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Game News, Game Secrets, Interviews

HuffPo Explores Michael Jackson-Sonic 3 Music Collab

upload-59498d50-bfb0-11e5-adfd-6115af8d3263In the Sonic Internet community, there have been few stories that have captured the imagination like the tale of Sonic the Hedgehog 3‘s music. With a feel unique from the previous two entries in the series, the discussion of just who composed what have filled untold pages of conversation for well over a decade.

The reason behind that infatuation? Michael Jackson, one of the biggest pop stars of all time. A man who not only defined a decade with the release of Thriller, but also unknowingly inspired the belt buckle of Sonic’s shoes. The idea that a musical icon that large was connected to the gaming sensation of the 90’s in any way was incredibly tantalizing. It wouldn’t be long before audio files, YouTube videos, and snippets of interviews would fill in the gaps. From Qjimbo to GameTrailers, everyone sought to find the answer to what seemed the impossible – confirmation that the King of Pop had been involved in the soundtrack of Sonic 3 at some point, as SEGA’s official line to this day has been to deny or leave no comment.

While it has been almost certainly determined that Michael Jackson was not only involved but that some of his contributions made it to the cartridge, the Huffington Post’s Test Kitchen released today a brand new look at the entire Sonic 3 Jackson story. From what happened behind the scenes to the fandom’s unending interest in the truth, “The Michael Jackson Video Game Conspiracy” by Todd Van Luling covers it all.

With new interviews from Roger Hector, Doug Grigsby III, Brad Buxer, Cirocco Jones and Matt Forger, to comments from Ben Mallison and Steven Nipper that illuminate the community’s part in the story, the article is definitely worth a read for those with even a passing interest in the subject matter.

The only question I’m left with is…who has ever called a Sonic fan a “Blue?”

Source: Huffington Post

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.

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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Interviews, Podcasts

Interview: Al Nilsen, SEGA’s Director of Marketing (’89-’93), appears on the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show

Al Nilsen, SEGA of America’s Director of Marketing from 1989 through 1993, sat down with Barry and George on the latest SEGAbits podcast to talk about the glory days of the SEGA Genesis. Al and his team were behind everything, including promoting the famous “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” campaign, the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog, implementing the legendary “Sonic 2sday” worldwide launch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in 1992, and rolling out the “Welcome to the Next Level” campaign.

Al’s appearance is in anticipation of the release of “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation” by author Blake J. Harris, which you can pre-order today from “Console Wars” tells the story of SEGA vs. Nintendo during the early 90′s, as told from the perspective of SEGA of America president Tom Kalinske. Based on over two hundred interviews with former SEGA and Nintendo employees, “Console Wars” is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.

Expect more “Console Wars” content throughout May, including a podcast with the author Blake J. Harris next week, and a podcast with Tom Kalinske the week after that!

[Download] [RSS] [iTunes] [Archive]

Game News, Interviews

SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show Interview with Sonic Boom Producer Stephen Frost

Hot on the heels of the reveal of the new Western television series and video game Sonic Boom, SEGA of America producer Stephen Frost sat down with SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show hosts Barry and George, as well as David of Sonic Retro, to discuss all things speedy and blue. In this hour long discussion we delve into the genesis of the project, learn more of the team at Big Red Button Entertainment, and get a few hints at what we can expect to see in both the game and show. If Stephen’s enthusiasm is any gauge for what we can expect, we’re in for a real treat later this year!

Learn more about the new branch in the Sonic franchise at the official Sonic Boom website.

[Download] [RSS] [iTunes] [Archive]

Animation, Game News, Interviews, Miscellaneous, Sega Retro

Monday Links: Animu Edition


And by animu I only mean Kill la Kill. It’s a show in which school uniforms give people powerful powers and there’s different tiers of powerful school uniforms and it’s made by the same guys who made Gurren Lagann. Go watch Kill la Kill you guys. Also some big Sonic stuff happened.

Retro/Bits News

  • Forum member Jayextee is making his own neat-looking game called [SLAVE]
  • George, Barry and Bartman did a commentary on Shenmue the Movie [SEGA Cinema]
  • The SEGAbits The Cave contest ends tomorrow, you can still enter and try to win some stuff [Contest]
  • Speaking of The Cave, here’s an interview with Ron Gilbert by [SEGAbits]
  • My Life with SEGA revisits the Alien Trilogy [Youtube]

Sonic/SEGA News

  • Nintendo brought the incredibly shocking news that Sonic will be in Super Smash Bros Wii U/3DS [Smuggy smug]
  • The first CG Sonic cartoon is coming to Cartoon Network next year [Sonic Boom]
  • Gametrailers dug up some new details on Michael Jackson’s involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3 [Gametrailers]
  • If you’re one of those guys who likes to spoil everything before he plays a game, here are all of the worlds and color powers in Sonic Lost World [I’m not looking]
  • Ikaruga is on Steam Greenlight, vote for it if you want the game to be released on PC! [Steam Greenlight]
  • SEGA is making a Plants vs. Zombies arcade game [Arcade Heroes] Continue Reading
Game News, Game Secrets, Interviews

New Details On Michael Jackson’s Involvement With Sonic 3

Gametrailers’ released a new episode of their Mythbusters-for-gaming show Pop Fiction today about Michael Jackson’s involvement with Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The first half of the video is a pretty good summary of what we know already along with links to where they get their info from (thanks for the hits GT), but at the 08:36 timestamp they begin to talk about their own research.

First off, they got to do another interview with Roger Hector, who stands by what he said in his interview from 2005. He also gives additional details on how Michael Jackson got to work on Sonic 3 and why his music was “pulled”. After that Gametrailers got an anonymous source to confirm that MJ did work on Sonic 3‘s music with again more details on what he did and a different account on why he wasn’t credited.

Game News, Interviews

SoS 2013 – Takashi Iizuka Interview

Takashi Iizuka (SoS 2013)Over the past few years the Sonic series has hit a bit of a renaissance, with Colours and Generations achieving relative success critically as well as commercially. Typically, just as this turnaround is achieved, the newest game shows signs of radical change to the 3D Sonic formula that had finally gained acceptance. Sonic Lost World’s new design is the kind of decision that means it’s always interesting to chat to Takashi Iizuka, the man at the top of Sonic Team today and the public face of the team. He’s always cheery and approachable, but you can never quite predict the answers you’ll get from him. We caught him right at the beginning of Summer of Sonic, as the organisers were on stage welcoming attendees!

[Sonic Retro sits down at one end of the large room, with Iizuka and Sega’s interpreter. At the other end, Jun Senoue is faintly strumming away on his guitar, playing the Station Square music. When asked which site we’re from, the reply elicits the customary “Ah, Sonic Retro” from Iizuka.]

Retro: We’re seeing Sonic Lost World at the convention today, and one of the things that is very noticeable is that it goes back to an older, more classic visual feel for the game, with recognisable elements of the original Sonic the Hedgehog design. What motivated you to make this change?

Iizuka: With the previous game (Sonic Generations), it was for the 20th anniversary so we decided to celebrate Sonic’s history. With that one, we tried to compress 20 years of history into one title and aimed for a high quality, HD re-imagining of what Sonic could be. With Sonic Lost World, what we wanted to do was imagine how best Sonic should be going forwards. So we looked back at what we had done before and tried to think about what would the best, playability-wise for Sonic going forwards, and what’s the best look for Sonic.

With Generations, it was HD and really detailed, almost so much that it was hard to see the rings when you were running through the levels. So this time, we stripped everything back and tried to renew Sonic, and we simplified the graphics to match the playability, the style of what Sonic should be.

[Read on for Iizuka’s views on the limitations of Sonic’s previous 3D outings, inspirations for Sonic Lost World and differences between working in the USA and Japan!]
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