With a decade under his belt, Adam is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Adam is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.
Sonic Adventure celebrates it’s 20th anniversary today after hitting screens in Japan way back in 1998.
We take a look back at what made this game one of the most enduring Sonic the Hedgehog titles, and why SA1 was such a trailblazing title in not only the series, but in video game history.
SEGA of the 90’s certainly knew how to pull out all of the stops when it came to generating a buzz around the next Sonic game, and the anticipation of what was in store brought kids and grown-ups alike to fever pitch…and the announcement of Sonic Adventure was no different.
On the 22nd of August 1998, a few thousand lucky punters were invited to attend the first presentation of Sonic Adventure at the Tokyo International Forum – an event that was luckily recorded for posterity (which you can watch below). The first foray into the world of 128-bit high speed action was introduced by Yuji Naka, entering the stage in Rock star fashion by emerging from a balloon to a face-melting guitar riff.
The event also showcased a “Making of Sonic Adventure” semi-documentary presented in a light-hearted manor, in which Sonic Team embarked on a fact-finding trip to central America to visit the Tulum Ruins, the Caribbean Sea, the Tikal Ruins of Guatemala, and Machu Pichu amongst other locations – all of which influenced stages in the game.
Some members of the Team even became ill on their research trip from altitude sickness – talk about dedication to the cause!
Sonic has undergone several redesigns in his 27 ½ year history (we won’t mention the most recent!), but most fans regard the Sonic Adventure iteration of the neon protagonists to be one of the most successful. Characters traded their pot-bellies in for coloured irises and longer limbs, allowing for some incredibly elastic posturing that would become Yuji Uekawa’s instantly recognisable stylisation which remains the norm for modern Sonic artwork to this day. While the classic design of Sonic has since been translated to 3D, the modern Sonic style allowed for a much easier transition to the medium.
Dr Eggman was given a particularly significant redesign, along with both western and eastern franchises aligning on the Japanese name (although Robotnik would be kept as the name for his grandfather in the sequel).
The story mode
Story was not an element that featured heavily in Sonic the Hedgehog games until Sonic Adventure; in fact, one of the initial ideas while the game was on the development bench was to in fact create a Sonic RPG. For Sonic Adventure to include cut scenes and a narrative was a significant change to the game, and novel in that it in itself was derived from the intertwining stories of six different protagonists (one in fact executed in very few other video games at the time).
The seventh and final story in the game, and the true conclusion only accessible once all six main stories were completed, crescendos in the final showdown with Chaos with the player taking the controls of Super Sonic – something undoubtedly cemented as one of the most memorable video game conclusions for many Sonic fans.
Sonic Adventure was also the first Sonic the hedgehog game to include voice acting (besides SEGASonic Arcade) – and while the jury might still be out on the quality of the dialogue, SA1 is definitely one of the most quotable!
Hum the Green Hill Zone theme and just about any video game fan will tell you that its from a Sonic game – indeed, the soundtrack has always been a core component of what makes a Sonic game so, well, Sonical!
While Sonic Adventure is not the first video game to include vocal tracks (Sonic CD was doing that five years before) it is one of the first to have a fully-fledged album-like feel, complete with a swathe of character themes and a main anthem Open Your Heart, performed Crush 40, that is unparalleled in magnitude. The intro FMV undoubtedly still brings goose bumps to many!
The shift to a rock-centric soundtrack, a decision made by first-time Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue, was a bold move; the music for the original trinity of Sonic games were after all composed by Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True (and most likely Michael Jackson), resulting in a prolific pop influence. However, the move would prove highly successful and would be followed up with the equally popular Live & Learn in the sequel.
The magic of the soundtrack however derives from a brilliant use of multiple genres – rock, pop, rap, electronic, and jazz to name a few all feature throughout.
The game’s soundtrack has endured long enough that it has been celebrated since with the Sonic Adventure Music Experience, which saw Senoue-san and company re-record and perform key songs from the game and its sequel.
The Dreamcast was the very first games console to provide a connection to the internet as standard, and as such, Sonic Adventure is the very first game in history to include downloadable content! This came in the form of the Sonic Adventure Christmas download, which was only available for the first few days of release (it was no longer available after Christmas day). While this content only included Christmas trees in station square which played played music and gave a seasonal message when interacted with, it was another example of how SEGA and Sonic games were well ahead of the curb.
Happy birthday Sonic Adventure!
What makes Sonic Adventure special to you? Let us know in the comments!
It’s that festive time of year again! As always, we at TSS won’t be able to sleep on Christmas eve as we are too excited thinking about the Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise Santa will be bringing us in his sleigh! We must have been particularly good this year (we’ve only been completing hero missions), as Europe and the UK now has it’s very own dedicated SEGA Shop crammed with new and exclusive merchandise.
We take a sneaky peak at some of the great Sonic gear on offer right now…
Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste‘s newest album, Hollywood Africans, has a pleasant surprise hidden amongst it’s classical and jazz pieces; a pleasant paino-lead arrangement of Sonic the Hedgehog 1’s Green Hill Zone theme music!
Petit Hedgehog is probably one of the more notable entries at this year’s SAGE, with a refined version from last year’s expo being showcased for 2018. Created by Chengi, Petit draws upon influences from the Sonic Advance era, as well as translating elements from the Sonic Adventure formula into a 2D environment. Continue reading SAGE 2018: Petit Hedgehog
Fresh off the press from Gamescom 2018, Gamespot are reporting the announcement of InkyPen, a Nintendo Switch app that provide users the ability to read comics and graphic novels on their console, including Sonic comics!
WWE Stable The New Day paid tribute to Sonic the Hedgehog this Sunday at Summerslam, debuting their new ring gear. Kofi Kingston appeared in a Sonic-themed outfit, adorned with trademark rings on his boots, while Xavier Woods and Big E appeared in Tails and Knuckles-themed outfits respectively, emblazoned with Tails’s tails and Knuckles’s knuckles!
SEGA today announced their line-up for Gamescom 2018, which is set to include among other titles such as two Persona dancing titles, First of the North Star, and Team Sonic Racing, which will be showcasing new features:
Team Sonic Racing, developed by award-winning studio Sumo Digital, is the ultimate arcade and fast-paced competitive style racing experience, featuring your favourite characters from across the Sonic Universe. Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to race on an all new track, Ice Mountain, and experience two brand new playable teams.
Stay tuned to TSS for more details on these teams as the news comes!
The image, purportedly from Pitt Lake near Vancouver, shows a town sign for the fictional location of “Green Hills” (which although is cut off in the image is also written on the side of the police cruiser in the background). Note the extra “s”, in the location, likely a bit of creative license on the writer’s part rather than a nod to the lesser-known zone of the same name from the Master System version of Sonic 2.
The sign also comes with the town motto of “The little town with a big heart”, along with the town’s population and elevation above sea level (although they missed a trick with the population – should have been 1991, not 1981!).
If this image is anything to go by, it is probably a good indicator we will see more nods and references to the game throughout the movie.
Stay tuned to TSS for more Sonic the Hedgehog movie news as it comes!
The annual Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE) is set to make its return this year on August 25th, with a jam-packed lineup including Sonic Z-Treme, Sonic the Hedgehog PC and Sonic Advance Revamped among many other titles you can check out in their launch trailer above.
The event is still accepting submissions to be featured at the event all the way up until August 18th – details on how to submit your fan game can be found here.
You can find further details on the event in general over at Sonic Retro.
Following the developer diary videos, the latest installment of the behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Sonic Mania universe focuses on the creation of the Sonic Mania Adventures shorts, narrated by director Tyson Hesse. Check out the video below!
Last year’s explosive release of Sonic Mania wasn’t just about a game that ended up thrilling both new and old blue blur fans. It was also proof that a brand new, ‘classic’ style 2D Sonic title will sell – and sell it most certainly did, cementing itself in the annals of hedgehog history. But, while widely regarded as one of the most critically-acclaimed Sonic titles in recent memory, there were some clear presentation omissions and missing elements in the base game – elements that you would think Christian Whitehead and co would have included, if they were just given more time to bake it in.
In true social media style, the Sonic community team have created an homage to the commercials of old with this 90’s-style advert, pitching Sonic Mania Plus against the not-so-fictional parody game “Finger GunZ” (I actually want to play Finger GunZ now).
In a world full of first-person shooter games, one game store customer has a choice to make.
As the launch of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate draws closer, Nintendo continue to tease the new and exciting features included in the game – and today’s blog post on the Official Super Smash Bros. Ultimate site is delectably Sonic AND Mega Man-themed!
Sonic Team sound director and Crush 40 guitarist Jun Senoue has been revealed to have created a Mega Man 4 Medley for the game, following on from the reveal of Tomoya Ohtani (sound director for Sonic Forces and Sonic Colors) has created his own rendition of a track from Splatoon for the title.
The Japanese Sonic birthday party is often full of surprises – and at this year’s 27th birthday event at the JOYPOLIS theme park, Takashi Iizuka and the party hosts have used to opportunity to announce three new playable characters for Team Sonic Racing!
Images of Amy Rose, Big the Cat (in a suitably frog-themed car) and Chao (that’s four chao, comprising the Neutral, dark, and Hero Chao along with Omachao!) have been revealed as the Team Rose combination, with the Chao replacing Cream the Rabbit as the technical-based character in the established Team Rose configuration.
Check out the images of the individual characters from the stream in the gallery below.
As always, TSS will keep you up to date on all TSR news as it comes!
Adding to the growing list of US-based Sonic the Hedgehog fan conventions and meets alongside California’s Sonic Revolution and Georgia’s Sonic & SEGA Fan Jam comes a new event taking place for the first time this year: the Sonic Artist Meetup in Dallas, Texas.
The event is scheduled to take place on June 29th, 2018 from 12pm CDT. While the event is expected to be smaller than it’s counterparts, it promises to include talks on voice acting, various activities throughout the day, a gallery put together by artists and a raffle for artwork with proceeds going to a local charity. The event will conclude with a karaoke party set into the evening.
Sonic the Comic is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, having first appeared in corner shops and news agents across the UK back in May 1993.
For fans living outside the UK (or are too young to remember!) the publication ran for nine years from 1993 to 2002 through Fleetway comics and later Egmont magazines, producing a total of 223 issues. The darker tone of the comics and the portrayal of characters garnered a cult following of fans, inspiring a resurrection of the comic in an online incarnation in the form of Sonic the Comic Online, which continues to present day.
To celebrate this milestone year in the comic’s lifetime, STCO has released issue number 275 with a 32-page story bringing to a conclusion some of the longest running storylines in the series.
Additionally, a Sonic the Comic 25th anniversary party will be taking place on Sunday, 3rd of June 2018 at the FAB café in Manchester. More information on the event, which will see many of the prolific contributors to Sonic the Comic including Richard Elson and Nigel Kitching in attendance, can be found on the event’s facebook page.
From everyone here at The Sonic Stadium, we wish Sonic the Comic a very happy birthday!
You can support the team by making a donation via their Just Giving donation link…and if you’d love to own the “Dash-mobile”, the car will be auctioned after the race with the proceeds also going to charity!
Check out the gallery below for some images of the car and the team before they set off on this wacky race!
Funko Pop! fans heading to E3 this year will undoubtedly be giddy with delight at the prospect of getting their hands on a very exclusive figure of Super Shadow, who will be exclusive to the LA show taking place next month.
If you are attending the show you will have to be quick however; only 1500 of the figures will be produced, and with Funko’s current popularity will likely sell out quickly!
It is no revelation that Sonic the Hedgehog has drawn upon pop culture in its creation (the Death Egg probably being one of the more obvious tributes to Star Wars), but it appears that the influences from Dragon Ball extend further than super forms and collecting 7 powerful objects!
Initial ideas for names for Sonic included “Raisupi” and “LS”, truncation and plays on the word “light speed”
Naka quit SEGA after finishing work on the first Sonic game with aspirations of joining Nintendo
Tails was initially a Tanuki, modeled after a UFO catcher plush
Sonic was purposefully made more of a “bad boy” for Sonic Adventure, so that his character didn’t become too cutesy like so many other character mascots (Naka stated that Hello Kitty already owned the market in cuteness)
Naka saw protecting Sonic’s image as being very difficult, citing Sonic Underground as an example of something damaging to the character’s image (making reference in particular to Sonic’s siblings)
Check out the full interview translation, along with other Sonic Team interviews at Shmuplations.
If you’ve always wanted to blast the Sonic Mania Soundtrack from your car stereo, you’re going to want to look into investing in the Japanese release of Sonic Mania Plus, which along with all of the perks of the western release will be packaged with a double CD album!
The Japanese Sonic Mania website details the full 54 track double CD, which not only includes all of the songs that appeared on the Data Discs’ Sonic Mania album release (which contained all of the original tracks in the game and will be back in stock for the launch of Plus), it also holds all of the “re-imagined” classic stage songs [EDIT: Nearly all!]. If that wasn’t enough,there are four Sonic Mania Plus bonus tracks included, along side all three Hyper Potions tracks constituting Friends and both versions of Time Trails including the version with Crush 40’s Jun Senoue on guitar.
While most will be pleased that the game is seeing an OST release on CD, it is not packaged with the western releases of Sonic Mania Plus. The special edition is available from Amazon Japan for about the same price as the western releases, however buyers will likely have to play extra for shipping and import fees in order to get their mittens on a copy. If you’re feeling even more flush, Ebten Japan are offering another edition which includes a limited edition T-Shirt, canvas purse and art cards, but these extras will set you back more than ¥8000.
Stay tuned to TSS for more Sonic Mania Plus news!
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