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.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2. For some, it represents everything that a Sonic game should be. The pinnacle of the series, an entry point for millions of kids who would become life long fans. Due to its development, an extra layer of mystique has also surrounded the game, which is why when anything new comes out regarding its creation, people get excited. Just one more piece of the puzzle that showcases how such a beloved game came into being.
You might remember that last month, we posted about Craig Stitt. Not only was he an artist on Sonic 2, he went on to have a pretty impressive career outside of SEGA, working on such classics as Spyro the Dragon and Ratchet and Clank. Over at the Facebook group SEGA Retro Gamers, he’s been sharing stories of his time working in the gaming industry, and posting content that has never seen the light of day. That Treasure Tails pitch? Yeah, he’s the one who shared that.
Well, earlier today, Craig posted another slew of art connected to the development of Sonic 2, drawn by none other than the creator of Miles “Tails” Prower, Yasushi Yamaguchi.
These are photocopies I made of Yamaguchi’s oringal drawings; to help me stay in sync with the game’s style while designing the art for the levels I was working on. (Hidden Palace and Oil Ocean)
When Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released, it was an instant success. Kids all around couldn’t stop talking about the game, nor could they stop talking about the newest character added to the Sonic mythos – Miles “Tails” Prower. His popularity raised just as quickly as Sonic’s did, and it wasn’t long before he was spun off into a handful of his own games. Tails and the Music Maker, Tails’ Skypatrol, and Tails Adventures all put the two-tailed fox in the forefront. SEGA had faith in Sonic’s sidekick, and for good reason.
However, those weren’t the only games that had been pitched as stand alone titles for Tails. Earlier today, Craig Stitt, known to Sonic fans as an artist on both Sonic 2 and Sonic Spinball, shared a handful of still images he created for Treasure Tails, a game that was pitched all the way back in February of 1993.
About a year ago, we posted a LEGO themed Sonic Mania project from community member toaster. The goal for any project posted to LEGO’s Ideas site is to reach 10,000 signatures, at which times, the project will be reviewed and determined if the licenses can be obtained and if the project will move forward in any official capacity. Fast forward to today, where the project is creeping ever so close to that goal, having been sign almost 9,000 in just a hair under a year! We spoke with toaster at length about the project, including its inception, inspiration, and the reception so far. Hit the jump to hear what she had to say!
We’re on the last leg of our interview with the Kart Krew, and this particular Spotlight is chock full of first looks at SRB2Kart v2! Hit the jump for the final round of questions and check out our exclusive look at the new tracks and features coming soon! Continue Reading
It turns out this student’s professor is David Javelosa who, if you aren’t familiar with him, is a freelance composer who used to be an Audio Director at SEGA of America. These days you’ll find him as a professor at Santa Monica College. You will typically find his name on western productions of SEGA titles including Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Ecco – The Tides of Time,Spider-Man VS. The Kingpin and even was part of the SEGA Multimedia Studio to help with SEGA CD development.
After the tweet gained massive popularity the poster agreed to try to convince David to put his works online somewhere. Luckily he agreed to it and now you can find this online. A SEGA Genesis GEMS Test Module. GEMS of course was the sound driver used in many western Genesis games including Sonic Spinball. But in the video below it seems to center around Sonic 2. You can find more demo reels and music tracks from this channel after the jump.
The steady trickle of Team Sonic Racing news continues, with the release of this short ‘Part 1’ video covering some of the game’s soundtrack. Featuring Jun Senoue, Takeshi Taneda and Act., this video not only shows us actual studio footage but also some new clips of the game in motion alongside it. Market Street in particular looks fantastic as Blaze bounces off hot air balloons and Shadow does some extremely slick drifting through a tight-looking S-bend. Part 1 features Market Street and Green Light Ride, as well as Frozen Junkyard so while it’s mostly stuff we’ve heard before, Frozen Junkyard is new and almost has an Ohtani vibe to it. It’s also just nice to see Jun and Co jamming together in the studio. As well as this neat little bonus, Sega have announced the Japanese pre-order bonuses for the game – hit the jump to see what’s up for grabs. Continue Reading
The last time we had SegaSonic Bros. on the front page, our old pal Skyler actually rose from the depths of California to post in the first time in forever. Now we’ve got some clean footage captured right off of a modified version of MAME. For a more in-depth view for how it plays, check out Skyler’s article linked above.
Couple quick notes: I actually like this game quite a bit! But that’s probably due more to my affinity for puzzle games rather than this being truly good. It’s a rather confusing title and it’s pretty easy to tell why it failed the location test. Also, not 100% sure if this was known yet or not, but from level 30 onward, another Sonic bro is added, this one being white! You can see his appearance at roughly 9:52 in the video. Big shout out to GerbilSoft, who compiled this particular version of MAME!
Surprising? Yes! The second Wreck-it Ralph movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet takes a sharp turn from the world of video games to exploring the realm of social media and online entertainment. Oh and the fact that Disney now practically owns everything from Marvel to Star Wars.
However recent ads for the movie show that there will still be at least one appearance of the blue blur Sonic as he explains the definition of wi-fi to Ralph as seen in ad spots recently surfaced to promote the movie as seen in the TV ad above, re-hosted on YouTube via the channel “The José Critic”. The film’s director Rich Moore already confirmed earlier that Sonic would re-appear after responding to a user on Twitter. It wasn’t until recently that footage began to surface showcasing cameos of popular gaming mascots.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is set for release in theaters next month on November 21st in the US and November 30th in the UK. Release date may vary by territory.
EDIT: Revised release date information.
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. Continue Reading