In less than two weeks, Sonic Mania will finally be available to the world at large. Counting down the days has become painful, the question being if there’s a way to make August 15th come any faster. Since no one here at Sonic Retro HQ has the extra eighth Time Stone hiding in a cabinet, we must instead whet our appetites on the teasers SEGA has been releasing.
Yesterday, the official Sonic YouTube account put up a video showcasing, among other things, the brand new Special Stage for Mania. Yes, we get some blue spheres going on, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
After a successful kickstarter campaign and given the green light on Steam, Spark the Electric Jester comes out on Steam reliving the glory days of 16-bit platformers fusing together gameplay elements of Sonic the Hedgehog and the Kirby series. Spark comes with dozens of Steam features including trading cards, achievements and Steam cloud support.
Spark the electric jester is an action/platformer video game heavily based on best classics from the 16-bit era from both sides of the aisle.
You play as Spark, an electric jester frustrated by the loss of his job! On one beautiful day, robots decided to take over the world. Seeing as Spark’s job was taken by a robot, he decided this was the perfect opportunity for his revenge! Spark will have to travel through the world and be engulfed in high-speed thrills and tons of action against the robots and the one who has taken his job.
Check out the Steam sale page for the game here. Heck, buy copies for your friends and support your community! I’d say Spark deserves as much spotlight as games like Sonic Mania, Freedom Planet and Major Magnet.
Sonic Retro user Morph and several others have gone through Sonic Adventure DX and created a mod that restores the lighting effects that were previously seen in the original Sonic Adventure into the PC version. The difference gives off more vibrant colors in the environment that also reacts to objects and characters. You can download the mod from the discussion thread in our forums.
Lighting can be used to set a specific tone or mood in an environment. But why is it such a difficult thing to remain consistent when converting this to other game platforms? The game featured an artistic shift that occurred when the game was converted to other platforms. A combination of technical hurdles and creative liberties can dampen the original artistic intent, and Sonic Adventure is no exception. The original Dreamcast version featured a “Lantern” engine which provided impressive looking lighting effects using palettes on SEGA’s then cutting edge game console. However the dozens of ports of the game left out these lighting effects in favor of using drop shadows instead, until now. Check out additional videos, comparison screenshots and an interview with Morph on the mod after the jump!
We certainly haven’t done one of these in a long while. Let’s all gather back together to play Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on PC/Steam this Saturday at 5PM Central. Send your friend request on Steam to my (Bartman3010) account, which I conveniently named SEGA Channel Retro and watch for an invite to come play with us! We’ll be livestreaming the event to record my great feats. Or is that me getting horribly beaten? In any case, send in your requests early and come see us this weekend!
Yesterday Sega Europe announced the SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub for Steam. Basically it’s a fancy emulator shell that lets you play Mega Drive games in a virtual room. It has the standard features you might expect officially released emulated games to have like save states and visual filters. But outside of that, it’ll have one very interesting sounding feature: Steam Workshop support.
According to Sega’s blog post, the Steam Workshop support is for “modified versions” of the Mega Drive games. You might think that this sounds a lot like they are letting people share ROM hacks, which would be huge news. And it turns out: they are! It was later confirmed on Twitter that you’ll be able to share “custom ROMs” of the games with other Steam users. So yeah, ROM hacks.
It’s no news that Sega is okay with people making and sharing ROM hacks. After all, they haven’t tried to stop us from letting people host them on this site. But to let people share them through an official channel like this has never been done before. More details on how Steam Workshop support will exactly work will be shared next week, but so far this all sounds very promising.
The SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub will launch on April 28th, and will be released as a free update to the current Mega Drive emulator on Steam. It’ll be compatible with all of the Mega Drive games Sega are selling on Steam, and you’ll be able to make use of the hub if you already own any of them. This of course includes all of the Mega Drive Sonic games that are being sold on Steam.
It’s always great to see people on our forums get so far as to work on commercial games. One example of this is Poncho by Delve Entertainment, which was released today on PC and PlayStation 4. Matthew Weekes, a member of our forums who worked on Freedom Planet, was the lead pixel artist for this game. Aside from him, it was designed by Danny Hayes and Jack Odell, who also did the programming and music respectively.
The game’s main twist is it’s an open world where you can choose your own path, and switch between multiple layers like in Mutant Mudds. Originally the game was going to be funded through Kickstarter, but after the crowdfunding campaign failed they still managed get funding from publisher Rising Star Games.
You can buy it now on Steam for PC, or on PlayStation Network for PS4 for $14.99/€14.99/£10.99. The game will also be released on Wii U and PlayStation Vita sometime in the future.
So while Sonic Lost World coming to PC next month is neat, the news did not stop there. SEGA announced what could be considered bigger news in a single paragraph hidden within the press release: that it’s not the only game they’re porting to PC.
“We’re delighted to be able to bring Sonic Lost World to PC.” Said John Clark, VP of Commercial Publishing for SEGA Europe; “This is the latest in a string of high quality PC ports of past SEGA titles that we will be building on in the coming months and years.”
The once Wii U exclusive Sonic Lost World is coming to PC through Steam. It’ll be released on November 2nd and you’ll get the excellent Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed if you pre-purchase it. The NiGHTS themed DLC will be included, though it seems doubtful that we’ll be getting the Nintendo-themed DLC as well. Not until it’s inevitably modded in anyway.
Really the most exciting potential feature is the one that isn’t listed: mods. Like with Sonic Generations, there’s the potential for various mods like character model swaps or improved graphics. So hopefully people will be making a decent amount of those.
Update: The price that was mentioned in the article used to be incorrect, and Sonic community manager RubyEclipse has since clarified what the actual pricing is supposed to be on our forums. This article has been changed to reflect that.