Sonic Adventure Music Event and more announced at the Sonic Appreciation Festival 2015

Sonic Appreciation Festival

As reported earlier, in Japan a Sonic fan event called the Sonic Appreciation Festival just took place and recently wrapped up. Special guests included series producer Takashi Iizuka, character artist and designer Yuji Uekawa, and composers Jun Senoue and Tomoya Ohtani. In the event, several announcements were made, while not of a new game, were still notable.

First and possibly most notable is the announcement of an upcoming concert called the Sonic Adventure Music Festival, which will be held on April 2nd, 2016 at the Future Seven venue in Japan.

Another announcement was that Jun Senoue is working on a new album called “The Works II”. This will be released on February 24th, 2016 in Japan.

A third announcement was that Sega will be holding another concert called the Symphony Sega Concert, which will be held on July 17th, 2016 in Japan also.

Finally on a minor note, it’s been reconfirmed that Sticks and the Deadly Six will be featured in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which is also reconfirmed to launch on 3DS again on February 18th, 2016 in Japan. The Arcade version was also shown off but no info has surfaced, if anything new was shared of that version in particular. And once again there was no word of the Wii U version.

TSSZ has rounded up lots of pictures from the event right here.

I wish to thank SSF1991 aka Donnie at TSSZ, Sonic News Channel and BlueParadox on twitter, and Woun on our own forum for rounding up and delivering the announcement on their respective sites.

Japanese Sonic Fan event to take place at JOYPOLIS, Tokyo

271215eventJapanese Sonic the Hedgehog fans will once again be treated to another Sonic fan event, due to take place at the SEGA JOYPOLIS theme park in Odaiba, Tokyo on Sunday, 27th of December, 2015.

The event, similar to those that have taken place at this venue in the past, will include appearances from Takashi Iizuka, Yuji Uekawa, Tomoya Ohtani and Jun Senoue, and a musical performance. For the first time, a cosplay contest will take place, which will require entrants to submit their photo applications prior to the event in order to be selected for the finals which will take place on stage at the event.

Are you going to Japan in December and are you planning on attending the event? Let us know in the comments!

Three New Sonic Rides Announced For Joypolis China

joypolis china

How many of you have heard of Joypolis? Joypolis has been somewhat of a must travel destination for many older Sonic and Sega fans, a huge indoor theme park full of Sonic and Sega related rides and attractions.

Well Sega have opened a new park, in China, and it has 3 new Sonic theme arcade games/rides.

The attractions are as follows.

Sonic Tropical Resort

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A ride based on the level from Sonic Colours, you sit in small cars decorated with wisps and fly in the air. You’ve probably seen similar rides like this at various fairs and theme parks.

Sonic Star Race

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Sonic star race is a ‘dodgems/Bumper Cars’ ride in which guests drive Sonic themed cars and dodge/bump into other guests.

And finally…

Sonic Adventure Jump

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Sonic Adventure Jump appears to be some kind of movie/cinematic experience, however the rough translation gives a most curious description…

Customers through the eyes of LED large screen showing a 3D image, with the lift operation.
So that passengers can enjoy in real life you can not experience the thrill of the Mercedes-Benz.

This to me sounds like you sit in those chairs, wear 3D glasses and go on an adventure as if you are actually Sonic? The chairs move depending on Sonic’s movements? If you’ve been on the Shrek 4D ride or the Terminator 2 3D ride you might have some idea as to what to expect.

So there you go, now you can stop asking for a new Sonic Adventure game, there it is.

All of these attractions are at the moment exclusive to Joypolis China.

Sonic Runners Merchandise Coming to Joypolis

sonic runners merchWell Sega must be pretty happy with how Sonic Runners is doing if this pic is to be believed. Later this month, Joypolis will be hosting a Sonic themed birthday party for Sonic’s 24th birthday, in a post on the Sega’s Joypolis website, there are what appear to be new Sonic Runners themed merchandise.

To launch at the event & to be given away as gifts to attendees, there will be new Sonic Runners themed ‘clear files’ (folders), and a Sonic Runners drinking flask.

Odds are these will never be seen outside of Joypolis, however, the fact they have been commissioned says that Sega definitely view Sonic Runners as being a success even though it’s still in a Soft Launch testing window period.

Source: Joypolis

A Day Out at SONIC FEST 2014

In June I had an opportunity to complete the set of SEGA-affiliated fan events and attend SONIC FEST 2014, SEGA of Japan’s answer to Sonic Boom and Summer of Sonic at SEGA’s Tokyo theme park, JOYPOLIS. SONICFEST this year was also a celebration of Sonic’s golden birthday (the birthday for which the age in years matches the date of the month of birth) which is a big deal in eastern culture. Although I’ve had a lot of contact with fans based in the Europe and the US, I’ve not spoken to many Japanese fans; whether this is because there are fewer of them or because there is a language barrier, I was unsure. Suffice to say we arrived at the gates of JOYPOLIS on Daiba island, unsure what to expect in regards to both the order of the day and turnout.

Queue for Sonic Fest 2014I was pleased to see Japanese Sonic fans are just as enthusiastic as the rest! By the time we had arrived (about 45 minutes before doors opened), the queue was already down the boardwalk, heaving with fans dressed for the occasion, excitedly talking and greeting each other as the queue built. The first 200 fans through the door were given special individually numbered tickets, which allowed them access to the “golden circle” for the main stage event at SONICFEST (other fans could watch but from further back from the stage).

The park itself was open as usual on the day, albeit dressed a little more Sonic-themed than usual. In addition to these extras, the park recently underwent a large refurbishment, removing a lot of the old and outdated features and replacing them with attractions more akin to Sonic’s more modern appearance. A large portion of the first floor in the park is now an area known as the “Sonic Carnival”, an area dedicated to Sonic-centric games, as well as a very impressive Sonic statue, who exclaims various statements (in Japanese) when activated; fittingly, Sonic had been adorned in a crown and fur coat for the day. Several of the games are typical fairground affairs in which the most skilled players are rewarded for their efforts in the form of a lovely Sonic plush.

Sonic statue dressed up!Amongst the standard affair are three unique Sonic games. Sonic Athletics sees players take to treadmills, in order to compete in three track events including sprints, long jumps and hurdles. The players physically run on the treadmill, with the forward pressure applied dictating the velocity of the chosen character. Conversely, Sonic Brain Training requires competitors to flex their grey matter through a series of five of a possible ten games, involving memory, mathematics, fast reflexes and a keen understanding of Japanese! Players stand at podiums containing touch screens, and compete to score the highest each round. Those scoring above 1,000,000 were rewarded with a keepsake card to mark your achievement, with those exceeding 1,200,000 earning a special card (the latter being just out of the reaches of my abilities!). Children can also enjoy the Sonic Ghost Shooting game, where a small cart takes players around a small track while blasting Sonic Adventure 2 era ghosts with a gun.

JOYPOLIS storeFor the seasoned merchandise hunter, JOYPOLIS is heaven. The gift shop is filled with a huge range of current, generally available items, as well as a lot of exclusive pieces which can only be purchased at JOYPOLIS. More excitingly, the UFO machines had been especially stocked for one day only with the entire range of seasonal Sonic plushes, which included Surf Board and Water Melon Sonic (Summer exclusive), Halloween Vampire Sonic (Fall exclusive) and Santa Sonic (Winter exclusive). While some were easily obtained by unhooking a ring holding the plush in the catcher machine, others required you to destroy a load-bearing paper tie with a needle-like UFO arm – One Japanese fan pumped thousands of yen into a machine in order to obtain their prize!

For those feeling a little peckish, a special drink and chilidog combo was available, which came with a sticker to prove you’d devoured the foot-long. A limited edition range of sweets were on offer, including a special branded E-MA capsule which contained little cherry candies.

Iizuka-san introduces the main eventThe main event of the day was a 90 minute show on the main stage, hosted by a gentleman in a SEGA boiler suit [EDIT: The guy is called Sexy Saito! Good to know! Thanks to Shane for the info – T]. He was soon joined on stage by Takashi Iizuka, who introduced the trailer for Sonic Boom (branded as “Sonic Toon” for the eastern market), after which gameplay was demonstrated by Iizuka-san himself, Jun Senoue played a selection of Sonic songs accompanied by Sonic himself with fans accompanying by singing along. AiAi from Super Monkey ball made his presence known for the blowing out of the candles of Sonic’s birthday cake.

Iizuka-san then issued a challenge to the audience for three competitors to go head-to-head against at Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed, with participants receiving a goodie bag of Sonic goods. Amusingly, none of the challengers has the skill to beat Iizuka-san, who came in first in the race!

Posing for photos

Uekawa-san on stageYuji Uekawa, best known for his signature Sonic the hedgehog designs that have graced the franchise since the days of Sonic Adventure, also made a rare stage appearance at SONICFEST to talk to the fans during the show. Soon after, a raffle also took place on stage, with the numbers of the 200 golden circle audiences being drawn at random to receive a special prize. After several of these prizes had been amusingly “modeled” by Senoue-san, we were ecstatic to realise that one of our number had been drawn (The winner being Lewis from Segadriven)! Not only that, Uekawa-san also presented three hand-drawn original Sonic sketches, which were also given away to three lucky winners (unfortunately my number was not picked!)

After advertisements for several SEGA games, the stage events concluded, and fans were invited to a meet and greet session with Iizuka-san, Senoue-san and Uekawa-san, with an impressive range of rare Sonic items being brought out by fans for signing (Kieran also got an opportunity to present Uekawa-san with a hand drawn gift). Post-signing session, I had an opportunity to talk to some Japanese fans and take some photos; some of the hand-made items were incredible, and it was obvious to see that a lot of them were extremely passionate about Sonic. More impressively, we saw an attendee wearing a Summer of Sonic shirt! We also got to meet Act, one of the drummers from Crush 40’s live shows, who was also in attendance for the day.

IMG_2899SONIC FEST was a fantastic day out, and it is great to see that community events like this have also caught on in the east. Hopefully SONIC FEST will be a reoccurring event, and I implore you to go if you’re in Tokyo next year! JOYPOLIS is open all year round, with admission starting from ¥800 ($8 / £5) – you can find more information about the park on the English JOYPOLIS page.

Us at Sonic Fest!

 

TSS Review: Sonic X Hello Kitty Plush

I am going to make your room explode with cuteness!

It’s that time of year again Blue Believers, when our wallets tremble as the stores start getting filled with all manner of new toys and products that have been teased to us all year long. So here at TSS, we’ve decided to try and review as many Sonic related products as we can to make your wallets life a bit easier, or harder if everything ends up being awesome! To start with, we’re going to look at a product which has been out for over a month, but had quite the reaction when it was announced. The Sonic X Hello Kitty plush!

Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic X Hello Kitty Plush

SEGA JOYPOLIS NANO Opens During JOYPOLIS Theme Park Refurbishment

With the closure of the Odaiba-based SEGA JOYPOLIS last month, many fans making a pilgrimage to Tokyo might be feel a pang of disappointment in that they won’t be able to visit what was the last remaining bastion of SEGA theme parks.

Continue reading SEGA JOYPOLIS NANO Opens During JOYPOLIS Theme Park Refurbishment

T-Bird’s virtual tour of SEGA JOYPOLIS in Tokyo, Japan

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOLmK-pV6XQ[/youtube]

Greetings from the land of the Rising Sun, TSS! I’m currently over in Tokyo on business, but in between the conferences, work, and copious quantities of sushi, I’ve found some spare time to do some exploring, and like all good merch hunters, I made SEGA JOYPOLIS in Odaiba Tokyo one of the prime places I needed to visit!

Within the halls of the Aqua City Mall lies SEGA Joypolis,  probably the last bastion of SEGA’s hayday in the 90’s. The walls are covered with the signatures of the famous actors and artists who have made a visit to the park over the many years since it’s opening. There’s even the odd advert, picture or fixture that remains, and you can see throughout the park if you look hard enough. Over the years the park has evolved, as has SEGA, with their shift from a market dominating company through to a software developer. Unlike the Trocadero in London though, the park seems to have survived through the hardships and remains a bustling hive of activity and a popular destination for families (and couples on dates!).

As well as the bristling shop full of Sonic plushes and the COSPA line Sonic and SEGA paraphanalia, there’s a whole host of UFO catchers stuffed with Draemon, Disney and other goodies…and unlike UK UFO catchers, these actually let you win occassionally! Upstairs on the second level are the ball games, and this year (to my utter delight) you could pick yourself up a Sonic Mobile plush…which I did after only 600 yen worth of tries. You can also exchange your real money for SEGA Tokens emblazened with Sonic’s face…and so I had to keep a few in my pocket for posterity.

What I didn’t know Was that Night of the Werehog has had a 3D makeover for Joypolis viewing. For a mere 600 yen (about £4/$8) you can sit in on a state-of-the-art showing of the animation that came out just after the release of Unleashed year before last. Some might argue that is quite a steep price to watch a 10 minute short (although the added annoyance is the poor exchange rate), however I am personally overjoyed this little piece of awesome is getting general acclaim in Japan.

The top two floors of Joypolis include a plethora of sit-in rides (including a Prison Break themed-ride) and a line of really, really retro stuff, including some Typing of the Dead cabinets which I think you can actually play for free. These are also complimented by the usual bandit machines and obligatory gambling that seems to prevolent in Japan. Unfortunately the restuarant level called “Joypolis Decks” does not include any Sonic themed food. Disappointing.

The one thing you can be sure of at Joypolis is that if you win something, they will make a fuss, and will insist you take many photos to mark the ocassion! If you’re in and about Tokyo, I think that the 620 yen train ticket and the 500 yen entrance fee is small price to pay to come and check out this place!

  

Konnichiwa! We’re Back!

joypolisWell, I’ve spent a good two weeks in Tokyo with a bunch of close pals (including T-Bird, who came home with a truckload of Sonic merch – check out his latest article here) and had a real blast. Again, it seems Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t quite at the forefront of gamer’s minds in Japan as he is in the West – it makes for a bit of a strange culture shock. We’ve had many funny looks from otherwise courteous Japanese store assistants every time we asked for some ‘Sonikku za Hejihoggu’ merchandise. I guess they’re more into their Pokemon and Dragon Quests there.

Either way, it’s good to be back in Blighty, and my first port of call is to grace TSS’ guest editor, Paul Street, with a huge chunk of special thanks as he rode the site through an awesome Mario and Sonic exclusive for you, as well as keeping you up to date on the latest blue blur happenings. Many thanks to the rest of the TSS team as well as they kept about their business and filled in the blanks for me. You guys are great!

I’m spending the week re-couperating from the holiday so to speak – friends to meet, timezones to adjust to, work to catch up on – but I’ll be whipping up a few more TSS skins for you guys, rebuilding the SEGASonic Radio website and working on a few new pages in the Music Zone as well as working hard on an information page for a few games.

I’ll write in detail my Tokyo journey at a later date. For now, it’s a ‘hello again’ and a business as usual sign. A little reminder by the way that the Xbox 360 competition is now CLOSED and I will be showcasing all the entries (and picking a winner) in a few days time.

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!

SEGA to open Theme Parks in the Middle East

SEGA announced earlier today that there were to be releasing a series of new Theme Park Arcades in Emaar shopping malls across the Middle East.

The first Arcade is set for opening in the Dubai Mall, featuring such attractions as roller-coasters, simulators and arcade machines.

SEGAs CEO Hajime Satomi said, “Entertainment is about living dreams, it is about experiencing joy and culture. In joining with a company of Emaar’s stature and power, we hope to convey the pleasure and excitement inspired by great entertainment to people all over the world.”

The Theme Park Arcade is set for release later this year, and there has currently been no mention of a UK or US consideration.

Stay tuned to Sonic News for more info!

And thanks to Pur-Rulz for finding the info on her Wii news channel!

Sonic Game Party 2002 in Japan

Sega has announced plans for a Sonic Game Party 2002 in Japan. Scheduled for August 4, the event will offer Sonic game tournaments, raffles and more for younger players… Sonic Game Party 2002 will be held at locations across Japan including Sega World (Shindo), Sega Arena (Toyohashi), Sega World (Kasai), and Okayama Joypolis amongst others.