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July 2014

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Hey, Polygon: Take It Down a Notch

“It’s not funny anymore / try different jokes”
Kanye West, noted philosopher of our time

Breaking News: The Sonic the Hedgehog series of video games is primarily aimed towards grade school children and pre-teens.

As such, the fanbase around Sonic the Hedgehog, as a whole, is mostly comprised of pre-teens and teenagers—most of whom, if they have any sort of artistic expression, share it in things like fan fiction and fan art. It’s understandable: drawing is a lot more accessible than, say, making a fangame—especially if you’re a girl.

I should know. I’m a left wing queer progressive lady interested in video games, just like Danielle Riendau. And that’s why I think Polygon’s “Sonic fan art expert rates the pornographic potential for Sonic Boom cast” is bullshit.

It’s easy for those of us who are adults to look at fan art through the lens of someone older (and likely someone who either didn’t have the Internet or the early, lost to memory portions of the Internet) and mock something like a kid’s piece of fan art, but I know everyone goes through a phase of awkwardly, excitedly sharing what they like (hello, bad websites from 1997!) It’s just that in the age of DeviantART, these things are much more accessible to everyone—both for good and for bad.

So it’s easy to focus on the bottom of the barrel of this output and sneer. Honestly, I’d rather focus on making things better. But: I get it. It’s easy to make fun of kids doing weird things and people on the autistic spectrum, and hey, it’s cheap laughs and clickbait.

I know, because I’ve been guilty of it, too. Although I genuinely find the conflation of fandom and faith interesting, I put up an article a few years ago on Christian Sonic fan art knowing it would be just a laugh to most, and it did well because of that. It’s not something I’m proud of, and reflecting on it made me realize that it wasn’t worth it and I’ve steered away from things like that since.

Whenever any publisher does this, though, it perpetuates the very things that sites like Polygon claim to decry this “Bro culture” that discourages girls from wanting to pursue making video games on the exact same day, it’s two-faced to go and punch down towards the same girls who make fan art. I should note that the author has since apologized about the article, but the fact that a site like Polygon chose to even run a piece like this at all is disheartening.

And let’s be honest: if it was pornographic Pokemon or Zelda fan art, we wouldn’t be talking—because those series, to the gamer community, aren’t as fun to beat up on. It doesn’t matter that these same things happen with every game targeted towards the same preteen demographics; the Sonic series is just the lazy joke to fall back on.

So maybe Polygon and gaming culture as a whole could take it down a notch. Fight the fights worth having and cut the crap.

And hey, Danielle? If you wanna grab a drink the next time I’m in SF, I’m good for it. I’ll just be over here working on what I learned to do instead of making games.

Game News, Interviews, Sega Retro

Watch the full ‘Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation’ San Diego Comic Con panel

This past weekend, SEGAbits writers Ben, Shigs, and Nuckles hit San Diego Comic Con and SEGA’s game preview event located at the nearby Nerd HQ. While Comic Con isn’t as game centric as E3, there was quite a bit of SEGA goodness to be found. We were able to check out the latest preview builds of Alien: Isolation and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, as well as interview Archie Comics on the upcoming Sonic Boom comic book series. But the main event had to have been Sunday’s Console Wars panel. The panel, which centered around the SEGA and Nintendo rivalry of the 90′s, featured special guests Tom Kalinske (Sega of America), Al Nilsen (Sega of America), Bill White (Nintendo of America), and Perrin Kaplan (Nintendo of America), as well as Console Wars author Blake J. Harris and Julian Rosenberg, producer of the upcoming Console Wars documentary.

Thanks to Blake, our guys were given the VIP treatment and secured some awesome seats – allowing us to film the panel and Q&A session and meet the SEGA and Nintendo legends! Check out the full panel above, and make sure to pick up your copy of Console Wars if you haven’t already!

Want more Console Wars discussion? Check out our three part interview series with Tom Kalinske, Al Nilsen, and Blake J. Harris.

Game News

SDCC 2014: Box-art and Release Dates for Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal Revealed

Rise of Lyric Wii U box  Shattered Crystal 3DS box

We already knew that both Sonic Boom games will be coming out in this November, but now we know when exactly we can expect them to be in stores. In the US Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric will be released on November 18th, while Shattered Crystal will be out a week earlier on November 11th. We don’t know yet when the games will be released in Europe, but this post will be updated when we do.

Along with these dates SEGA released the box covers as well, both of which feature Sonic looking at the customer and doing something potentially threatening. The Wii U box has a Nintendo Network logo on it, meaning the game does have some sort of online functionality.

[Source: SEGA Blog]

Game News

SDCC 2014: We See How the Sonic Boom TV Series is Made Along With a Bunch of New Characters


With the San Diego Comic Con coming up, SEGA is already showcasing some new Sonic Boom stuff. First up is this behind the scenes video about how the animated series is made. It shows various people who work on the series saying some stuff and we see some work in progress stuff. But more importantly, at one point in the video you can see concept art of Eggman playing volleyball with Orbot and Cubot in the background. We at Sonic Retro hope that there will be an entire episode dedicated to this piece of concept art, because there really needs to be one.

And now for something all Sonic fans like for sure: new characters! All of whom will appear in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, with some also popping up in the animated series. Sadly only a couple of them are recolors of Sonic, but I’m sure that there will be a lot of fan-art of at least one of them. All of them can be seen in the gallery below, you can read SEGA’s blogpost about them if you want to know more about them.

Game News

Freedom Planet Dashes Onto Steam


Mostly made by forum member Stephen “Strife” DiDuro, the 16-bit-ish platformer Freedom Planet has finally been released on Steam after a few delays. This game is inspired by Mega Drive games with lovable protagonists like Rocket Knight Adventures, Ristar, and, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog. You can play as three different characters, of which two are playable in the story more. The third character will also get a story mode later on as free DLC. One of those characters is a cat who drives up walls with a motorcycle, bet you can’t find a Youtube video of real-life cat doing that! (But if you can, please link it in the comments below)

Freedom Planet can be bought on Steam for 15 bucks right now. If you don’t like this Steam thing, a DRM-free version will also be released soon. Also, Gene did an an interview with Strife at Florida Supercon, so read that if you want to know more about the game.

Community, Fan Works, Hacking, Podcasts, Site News

SEGA Channel Retro: Windy Valley Mod for SADX, Featuring CorvidDude

The live show is already over, but you can check out the archived stream above as well as more content below!

This week’s live show on SEGA Channel Retro is a tour through the Windy Valley Beta Mod that was released recently for Sonic Adventure DX. We’ll also have CorvidDude, the author of the mod bringing his insight on restoring the level from the AutoDemo.

If you want to check out the mod for yourself, you can hop over to CorvidDude’s YouTube channel and check the links in the description of this video.

I’m joined by Overlord, GeneHF and OverlyEquippedin our little venture as we also check out the latest Sonic title, Sonic Jump Fever as well as catch up with Sonic Dash with Andronic. Also say hello to me as I try to roll eggs with Billy Hatcher in SEGA Superstars. Finally I take a blind look at Atlus and ACE Team’s latest offering, Abyss Odyssey.

Sonic Adventure DX: Windy Valley Restoration Mod with CorvidDude [Twitch] [YouTube]

Sonic Jump Fever, Sonic Dash, SEGA Superstars [Twitch]

Abyss Odyssey [Twitch] [YouTube]

Community, Fan Works, Game News, Interviews

Retro Interviews: The Freedom Planet Invades Florida Supercon Edition

Miami is known for quite a lot of things, but a burgeoning event for comic and game aficionados of South Florida, the Florida Supercon, bubbled to one of its biggest shows yet. Invading the Miami Beach Convention Center located a stones throw from South Beach during the Fourth of July weekend, the event featured several game development studios showing their works. Joining the likes of Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight and Dennaton Games’ Hotline Miami 2 was a small group under the banner of Galaxy Trail, makers of Freedom Planet.

For those unfamiliar with Freedom Planet, take a moment to consider the halcyon era of the MegaDrive. Taking cues from Sonic The Hedgehog, Sparkster (or Rocket Knight, if you prefer), Ristar, and Pulseman among others, Freedom Planet stars speedster Sash Lilac, the brawler and biker Carol Tea, and the timid but imaginative Milla Basset, on a journey to save the land of Avalice from certain peril. You know, the typical thing that will send heroes out to smack a few baddies in the face.

Given its origins as a Sonic fangame that grew to its own style and found great success not only on Kickstarter but on Steam’s Greenlight service, Galaxy Trail’s presence at Supercon definitely warranted checking in on the game, now that its Steam release of July 19 is just around the corner. There, I met with the lead programmer and creator of the game Stephen “Strife” DiDuro.

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Community, Fan Works, Game News, Game Secrets, Hacking, Site News

Windy Valley Beta Restoration Released for Sonic Adventure DX PC (2004)

Back in 1998, our first glimpse of Sonic Adventure showed what would be the first true 3D experience with Sonic and friends. After the game’s release, the level we were told was Windy Valley was nowhere to be found in the final game, instead having been completely reworked before hitting store shelves. Even though shots of the original design were used to advertise the GameCube rerelease Sonic Adventure DX, the original look and feel of Windy Valley became one of the holy grails for Sonic enthusiasts interested in the development process.

After the retrieval of the AutoDemo, work has been performed by several people including many dedicated members of the Retro community, who have pooled their efforts to get these stages back up and running. Finally, after fifteen years we can witness this one of a kind experience with a mod for the 2004 PC edition of Sonic Adventure DX, with a fully playable beta version of Windy Valley. With recreated graphics and fully functioning camera angles, CorvidDude wants you to jump over to his YouTube video for more information as well as instructions on how to download and install the mod. Special thanks go to CorvidDude, MainMemory, ItsEasyActually, Catley, Melpontro, and many more who were involved with this project.

[Source: YouTube]