For the last couple of years, The Sonic Stadium has been romanced with this idea that the Sonic Community and SEGA could be much closer than it was back in, say, 2004. And that idea certainly had a happy ending – SEGA are more receptive to what people are saying than they were before.
But when I first approached SEGA Europe and opened those metaphorical doors, I figured (maybe as a selfish concept of ‘reward’ or something) that TSS could be the ‘vessel’ that helps cross the gap between official and unofficial. That was a notion that formed some sort of success throughout 2005 to 2008, but today it’s different.
Sonic City’s Blognik now speaks directly to the fans and holds the official competitions, while Sonic Wrecks picks up any off-cuts/unused material and puts that in its Depository, making TSS’ role in the ‘gap-crossing’ venture sort of pointless.
Instead, this website appears to have become less of a fansite by definition (with information and substance) into more of a disposable news blog, and while I’ve tried to shirk that by introducing new writers which have brought new regular features, it’s something that still sticks in my mind.
So as you may have noticed, the site’s changed. Again. We’re taking it back to the old school a little bit here – some of you oldies will recognise the majority of this design as TSS’ layout in 2007. I’ve taken that and upgraded its resolution while changing some bits about to keep it fresh. Hit the jump for a full explanation of what’s in the pipeline (as you can see, some bits are still a bit janky, like the header image repeating itself etc) and let me know what you think so far of these changes.
All of these modifications is an attempt to revert back to this place being an actual website than a blog. Sod “Web 2.0”, that never helped me get any information online (save for news posts). The sidebar is the biggest difference, as the whole ‘dynamic sidebar’ thing I kept banging on about never really took off. The only section that really happened to need it was the Games Archive, and even then it wasn’t necessary – what was really needed was a more effective use of the page (having said that, we have added the login form and a new ‘Online Users’ bit to the sidebar as a result – expect more additions of SSMB Post updates appearing there in the future too).
Speaking of the Games Archive, that is getting a huge re-organisation; all of the media links for each game will be moved into the sidebar under ‘Downloads’ now. If you’re looking for Sonic 1 Art, you’ll be able to click on ‘Artwork’, while Sonic Riders trailers will be found under ‘Videos’ etc. Screenshots will remain in the Games Archive, along with information on the titles. We will be updating a lot of these pages now on a regular basis – maybe Sonic Scansday will make a grand return?
The home page is changed to be a bit more homely – the latest ‘stop press’ thing will be highlighted next to a list of all the recent news, articles and community happenings above. I will be doing my bit to make regular updates to the site and announce things; which will happen here. This will also happen to be a little ‘DRED-blog’ where I spout my thoughts on recent news and tell you about Sonic-y things that have happened to me.
It’s no secret that I’ve been less than enthused with continuing the site as it was – hence the severe lack of updates on my part. It’s hard to write news on the latest games when they don’t interest you in the slightest, despite me still being one of the biggest Sonic fans there is. But with Brad, T-Bird, Shadz and Bolt all making sure you get the best news, community gossip and unique features, I will be happily adding new information, writing reviews and informing you all on cool stuff on the home page.
So hopefully you’ll find the new/2007 redux Sonic Stadium easier to navigate, with a lot more content than before (if you never checked the Games Archive to reach screens/art/scans that is) and a better use of space. Over the next week or so I will be working hard to bring back some of those old sections – you’ll probably see the Downloads section get the love first off.
As always, let us know about what you think of the site (what is good, what could be improved) using the comments section, and enjoy the start of a return to form for this creaky old dog!
P.S. The PSP skin has been removed, due to the fact that using a special Caching plugin (to make page-loading easier) was making it bork up. This is the only skin you got… for now.