More Metallic Madness! Metal Sonic Action Figure Planned

metalprotoFor those of you who simply havent had their fill of Metal Sonic this week with the announcement of the Jazwares’ Metal Sonic chibi figure, then fear not, as it looks like we have more shiny goodness on it’s way!

Pick up August’s copy of Toyfare magazine and you’ll find a nice feature on Jazware’s currently lined-up selection of Sonic toys, which not only includes a super-articulated Knuckles figure to join the host of others on the market, but that there is also a 10″ Metal Sonic action figure in the works too.

The figure looks to be in it’s prototype stages, but hopefully this high level of detail will be retained in the product – if so it’ll join the list of must-have items for hardcore fans to own. The other good news is it doesn’t look to be a San Diego Comic Con exclusive (unlike the JUVI chibi version), so you hopefully won’t have to pay collector’s exclusive prices for it! However it looks like it will be another Toys R’ Us exclusive, so us Brits will probably be forking out a fortune on shipping and handling from US ebay sellers once again.

You can check out the full article scan here.

Hats off to KururuSouchou on the SSMB for spotting this and scanning in articles!

So what do you think to these new action figures? Join the debate in the SSMB!

SEGA Announce Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing!

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Well, you’ve been waiting for this one folks!

SEGA have just announced the follow up to last year’s SEGA All-Star’s Tennis with their new title: SEGA All-Star’s Racing! Once again the huge line up of famous faces from SEGA’s past are pitted against each other on the race course for some high-octane action! Don’t expect to be confined to the ground though! It looks like anything goes in this racer, with the line up of vehicles including cars, planes and…bananas?

The game looks set to include the obvious multiplayer title, but with a few twists, as Gary Knight, European Marketing Manager at SEGA states: The team have pushed the boundaries on what you would normally expect and created a different and unique party racing title whereby you really can’t take anything for granted!”

The game looks set for an early 2010 release, and will be heading to the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC and Nintendo DS!

Be sure to head over to the Official Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Website to watch the trailer, read up on the game and see some nice flashy in-game screenshots!

So, the next question is, which characters will be making it into the game, and what will they be driving?

Personally, I’m hoping for Big the cat in the Froggy Mobile…

Sonic gets a mention in Penny-Arcade

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A lot of popular references to Sonic seem to focus on the new Sonic games these days, so it’s always a nice change to see reminiscing about the good old days; something I was delighted to spot when I visited the popular web comic Penny-Arcade today.

Today’s comic delves back into the past of one of their fictional protagonist’s history, in which he was a lowly SEGA fanboy amongst a school of SNES gamers. As well as what appears to be a reference to the horde of Sonic games that appeared on the Megadrive/Genesis (and that possibly Sonic was the only “memorable character” to feature in games on the console?), there’s also a quick quip about SEGA’s obsession with lock-on cartridges and software!

You can check out the new comic here, and hopefully later today there will be a news post which will discuss the subject of the comic in greater detail.

So, did you fight in the console wars, and what was the SEGA/Nintendo split in your playground?

And The Rest: Japan’s SatBK Site Showcases “Runner Up” Art

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Way back in the Summer last year, not too long after a certain Summer of Sonic, SEGA announced the SatBK art competition in which sixty lucky artists (from SEGA’s American, European and Japanese regions) would have their work immortalised in Sonic and the Black Knight the following spring. The calibre of art produced was staggering, and one can only imagine how much of a difficult choice it was for the judges to select pieces to win the contest.

Continue reading And The Rest: Japan’s SatBK Site Showcases “Runner Up” Art

Sonic’s Pants! Sonic Underwear hits UK River Island Stores

pantsTurns out that if you think Sonic is pants, you are right! River Island, one of the UK’s leading high street fashion outlets has recently started selling a couple of pieces of underwear for the discerning gentleman (or lady if they prefer the comfort of the boxer briefs!).

The line currently includes a snazzy pair of boxers which will set you back a whopping £9.99 per pair, and a pair of funky checkered socks retailing at £6.99 a pop.

If you really are Sonic mad (and I know a lot of you are) but a bit shy, then you can now proudly wear the hedgehog at all times without attracting too much attention. However, it does look like he’s about to spin-attack your groin (or is he sniffing your crotch?).

Both products are available at the UK River Island Online store.

Props to Rich for spotting these.

Merchzilla: Sonic Stuff Up For Grabs In Japan

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I return! Before I delve into the fruitful world of merch once more, I’d like to say a big thanks to Paul Street and the TSS gang for holding the fort while we were roaming Japan; nice one guys and gals!

So anyway, to answer my question in one word…yes. There is most certainly Sonic merchandise to be had in Japan, some particularly nice stuff at that. The long answer, however, is that you really have to look for the stuff…and in some cases, you really need to look hard.

The COSPA brand are currently selling a range of high quality Sonic shirts and apparel, including a nifty selection of stylish shirts, a bandana and a tote bag. There’s even a reversible Sonic World Adventure shirt – so you can have Sonic on your sunny days and crack out the Werehog at night…just turn it inside out! The selection is not cheap though; you can expect to pay about ¥3000 (£22/$32) for a shirt, and ¥4200 for the reversible shirt. There’s even a Sonic Zippo lighter…but don’t expect to get it cheap! If you want something a bit more affordable, UNIQLO (another Japanese brand who produced a couple of Sonic UT print shirts last year) also have a Sonic shirt in their current Video game shirt line-up…and for a meagre ¥1500 it’s a bargain!

Considering JOYPOLIS is SEGA’s Mecca for state-of-the-art arcade games, there’s surprisingly little in the way of Sonic related goodies to pick up. The gift shop inside the complex is still selling boxes of its trademark Sonic Chocolate cake and sweets, as well as a set of mini plush toys of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy – each setting you back between £5-£7; a steal for nice little additions to a collection. You can also pick yourself up an odd little friendship bracelet set; very girly!

Having said that Sonic stuff is hard to find in general, Sonic soundtracks are not. Walk into any HMV or Tower Records in Tokyo, and not only do they have an extensive selection of game and anime soundtracks, you can grab the two recently released Black Knight Soundtracks as well as the Sonic World Adventure OSTs. It’s also not unusual to see earlier OSTs too…or a certain debut album by a Mr. Bentley Jones! We also spotted Charles Hamilton‘s CD going in Manhattan Records too – these guys get everywhere!!!

If retro gear is what you crave, then Akihabara really is the place you want to be! The main street is dotted with stores that stock immaculately kept copies of games and consoles of yesteryear. A copy of Chaotix on ebay can easily fetch £50 upwards; we managed to pick up a pristine copy for less than half that, as well as a copy of Tails Sky Patrol, complete with box, for a tenner. If you’re looking for any old magazines or references – put aside a few hours to rummage through shelves of “good as new” copies of magazines from well over fifteen years ago!

If you want to check out the COSPA range you can do so on their website, and if you’re interested in checking out some retro stores in Akihabara, my first recommendation is a store called Super Potato.

Good to be back TSS – continue to keep your eyes peeled for more Sonic stuff Merch Hogs!

Perms for Herms Art Contest: We Have A Winner!

A few weeks back, we set you guys the task of sticking a crazy barnet on the heads of your favourite Sonic characters. We received a whole barrel load of entries, and they’ve certainly given us a laugh! So, before we get to our winner, we’ve got some other noteworthy entries and some runner-ups too!!!

Continue reading Perms for Herms Art Contest: We Have A Winner!

Perms for Herms: Win Signed Matt Herms Sketchbook

So, you fancy winning yourself a copy of Matt Herm’s Sketchbook? Not only has this renowned Archie comics artist signed this book of sketches, it’s also got a hand-drawn sketch of Sonic on the back page too!

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Not too shabby a prize eh?

So, if you would like to add this cool-ass comic to your collection, get yer pencils out!

Sonic and the gang feel like their hairdoos just aren’t hip anymore – they’re just too nineties! So, what we want to do is to give your favourite Sonic character a new haircut, as our resident Roarey Raccoon demonstrates!

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You don’t need to be an artist! Points will be awarded for style and originality! Closing date for entries is the 27th of March…so get scribbling!

Send all your entries to permsforherms@googlemail.com.

Interview: Archie Artist Matt Herms

TSS caught up with Matt Herms, colourist and artist for Archie Comic’s Sonic the Hedgehog series, to chat a little about comics, conventions and of course, beards…


So Matt, how did you get started with the whole comic book drawing thing? Were there any comics that, as a child, you particularly enjoyed reading, or that inspired you into drawing comics and cartoons yourself?


Dude, I think I’ve always read comics – for as long as I can remember, for sure. My first comics were stuff based on cartoons I liked, like Transformers or Real Ghostbusters; or stuff based on video games. Valiant published a series of Nintendo and Super Mario-based books way back when… And then I got into my first and true comic book obsession: Sonic the Hedgehog.


I know, I know – how convenient ‘n’ coincidental, right? Seriously though, I’m very honored, humbled, and blessed that my first major comic book work stateside happens to be on the very book I adored and collected with such a passion growing up. (I even drew my own Sonic comics as a kid!) It’s the comic that really got me into comics, in every single way.


Growing up with Sonic, do you have any favourite Sonical moments from your childhood? Did you have a favourite Sonic game you liked to play as a kid, or any favourites from the recent flurry of games?


Oh man, I hate to break the news to you guys, but I have a confession to make: I’ve always been a Super Mario man [Sacrilege! – T]. I know, I know… We can stop the interview right here, if you want. But I dug the Super Mario Bros. =P My only real Sonic gaming experience early on was Sonic the Hedgehog 2, for Genesis. It was the first and only game I actually had for the system – and I played the hell out of it! It was challenging, and pretty, and I logged months on-end into that game. (I never beat it, either.)


I think what really drew me into the Sonic fandom was what DiC Animation did with the license – Sonic “SatAM.” It was such a different beast of a show from what I’d previously known. Continuity-driven, even maturely-themed. Through that and the comics, my investment in the characters grew. Then Sonic Adventure happened and I knew I was hooked: I once again shelled out for an entire gaming system just to play one Sonic game.


Now that you are an artist for Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog series, how do you go about drawing a character to reflect their attitudes and demeanours? Do you have any favourite characters, or characters you get particular pleasure out of drawing?


These days I do mostly colorist work, but I got to tackle almost all of my favorite characters during my drawing tenure. I’d lost track of StH while in high school, and when I came back to it years later Sonic had an all new romantic interest: Mina Mongoose. And I recall thinking “Holy crap is that ballsy… Way to go, Archie!” I mean, I come from the Internet fandom, and know that we can be rather outspoken sometimes… The idea of Sonic dating anyone whose name isn’t “Sally” or “Amy” is practically sacrilege. I got back into the comic big-time because of it, and was thrilled when my very first ish as penciler was re-introducing Mina into continuity after a long, long absence.


Sonic himself is by far the most fun to draw – he’s so pose-able and action-tastic! And even characters I thought I’d severely dislike drawing (Mammoth Mogul) turned into new favorites. I even got to draw Fiona Fox, who I have wa-a-ay too much of a comic-book-crush on. XD The only thing I’d missed was a Scourge brawl – I friggin’ love Scourge. Much to my excitement, I got to finally draw a Sonic/Scourge smackdown in the recent StH#197.

I gotta’ say, I’m not fond at all of drawing Amy, though. =/ And I had a whole issue with her in the spotlight! XP


We all know you are a master of the beard…something to which I relate, and salute. Do you have a name for your “beard style?”


Hah! Alas, I do not. I’ve been bearded since ’05, and ran the gamut from goatee to scruffy lumberjack, to my favorite Gendo Ikari (from Evangelion) beard… Which my future mother-in-law says makes me look Amish. I’ve done Amish-beard with blue-dyed hair, too. (Not intentionally Sonic-inspired… Seriously, it didn’t even occur to me until I was out promoting the comics!)


You’re also involved in other web comics such as Sticky Floors on Snafu; tell us a little about that.


…Haha! Oh man, Sticky Floors... XP

So, when I was just starting out, I’d noticed that web comics seemed to be a booming kinda’ business: A great way to get your name, your style, your work out there and a great way of building a readership and fan-base. Web comics were also getting a great deal of perks at conventions, and I wanted in on that gravy train.


Sticky Floors was a li’l high school comic strip based largely on the personalities of me and my pervy, juvenile, sex-obsessed friends. David Stanworth, owner of the mega web comic-collective Snafu-Comics.com, offered me a free-ride with hosting and promotion and a built-in readership of thousands from the get-go, and the rest was history.


The comedy of authoring a horribly explicit, potty-mouthed raunch-fest like Sticky Floors while simultaneously being employed by the most wholesome, family-friendly comic book publisher in America isn’t lost on me. (I’m actually very tickled by it. Just don’t go spreadin’ that around! ;P) It’s partly been why the strip has fallen by the wayside in the last year: While I’m out-and-about promoting the Sonic books and my work in them, I have to shelf SF and censor its shenanigans. I miss it from time-to-time – I love the format! But it accomplished everything I wanted it to and I’m very proud of that.


We love our music here at TSS – particularly our Sonic music! Visiting your Deviantart account we see you’re a Coheed and Cambria fan (rock on!) – What genres of music particularly inspire you, and do you have any favourite pieces of Sonic-related music from games or TV shows?


Okay, so I’m totally a geek. And I’m proud of that and think I’m in excellent company. =P I have absolutely every single vocal track from Sonic Adventure and (especially) Adventure 2. I love them hard! In addition to video game soundtrack (preferably instrumental stuff from RPGs), I have very varied tastes. I love Reel Big Fish, All American Rejects, and definitely Coheed & Cambria. Anything 80s music, and a lotta’ techno and trance and dance music, too.

Also, musicals. Serious face, I love the hell outta’ them. And, yes, I sing along. And have done so publicly and unapologetically, while sober in fact!


What does a World-class comic artist do in their spare time?


These days, planning a wedding! =D

I’m actually very blessed that my career happens to be doing something that I’d just be doing anytime, anyway, as a hobby or such. So in the time I may not be drawing or Photoshopping, I usually just poke around the Inter-webs. (Wikipedia is awesome, and awesomely time-consuming.)


You’ve just been to the IKKiCon 2009 convention in Austin, Texas – how did that go? We know you’re a Power Rangers fan (aren’t we all?)…did you manage to bump into Jason David Frank?


Haha! Well, since you’ve given me the opportunity, I’d like to properly shout-out to Mike Loredo and his con-staff over at Ikki – they really put on the most amazing show every year and they invite me out and treat us so well and I absolutely love Austin. IkkiCon is one of the best shows I do all year, and this last weekend lived up to the hype.


As for Jason David Frank… Ya’ see, Loredo is as much a Power Rangers fanboy as I am. We grew up with that show – hell, I still have quite a few of the action figures from Mighty Morphin’ on display in my office! So one morning, Loredo drops by my table in Artist Alley, all cool and calm and crap. And he’s like, “So Jason Frank just got here. About to do a signing. Wanna’ meet him?” And I’m thinking: Dude, I just got here. I can’t go stand in a line right now. And he’s all, “No, like, meet him. Before the signing.” Hell yes!


So we get introduced, I give him a big poster of a Power Ranger illustration I’d done especially for the con, and I got my picture taken with him. He’s a totally nice guy! I had such a hardcore fan moment, it was morphinominal! (Yes, I said it. =P) I found out later in the con he wanted some postcard prints of individual Rangers I’d drawn. For his daughter. How friggin’ cool is that?


The convention scene is something you are quite keen on; what do you enjoy about doing conventions? Are you attending any up-and-coming conventions that your fans should put the dates in their diaries for?


Man, I adore conventions. I starting doing ‘em in 2005 – I was a kid, fresh out of high school, no work to my name. There’s a lot I love about the shows – the travel, meeting new and interesting people, seeing old friends I only get to see every couple months. I especially love the interaction with fans and readers! When somebody comes up and is like “Oh man, you do Sonic!” or Sticky Floors. It’s such a high, and I love chatting about how the book is made or my favorite characters or games and stuff. (In case you haven’t noticed, I can ramble on-and-on about this stuff.) When I’m at a con, my goal is to make everyone that stops by the table feel like it was absolutely worth it. I’m there as part of your convention experience, and I take that job very seriously.


Nothing is set in-stone yet about my upcoming calendar, but I will definitely be doing Free Comic Book Day the first Saturday of May. This is an amazing event – we’ll have a special retrospective issue of Sonic up for grabs (It’s free!) as well as free copies of some of the issues my work’s appeared in… And I’ll be doing free sketches! =D All from Laughing Ogre Comics and Toys in Lansdowne, Virginia. (My fellow Sonic creatives will be doing likewise at other stores, too.)


Trying to avoid the generic question…but what are your aims and aspirations for the future?


Keep doing what I’m doing, working with great teams to produce some truly great comic book experiences! I like to work – I’m a full-on work-a-holic – so I’m hoping to see a lot of material produced this year.


Thanks for letting me talk your ears off, guys! =D It was a pleasure.


Big shout out to Matt for the interview! Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for your chance to win yourself a copy of Matt Herm’s Sketch book, complete with a hand-drawn sketch of Sonic by Matt himself!

Be Sociable and Win a Megadrive/Genesis Ultimate Collection LP!

If you’re one of these hip, cool people who loiters on the Global Networking / Distraction from work site facebook, you can have yourself an opportunity to snag yourself a nice bit of SEGA Megadrive history. Many of you will know that SEGA have produced a limited run SEGA Megadrive Ultimate Collection LP, featuring 6 tracks from SEGA titles such as  Ristar and Golden Axe (for those of you who are too young, an LP is one of those big black disc things that your Mums and Dads have at home in the dusty cabinet – usually featuring Barbera Streisand’s hits and ABBA Gold).

Anyway, if you fancy having a crack at winning one of these, for purely aesthetic purposes or not, head over to the SEGA facebook page, and vote in the current poll that is going: “What is your favourite SEGA Megadrive/Genesis series?” To increase your chances, let the peeps at SEGA know WHY the series is your favourite in the comment box.

If you’re reading this, you are now by law required to vote Sonic…not that he’ll need any help mind you…

A Guide to Sonic Merchandise Part 4: Finding the Faker

So, I think by this point in the series of articles of Sonic merchandise I’ve hopefully proven a point: there is a helluva lot of Sonic stuff floating around out there. This is especially the case now that we live in a day and age where we can buy and import goods from across the globe fairly easily thanks to internet shopping and the likes of good old ebay. Unfortunately, as much as this opens a door for sellers as well, it also gives the forgeries and bootleg market a whole new audience to rip-off. Even I, one of the mighty hoarders of stuff, have fallen victim to some of this fraudulent activity.

If you type in Sonic on ebay these days, you will be absolutely inundated, and I mean swamped, with bootleg T-shirts, transfers, stickers, wall charts, chocolates(!?)…the list goes on. Not only does this drown out all the decent Sonic stuff, it also presents a potential merch mine-field, as a lot of this stuff is home-made. The trick with T-shirts is usually simple; if it’s not a photo of an ACTUAL shirt, i.e. it’s just a picture of the design, be cautious. Sometimes the seller may even offer you a variety of sizes (although sometimes sellers may have bought in ex-warehouse stocks etc) – usually if the seller has got a genuine article, they only have one, and in one size. Sometimes a good indicator of a genuine T-Shirt is a usual design that goes onto a sleeve (like the SEGA logo or a Sonic title), or a front and a back print – these are more expensive to reproduce.

Sometimes you get something really kooky like in the thumbnail…Sonic the gangsta? With the buck-teeth, dread-lock hair and enough bling-bling to sink the Epson Valdez, this is probably an easy fake T-Shirt to spot, but even so, there must have been some effort went into making this!

Plush toys are another branch of merch in which it is really easy to produce a lot of knock-off goods to sell on at seemingly bargain prices. In particular Sonic X plushies seem to have taken the brunt of this in recent years; I for one have seen a large number of these in claw machines and UFO catchers at theme parks and amusement arcades. The Shadow plush is the real indicator here – if he doesn’t have his white patch of manly chest hair – avoid! The other real tell-tale sign is the tag. Even if they have a Sonic brand tag on them – check for the glorious SEGA logo. If it’s not there, beware!

Remember the rather awesome Sonic Adventure figures with the E-102 Gamma action figure? Well, it looks like someone in the Far-East managed to get hold of some of the moulds for these figures, as they are now all over the place. It seems that all the series 2 figures : Gamma, Amy, Big and the rather curious Sonic with Skis (what, no snowboard?) have now been pirate-produced in mass. Easy way to check up? Well, if the figures are loose and don’t have any accessories, you’ve either got a very clumsy owner, or more likely, they’re shoddy reproductions. Check out the paint jobs in the picture too – they won’t be up to the usual Resaurus standard.

I think the most difficult bootlegs to tell apart are music CDs and soundtracks. I’ve been caught out a few times with these too. There are a few naughtly little companies over in Taiwan who are in the business of producing very convincing bootleg CDs. They’ve bootlegged the Several Wills Vocal album, the True Blue best of album, and the Sonic Adventure 2: Multi-dimensional albums. Apart from general design, which unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, the quality is so good that you can’t differentiate between the these and the official stuff. There are ways though! The real giveaway with these is the spine cards – look for the record label, which should be Wave Master Entertainment (WME) for the more recent Sonic albums (it’s sometimes on the back of the album cover too).

Finally, here are a few last tips on buying merchandise off ebay:

Always look for an official SEGA stamp or brand – don’t be fooled by fake tags or bootleg companies!

  • See if you can find the item elsewhere on the net if you’re unsure – it’s useful to check to see if there are any good pictures of the item you’re wanting to buy either on the producer’s website, so you can check for differences.
  • Be wary of companies on ebay shipping from Hong Kong, China or Taiwan! Not only are you going to pay a lot for postage, you’ll be even more upset if it’s a bootleg, and a lot of them come from here.
  • ASK! Be cunning; if you’re unsure about an item, ask questions such as “Could you please tell me the name of the record label on the album?” or “Could you send me a photo of the plush’s tag?”. Try not to be rude by asking things like “Is this a bootleg item?” as it may cause offense – even the seller might not know if it is genuine or not.

So, happy merch hunting kids, and remember to shop safe!

Had any bad experiences? Let us know! More merch-madness next week!

Guide to Sonic Merch Part 3: Gear From Across the Globe

Continuing my season of features on Sonic Merchandise, I thought I’d change tactics slightly. We’ve seen a few examples of rare and wonderful goodies…but my emphasis is on a few. There is simply so much stuff out there now, that to catalogue the almost continuous stream of goodies and nick-nacks would be an almost impossible task. There’s an almost continuous stream of retro-style goodies being produced presently, along with the spate of Sonic X gear that still loiters; that’s on top of nearly 18 years of paraphernalia from around the World! But one site dares to do that…

So many early Japanese Plushes!
So many early Japanese Plushes!

AzureBlaze, the curator of SonicGear.org, told us at TSS how the idea for the site started: “When I couldn’t collect the Sonic stuff I wanted, I started collecting the photos; Sonic Gear at first was based only on the photos I’d collected over my years on the internet. I made up the site in the hope that other Sonic fans could see the things they wanted, learn how to get them, and I could provide tips to others on how to get them; I wanted fans to see the Sonic stuff that is released and no one gets told about it.”

Even after a few moments on the site, it’s clear to see just how much in the way of photo graphic references have been collected, including merchandise from around the globe, with particular emphasis on pieces released in Japan, America and the UK. From clothing to plushes, this site pretty much covers it all. There are some smashing photos of the near-impossible-to-find Sonic the Fighters plushes (see last week’s merchandise article!), as well as snaps of the fabled Sonic Store that existed in Japan for a small time during the Sonic Adventure era. Not only that, there is a massive archive to a whole host of Sonic clothing lines, including the new American-released Top Heavy designs; AzureBlaze tells us “I’m tired of seeing Sonic on the sidelines of fringe collecting where fans have to scramble to auctions and put up with jacked up prices on ebay to get the goods.”

So, what Sonical Stuff is the expert of all things merch looking for to add to his own collection? “The things in the Super Sonic Gear section of my site. The soap-shoes plush, the crystal cube, and the silver ring are right up there on my list of things to find. The Sonic Adventure2 Battle Shadow plush as well. I tend to go for the things that unique AND have the best design.” As well as the Super Sonic Gear section of the site showcasing some of the pieces of gold produced through the years, the site also includes a rather hilarious “Mutant Gear” section with some of the worst pieces of merchandise produced; I’m sad to say I own a few pieces showcased!

Sonic Gear is constantly updating its pages with photos of the new and old, and is keen for you to get involved too! So if you’ve got something you can’t see on their pages, drop them a line and donate some snaps! And hey, if you’re feeling extra generous, you can even donate spare merchandise if you really want!

Cheers to AzureBlaze for the interview – More next week kids!

A Guide to Sonic Merchandise Part 2: The Fighters Franchise

The Fighters Plush Range.
The Fighters Plush Range.

Although the West seems to be getting its fair share of merchandise nowadays, it wasn’t always that way. Sure, in the early 90’s us Americans and Brits were treated to a whole load of Sonic and Tails plushes, a couple of different comic series and the odd figurine now and again, but once we hit 1995, the widespread interest in Sonic seemed to die off. The West was pushed into Sonic-merch limbo until 1999 when Sonic Adventure came around. This was not the case over in Japan…

Continue reading A Guide to Sonic Merchandise Part 2: The Fighters Franchise

Pick up the Pieces: Sonic World Adventure OST Out Today!

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Tasty Gatefold Artwork!

Whether or not you’ve decided that Sonic Unleashed is a good game or not, you’ve probably heard a handful of tunes that have got your feet tapping as you blast through levels at break-neck speeds or smack goofy enemies with your Wolfy pimping-hands. So for those of you who are bonkers for Sonic soundtracks, you can rejoice in the knowledge the Sonic World Adventure: Planetary Pieces Official Soundtrack has been released today.

Once again, the usual suspects Tomoya Ohtani, Kenichi Tokoi, Fumie Kumatani & Hideaki Kobayashi have teamed up to create another monstrous album containing a comprehensive collection of all the tracks from the game. The staggering 91 track list includes the rather sexual Werehog Battle music, Jaret Reddick’s “Endless Possibility”, several versions of the game’s theme, and the pleasant “Dear My Friend” from the ending titles. Not only that, the presentation of the box is of the usual incredible standard (there’s a CD with Chip on it!)

You can check out the track listing over at the Video Game Music Data Base, and if you’ve got some coins to spare you can buy yourself a copy from Play Asia or CD Japan for about 4200 Yen...a bit steep at around £31 ($45 – and don’t forget you’ll have to pay for International Postage on top of that), but well worth it if you’re as mad as me for these soundtracks!

A Guide to Sonic Merchandise Part 1: Anniversary Edition

The 10th Anniversary statue and Sterling silver ring
The Sonic 10th Anniversary statue and Sterling silver ring

Sonic the Hedgehog related merchandise seems to permeate everything these days; it wasn’t too long ago that you couldn’t get moved for the overwhelming amount of very mediocre Sonic X gear that was lying around to pick up for next to nothing. There are however some absolute gems out there – the joy of collecting Sonic stuff is that you also collect a little piece of Hedgehog history along with them. I think a lot of the collectors amongst the Sonic community would be agreed that some pieces are truly works of art.

Over the next few weeks I’d like to focus on some of the best bits of nearly 18 years of collecting, from generally going about finding yourself a nice addition to your Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise collection, to some of the more elusive and exclusive things that have been produced in the past.

This first article takes a look at some of the most desirable items that there are going; the 10th and 15th Anniversary Merchandise. A lot of the community will remember the 10th birthday of Sonic, as it was the launch date of Sonic Adventure 2, which is still held in high regards amongst the 3D Sonic titles. If you were a resident in Europe Japan or the US, and fast enough off the mark, you had a chance to grab yourself a box set with the pre-order of the game, which contained a rather nifty CD of some of the best Sonic tunes, along with a Gold coin and a booklet full of interesting Sonic facts, pictures, and a rather odd little story. These were however produced in rather large numbers, so aren’t as collectible as initially intended; on the plus side, you can easily pick one up on ebay for £25 ($35USD)! Those lucky enough to attend E3 that year would have also had a chance to scoop up a 10th anniversary badge, which do occasionally appear for purchase.

The SEGA Direct version of the 15th anniversary figurine
The SEGA Direct version of the 15th anniversary figurine

The main contenders for collector’s money thesedays are the trio of anniversary gifts produced by the Sonic Factory (Which closed soon after), being the 10th Anniversary statue, the Crystal Cube, and the Sterling silver ring. Each object was made to extremely high standards; the statue (on an engraved marble base!) was hand-painted, and the crystal cubes were carefully laser-etched to create a wire frame Sonic inside the glass. Each item was limited to 500 units worldwide; some where given away as prizes at a SEGA sports event in Japan, with the remainder being quickly snapped up from the Sonic Factory. In the highly unlikely case you see one on sale online, you’d better get your cheque book ready and phone your bank manager – you are most likely going to be in a bidding war that will go into hundreds of dollars!

Fast forwarding 5 years, the 15th anniversary churned out a number of nice little items. We were treated to two different statues, one was again on sale through SEGA Direct, but was later released as a freebie in the US with the pre-order of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox and PS3. The other statue was produced in a limited run of 2,500 pieces – each  was stamped on the base and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. A number of T-Shirts were also produced to commemorate the occasion, two of which depicted a running sonic in his pixelated form á la Sonic 1, with the 15th birthday logo on the back. Again, E3 goers in 2006 were treated to a nice distressed shirt, the number ‘91 (the year of Sonic’s launch) emblazoned on the back. The keen-eyed ebayer can still pick the odd one of these items up on ebay, albeit at a slightly higher price.

So, did you manage to get any of these items? Which are your favourite? Are there any items you managed to pick up that we’ve missed off our list? Let us know, and keep an eye out for the next feature!

Buying a Classic Car, Sonic Style

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Are you Sonic mad? Are you an Oil Baron? Then you might consider getting yourself this set of wheels, as it’ll be unlikely you’ll see another for a long time! Yes, you’re eyes do not deceive you; on Yahoo! Japan auctions, someone is selling an original Sonic Waku Waku Patrol Car. For a mere 900,000 Yen (about $1,100 or £750) you too can hunt down Dr. Eggman and prevent him from causing more traffic offenses.

For those of your tilting your head in wonderment at what this fantastic contraption is, allow me to explain: this was an arcade machine that featured almost exclusively in Japan; apparently even now there are still some in use in various theme parks across the Middle East. The idea of the game was that you drove around a city in a police car, in pursuit of Eggy himself, occasionally stopping to allow Flickies to cross the road.

If you do fancy having a look at the auction, follow this link.

According to the auction it’s still functional! However, you can only pick it up in person and it will require 6 people to move it.

So, phone your friends, sell your family heirlooms, and get going on your freighter to Japan!!!

SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for 360/PS3 Announced

Because you simply cannot own enough copies of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive, SEGA have announced today they are developing the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for the XBox 360 and PS3 consoles. Looks like our original rumour story wasn’t that far off the mark.

As well as being the first opportunity for players to have a go on Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3D Blast on current generation consoles, this compilation will also include other kick-arse titles from SEGA’s extensive 16-bit catalogue, including Streets of Rage 1, 2 & 3, Alien Storm, Golden Axe 1, 2 & 3, Ristar and Ecco the Dolphin. Not only that, there will be a whole host of unlockable 8-bit Master System titles as bonus material too!

Some fans will be a bit miffed that they have already shelled-out a few hundred Microsoft points for these games already, but I think that will probably be drowned out by the fact there are well over 40 titles to play; that’s a lot of gaming for your pennies! Plus, there will also be a set of achievements for XBox owners to collect – always another incentive to play through those classics once more!

The collection is due out early 2009, check out the Official Website for more info.

Me? I’m thrilled they’re putting Dynamite Headdy on there! YEEEEAAS!!!

Crush 40 Rock Tokyo Game Show

Junny Baby!

This has been coming for a long, long time.

Finally! the mighty guitar skills of the legendary Jun Senoue, and the vocal tenacity of Axel Rudi Pell lead singer Johnny Gioeli have reunited to perform what can only be described as an electrifying medley of classic Crush 40 tracks at the Tokyo Game Show on the 12th of October. I had been talking to Jun about a month ago, and although he told me to keep it all very hush hush, he said there would be a little surprise for those in attendance; that being a live performance of the new title track for the upcoming Wii title Sonic and the Black Knight, “Knight of the Wind”.

Johnny and Jun crash onto stage with an extra long opening version of “I am…All of Me”, before burning rubber into their version of “His World” (which we all know rocks the hardest, sorry Zebrahead). Other performed tracks include the “Sonic Heroes Theme”, “What I’m Made of” and of course, the obligatory “Live and Learn” theme from SA2. Continue reading Crush 40 Rock Tokyo Game Show

METALHOG! Meagdriver Unleash Yet More Sonic-Themed Metal!

Metal Up Your ASS

For those of us living on planet Metal, and who squealed with delight at the OC Remix Chaos Project’s renditions of tracks such as Malicious Fingers (a progressive metal cover of the Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles boss theme) and Live at the Sandopolis, there is more lead-lined tunes coming your way!

Megadriver, a Brazillian based Megadrive / Genesis tribute band (as if their name didn’t give it away) should be familliar to those on the Sonic music remix scene – a few years back they did a rather thrashy cover of the Green Hill Zone tune. There’s also a couple of nifty videos floating about on youtube of Nino, the band’s founder, and his rather awesome (and unique sounding) Megadrive Guitar! Continue reading METALHOG! Meagdriver Unleash Yet More Sonic-Themed Metal!

The Countdown To Sonic City Return Begins

Splish Splash Splosh

It has already been heavily hinted at, but it has been finally confirmed: Sonic City is set to return soon!

…and from what AAUK has said, it is set to be something a bit special. For starters, it appears that Mr. Eva has been taking notes and comments from everyone on suggestions and ideas that could potentially go into the website design; not surprising considering his “Omnipresence” throughout many forums and sites. It’s not too far fetched then to expect some big changes – including an expanded games archive, and the possibility of profiles on some of the older and more obscure characters from the Sonic Universe.

The Sonic City Website is already up to go and have a gander at, however at the moment it only exists as a splash page with a quote from Sonic, and the words “FINDING THE COMPUTER ROOM“.

To quote AAUK: “Things won’t be all up at first, we’ll start (unless matters change) with some basics and a GREATLY increased games archive; seriously you have no idea just how much more information is going to be added in.”

Lets hope there’s more Fang.

Official Sonic Chronicles Mini Game launched!

I can has chaoburger?

SEGA have released quite a snazzy little teaser flash game for all of you people who just can’t wait to get your grubby little mittens on a copy of Sonic Chronicles at the end of this month!

Apparently, Sonic is having visions of his up-and-coming adventure, and the idea of the minigame is for you to help make sense of these premonitions to see who Sonic will meet, what items he will need etc… Confused? Yeah, it confused the heck out of me; it’s got to be played to be understood!!!

First off you need an account on a social networking site such Windows Live, facebook, myspace (the rest are listed on the site). I’ve stuck it on my facebook account. From there you can play a number of different puzzle games, as well as point and click games, from which you collect points to go up Bronze, Silver and Gold rankings. There’s also a “Dark” rank – wonder what that’s for! A more comprehensive explaination is given on the site itself:

Official Sonic Chronicles Mini Game Site

As you go up ranks you’ll be rewarded with access to exclusive downloadable packs, which contain desktops, bebo and myspace skins, and instant messaging icons to show off to your mates. Not only that, there is a Chao Garden in which you can collect up to 20 different Chao, upon fulfilling specific criteria – such as having a friend grab the game from your social networking page!

A perfect solution for what looks to be a rainy weekend!

Sonic & the Black Knight Art Contest: Update

Right, it seems there’s been some crossed wires along the way as far as the Sonic and the Black Knight competition is concerned, but as per usual Mr. AAUK (or should that be Mr. AAUSA?) has been on to clue us in on some of the more hazey parts of the contest – it appears there is a bit of a delay with this news hitting the SEGA Blognik in his absence, and due to there having to be translations into several European languages.

  • First off, the competition WILL be open to the Europeans too; the competition rules are virtually identical to the US rules, so you can get cracking on your masterpieces immediately!
  • Austrailia is classed as part of SOE’s territory, so your Aussies can also feel free to enter.
  • Finally, the use of fan characters or non-Sonic Universe characters in the art is advised against, purely on the grounds they probably won’t be used.

It also turns out this is something that the Japanese branch of SEGA came up with, not their European counterparts! Maybe Japan have also finally realised getting the fans involved isn’t such a bad thing afterall…isn’t it?

Thanks again to AAUK for clearing this up.

Unleashed, De-Fanged

No Fang 4 U

After much hype and hearsay about the return of what some deem to be a cult character from the Sonic Universe, it looks like the Hatted Weasel/Wolf character, Fang the Sniper, WILL NOT be appearing in the up-and-coming multi-platform game Sonic Unleashed.

The SEGA Blognik, run and maintained by the ever present ArchAngelUK, made a post earlier afer enquiries had been made with SEGA’s brand manager in regards to the rumours about the return of Fang the Sniper: ” I asked the brand manager directly. The answer was “who’s he?” “.

So unfortunately kids, it looks like we aren’t going to see the return of Fang. Disappointed? Perhaps, perhaps not. On the positive side, the images released from Leipzig looks promising, so hopefully the lack of cork guns won’t ruin what looks to be a promising game.

I seem to have misplaced my DS…if anyone sees it, let me know.

Props to Mr. AAUK for the info!

Bird’s Eye View: Summer of Sonic 2008

YOSH!I remember back to October 2006, chilling out at Lee Rosey’s Tea Room in Nottingham after watching Richard Jacques and TJ Davis perform for the first time. I was conversing with my two new friends Kevin and Svend about the event; “We could do something like this” I remember one of them saying. The thought didn’t cross my mind that two years later I’d be setting up a mixer desk and sound system at 8:30am for the Summer of Sonic 2008 event in London, while having a quick chat with Richard Jacques about life in general, as he sifted through the selection of CDs I’d brought along to play.

To say the event was a success would be a massive understatement; it was a roaring torrent of win. Walking around the event after finishing up on my slot on the decks, my ears were treated to what I can only describe as a choral rendition of Live and Learn – everyone was singing along to the song as they explored the event, and it was beautiful!!! I couldn’t walk five steps without spotting a familiar face, or having someone stop me to introduce themselves, to put a face to a (screen) name. Nigel Kitching was trapped in his corner, surrounded by fans asking questions having cherished copies of Sonic the Comic signed. The room was filled with people of different colours, creeds and ages, some having travelled hundreds, even thousands of miles to be here, and all to celebrate their one mutual love…Sonic the Hedgehog.

Continue reading Bird’s Eye View: Summer of Sonic 2008

New Sonic Unleashed Teaser Trailer

AAUK has just given me a link to a new teaser trailer for Sonic Unleashed, which really does give us a heavy impression that the Sonic “Werehog” transformation will happen, and gives us the tag line “A New Adventure Awakens”.

We also find out that Werehog Sonic doesn’t like rings…
Thanks to AAUK for the heads up.

Sonic Officially Unleashed!

After weeks of hype and hearsay, SEGA finally confirm the existance of Sonic Unleashed which will be released almost universally on all major platforms: XBox 360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 AND PS2.

The game is set to use a new “Hedgehog engine” which will combine (as many have already seen) both 2D “classic” gameplay with rich new 3D environments. The aim of this is to amalgamate the new look of Sonic the Hedgehog with some older elements back from older Sonic titles. SEGA say “The Hedgehog engine will help re-define the gameplay experience for Sonic fans and newcomers to the franchise alike.” Continue reading Sonic Officially Unleashed!

More Sonic Plushes hitting UK stores!

For those of you who live in the UK and have been into GAME recently, you’ll have noticed you can pick up a Sonic and Tails Plush toy for the mere price of £9.99. Well, as advertised on the back of the box, the Knuckles Plushes are now available to buy, as I found out today while roaming Newcastle.

And here’s some guy with one… Continue reading More Sonic Plushes hitting UK stores!

Sonic City Competition – A Race to a Name!

It is finally time for you, the Sonic Fans of the world to have your say in the name of one of the alien species in the upcoming Nintendo DS title, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. The image of the Alien has finally been revealed, after a fortnight of only having a silhouette to tease us!

The top 10 names have been selected from a number of suggestions put forward different forums and communities, including members of TSS, SonicWrecks.com, SonicOnline.com and the Bioware forums themselves. Continue reading Sonic City Competition – A Race to a Name!

Classic Sonic the Hedgehog Figures coming soon!

It looks like the Classic range of Sonic goodies hitting the shelves will not be stopping anytime soon!
First 4 figures (the company that has produced the Assassin’s Creed Altair figurine and the incredibly detailed Link figurine from Ocarina of Time) have recently acquired the rights from Jetix to produce a series of vinyl figures based on the classic style of the Sonic the Hedgehog characters.

The first wave of figures will include Sonic the Hedgehog in a running pose, as well as a Tails and a Knuckles figurine. First 4 Figures hopes to preview these figurines at both the Nuremberg and New York toy fairs, with their release date currently being placed in July of this year.

Fans will no doubt be impressed that companies like First 4 Figures are now also catering for the Adult collectors market – I personally cannot wait to get my hands on a set!

Thanks be to M1k3.tayl0r of SCD for this info!

Crush 40 gets an Official Myspace

For those of you who have spent several years frustrated because you just can’t get updates on what the band Crush 40 are doing, rejoice! Crush 40 are the definitive Sonic Soundtrack band, who blasted their way into the Sonic Universe with incredible riffs and powerful vocals way back in the day on Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast.

The front men of the band, Johnny Gioeli (Vocals, most of the time!) and Jun Senoue (Guitarist extraodinare) have finally put together a Myspace page, on which you can go and listen to a selection of their tracks, look at pictures of the band, and even leave a message for them should you be signed up yourself! Continue reading Crush 40 gets an Official Myspace

More Sonic Merchandise for UK Fans!

UK Sonic Merchandise collectors rejoice! The UK videogames retailers GAME are now stocking a selection of Sonic the Hedgehog plush toys. Currently stores have stocks of Sonic and Tails plushes, but I was politely informed by a staff member that there will also be a Doctor Eggman and Knuckles plush available before the year is out. Continue reading More Sonic Merchandise for UK Fans!

Mario & Sonic London Launch Party – Friday 23rd November

For those living in and around London, and who have an afternoon to spare on Friday, you can head down to London’s West End to celebrate the launch of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics for the Nintendo Wii at the Oxford Street HMV.

The official British launch of the game will take place at 12:00pm noon, with festivities going on until around 3:00pm.

There is also an opportunity to see Radio 1 DJs Dick and Dom battle it out on the big screen, and no doubt get a snap of yourself with Sonic and Mario themselves. Try not to clothesline Mario though.

For anyone in Newcastle on Friday, the Northern M&S launch party is going down in my living room from 7:00pm onwards. Bring beer.

Sonic the Hedgehog Vocal Collection due out 2008

Good news for those of you who, like me, love your Sonic tunes!

It looks like we are set to see a compilation album due out early next year which will include a selection of the best vocal tracks from Sonic the hedgehog games, past and present.
Here’s what CD Japan have to say:

“Look back on fifteen years of “Sonic the Hedgehog” with the best vocal songs from each of the previously released “Sonic” games. Includes unreleased tracks, CD debuts, the latest remixes, and even bonus tracks from some of today’s hottest artists!”

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more exciting than a CD of unreleased material and remixes!

Keep your eyes on CD Japan for updates on album art, release dates and track listings!

Sonic Rush Adventure Confirmed!

Avast ye scurvy dogs!

Late this afternoon it was confirmed by both SEGA Europe and SEGA America, that development is now underway on a sequel to the Sonic Rush title, speculated a few weeks back on TSS. Sonic Rush Adventure is set to wash up on the shores in time for the Autumn this year.

Sonic will this time be pitted against a motley crew of Pirates, while fighting through 7 action-packed stages. Keeping in tradition of Sonic Rush, the game is pegged to “seemlessly Utilise” both of the DS screens once more. Not only that, but players will be able to assemble an Armada of ships to sail the seas, gathering rings, performing tricks and engaging in battles with other ships; all using the DS stylus control. Continue reading Sonic Rush Adventure Confirmed!