It’s been awhile since we last did a live stream. Watch us play through a random assortment of Sega Dreamcast games and maybe we’ll go hunt for some sailors while we’re at it. We’ll be starting the show later today at 10PM GMT. (Or 6PM EST if you prefer.) The stream is over, however you should be able to watch the archived version right here. Or click play on the video above.
After much fan demand, Sega has begun releasing several of their Sonic series soundtracks on to Apple’s iTunes service. Most of these albums, though recently released, aren’t too easy to track down and import for those looking to legally own the music, never mind worrying about bootlegs.
It should be noted that the 20th Anniversary album for the two Adventure titles aren’t as all encompassing as their original releases, which may turn some fans off. However, this is the best chance short of importing to show support for the musicians that worked hard to keep series’ reputation for good music alive and well.
Much has been said about Sonic Adventure, Sonic’s first true foray into 3D gaming. The sprawling levels, the blistering speed, the last moments of precision platforming, and the entire redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog and his world. Even if later rereleases haven’t received the kindest reviews, when it came out it was an amazing game. Even Famitsu, that near-Bible of Japanese news and reviews, gave it one of their highest scores possible, with one reviewer citing that if Ocarina of Time had come out after Sonic Adventure, there’s no way the Zelda title would have received its perfect score.
But no matter who is talking about it, when the low points come about, everyone will assuredly talk about one of the shorter portions of the game, and the one character associated with it. The part that many people point to as the worst part of the game. A section that people now feel vindicated with their hatred because of the events of Summer of Sonic where Iizuka apologized for it. Yes, I am talking about the fishing stylings of Big the Cat.
Saturday, June 25th. A thousand-strong horde of Sonic fans descends upon the Camden Centre in London, to celebrate a video gaming icon with music, games, laughs and chilli dogs. So far, so Summer of Sonic, but this was the 20th anniversary show so there had to be something just a bit special going on, and blimey did they ever deliver on that. How? By getting Yuji Naka and Takashi Iizuka to drop by London to enjoy the festivities, do some signings and some Q&A sessions. That is pretty hard to top, ladies and gents, especially when fans were able to quiz the pair on Madonna, the joint American/Japanese development of Sonic 2, and dat barrel. However, Sonic Retro was also able to get a little more into the bargain and snag an interview slot with Naka and Iizuka. Exciting? I thought so.
Now if you will, allow me to set the scene. Things are behind schedule and everyone is hot and totally knackered, a fact that fellow attendees will attest to. We’re now down to the last interview slot of the day, and another site needs to cram into the session too. We finally get to head in as Jun Senoue takes to the stage to wow everyone downstairs. Still, I know things are going to be at least a little bit good when we’re asked what sites we came from – the mention of our site causes an “Ah, Sonic Retro!” from Iizuka, as he tilts his head back and smiles with a mixture of recognition and amusement. If you were ever in doubt of Retro’s reach, dear reader, that should give you a rough idea of our place in the grand scheme of things.
Then, with little time to spare and more questions than I can possibly ask, we get down to business.
Retro: Naka-san, you joined Sega around the time of its first real console releases, having worked on the SG-1000 and Sega My Card series back in the mid-80s. What was it like to see Sega become a video game publisher that was known all over the world?
Naka: At the beginning, Sega’s real catalyst for success was the arcade, and Sonic pulled it along and really built upon that. Also, the fact that we had hardware and were a first party helped to give us that status in the market, as a global name. So, I feel really happy to be able to be involved, really lucky. It’s really amazing that something created in Haneda, which is not at the centre of Tokyo, sold worldwide.
So I’ve been in a Sonic Adventure kick for a few days now. Looking back at what made the game great, going through how it was developed…there’s no denying that, regardless of how you feel about the game nowadays, the Sonic Team that made that game put a lot of care and effort into it. They gave everything the thought it deserved, didn’t take any one aspect lightly, and somehow had a blast while making it. And they went to a different country just to gain inspiration! That’s nothing to sneeze at.
What some of you may have forgotten, though was the huge media push that went on during the buildup for the first game. And how was it all launched off? With a gala event right in Tokyo, showing off the game for the first time to the masses. Being a thirteen year old kid at the time, I couldn’t attend in person, instead watching a live stream over dial-up at a blazing 33.6k. Sure, I couldn’t understand a word of it, and I could barely make out anything over that RealPlayer stream, but gosh darn it, it was amazing. It was Sonic.
And it wasn’t hosted by this guy:
The above footage was taken from a “video magazine” called Fuse. I bet you wish you were as cool as that guy. Then you could make weird faces when talking about wrestling and awkwardly try to hit on that girl in the video and never get to first base. Yes, he is very late 90’s, but there’s nothing wrong with drifting back to a more simple time. I still want those pins…and that book…
Australians can get in on picking up this album if they pre-order the game at JB Hi-Fi, though Sega stresses supplies are very limited. It’s currently unknown which retailers will be offering these albums in Europe.
So what’s on the album? On side A, you’ll find “Open Your Heart” from Sonic Adventure and “Option Remix 2002” from Space Channel 5: Part 2. Side B is nothing but crazy money, containing “Radical Sabbatical”, “Flinch”, and “Get Out” from Crazy Taxi.
Say what you will about the collection of games itself, but this is a pretty nifty pickup for Sega and music enthusiasts.
Major Nelson has posted an update for September’s Xbox Live schedule, and the long-awaited port of Sonic Adventure to Microsoft’s service is scheduled for release on September 15 for 800 Microsoft Points, which is roughly $10 or so. The port is upscaled–that is, not in widescreen–and is based on the PC version of the game rather than the Dreamcast release. Still, it’s a pretty good deal if you don’t have a copy of the game on another system.
Also, the other Sonic Xbox 360 game coming up, which requires you to flail around like a goon, was priced today at $49.99, so it’s also a bargain in terms of dignity.
Keeping in line with that leaked document last year that detailed plans to bring Dreamcast titles to Sony’s PlayStation Network service, an ESRB filing shows that Sonic Adventure will also be making its way to the PlayStation 3.
The Xbox 360 is also listed, though its existence has been known about (unofficially) for quite a while. Sega has yet to officially reveal the titles arriving on the two services.
While the 360 version is based off the PC port of Sonic Adventure DX, it’s unknown if the PS3 version will be the same, though extremely likely. However, the rating lists entries for both versions of the game.
What’s your take? Will you be picking this up if the price is right or has the title aged unfavorably for you?