Community Interview: TSSZ News’ Tristan Bresnen

Tristan O. Bresnen is webmaster of TSSZ (The Super Sonic Zone), a great news source for SEGASonic, Sonic Team, and other gaming news. One of the best fan newscasters of the time, TSSZ also incorporated a radio station with news bulletins. TSSZ closed in late 2005, but re-opened in 2007 and continues to this day.

TSS: Hey everyone, Andrew here with Tristan Bresnen, and this interview has officially started! First, tell us who you are and why you are important in the Sonic Internet Community.

TB: OK. My name is Tristan O. Bresnen, and I suppose I’m important because I’m the webmaster of TSSZ.com, otherwise known as The Super Sonic Zone. I’ve never really considered myself that important, though… I’m very humble about what I do.


TSS: When did you start this excellent news source of a website?

TB: Officially, April 2, 1999. That’s when I launched TSSZ with the mind set that I would stick to it. Unofficially, I launched the site around August 1998, before a major server crash and relocation problems plagued one of my former web space hosts, VGHost. I still have the design from October 1998 kicking around somewhere…


TSS: What was your first plan for your site, was it originally for gaming news, Sonic news, or just a Sonic fan site?

TB: It was originally a Sonic fan site, with an extra emphasis for Sonic news. Of course, things morphed a bit over time, from strictly Sonic to Sonic and Sega to general news, now that the Dreamcast has officially gone under. Also, I wanted to give some exposure to Sonic fans and their works, which is what really made TSSZ so popular so quickly.


TSS: Did you think TSSZ would get so popular?

TB: No, I thought it would go under again in about 3 months… 🙂 But, I stuck with it, and look how it turned out. I added and changed things over time to make sure visitors would return, of course, and I suppose in doing so, I revolutionized the delivery of Sonic news, for example.


TSS: This has been bugging me for a while – I’ve been reading your news and it revolves around SEGASonic, but do you ever publish comic previews for Archie Sonic, or news on SatAM videos and DVDs coming out?

TB: I used to do regular things on Archie and SatAM. But the main focus is on SEGASonic news. Occasionally, I will put up major news on Sonic comics and even the Sonic anime, but that’s rare. That’s more because I feel that the quality of the comics has taken a dive beyond the point of no return. I have a large collection of old Archie comics, and they are much better than what they’re trying to do with the series now; so many new characters, plot twists and so on. And SatAM, although the revival of it seems to be on the horizon, the road to that revival has taken years so far. It’s too slow a process for me to cover it at a regular pace.


TSS: Now, you’re a fan of other games, like Metal Gear Solid. Did the Sonic games get you into other games and systems, or are you just purely a SEGASonic / Sonic Team fan?

TB: It was Sonic and the Sonic Team that helped me stay with SEGA, even through the really, really bad Sega Saturn period. If Sonic didn’t last as long as it did, chances are I’d be a Sony fanboy by now. However, since SEGA will be developing for other consoles, I have to be more open towards the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube. That doesn’t mean I’ll have all of those systems, but the decisions made by SEGA are helping me to open my mind, to broaden my perspective on the industry. Instead of being so centralized around Sega.


TSS: Would you keep an eye on the Gamecube and GBA? Since Yuji Naka is in love with the big purple cube?

TB: Naka-san may be in love with the GCN, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s 100% official that every single Sonic game is going to be on the Nintendo consoles from now on. He only snuck that tidbit of info in during the recent gaming expos: E3, TGS, etc. If Sonic will be staying with the GCN, then I’ll model TSSZ’s news to have slightly more of a focus on the GCN.

But remember that the Sonic Team may have titles up their sleeves for the PS2 (in the form of Phantasy Star Online), so I have to keep an open mind. Oh, yes, and the Xbox, too… can’t forget that.


TSS: Speaking of PSO, I do think PSO will hit the PS2, since development has already started on the Gamecube version, PC version, and now they’re working on the Xbox version. Though Sonic on GC would look good, wouldn’t you rather see him on all platforms?

TB: Absolutely. That way, more gamers can appreciate Naka and the Sonic Team’s work, hence enouraging the team to continue to make the Sonic/PSO series better, and maybe even revive NiGHTS and Burning Rangers.


TSS: Speaking of NiGHTS Into Dreams, do you think Naka-san will ever give that another shout?

TB: He better. 🙂 NiGHTS is such a popular series, and now that the power in video game consoles is there for a revival to occur, Naka needs to make some sort of sequel, or at least enhance the original. Perhaps make it a regular/Christmas NiGHTS hybrid. I’d love to see NiGHTS on Xbox or GCN.


TSS: Now back to you: When did you start your craze for Sonic the Hedgehog?

TB: Back in 1991, when I was six years old, I had a Sega Genesis and a copy of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. I picked up the controller, and played and played. The farthest I could get at the time was the Labyrinth Zone. 😀 Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I still have my old Genny, and I still have that copy of Sonic 1. I wouldn’t give it up for the world… And I still have my Sonic the Hedgehog doll from nine years ago.


TSS: Were you a fan of any other games before you picked up that controller?

TB: Not really… Although I can remember playing Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and a couple of other games on an old Colecovision console from the mid ’80s when I was 3 or 4… so I did have some experience playing games before I picked up Sonic. I still have that kicking around somewhere too…


TSS: What do you think Sonic Team should improve if they want to make Sonic Adventure 3? I know SA2 wasn’t as great as it could have been; I still think Sonic Adventure is way better. If (and when) SA3 is made, what do ya think?

TB: First off, they need to get rid of the light rock music and put in the more serene music that set the mood for all the SA1 levels. Second, I think SA3 should be almost like an updated Sonic 3 and Knuckles. Could you imagine? All Sonic fans would be ecstatic!


TSS: Same storyline, but 3D 128-bit graphics?

TB: Not necessarily the same storyline…I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Naka could recreate the same magic that was in S3&K, it would be a dream come true. That may or may not mean elements from the original need to be borrowed, but… I think it’s just a good goal for Naka to set for himself. 🙂


TSS: Actually, if you read my last interview, Neon Chaos said, “Sonic 3 and Knuckles. That would be fun to play in 3D.” So maybe it would make us Sonic fans very happy?

TB: Yeah. That would be quite incredible. As we saw in SA2, Green Hill from Sonic 1 can be recreated, so why not S3&K levels?


TSS: Well, Green Hill looked a bit hurried and a last minute inclusion, but if they put lot of work into it, I’m sure Sonic Team could pull it off. Besides the SA series, what game would you like to see? Sonic R type, Sonic Shuffle (blah…), stuff like that? Or maybe Sonic Jam 2?

TB: Sonic Jam 2 would be a great thing to make if the Japanese edition of Sonic CD was included with it, along with the Game Gear titles, Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R. A sequel to Sonic R would be nice too, but only if the courses were longer and less repetitive.


TSS: A few people were hoping for Sonic The Fighters and maybe even Sonic X-Treme for Sonic Jam 2. Should it also have Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles to complete the collection? I’d like to see a compilation like that, with every Sonic game.

TB: X-Treme would be nice in a new compilation. If the Sonic Team can put all the major games in one disc, that would be cool. If they have to do a mega collection on two discs, I wouldn’t mind putting out the extra cash to buy it.


TSS: I heard a rumor that there would be a compilation and it would be on two discs. I’m sure many Sonic fans and newcomers will buy it, so hopefully Sonic Team will read this interview.

TB: That would be cool. You never know, some Team members could regularly read all of the major Sonic sites! 🙂 Wouldn’t that be something?


TSS: That would be something, hey Naka-san, up for an interview?

TB: He he he…


TSS: I heard there was a rumor on a new cartoon series, that of a ‘Sonic Kids’ like cartoon. Though it sounds like another failure if it ever came true, like Sonic Underground. Have you heard anything on this, and would you like to see a SEGASonic cartoon series?

TB: I’ve never heard of anything like that. However, I would like to see a true SEGASonic cartoon series. AoSTH came close, but it was made for yuks, IMO.


TSS: This rumor is years old though, so I’m sure it was looked over by someone at DiC or another company. Didn’t SEGA decide to start creating anime? Couldn’t they create a Sonic Anime 2?

TB: Sega decided to sorta go into CG animation, via a technology they designed called ‘Animanium’. I believe it was used to create the Shenmue movie, but I don’t know of any other plans for it except to license it to Japanese schools and universities.


TSS: They could at least create a true Sonic movie. If they did decide to make another Sonic film, what would you like to see in it?

TB: I’d like to see it follow the SEGASonic format. No Sally, no Freedom Fighters, nothing like that. It might be tough to do such a thing, but the Sonic Team pulled it off in SA1 and SA2 to some extent, so I think it can be done.


TSS: Maybe it could be done like Final Fantasy movie, with the same graphics?

TB: I haven’t seen Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but judging from the graphic quality I have seen from art books and the like, that would be something I would prefer.


TSS: Or why not my version of the movie? I recently wrote a script for a Sonic movie. Though it would be strange, my version had Sonic and friends as humans, though it sounds strange I thought it was a cool idea at the time.

TB: Actually, that follows the SEGASonic concept a bit, with it taking place on Earth, instead of Mobius and all the other things SatAM and AoSTH brought in.


TSS: Its location is New York in my script, with Dr. Kintobor as a friend of the mayor of New York New York, Sonic does Matrix moves 😀

TB: Now, that’s kinda going off track… 🙂


TSS: Ok… I’m kinda off track as well. Back to TSSZ, what plans do you have for the future of this excellent news source?

TB: Well, I plan more of an integration between the Web edition and the audio editions that are live every week. Come January, at least on Seven, TSSZ’s radio counterpart, there will be a total re-branding, with complete with three newscasts, Fridays at 10AM, 9PM, and 11PM. The audio news team will expand significantly, and there will be new music. Also for Seven, I have an original radio drama planned called High School Sweethearts, which I hope will be done in time for the Spring.


TSS: Explain these Radio Newscasts and what goes on.

TB: But for TSSZ, I’ll just continue to do what I’ve been doing…BOSS updates, Fan Art Updates, Music, Art, maybe a slight expansion of news to better cover PS2/XBox/GCN news… Well, each news on Seven will be slightly different come January. TSSZ News @ 10AM will be just like a regular morning news program, with usual banter, news headlines, fun stuff.


TSS: All about the gaming world?

TB: Not so much gaming news (of course, that’s what the main news update will be on @ 10AM), but general stuff as well.


TSS: World news, like if they caught Bin Laden yet?

TB: If we needed to, we are able to do that. The TSSZ News @ Nine will remain the same, I’ll have no-nonsense reporting, I’ll solo-anchor it, and it will be only video game news, again, unless something breaking happens like the conflict in Afghanistan, or in Israel/Palestine, etc. I plan to expand the News@Nine to a half hour as well, instead of the usual fifteen minutes. Then, shortly after News@Nine, at 11PM, I throw it over to a new anchor for Seven@Eleven. He will essentially be doing a show very similar to the old News @ Nine, except it will have more of a “hard” edge, and the news will be quite brief.


TSS: TSSZ is looking very good Tristan, and I’d like to tell you,you’ve done a great job on the website. Though I must end this interview, thanks a lot Tristan for your time, and take care of yourself.

TB: OK. You take care too, and good luck with the site!