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!)