Sound Test Saturday: Spooky Scary Mystic Mansion

Isn’t this that time of year where you put on a costume and threaten to prank strangers if they don’t give you candy? You know, New Year’s!

Boom jokes aside, the season of Halloween is indeed upon us, and for tonight’s Sound Test Saturday, we’re putting the remix spotlight on one of the more haunted locales of the entire Sonic series: Mystic Mansion from Sonic Heroes. Naofumi Hataya and Jun Senoue masterfully set the tone for the teams’ respective treks through the eerie manor, crawling with evil spirits and spooky scary skeletons around every corner. Continue reading Sound Test Saturday: Spooky Scary Mystic Mansion

ESP×SONIC SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 25th Anniversary & SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG 15th Anniversary Guitars Announced

Guitar aficionados rejoice, as Japanese guitar producers ESP announce a brand new range of Sonic the Hedgehog themed guitars! The designs, SONIC-II and SHADOW-II are both based on the signature guitar played by Crush 40 and Sonic Team guitarist and composer Jun Senoue, which have been used at a number of performances around the world. Continue reading ESP×SONIC SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 25th Anniversary & SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG 15th Anniversary Guitars Announced

TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure Music Experience 2016, Tokyo

A large proportion of the fan base to this day cite the Sonic Adventure series as being the pinnacle of the Sonic the Hedgehog gaming experience; on the most part, the games were their first jaunt into the Sonic Universe, and have defined what they come to expect from titles to this day. Being one of the more senior fans, Sonic Adventure was an exciting revival of my favourite video game franchise, after several years of stagnation and the glory days of the Megadrive now a distant echo. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Adventure Music Experience 2016, Tokyo

UPDATE: Johnny Gioeli Hints at Possible Crush 40 Involvement In 25th Anniversary Title

SOS022

UPDATE: Following the publication of the article, the post on the Facebook Page has since been removed.

Original Story: It probably isn’t far-fetched to guess that SEGA have a Sonic the hedgehog title lined up for the 25th Anniversary this year, however Crush 40 lead singer Johnny Gioeli has given a very strong indication that one is in the pipe line…and that Crush 40 could potentially contribute material to it.

Via a Q&A on the Official Johnny Gioeli Facebook Page today, Gioeli gave the following response to a question regarding new Crush 40 material in the works:

When will there be news about the Crush 40 album?
~We are planning a few performances for 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of Sonic. We “might” participate in writing new songs for the anniversary game…stay tuned…

Although some caution should be exercised with the key word in this response is “might”, the fan anticipation for a new Sonic game announcement will no doubt be further escalated, irregardless of game or new Crush 40 songs.

Stay tuned for more 25th anniversary announcements!

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!

New Crush 40 album in the works for 2016

4563CRUSH40 fans who follow the official Johnny Gioeli facebook page will have noticed a recent surge in activity as Mr. Gioeli has become more involved its running.

During a recent Q&A post, Johnny hinted that a new Crush40 album is being worked on, and is due for launch next year. The album will be the band’s second studio album (and the first in over a decade), and would follow the band’s recent success through the release of two live albums, a “best of” and an EP in 2012.

In the wake of several live shows in the US, Japan, and Mexico, Johnny alluded to potential live shows in 2016. Although it is currently unclear as to whether or not any of the tracks featured on the new album will be connected to future Sonic the Hedgehog titles, it has lead many to speculate as to the correlation of the album release with the 25th anniversary celebrations.

Stay tuned for more information as it comes to light!

“Passion & Pride” and “It Doesn’t Matter” Remix now on UK iTunes

Making love to that guitar

Sonic music lovers, get ready to rock! As we reported not long ago, a brand new album titled “Passion & Pride: Anthems with Attitude” featuring a collection of music from the Sonic Adventure era was set for release in Japan – but now it’s made its way across the waters (or rather, across the internet) to the rest of the world too!

That’s right, if you’re happy to forgo a physical disc and avoid all the hassle of pre-ordering from Japan, you can now download yourself a copy of this new compilation from iTunes. The album is split into two separate volumes – Vox Collection and Instrumental Collection – which cost £7.99 apiece, or 79p for individual tracks if you don’t want the lot. The track listing for these albums is as follows:

Vox Collection

  1. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure)
  2. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure)
  3. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure)
  4. My Sweet Passion
  5. Lazy Days -Livin’ in Paradise-
  6. Theme of Dr. Eggman
  7. Theme of E-102 Gamma
  8. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure 2)
  9. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure 2)
  10. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure 2)
  11. Throw It All Away
  12. E.G.G.M.A.N.
  13. Fly in the Freedom

Instrumental Collection

  1. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure)
  2. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure)
  3. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure)
  4. My Sweet Passion
  5. Lazy Days -Livin’ in Paradise-
  6. It Doesn’t Matter (Sonic Adventure 2)
  7. Believe in Myself (Sonic Adventure 2)
  8. Unknown from M.E. (Sonic Adventure 2)
  9. Throw It All Away
  10. E.G.G.M.A.N.
  11. Fly in the Freedom

Now, eagle eyed readers will notice that one track, the much anticipated “It Doesn’t Matter” 2014 remix from Tony Harnell and Jun Senoue – arguably the biggest draw of the entire album – is missing from these digital releases. Well, fear not! You can download the remix on iTunes as well – it’s just listed as its own individual single (priced at 99p) rather than being bundled in with either of the albums. A strange decision, but at least we still get it!

Click on the handy album covers below to take you straight to the UK iTunes links:

passion_A.170x170-75passion_B.170x170-75passion_C.170x170-75

 

Happy listening! Time to rock and roll! If you’re planning on downloading any of the music, let us know in the comments!

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!

 

Johnny Gioeli Interview: New Crush 40 Material Lined Up for 2014

Crush40-fanclub.de founder Angie Fabian had a chance to catch up with Crush 40 superstar Johnny Gioeli while he was out on the Axel Rudi Pell last week. In amongst many Johnny-oriented queries, Johnny fields questions on Crush 40, including their future direction, and hints that 2014 will yield new Crush 40 material.

Johnny also answers questions about his favourite films, his artists, how much Chinese chicken was consumed during the recording of the Crush 40 album and his favourite ice cream (also my favourite!) Want to know the answers? Check out the video of the interview below!

(Warning! Some swears and lewd material…but it is Johnny!)