It’s incredible how time flies, isn’t it? One moment, you’re seven years old, sitting on your living room floor with eyes glued to the screen as a speedy blue ball bounces around to the tune of Green Hill Zone. The next, you’re replaying those golden oldies as an adult, celebrating 25 years of epic platforming fun.
Why hello there! The site’s looking a bit different today, isn’t it? Allow me to welcome you to this new version of The Sonic Stadium, modernised for today’s discerning blur blur fan! Incidentally, it’s the first design change for this website since 2013, making this the longest time time it’s taken for a layout refresh. I think you’ll agree that it was totally needed though. Continue reading TSS UPDATE: Welcome to the New Look 2016 Sonic Stadium!
Did you know that The Sonic Stadium houses its very own collaborative music remix project? Well, now you do! Starting life on the SSMB Forums as The Sonic Stadium Music Adventure and evolving (thanks to the co-ordination of DJ EAR) into a sub-brand called Sound of The Sonic Stadium, ‘SoTSS’ is a twice-yearly album series of Sonic (and SEGA) remixes, all crafted by our enthusiastic community. Continue reading #BLACKOUT is the Name of the New Sound of TSS Album
So throughout the year our site monitors and keeps tracks of various statistics because numbers are fun. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what were the top 15 news/articles of 2015 on TSS according to total views, I have discounted individual images or hub pages like the Home page.
Please keep in mind that due to the data loss earlier this year, some of the articles featured are no longer on the site meaning their positions might have been slightly altered had they remained online. Continue reading The Top 15 TSS Articles of 2015
This is part of an ongoing series of features that looks back on the history of The Sonic Stadium, written by Dreadknux. You can find out more about how this website changed the Sonic community, what it looked like back in the day, and even special images and update notes from the archive.
Sonic Stadium News Group
TSS’ 2002 can largely be summed up by the launch (and subsequent un-launch) of the Sonic Stadium News Group. SSNG was a merger of the Sonic Stadium and another fansite, Sonic News. The idea was, that I would provide the information pages and web design and Sonic_Hedgehogs (Sonic News’ owner) would provide the rolling daily updates and news.
We went through a number of designs before we landed on the right one – the home page in particular would undergo a couple of format alterations, as you can see below. For SSNG, we wanted to give our merged site its own colourful-yet-atmospheric feel. The Sonic Stadium would end up hosting the project, with a lot of content from Sonic News moved across. The SSMB Forums also got design and name changes, which were not well received from long-time users.
The site was launched close to Sonic the Hedgehog’s 11th Anniversary, in June – and lasted approximately two weeks before the entire thing was shut down and thrown in the proverbial bin. One of the major reasons for this involved allegations of plagiarism from users of another Sonic fansite, Sonic HQ. It turned out that the source of some of the Sonic News material had been called into question. It didn’t help that many of the pages on SSNG used backgrounds that were already being used by, or were created by, Sonic HQ as well – a design snafu on my part.
On top of this, Sonic_Hedgehogs had been absent throughout the ordeal, and updates were not as frequent as originally planned. Having dealt with the fallout almost on my own, there was little that I could do to salvage the project other than kill it entirely. I took a short break due to the exhaustion, and later decided to revive The Sonic Stadium instead of letting the story end on such a low note. I changed the SSNG design slightly, making sure to remove all the offending content, before starting work on a proper reboot of the site.
The Sonic Stadium Reboot
Before the launch of SSNG, The Sonic Stadium saw another design change, with a rounded content area and navy-blue corners and a three-column design on the homepage. The second image above is what TSS looked like during the aftermath of SSNG, with various hijacked elements of the merged site design and a removal of various other things.
But, things started picking up after SSNG’s demise which led to a reboot and complete design refresh in October. Zifei, the founder of Sonic HQ, offered to host the reborn TSS on his personal server, telling me that he believed in my vision for this site to become the best resource for Sonic the Hedgehog online. That’s some high praise indeed. After officially quitting and retiring Sonic News, Sonic_Hedgehogs came back and offered to write for the new Sonic Stadium, and I found a renewed focus to make the best site I possibly could.
Below was the result.
This was the point where I started to build a team to work on the site, to assist me in creating content – although I would still end up doing the editorial content, the Sonic Fan Club segment got some assistance in the form of Fastfeet (Fan Games reporter) and Biafra Republic (Fan Art maintainer). With Sonic_Hedgehogs on news, the presence of the team allowed me to broaden the site and cover other high profile Sonic Team games, as well as go full pelt on Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Mega Collection coverage.
Ultimately, the redesign did the trick – TSS’ reputation went up massively upon the relaunch and with a steady stream of content, there was a huge surge in visits and popularity from November onwards.
Unofficial SEGA Magazine
This year saw the introduction of the Unofficial SEGA Magazine, which was a digital fanzine created by SonicVerse Team. It was originally exclusive to the fansite Sonic News, but since the launch of SSNG became a part of The Sonic Stadium. It was a valiant attempt at re-igniting the fire of SEGA fans, but due to the huge task of building each issue with limited resources the project only last for three (and a half) issues.
Sonic Battle Stadium
The SSMB Forums saw the start of a brand new interactive game, called the Sonic Battle Stadium. I created a basic ruleset for a text-based battle adventure, where forum users could create characters and pick an ‘element’ (similar to Pokemon) as well as a set of moves that they could assign damage points to. Battles would be manually moderated, with referees taking hit points away based on the various conditions that affected play throughout the topic.
Ultimately, players would fight one another and obtain points, with the ultimate goal being the ability to challenge ‘Grandmaster Dreadknux’ at the end of the Season and become the true winner by defeating him. Awards were given out to the overall winner and runner-ups. The Sonic Battle Stadium ran for two years/seasons, with the second season introducing changes to the gameplay in order to make moderating easier – these changes weren’t well received and the lack of activity brought the game to an eventual and early close.
Other Notable Developments
We may have ended up discovering something new in Sonic 2 – some remnants of Wood Zone that can be found on any retail cartridge.
It was the year of fan creations for sure: TSS was the official home of coverage for the Sonic Amateur Games Expo (which led to our first ever contest), as well as the Sonic Comic Con in late 2002; the Sonic Hoaxers Club brought about many doctored images of classic Sonic games; we went big on fan game reviews and previews; and there were even fan animations in New Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Fight 4 Freedom to talk about.
The SSMB Forums moved away from its old ezBoard home and onto a specialist forum software. It was initially moved to YaBB, before making a permanent home with Invision Power Board.
The Sonic Site Awards returned for a second year following the success of the 2001 online event. More awards were on offer and the reception was even greater.
The Sonic Stadium announced a ‘partnership’ with fellow fansite and creative portal SonicVerse Team this year. SVT’s upcoming online event Sonic Comic Con would be covered by TSS, and we would also have the exclusive on publishing new pages from flagship comic Sonic Shadows.
Yes, on this day fifteen years ago The Sonic Stadium opened its virtual doors to the World Wide Web (that’s what we called the Internet that back in 2000). And over the years, I and a trusty team of awesome Sonic fans have done our best to entertain, inform and excite with news, features, columns, podcasts and videos of anything involved with everyone’s favourite hedgehog.
We started life as a simple fansite, formed of a collection of HTML pages. After several failed attempts, we added a successful forum in the SSMB. We grew to build a streaming radio station (which later introduced Sonic-themed podcasts), an annual awards ceremony, a fangame development team, a massive video/music depository and a network that included a fan showcase, video podcasts and competitive Sonic gaming. We also kick-started a series of events in the Summer of Sonic that led to the establishment of a number of fellow fan-run conventions.
We’ve accomplished an awful lot, and yet none of it would be possible without the insane amount of contribution of TSS Network staff, past and present. So to celebrate The Sonic Stadium’s 15th Anniversary, I reached out to a number of our old and current staff and asked them to reminisce and talk about their favourite memories and moments of TSS history. Continue reading HAPPY 15TH TSS! Legendary TSS Staff Share Their Fondest Memories
Strange Scary, isn’t it? In just four days, this little website about Sonic the Hedgehog will be a decade and a half old. I personally would have spent half my entire existence keeping this thing alive (actually, let’s not think about that bit). It was on that day, 24th October 2000, that The Sonic Stadium was introduced to the world via the wonder of Angelfire‘s then-generous 20MB hosting solutions.
I’m working on a few things to celebrate the week in style, largely involving heady walks down memory lane. Timeline updates, discussions with staff old and new about their favourite memories of the site, hopefully a contest… and a special project that, as you’d expect if you know me by now, is top secret right now (that might not be ready this week though, but definitely soon). It’ll be worth it, I promise.
No, it’s not Sonic Smash Cards.
I’ll be decorating the site soon enough to get everyone into the mood. While you’re here, if you’ve been visiting TSS for a while, feel free to share your memories of this place – favourite features on the site, SSMB threads, SegaSonic Radio podcasts, anything (and if you want to do that on SSMB, you can do it here).
And as always, we’re only here because of you guys. So from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of the TSS team (past and present) thank you so much for your support and for making us your home to talk utter bollocks about a cartoon blue hedgehog for so long. It’s humbling, and I hope to keep this place alive for as long as you guys want it around.
We’ve got some plans for you all. We hope to keep you entertained and informed for many more years to come.
A golden birthday only happens once and we at Sonic Stadium wanted to make sure there was some fanfare! That’s why we teamed up with SEGAbits and Sonic Retro for an entire week of articles, features and videos, with the intent of looking back at Sonic’s past, analyzing the present and looking forward to the future. For those of you who may have missed some of it, we thought we’d post a run-down of all the content the awesome staff of our three sites created.
Shadow the Hedgehog Review: SEGAbits kicked off their week with a review from Ben Burnham that took a look back at one of the most infamous games in the franchise’s history. One interesting spin this review took was offering a look at how the game was perceived when it was first released back in 2005, before Sonic 2006 one upped it a year later and became the most infamous game in Sonic’s history.
A Retrospective of Sonic’s Classic Trilogy: A Sonic Stadium guest article written for SEGAbits by Brad. This incredibly well crafted piece takes a look at the original Sonic trilogy. I would highly suggest you take a look.
TSS/SEGAbits Review, Sonic Pocket Adventure: We at Sonic Stadium kicked off the celebration with a look back at a great, obscure little Sonic game for the Neo Geo Pocket, in a review originally meant for Sonic Stadium, before it was instead posted on SEGAbit, which eventually made its way back to Sonic Stadium several years later!
TSS Discuss, Sonic Boom…after E3: The Sonic Stadium staff give their thoughts on the Sonic Boom multimedia franchise after SEGA finally showed the game off to the wider gaming press and released a trailer that gave us a greater idea of what to expect.
Sonic on the Go, Sonic Game for the Game.com: The third part in my Sonic on the Go series (take a look at past entries here), which takes a look back at Sonic’s portable adventures To cap off the celebration on Sonic Stadium, I played and wrote about what is objectively the worse Sonic game ever made. The things I do for you people…
Be sure to look up #Sonic23on23 on twitter to check out some cool Sonic birthday tweets!
With this post, #Sonic23on23 is officially over! I hope you enjoyed the content we created for you this week, and I hope you will keep tabs on the other two awesome sites that participated in this as we plow through another year of Sonic.