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!

  

Sega To Make More CG Movies

In what appears to be good news for Sega fans who enjoyed Sonic’s GC short “Night Of The Werehog”, Sega recently announced they have created an entire subsidiary designed to create more CG movies. Dubbed “Sega Sammy Visual Holdings” and reportedly set up back on June 1st 2009 the group has the lofty aim of becoming “the number one family-oriented animation studio in the Asia-Pacific region within five years.”, or so Sega’s own industry news paper FunBiz reports on page four.

Existing IP’s are ripe for the picking and considering the popularity of Sonic’s last CG outing it would be no surprise to see the blue blur starring in a similar role sometime soon. The group will be creating “The Best Stories for children Around the World,” so that could rule out a Bayonetta animated short, alas.

So with Sega creating new CG movies what scenarios would you like to see Sonic & friends in and what other Sega IP’s would you like to see get the movie treatment? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to Sega Nerds for the heads up.

Night of the Werehog – Full Animation Online

We saw, for the first time in Europe, the awesome little animated short that ties in with Sonic Unleashed, called Night of the Werehog. It involved, as our Community Day roundup said, two ghosts vying for the attention of a female ghost by scaring the crap out of Chip and Sonic.

The official website for the cartoon has now been updated with the entire film, so you all can see it too. Aren’t Sega nice to you all? It would be nice to see this on other mediums other than just online though – clearly a lot of production work went into this, and it would have been a no-brainer to have had it included as a short in cinemas before Madagascar 2 or something. Would be cool to see it on TV as well maybe. We’ll see how it goes. Watch the full animation at the official website, click here.

Sonic Unleashed is set for an Xbox 360 release this coming Friday. (Thanks to everyone who tipped us in!)