – Project Diva – f for the press as well as releasing Miku Flick for iOS for English speakers to garner some support. Turns out that once again they’re now asking for more support, this time from the general public on their facebook page. If successful, Sega will seek to release the Playstation 3 version of Hatsune Miku – Project Diva – F instead of the Playstation Vita, possibly due to struggling sales of the handheld. (Also see if you can spot the difference in the name of both versions of the game.) If you, and your friends, want to show your support, be sure to hit up their facebook page to throw your ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ their way.
It may not be much longer now, considering that Miku was also one of the top requested characters for DLC characters for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, several tours have been made in the US and otherwise to raise awareness and…oh my. Their next tour is on March 11th in Austin, Texas. That’s pretty close to home. I wouldn’t be creepy if I went to go check it out for myself would it?
UPDATE: Turns out it’s just their presence at the South By Southwest Convention happening in Austin, and the 11th is their specialized panel demonstrating the tech behind the vocaloid software. Thanks to Shadix for pointing that out. Anybody got $1350 to spare for a ticket?
F-Zero GXfor the Nintendo Gamecube had an interesting feature that worked with it’s Triforce brother. By bringing your memory card to an F-Zero AX arcade machine, it allowed you to unlock additional content for use in the home version and bring your custom vehicle with you on the arcade version. However due to an extremely limited release of the arcade unit, most of the AX content was basically untouchable for many. Turns out after all these years, F-Zero AX was much closer than one thought. Coming from The Cutting Room Floor, and later reported by Retro Collect, they have turned up the entirety of the arcade game is already embedded with each home copy of F-Zero GX. More or less that is. For more information on how to play through AX on your copy of F-Zero GX, be sure to check out the Action Replay codes on either site, or watch the embedded video to see AX mode in action.
Because the games work so close together and both games were in development at the same time, this should come as to no surprise. Still a very interesting insight of the game, and sure to interest those who have never experienced the F-Zero AX arcade machine first hand.