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David The Lurker

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Shameless Promotion: Sonic Retro @ TooManyGames

SBTMG

It’s almost here.

If you are an avid reader of our sister site SEGAbits (and if you aren’t, shame on you), you more than likely read a news article from last month announcing the “Surviving the Dreamcast Apocalypse: SEGA Fans in the 21st Century” panel that will be part of the TooManyGames convention. That’s right, three days of video game insanity at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, and right smack dab in the middle? A panel by SEGA fans, for SEGA fans. On June 28th, at the stroke of noon, all eyes will turn on SEGAbits Admin/Writer Barry the Nomad, “My Life With SEGA” creator A.J. Rosa, and The Website of the Dead owner Kori-Maru. There will be all sorts of SEGA discussion, reflecting on the moment where the company that ruled our childhoods forever changed, plus never before seen clips from A.J. that’ll be sure to dazzle. But how can you have a panel about SEGA and not touch on Sonic at some point?

Sonic Retro’s own David The Lurker (oh wait, that’s me) will also be there spooling a tale that is both familiar and strange. If you have the entire wiki memorized, you won’t be shocked by anything I have to say, but featured therein will be THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE HIDDEN PALACE ZONE, a trip down memory lane as we reflect on the one level that has captivated the minds of hardcore fans since it was teased in magazines way back in 1992. Missing from the final product, it inspired a legion of fans to create a Sonic Internet community that would have been vastly different had Craig Stitt’s baby made it into the final version. There’s a reason that “Master Emerald” still hides out in our logo.

So if you’re in the Greater Philadelphia area, or have the urge to travel, you can still register to get in. Be it one day or all three, I promise it’ll be a wild and crazy time. And if not…well, the Angry Video Game Nerd will be at the same convention. You can always go bother him afterwards.

For more information:

SEGAbits Original Announcement
Too Many Games Official Site
Too Many Games Attendee Registration

Game Secrets, Hacking

Prototype Windy Valley Progress Report: Beta-tastic Magic

Almost a year ago to the day, Sonic Retro forum member Orengefox shared with the world the discovery of two prototypes for Sonic Adventure and its sequel. While to the untrained eye the Sonic Adventure AutoDemo might not have seemed all that special, we here at Retro know better, our elite crack team of technologically-inclined persons more than excited to tear apart reams of code to find the secret caramel-filled goodness hiding underneath.

Indeed, it wasn’t long before all sorts of secrets were uncovered, including earlier versions of Ice Cap and Speed Highway’s “At Dawn” segment. But the deepest, most enticing artifact uncovered was the level architecture from a far earlier version of Windy Valley. Unlike the previously mentioned levels, the prototype Valley couldn’t easily be turned on, what was there full of pointers directed towards a build much earlier than what the AutoDemo used. While other people would get frustrated and walk away, I already stated above how excitable our crack team can get. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out the next step, with Retro Researcher evilhamwizard putting the pieces together, importing the third segment of Windy Valley into the PC version of Sonic Adventure DX:

More after the jump.
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Comics

How Archie Played The Games, Part 7: Of FLiCKIES and Remote Atolls

SonicBlastCoverBlue is Back!

Or at least, that’s how Sega of America wanted you to think back in 1996. Five years after the release of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, the western branches of the company were scrambling to celebrate Sonic’s first semi-prominent anniversary. The original plan was to release Sonic X-treme, the first true 3D game featuring everyone’s favorite hedgehog. The story behind that title’s cancellation has become the stuff of legend, not just infamous in this here part of the world but in the general gaming community. Without that title, Sega decided to heavily promote Sonic’s swan song on the Mega DriveSonic 3D: Flickies’ Island, also known as Sonic 3D Blast in the United States. With a port of the game hastily developed for the Sega Saturn, along with a similarly titled Game Gear game that was otherwise unrelated, the marketing blitz began.

It was only natural for Archie Comics to craft a comic adaptation of the newest game in the franchise. Not since issue thirteen’s “This Island Hedgehog” had Archie released a comic at around the same time as the source material it was promoting, SEGA’s huge push filtering into the otherwise left alone plotlines of Archie. Did this unique timing help the 48-page special become a masterpiece? Well, that would be giving it away, wouldn’t it? Either way, let’s strap ourselves in and experience the very last of Archie’s stand-alone specials. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I present to you our seventh piece of evidence…Sonic Blast.
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Game News

The Sonic Sketchbook: Images From the Late Greg Martin

GregMartinSonicSketch011_zps359c6a47As was reported a few days ago, artist Greg Martin passed away in May of last year, under the radar of those who obsess over the smallest details involved in the Sonic franchise. Responsible for nearly ever major Sonic the Hedgehog cover in the west through 1995, along with a slew of promotional art, his was the image of Sonic kids across the western world grew to know and love. Who didn’t have that Are You Up 2 It? poster taped to the back of their bedroom door? Who didn’t stare obsessively at ads for Sonic CD, seeing Sonic grabbing that Time Stone out of Metal Sonic’s reach, and plot for hours on end how’d they convince their parents to buy them a Sega CD?

Some time back, Sonic Retro forum member Buyatari was able to purchase a slew of line art from the man himself, and has recently scanned them for all on the Internet to see. We tip our hat to you, for without your efforts, who knows if any of these would have seen the light of day again?

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Animation

Way Past Cool! The Original Saturday Morning Sonic Turns 20 Today

When I was a spry, young lad, I could still wake up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. Filled with exuberance for a block of time that would soon be lost to the ages with the popularization of children’s programming on basic cable, I would arise to make sure I wouldn’t miss a second of what was to be broadcast. Fox Kids, One Saturday Morning, Kids WB, even the not-aimed-at-me TNBC block…from local programming to the last remnants of syndicated tales involving the Hardy Boys, my elementary years were spent absorbing half hour after half hour of useless information.

On this day twenty years ago – September 18th, 1993 for those who aren’t paying attention – my focus was once again squarely on the television. Sitting in bed like I did every Saturday, my eyes glazed over watching my tiny moving picture box, the same one that I had played hours upon hours of the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles. But that day was something special. Something tremendously exciting. What was it? Well, the cast of Hanging With Mr. Cooper kindly told me the night before during T.G.I.F…

Yes. Sonic the Hedgehog was now on the airwaves.

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Fan Works, Uncategorized

“Not Enough Rings” Kickstarter Nears Time Over, Speed Shoes Required

photo-mainI’m not usually one to talk about Kickstarters, let alone go ahead and plug them. But seeing as this is a Sonic the Hedgehog website, when a Kickstart about a Sonic shows up, it’s hard not to mention it. What I’m speaking of is Veronica Vera’s Not Enough Rings, a printed collection of the webcomic by the same name. The premise is each strip focuses on a single act from the four classic Mega Drive games, offering a humorous spin on what lays in store for our hedgehog hero. When the Kick began, it gained plenty of coverage across the usual places including our very best friends at SEGAbits. But! The entire campaign is in its final hours, and once its over, who knows if you’ll be able to get it without spending an absurd amount of money on eBay?

Since it has reached its goal, there’s no fear of it not hitting your shelves in the near future. But for those who get very excited about the color blue, a last minute incentive has been included. If the whole thing reaches fifteen grand, the pages of the book will have blue painted edges. Exciting, no?

There’s also the usual “hey, pledge more and get other things to satisfy your cravings” type deals, but that’s best explained on the page itself. Click here to journey to the Kick, and if it seems like your type of thing, go ahead and order it. The book is only twenty five dollars. Heck, that’s like…five coffees if you like crazy things at Starbucks! And you can still call yourself a hipster.

Game News

Prepare Your Palette: New Sonic Lost World Trailer, Plus Release Date!

In case you had forgotten in the simmering aftermath of E3 (what with real life catching up to all of us), SEGA is still hard at work on the latest Sonic title that’s to exclusively hit the Wii U – Sonic Lost World. With primary shades of blue and green and all sorts of running and jumping, how can one not get super excited at the prospect of being a blue dude with a cartoon attitude?

Well, to remind us all, SEGA has just released a brand new trailer through IGN for the game, showing off the return of the Wisps from Sonic Colo(u)rs. Yes, we knew they were coming back in some form. We can once again drill, laser and rocket about, but we’re not just dealing with the same ol’ perky aliens. We’re getting new ones. Some…a bit different than others. Take a gander below!

As you can see, Sonic, insanely jealous of all his friends being able to take to the sky, now has the power of EAGLE. Also new is ASTEROID, which has Sonic become a tiny planetoid, causing all sorts of subtle destruction for the platforms that so anger him. Finally, the latest Wisp to join the fray is RHYTHM, which turns Sonic into a giant music note, surely to cause desperate flashbacks to that one mission in Sonic Generations with Vector.

Peppered about are also quick looks at levels that have been previously unseen, such as what one can assume to be the first level of Desert Ruins, a jungle-type area, and a hint of the snow-capped trees in a winter level when Zeena’s smiling face shows up. Though there will surely be more info coming from SEGA before the game is released, you can now confidently say that the title is set to drop on October 22nd, 2013. Get those timers ready and set!

UPDATE: Europe will be receiving it a little earlier on October 18th, 2013. Also if you want a version of the trailer in which the word “colours” is spelled with an u SEGA has got you covered as well.

Comics

Mobius: 25 Years Later: The Review, Part 16 – Whatever Happened To Ken Penders?

SonicLiveCoverWhen Ken first wrote the ending to Princess Sally’s Crusade, it’s doubtful that he thought beyond that simple page of a happy ending. A moment where Sonic and Sally were able to find peace, years after their battle with the evil Dr. Robotnik had come to a close. Back when the Saturday morning cartoon still reigned supreme, before Sonic Adventure and the Japanese continuity became commonplace, even before most Americans realized there was another comic book being published in the U.K. that tried to be closer to the games, albeit the Kintobor storyline that no longer is considered canon by anyone who works in the halls of SEGA. It was a just a moment where Ken thought he’d be clever, coming up with an interesting spin on the origins of NICOLE, something the TV show never got the chance to cover.

By the time Sonic the Hedgehog #131 hit newsstands, no longer was the comic book storyline the simple tales of good versus evil. The main story had taken on numerous twists and turns, incorporating elements from other shows, other games, a hodgepodge of Sonic the Hedgehog that didn’t always gel correctly. If Ken were to make a comprehensive future of every single character, of every single possibility, he may have gone mad. Indeed, sometimes it felt like his own mental state was in danger, with all the rumblings of internal strife happening in the halls of Archie Comics. Sometimes, it was a miracle the book was published at all, regardless of the quality.

As stated before, when Ken’s final installment of Mobius: 25 Years Later saw print in Sonic #144, that was never the intended ending. Ken had not gone through all that effort to leave the future as a perpetual cliffhanger. There were plans for more, though they never saw fruition. The happy endings for Sonic, Sally, Knuckles, Lara-Su and the rest instead remained only in Ken’s mind, until Ian ushered his own interpretation of the future.

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