What did Sonic fans do before video streaming was widely available and accessible? Well, young whippersnapper, we didn’t have a ‘YouTube’ or a ‘lets play’ or ‘videos’ to keep us entertained. Oh no… We had to make our OWN entertainment!
What I’m talking about is Sonic’s flash-animation presence that was all the rage in the late 90s/early 00s. Before YouTube had even gone live, Sonic fans had been creating their own animations using Adobe’s flash, and then sharing them online via Newgrounds.com, or even embedded onto their own WebPages.
Whilst most of them are all still around, a lot of these fan works have since faded into obscurity. Let’s not forget that some of these animations are well over 10 years old!
Even today, I find that these fun little animations have a lot to them, and an element of interactivity in some cases that simply isn’t seen today. Their rough-around-the-edges appearances often serving to just add further to their charms.
There’s simply no room to visit absolutely every single flash hit that the community has made (honestly, there are dozens and dozens of them), so here’s a look at some of the ones that Team TSS remembers.
Sonic Vs. Mario (VGDC/Randy Solem 2001)
This flash is pretty much genesis (pffff) as far as Sonic in Flash is concerned. I don’t even remember when I first saw this sprite animation. All I remember is that it’s one of the first Sonic flashes I ever remember watching.
The premise is almost as old as the Sonic franchise itself: Sonic going head to head with Mario! Plenty of fight scenes, and even multiple endings feature in this early short.
Countless other Sonic Vs. Mario flashes exist, but this seems to be the one that is remembered by most people.
Sonic Uncut Trilogy (HyperactiveYouth/Overbite6014 2003-2004)
This was always a strange one to me. The Sonic gang… living together as housemates? Going on holidays? Going to eat at McDonalds? Tails nearly turning into a biker???
The concept is suitably absurd, but it’s probably best that you watch this weird slice-of-life series rather than have me try and explain it.
Sonic: Nazo Unleashed Trilogy (Chakra X 2006-2007)
Probably one of the more epic flash trilogies out there, this series of 3 films is an original story about ‘Nazo’, a non-canonical monster born from negative chaos energy, who is bent on destroying the planet and becoming the most powerful being in the universe.
Some great animation to be found in this series of 3, which borrows heavily from the Dragonball Z series. Even though YouTube had been established by this point and was still growing to its enormous state, I still remember waiting for each instalment of this series with a great sense of anticipation.
With an easy to follow story, some nice action and a brilliant finale, The ‘Nazo Unleashed’ trilogy is easily worth a watch.
Awesome the Hedgehog (Egoraptor 2006)
It would only be a matter of time before creator of the ‘Awesome’ series Egoraptor appeared onto the scene to awesome up the Sonic series.
If you know anything about Egoraptor’s Awesome series, you can probably guess what to expect.
If you want to see more from Egoraptor, I also recommend checking out Awesome Chaotix (2011)
Sonic Shorts Collection (TheWax70 2005)
I expect this one will be familiar to at least a few of you! This is a mini collection of 5 short scenarios featuring Sonic and Shadow. They’re short, to the point and oh-so-sweet (Fireworks is amazing).
This little collection helped to bring the now incredibly popular ‘Sonic Shorts’ series hosted by our good friends at Sonic Paradox to life, where they’ve continued to bring Sonic inspired flash lulz to the fan base for years.
…So you’re probably wondering what some of our own favorites were? Me and Brad take some time to reminisce about our personal favorites.
JonoD: As the author of this article, you’d expect me to remember more of the brilliant classic flashes that the whole fan base seemed to enjoy. There you’d be wrong. When it came to Flash animation, I always loved the strange, random and almost crude nature of some flashes. Two such favorites of mine include Sonic the Hedgehog in a Nutshell (Vaztor 2004) and When Sidekicks get Disturbing… (STT Webs 2003). Both of these flashes are rough, minimally animated, but are full of enough random and crazy stuff to keep me laughing.
You could call me a person of simple taste, but yeah… I think the raw nature of these flashes ultimately helps their humor, and I’ll happily take a movie like this if I’m looking for good, simple laughs.
Brad – growing up using Newgrounds, I used to watch a lot of flash animations – doing such, I’ve seen most of the animations listed above. The one that hooked me though featured our blue blur himself in the once popular Super Mario Bros. Z. A very exciting and action orientated series, this would lead me to preferring more “serious” sides of Flash animation. This would bring me two more flash series – Final Fantasy Sonic X, and Sonic RPG. I’m not sure how interactive they were, but their battle systems were pretty fun and the animation and overall quality got better with time. Though I’m pretty sure that none of these got finished, oops.
Aside from these which I stuck to and always checked for updates, there were obviously one offs and series which I loved. Sonic vs. Shadow, Not Another Sprite Fight, The Doomed Shadow Show, Sonic: The Quest for Power, Sonic VS Super Sonic and more. Most of these will be found in the Sonic Collection on Newgrounds if you want to look at some of these for yourself, and who knows – you might love them as much as I once did!
This list is in no way exhaustive, and we’re well aware that there are plenty more brilliant flash films out there, so what are some of your own favorites?