The Sonic Spinball Ride At Alton Towers Has Closed

It’s the end of an era. It’s been there for 6 years but it seems that the Sonic Spinball ride at Alton Towers has had it’s last ride.

According to information posted Alton Towers’ ride times website, Sonic Spinball isn’t there, but Spinball Whizzer is. If you don’t know, Spinball Whizzer was the original name of the ride before it was re-themed to Sonic Spinball. Continue reading The Sonic Spinball Ride At Alton Towers Has Closed

Sonic Spinball Ride To Close For Safety Enhancements

Sonic at Sonic Spinball ride

Last Tuesday, there was a terrible crash at the Alton Towers theme Park in which 4 people were seriously injured on the Smiler roller-coaster, which resulting in Alton Towers being closed until the Health & Safety Executive and Alton Towers could conduct a full investigation.

Following the accident, the park owners (Merlin Entertainments) announced that they would be upgrading several rides across several different theme parks with additional safety features and standards. Some of these features were put into place instantly, some however required rides to be closed until additional safety features could be put into place. The specifics of these were not given, however they did say that the majority were software upgrades on pre-existing systems.

Today Alton Towers has announced that the park will reopen on Monday, however the Smiler and the entire section of park which it’s found in will remain closed to the public.

You’re probably thinking, what does this have to do with Sonic?

Well, Alton Towers has the Sonic Spinball ride, despite not being in the same section of park as the Smiler, it too will be closed on Monday for an unknown period of time until “Enhanced Safety Protocols have been implemented.”

Now before people react in an alarmist manner, Sonic Spinball is a safe ride which meets all safety standards, it’s just that Merlin Entertainments has been looking at all it’s rides and carrying out upgrades and enhancements on similar rides in response to Tuesdays terrible accident. Heck I went on it last year and I had a blast, I’ll probably go on it again when I go back later this year, it’s a fun ride.

However, as a response to the accident, Sonic Spinball will be closed for an undisclosed period of time until the upgrades can be fully implemented. So if you were planning on going soon since it’s near the end of school/college/university term to specifically go on the Sonic Spinball ride, you might want to change your dates.

For more information on how to do that, you’re best contacting Alton Towers directly who have been refunding/changing ticket dates for people.

Source: Alton Towers

S&SASR Fever Hits Pizza Hut UK

SSMB member Doctor MK recently stopped by his local Pizza Hut restaurant with some friends to celebrate his fantastic A-level exam results and was surprised to find the fast food chain is now promoting SEGA’s kart racing title, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.

You can now grab a Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing themed activity book that contains puzzles and character bios, as well as a Sonic hat that you can colour in yourself. This promotion was confirmed at various other Pizza Hut restaurants by other SSMB members, including Mahzes who found an activity book with a different cover and contents. This suggests there may be a variety of these that may change from week to week, like with most kids meal promotions at fast food restaurants. The activity books also contain a competition you can enter to win a weekend stay in the Sonic themed hotel room at Alton Towers Resort and other runner-up prizes.

Will you be picking up the activity books and hat? Have you seen different books at your local Pizza Hut? Speak out in the comments.

To find your nearest Pizza Hut and to see their menu, check out their website.

Thanks to Doctor MK at the SSMB for the find and thanks to both Doctor MK and Mahzes for the pics!

High Quality Clips of Roger’s Sonic Voice Now Available

Many of you remember that Sonic the Hedgehog got a new voice actor in Roger Craig Smith back in July.  Roger revealed later that the Sonic voice actor for Alton Towers Resort was him. A lot of people out there weren’t too keen on the new voice, claiming that it’s too deep and too slow, but this was predicted to be the fault of editing work on the clips for the resort. Today, we can prove that the clips were indeed edited with the original high quality voice clips released by ArchangelUK on his Radio Redux shows, which you’ll notice are higher in pitch and a little faster than than those played at Alton Towers.

Folks over at the SSMB, Sonic Retro and SEGA Forums have had a good listen to the clips.  So far, feedback is pretty good with most noting a significant improvement compared to past recordings. What do you guys think of the clips? Speak out in the comments.

Thanks to ArchangelUK for playing these and to Hero of Legend at the SSMB for getting a hold of them.

Alton Towers’ Sonic Voice Actor IS Roger Craig Smith

Since landing his new role as Sonic the Hedgehog’s voice actor, there has been a lot of speculation about how Roger Craig Smith will portray the character.  Some people have been wondering if the unknown Sonic voice actor at Alton Towers Resort in the UK is Roger and today he has confirmed that it is indeed his voice.

SSMB member XD375 (who you may remember tipped us off about Jason Griffith not playing Sonic in Sonic Colours before a change in voice actors was officially announced) sent the below message to Roger via Facebook together with an Alton Towers Sonic voice clip –

I sent you a message before but I didn’t include the actual clip:

Is this your voice?

Thank you,
Shane


Roger simply replied –

Yes!


Screengrab

So, there you have it folks.  Roger Craig Smith is Sonic’s Alton Towers voice actor. Some fans have felt the voice acting for Alton Towers is a bit over the top to fit the happy and excitable theme park setting.  If that’s the case, we have to wonder if Roger will portray Sonic differently in the games.

Those who haven’t heard the Sonic voice clips at Alton Towers can check them out in the below YouTube video (at 01:33) from SSMB member Gnasher –
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4AkTTXBTFU&feature=related[/youtube]

Another voice clip can be heard in a Sonic Spinball ride promotion at the end of this Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing TV ad.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR2ojIJvjjI[/youtube]
(Thanks to Gnasher for the link and thanks to Hero of Legend for the YouTube conversion)

Do you think Roger’s Alton Towers Sonic voice should be in the games or would you like him to change the voice for them? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to XD375 at the SSMB for the heads up!

T-Bird’s Tour of the Sonic the Hedgehog Room at Alton Towers

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNGjSSJWgq0[/youtube]

Well, I’ve just spent a weekend at the Alton Towers theme park in Shropshire, UK. As well as sighting Jonathan Ross, skipping past the rest of the crowd and getting into the park before the rest of the public, and riding Nemesis 5 times in half an hour (no queue! Insane!), I was there, in true T-Bird style, for the Sonic experience. I was lucky enough to be the first member of the general public to book into the Sonic the Hedgehog Room (which Dreadknux got to stay in a month ago for nothing…lucky badnik he is!) and once I’d stopped running around the room screaming like a child, I recorded a little video tour of the room – enjoy!

Also it seems like my UFO plush machine luck has taken a full turn, as I’ve come back with quite a handful without having to sell any kidneys for money! All the hats, keyrings etc are available from the Alton Towers gift shop.

Alton Towers & The Sonic Suite

As you may have already read, I was the first person to sleep in the brand-new Sonic the Hedgehog themed hotel Suite at UK leisure resort, Alton Towers. My stay was earned by winning a quiz on the coach to the theme park on Friday; a coach that contained a bunch of community luminaries, bloggers and press (with myself in the unique position of both press and community). Except T-Bird, who is still in Japan. I missed his hat.

The special trip to Alton Towers was arranged by Sega, to celebrate the opening of the new Sonic Spinball rollercoaster (and of course, the Sonic Suite). After a three-hour coach journey, we all huddled around the ride entrance where Sega representatives and ‘Sonic’ officially cut the celebratory ribbon. We were then free to stumble in curiosity towards the rollercoaster itself. It was the day before Alton Towers opened for the new season, and so we were the very first people to try this attraction out.

Sonic Spinball may well be an older ride with a new lick of paint, but the nature of the rollercoaster seemed like a perfect fit for the blue blur. Four-seater pods periodically pass through the track, which start rotating as the ride begins and you turn the first corner. Then you meet the initial climb upwards, which was really quite fast, giving you barely any time to soak in the impending drops, twists and turns that lie ahead.

The following events involve high-speed belting around tight corners, V-shaped curves which force you to face the drop as you go down, and a zig-zag of highs and lows sporting a camera at the end. In the free hour given, we must have jumped on the ride six or seven times each, with free unlimited photo prints to keep those high-octane memories forever. To the side of the photo booth were two UFO catchers with Sonic plushies up for grabs – so our time was adequately split between riding the Spinball and attempting to win a Tails doll.

It had to end at some point though, so we all caught a coach back to the hotel where we all stayed; as everyone else took a tour of the special Sonic Suite, I was at reception signing out all of the gear that goes in it – two PS3 controllers, two Xbox 360 controllers, two Wii Remotes, one Wii Nunchuk and a bunch of Sonic games. These included Sonic Unleashed (PS3), Sega Superstars Tennis (360), Sonic 06 (PS3), Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii), Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Wii) and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Wii).

Once everybody else had taken their Sonic Suite tour and saved all their photos, it was mine and Jemnezmy’s turn to step in and soak in the room that we would be sleeping for the night. And despite it’s rather pokey size, it’s a rather impressive room for the big-time Sonic fan. Opening the door activates a sound clip that welcomes you to the room – ‘Sonic’ (in a rather trying American accent) introduces the Suite with different phrases each time the front door is opened, including “Hey-Hey! Have you tried Sonic Spinball yet?” and “Watch out for Dr. Eggman! Let’s Go!” alongside boost and spring sound effects.

The wallpaper is a colourful print which takes its design from the recent Sonic the Hedgehog 4 trailer, although there are new elements that you have probably noticed already. Extra platforms, springs and Sonic 2-esque dash pads all feature on the Sonic Suite walls, but none of them look like in-game segments of the game – rather like higher-quality images that have been imposed on top of the landscape seen in the three-second gameplay clip.

The widescreen TV is pretty snazzy, alongside the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles that are all hooked up to the unit. A drawer underneath the consoles reveals a couple of Sonic plushies, chocolate coins and a Priority Pass for up to 6 people to ride on Sonic Spinball. Yes, we totally cleaned that drawer out.

Awesome Sonic references are everywhere in this room. The lampshades are Chaos Emeralds, the bed’s headboard is a giant ring, and there’s the most awesome palm tree in the corner that I tried to steal the next day. People would have probably noticed it under my arm, though.

Other festivities that took place outside of the Sonic room included dinner in Alton Towers’ beach resort room (complete with steel drum band and playtests of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing), an open bar until 2am, giant Connect 4, and a day’s VIP pass at the theme park on Saturday. It was truly a delicious day, and I met several people who attended Summer of Sonic last year who came especially to ride Sonic Spinball. No doubt they all had as much of an awesome time as I did on the ride.

Head to the Alton Towers website to find out more about the theme park and Sonic Spinball ride, and to learn more about booking the Sonic Suite for yourself. You’ll have an awesome time, trust me. Gallery of all images below, go take a look.

Sunday Poll: The Suite Life with Sonic

You’ve seen the pictures from Dread’s first stay at the Sonic Suite at Alton Towers.  From what you’ve seen and heard about the room, how badly do you want to stay in it?

  1. Oh so badly: I need to have my honeymoon here.
  2. Badly: I need to stay here before I croak.
  3. All right: I won’t lose sleep over not staying there, but it’d be a nice treat to go.
  4. Not really: It is really expensive and I’m not that interested
  5. NO.  Can you say “chick deflector?”
  6. I have no damn money and I don’t live in England.  FML.

SPOnG Exclusive: Photos of the Sonic Suite at Alton Towers

Dreadknux, the founder of TSS, is also a games journalist, writing for SPOnG.com. Because of this, he was able to visit Alton Towers and earn the distinction of being the very first person to sleep in the Sonic Suite. He has written his impressions of both the Sonic Spinball ride and the £300-a-night hotel room at Sonic Spinball Opens At Alton Towers – Pix! on SPOnG.com. The picture above is from the article – click to see the rest of them.

Note the wall decor… it’s more Sonic 4 art!  Looks like speed boosters are returning.  For those of you rabid for more Sonic 4 media, wallpaper is a rather odd place to find it, yeah?

The room isn’t the only Sonic-related happening at the theme park.  The rollercoaster, Sonic’s Spinball, is opening this weekend as well.

Alton Towers Reveal First Info About Sonic Hotel Room

Alton Towers have revealed the above mock-up of the Sonic themed room launching alongside the Sonic Spinball ride at their hotel this weekend with a brief summary on their website of what it features.

Spin into the universe of Sonic The Hedgehog in his amazing new themed room. Stay in the famous game level of Green Hill Zone, practise your video gaming skills in the dedicated gaming area with Sonic game library, hunt for the Chaos Emeralds and test Sonic facts!

SSMB member Casanova has been in contact with Alton Towers regarding the room and managed to grab the following info from their customer service team –
– The room number is 312
– Prices start at around £300-£350 per night! And that doesn’t include breakfast/dinner/park tickets.
– Console/s to play the Sonic game library on have not been decided yet.
– There is no virtual tour on the site because the room is not finished yet.

Thanks to Casanova at the SSMB for the heads up.

Will you be booking some time at the Sonic room? Let us know in the comments.

It’s 100% Official: SEGA Becomes Exclusive Video Game Partner of Alton Towers

You may recall us exclusively reporting on an Alton Tower’s ride getting a Sonic the Hedgehog rebranding for launch in February, well now it’s official with the following SEGA Europe press release and photo’s-

LONDON (TBC January, 2010) – SEGA® Europe Ltd today announced an exciting three year partnership with Alton Towers Resort, the most popular theme park in the UK. The deal, which gives SEGA the exclusive videogame rights at the resort, also marks the first time a videogame character has been given their own ‘Ride and Stay’ experience at the popular UK attraction.

The sponsorship will encompass the launch of a Sonic The Hedgehog branded rollercoaster and Sonic The Hedgehog themed room at the Alton Towers Hotel. The Sonic hotel room allows guests to live, sleep and even play the latest games from the Sonic franchise in a room dedicated to the famous Sonic videogame universe. The rollercoaster, entitled Sonic Spinball, and the Sonic hotel room will open to the public on 13th February 2010.

“We are delighted to be working with Merlin Entertainments and Alton Towers Resort” commented Amanda Farr, SEGA Europe UK Marketing Director. “Partnering Sonic with one of the UK’s most popular destinations for a family day out is a fantastic opportunity for people to engage, and have fun, with the Sonic brand. I’ll certainly be there at the launch of the rollercoaster to have my turn!”

Morwenna Angove, Sales and Marketing Director at the Alton Towers Resort, said: “It’s a great joint venture between the Alton Towers Resort and SEGA. The affiliation of both brands will add to the great family offering at the Resort for kids seeking fabulous family fun and adrenalin addicted adults”.

Sonic The Hedgehog has starred in a number of videogames since his first appearance on the SEGA Mega Drive back in 1991, his next videogame outing will be Sonic and SEGA All-stars Racing, launching Feb 26th 2010.

Source: GamesPress via GoNintendo

Exclusive: Sonic Rollercoaster Coming to Alton Towers in February

For UK theme park enthusiasts and Sonic fans, we have some exclusive news coming our way from tipster Jon D.  A UK theme park, Alton Towers, will be re-branding one of their roller coasters for 2010, the “Spinball Whizzer,” as “Sonic’s Spinball.”  Jon cites that a fan e-mailed the park after hearing murmurs about the change and received the following response:

Dear ….

Happy New Year

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you but I have been on holiday. I am sure that you will have picked up press reports by now relating to Spinball Whizzer and the fact that we are in partnership with Sega resulting in a retheme to the ride to coincide with the relaunch of Sonic. We hope that the retheme will be complete for our February half-term opening.

Kind regards

The “Spinball Whizzer” is known as a “spinning wild mouse” coaster, which cars rotate freely as the car moves along the track.  There is pinball bumpers and flippers everywhere to simulate the choatic nature of being inside a pinball ta… wait… what was that?  Let’s re-read that e-mail…

a retheme to the ride to coincide with the relaunch of Sonic

Uh… what?!  The relaunch of Sonic?  That’s… a very interesting thing to say…

Anyway, Jon has also included a picture of the ride being converted to its new Sonic theme.  The teal color of the “Whizzer” is being replaced with a vibrant, Sonic blue:

To see a video of the “Spinball Whizzer” in action, click here.

Wrapping up his e-mail, Jon also includes a bit of trivia for all of you.  Did you know that this isn’t the first time that Alton Towers and SEGA have teamed up?  Back in 1994, Alton Towers opened “Toyland Tours” and Sonic had his own section of the ride.  It featured a giant Mega Drive, gold rings, TVs playing videos of Sonic games, and an animatronic Sonic.  Plus, it even had its own amazing music! Will the animatronic Sonic make a comeback with “Sonic’s Spinball?”  We shall see. 

Check out the video below at the 3-minute mark to see Sonic in “Toyland Tours.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnesUebUovk[/youtube]

[Found at TowersTimes forums]