Edit: 3/23/2016 You can now watch the full panel courtesy of the SEGAbits channel.
The Sonic 25th Anniversary panel at SXSW will begin just a few hours from when this post is published. And thankfully SXSW will be hosting a live stream of the panel, which you can see above. The Sonic section of the stream will start at at 1:30pm PDT / 3:30pm CDT / 4:30pm EDT / 8:30pm GMT / 9:30pm CET.
The panel will feature Aaron Webber, Austin Keys, Mike Pollock, Roger Craig Smith, Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Naka, and will focus on the history of the franchise. The panel’s description also teases that they’ll “look to the future”, though Sega has already clarified that they don’t plan to announce any new games at the panel. Aside from that, Aaron Webber has teased that the meaning of the numbers on the Game Grumps photo from a couple of months ago will be revealed.
Whatever the panel is going to be about, with that selection of guests it’s sure to at least be something worth watching.
It is an end of an era for Sonic the Hedgehog at the English theme park Alton Towers. The rollercoaster ride Sonic Spinball, which has been in operation under the Sonic branding since February 2010, has been re-themed as Spinball Whizzer. The ride originally opened in 2004 under the Spinball Whizzer name, but was given a Sonic re-theming with a lot of fanfare back in 2010. Not only was there a Sonic themed ride, but there was also a Sonic-themed hotel room as well as Sonic merchandise throughout the park. I’ve heard from fellow fans that the Sonic merch has been slowly drying up, signaling that the Sonic license may be coming to an end, and this recent news all but confirms it. It is unknown if the Sonic-themed hotel room has also been removed or will be removed. The room is best known to fans for being one of the earliest instances of Roger Craig Smith voicing Sonic the Hedgehog, as audio of Sonic would greet guests as they entered the room. Hilariously, due to an audio snafu the voice sounded much lower leading to the infamous “check out the consoles” line and many fans freaking out that the new Sonic sounds a lot older and slower. The audio was soon fixed, but it was funny while it lasted.
Roger spoke about recording for Alton Towers, as well as the audio mistake, in a Swingin’ Report Show podcast interview which can be heard right here. You should also check out the article Overlord did about his trip to the attractions back in 2010.
Note: “Closed” in the above graphic refers to how long the wait times are, not the permanent closure of rides. As the park was closed at the time of this screenshot, all rides are closed as well.
[Via Sonic Stadium]
I have been in contact with Kyle Hebert and it is confirmed, this is going to happen. A battle of wits between BIG the CATS. If you are a gamer who lives near Michigan, please share this…we would love to see all the Sonic fans there!
Posted by Jon St John on Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Next month at Midwest Media Expo, Jon St. John and Kyle Hebert, the former and current voices of Big the Cat respectively, will go take part in an event that’s been dubbed as “Battle of the Bigs.”
From St. John’s Facebook page:
“I have been in contact with Kyle Hebert and it is confirmed, this is going to happen. A battle of wits between BIG the CATS. If you are a gamer who lives near Michigan, please share this…we would love to see all the Sonic fans there!”
Who knows what will happen? One thing is for sure – Michigan will never be the same.
As you might have noticed, on one of the boards at Tomy’s booth at Toy Fair 2016 a “History of Sonic” panel that’ll be held at SXSW was mentioned. And it turns out that the SXSW event schedule website includes details about who’ll be there and what it’s about. The panel will be held on March 19th at Austin Convention Center, and it’ll have some very interesting presenters.
According to the website, the presenters are:
- Aaron Webber – Sonic Social Media Manager
- Austin Keys – Sega Prod Dev Dir
- Mike Pollock – Voice of Dr Eggman
- Roger Craig Smith – Voice of Sonic the Hedgehog
- Takashi Iizuka – Head of Sonic Team
- Yuji Naka – Sonic Original Creator
Like the name of the panel suggests, it’ll focus mainly on the history of Sonic through the evolution of gaming, the rise of online (oh geez) and mobile, and multiple TV series. They will “celebrate the past and look to the future”, and with those presenters it definitely seems like it’ll be worth attending.
Because SEGA decided that they’re no longer releasing new Sonic games annually to give developers more time to properly finish the games, there hasn’t been a big new Sonic game in the past year. The Sonic fanbase doesn’t seem to be used to not having a new game to
complain about play for longer than a year, meaning that they’re desperate for news. So desperate that they’d even look for info at the Toy Fair.
That being said: we’re part of that Sonic fanbase, and we also happen to be just as desperate, so time to look for new info at the Toy Fair. Thanks to the Flickr of Paul Nicholasi of Idle Hands, we know all the new details from the Tomy booth at the event. And it turns out that there’s quite a bit of new stuff to know about, though nothing about the new big 25th anniversary game everyone wants to know about.
Right, after Gene stole the glory of doing the last ever Monday Links, it’s time for me to start this Retro Digest thing.
So basically Retro Digest will be replacing Monday Links, the supposed-to-be-weekly summary of what’s been happening around the Sonic scene. Except it was almost never actually weekly and it often wasn’t done on Mondays either. So to stop people from making any more snarky responses pointing this out we’re renaming it to Retro Digest. This is our first step in removing all snarkiness on the internet, wish us luck!
Anyway, 2016 is already off to a pretty decent start when it comes to Sonic stuff, with the community doing cool stuff and Sega teasing the fanbase. So here’s a look at the neat stuff that’s been happening
In case you’ve not noticed, it’s a Tuesday. Besides it being M. Bison’s favorite day of the week, this is a particularly special Tuesday: it’s Sonic 2sday.
Sonic 2 was released on this day 23 years ago. Fairly exciting stuff considering all that it packed after the Blue Blur’s first outing. It even brought along perennial buddy and the sometimes annoying Miles “Tails” Prower.
Five years ago, we hosted our first Sonic 2sday Challenge. The premise is simple enough: you attempt to destroy the arduous task of Nick Arcade Expert’s Challenge of collecting 25 rings in under 30 seconds. I mean, ’90s tv sitcom star Melissa Joan Hart couldn’t! Surely a ragtag group of Sonic fans could. The catch? You must use the existing Sonic 2 Nick Arcade prototype.
Still not enough challenge for you? Then for those seeking to REALLY show off how awesome they are, feel free to submit your own challenges, such as the dreaded Emerald Hill Sweep (getting all seven emeralds in Emerald Hill) using both Sonic and Tails. Or use the mobile version of Sonic 2 and go for the gold as the fastest speed demon of Hidden Palace Zone.
After all, Hidden Palace and Sonic 2 started this lovely mess that became Sonic Retro.
Otherwise, kick back and enjoy a super spin through one of the pinnacle titles of the classic era. Sorry Sonic 3 fans: you’re ignored until further notice. If you really want to show off, you’re welcome to shamelessly plug yourselves in the comments below attempting this dreaded challenge or just streaming some Sonic 2 goodness. You could send it to the contest email from five years ago, but I hear a certain demonic presence inhabits that account now…
It’s always great to see people on our forums get so far as to work on commercial games. One example of this is Poncho by Delve Entertainment, which was released today on PC and PlayStation 4. Matthew Weekes, a member of our forums who worked on Freedom Planet, was the lead pixel artist for this game. Aside from him, it was designed by Danny Hayes and Jack Odell, who also did the programming and music respectively.
The game’s main twist is it’s an open world where you can choose your own path, and switch between multiple layers like in Mutant Mudds. Originally the game was going to be funded through Kickstarter, but after the crowdfunding campaign failed they still managed get funding from publisher Rising Star Games.
You can buy it now on Steam for PC, or on PlayStation Network for PS4 for $14.99/€14.99/£10.99. The game will also be released on Wii U and PlayStation Vita sometime in the future.
So a week has gone by since we streamed the Hero Story of Sonic Adventure 2 – and what a stream it was! Many ups, many downs, and we somehow miraculously managed to start at 20:00 and finish at 22:00 with the credits ending. Exactly two hours!
Whether that will happen again this time is totally up in the air, as we’ll be playing the Dark Story this weekend – and most likely the Final Story, too. Somehow I don’t think Cannon’s Core can carry a stream by itself.
If you want to tune in, chat with some of the staff – and Sam and Spanner – and just spend your Saturday night with some Sonic goodness/badness (14 years on and the jury’s still out on that one), tune in to NovaRetro on Twitch tomorrow at 20:00 BST/15:00 EST/12:00 PST.
See you there!
So, there it is. Sonic Adventure 2. We’ve done a few streams recently, from speeding through the brilliant Unleashed Project and Sonic Generations to a playthrough of LakeFeperd’s absolutely stellar Sonic After The Sequel, so we’re starting to get a bit of a feel for the core ‘stream team’.
I was trying to think of what to play this weekend – I knew we needed something but I struggled with what that should be most of this week. Then this idea hit me. I didn’t want to do the original Sonic Adventure for a couple of specific reasons – first of all, I don’t think it’s as consitently interesting. There’s not as much to riff on. Then you have the fact that the Grumps are playing it currently and I think everyone’s a bit tired of seeing it right now. So this led us to Sonic Adventure 2.
We’re aiming to play at least the Hero story tonight, with the Dark story to follow next week if there’s enough interest. We’ll be watching the often-horrendous cut-scenes too, so it should be a fun packed stream that should neatly carry us to that 2 hour mark or even beyond.
So if you fancy joining us tonight, head on over to NovaRetro on Twitch at 8pm BST/3pm EST/12pm PST.