Continuing the tradition of Monday Links not on Mondays, it’s my turn to steal the glory from Tim!
With 2015 coming to a merciful end, we can look forward to a few exciting things in 2016: a Cubs team that may finally put an end to that dang curse, a bunch of movies and sequels, Nintendo doing something with the NX, and most importantly, heavily criticizing the brand direction of a certain blue hedgehog.
He turns 25, you know. No rental car agency can stop him now.
Right, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but here goes.
You might have noticed that the forum thread of the Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE) on our forums was suddenly locked a few days ago. Well, that’s because the event, which was originally going to be held from December 18th through December 24th, has had to be delayed until Spring of next year.
This is because the SAGE staff decided that, instead of putting on a mediocre show with key members of the team missing, the best choice was to postpone the event until Spring, to give the community the best SAGE has to offer.
If you’ve been working your ass off to get your game entry ready before the original deadline (which was tomorrow), we get it if you’re angry about this announcement being so late. This really should have been announced sooner.
The Really Amateur Games Expo (RAGE) has also been delayed, but only until early January. While we don’t know the exact dates for either of the events yet, you can still read the guidelines for them in the thread on our forums.
With the 2015 iteration of the Sonic Hacking Contest now in the rear view mirror, those who missed the chance to enter can instead opt to enter the Sonic Amateur Games Expo.
Billed as a platform for amateur game developers to showcase their projects, the event offers an open invitation for anyone developing a game to register and give it exposure, even if it has nothing to do with Sonic or Sega.
Historically, SAGE focused on a week-long celebration and exposition of these games, and has featured guests such as MAGfest maestro Dominic “Andross Guy” Cerquetti and Mike Pollock. Events include entertaining activities such as Bad Fanfic Readings or a Dr. Eggman Voice Contest as judged by the good doctor himself. In between, people are invited to run a radio station or to stream shows to the community.
For a fully detailed list of guidelines for registration to stream or to submit a game, hit up this link. The last day to register is Dec. 11.
While we missed out on SAGE last year, it’s now finally time to take it out of its somewhat dusty box. SAGE Act 1 has started with some fangames and engines you may want to check out like Sonic Time Twisted, SonicGDK and Da Rock. Besides fangames, there are also live streams, an IRC chat and an Arts & Entertainment section.. This SAGE takes place from February 23rd to March 1st 2014, with a second act happening sometime later this year.
Heads up for all you guys: SAGE–the amateur fangame expo that takes place in the Sonic community once a year–is going to have a live interview with Naoto Ohshima, the original creator of the Sonic the Hedgehog character, at 8:45PM EST over the SAGECast radio station! If you’re interested in asking him a question, feel free to join their IRC channel at irc.rizon.net in channel #sagexpo.
If you don’t have an IRC client, simply go the SAGExpo website and click the Chat tab to enter the channel. Alternatively, you can use Mibbit and enter the IRC details to get in. Remember that there will be a translator present on the radio station, so unlike in instances where Ohshima is speaking English himself, responses will be far more clear, concise and in-depth. Think carefully before you ask; not everybody will get a chance to have their questions answered, so time is of the essence.
For more information and discussion, check out the forum thread.
When browsing through the forums earlier, I noticed a new link in forum member Mercury‘s signature where he linked to a post on his blog reviewing several of the games presented at this year’s Sonic Amateur Games Expo. Among the games he gave feedback on, he praised one heavily in particular–Sonic Axiom, one of the later entries into the expo, having appeared on the second day of the event as opposed to on its premier; as a result, I–and assumedly others–ended up missing out on this little underrated gem. By his suggestion, I decided to give it a shot.
What I found after a few hours of play was an extremely solid fan game that, despite its issues, was graphically stunning (despite its re-use of existing Sonic level graphics), fun to play and–most importantly–complete. Or, well, as complete as it can get as a work in progress.
Featuring 5 fully playable levels, some pretty great level design, fantastic music choices ranging from remixes to original music, and a mix of familiar and innovative level tropes and gimmicks, Sonic Axiom does what few fan games seem to accomplish these days–pure, completely unadulterated fun, totally in the Sonic spirit.
The abundance of one-level demos in the history of the Sonic fan-gaming scene has proven to be both underwhelming and tiring over the years; Axiom delivers by offering the experience of a full game despite not having even reached completion yet! I felt that I could fully appreciate the game having been given more than a fair taste of what its creators had to offer. While there are a few things that hold the game back–the use of the outdated and rather wonky Sonic Worlds engine, the poor performance of some of the additional level elements, the natural performance and space hogging of MMF/Game Maker games–Sonic Axiom provides a Sonic experience that many of us haven’t seen in a long, long time.
Check out Axiom‘s SAGE booth this year here, where you can download a playable demo of the game.