The Top 15 TSS Articles of 2016

So last year we decided to look at the sites top articles of 2015, and this year is no different!

Throughout the year our site monitors and keeps tracks of various statistics and we’re able to run various reports based on that data. 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.

The date period is 31/12/15 – 31/12/16.

Lets go!

Number 15

I’m honestly surprised that this is so low on the list, however it’s probably because it came during the night of a thousand announcements and when you have to compete with Dancing Sonic and #Totino’s it was always going to be a tough battle for clicks.

Number 14

Well here is our first big surprise! Sonic Boom Season 2 was an article written in October 2015, yet between December 31st 2015 and today it had more hits than Sonic Mania did! What say you now BooMoaners?

Fun fact, this was number 15 on last years list.

Number 13

First bit of Archie news makes the list, and a well deserved one, Sonic: Mega Drive is one of the best Sonic comics in years, surprising fans of the series and bringing back fans who had left the comic book, beautifully drawn and brilliantly funny.

Number 12

You know in Toy Story, when they’re around the baby monitor and Rex yells ‘It’s a what!? What is it!?’ that best summarises the reaction to this news. Coming from Japan with dodgy fan translations all over the internet, nobody really knew what had happened until several hours later.

But our first clue at a big new Sonic game, of course we got excited.

Number 11

There was a time when 25th Anniversary news was popping up on a near daily level, many places reported that Sega had big plans for large scale events and parties, oddly, despite some of this news coming direct from Sega themselves, some of these events never materialised.

Number 10

We were one of the first places to break this rumour, and not only did it turn out to be true, but it ended up being one of the best Sonic games in years. Sonic in Lego Dimensions ended up being a fantastic game and has already had fans chanting for an official Sonic Lego kit to be made. One for 2017’s Christmas List I think.

Number 9

The end of 2016 saw a bunch of surprise fan projects, but the one which makes our list is Sonic Utopia, a fun little ‘what if’ kind of fan game, not perfect, but a great effort and kept a large number of you entertained for several hours.

Not tried it yet? Go give it a bash.

Number 8

One of the biggest surprises of 2016 was the discovery of an unknown arcade game SegaSonic Bros. a puzzle based game in which you line up coloured blocks. Starring Sonic, Ketchup and Mustard the Hedgehog, hey if we get official names, I’ll gladly stop calling them that.

Number 7

It’s really not surprising this one got as high as it did, I’d be quite surprised if it didn’t make it on next years list? Why? Well for one thing people usually search for ‘Sonic *insert year here*’ when trying to find news on stuff, so the fact this has Sonic 2017 in it means it’s going to be high on the list.

So anyway, the odd announcement from the end of the big party in America was Sonic Project 2017, which has a lot of fans going ‘erm… I’m not sure how to feel’. Well we’ll soon know how to feel as there is expected to be an information blowout of the game following Mania’s release next year.

Number 6

One of the first articles of the year, and what an article it was, another one of those weird interviews which promised a lot of stuff but didn’t quite deliver what was said, news of several new Sonic games which ended up being announcements if you don’t count Lego Dimensions.

Number 5

Sonic Runners should go down as a case study for mobile game developers as an incredible example of how a game died barely a year after it’s global release.

Sonic Runners soft launch was met with near universal acclaim, however following it’s worldwide launch players suddenly found their ability to progress restricted, banned for getting legitimate high scores, micro-transactions forced on them as well as more seriously sending hundreds of contact requests to advert providers and filling up device memory when players of the game discovered that the game was not deleting old data.

Sonic Runners, Not OK.

Number 4:

Is anyone really surprised this article is up here? News of a new character and the keyword ‘Sonic 2017’ will get people coming. Expect a lot articles from all over the Sonic community next year as sources claim things and news gradually leaks out.

Number 3

Sega’s fan event in Japan earlier this year saw not only the announcement of Sonic Project 2017, but also the reveal of a ton of concept art for Sonic and friends. Some of the designs different greatly to the final version, such as Shadow being blind in one eye and Cream being a completely different species.

Number 2

This news beat out Sonic Mania, it beat Sonic 2017 and Lego Dimensions news, think about that for just a moment.

It’s really… not that much of a surprise. The fact that GlamGlow is mentioned in the article is the reason why this article did as well as it did, see a lot of fans of beauty products search for limited products so it’s really no surprise that this article did as well as it this year, add onto that Sonic Merch Collectors, not that hard to see why it scored as high as it did.

The only really sad part about this is that Sega didn’t really announce this, it was discovered accidentally by fans and instantly put into the hands of ‘Instagram celebs’ who barely talked about it, if only they had made the product obtainable to the general public.

Number 1:

11 days into the year, that’s all it took for the first major 25th Anniversary news to break, the fact that this is our most viewed article of 2016 is proof enough that the thirst was real.

Hinting at new style guides, huge branded events and a major celebration, it was the first hint that Sega would be taking the 25th anniversary seriously and had big plans for it.

Honourable Mention: BIG NEWS

April 1st 2016 saw the return of Big News! Big the Cat took over the TSS main page as well as the Twitter and Facebook accounts, posting informative articles such as the best games which feature fish and a review of Bigs Big Fishing Adventure 3 Well… Big News’ central hub was actually number 16 on the list. But because it got taken down shortly after April 1st, it hasn’t had the pleasure of a whole years worth of exposure, odds are if it had remained accessible it would have been in the top 15.

The lesson here, never underestimate Big the Cat.

See you in 2017.

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

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.

Happy Anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog. We know SEGA has plenty of plans in store for you, but we at the Sonic Stadium have some plans of our own too. Continue reading HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

TSS Staff Chat With TitansCreed and Sonic Yoda About Sonic’s 25-Year History

What does Sonic mean to you? It’s the blue blur’s 25th Anniversary in June, and to celebrate some good friends of ours will be hosting a Sonic Month on YouTube. To kick things off, how about a nice video where we talk about our favourite Sonic things? Continue reading TSS Staff Chat With TitansCreed and Sonic Yoda About Sonic’s 25-Year History

TSS UPDATE: Welcome to the New Look 2016 Sonic Stadium!

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!

#BLACKOUT is the Name of the New Sound of TSS Album

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

The Top 15 TSS Articles of 2015

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

TSS Timeline: The Year 2002

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.

ssnglayout-2002-06-thumb

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.

tsslayout-2002-10-thumb

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.

usm-issue1-page1

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.

2002-battle-winner

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.

Old Template Images

All images and layouts are © copyright The Sonic Stadium. You are not allowed to use these on your own website. Permission must be given for any other personal use.

HAPPY 15TH TSS! Legendary TSS Staff Share Their Fondest Memories

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

On October 24, The Sonic Stadium Will Be 15 Years Old

15thlogo

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.

#Sonic23on23 Celebration Round-up

Sonic23on23-600x400

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.

Enjoy!

SEGAbits & Sonic Retro:

SEGA Channel Retro, Sonic Birthday Livestream: Sonic Retro kicked off their week with an hour long livestream of Sonic Jam, Sonic 2 on the Retro Engine and the entirety of Sonic’s story in Sonic Adventure.

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.

Visual Memories, Digging through Sonic Adventure & Sonic Adventure 2’s DLC: SEGABits’s TrackerTD takes a look at one of the more obscure features of SEGA’s old Sonic games, the free downloadable content. Take a look at what DLC was like back in the days of the Dreamcast when files had to fit within 100KB of storage.

SEGAbits Plays Episode #2, featuring Sonic, Tails and Donald Duck SEGA Pico games: Barry The Nomad livestreams a couple of SEGA Pico Sonic games. If you’ve never seen these obscure entries into the Sonic franchise, there’s no better time to take a look.

Presented Without Commentary, My 1997 Sonic Fan Comic “Sonic The Hedgehog vs. The Bots”: That same day, Barry also posted an old fan comic he drew on Sonic Retro. As someone who’s worked in fan comics, I can say that this is without doubt the most well drawn and artistically crafted fan comic ever made. I bow to your prowess, lil Barry!

The Weekly Five, Sonic Video Game Moments that Make Us Smile: George takes a look at five smile inducing Sonic moments in SEGAbits’s Weekly Five feature.

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.

23 Sonic facts to know on Sonic’s 23rd Birthday: SEGAbits ended its celebration by going over 23 facts every Sonic fan ought to know on Sonic’s birthday.

Editorial: False Positive: Sonic, the Media, and Wrongly Diagnosing the Problem: Though this technically fell outside of the week long celebration, it was meant for it. SEGAbits contributor GX takes a look at some of the most common criticisms of the Sonic franchise and whether or not those criticisms are viable.

Sonic Stadium

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.

SEGA Games for the Sonic Gamer, Part 1: SEGA makes more than just Sonic, and this little guide suggests some SEGA games that might tickle your fancy in the same way Sonic does.

The Anatomy of a Bad Sonic Game: SEGAbits guest writer Ben Burnham gives his thoughts on what he thinks makes for a bad Sonic game, and how these issues could be avoided in future games.

In Defense of Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric: I take a stab at defending this divisive game.

TSS Review, Sonic Bricks by Paladone: JonoD takes a look at these recently released LEGO-styled collectibles.

Sonic List, My Favorite Sonic Related Moments: Jason Berry relates some of his most memorable moments with the Sonic franchise. Neat pictures reside within!

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!

There was also some big news this week. First, Sonic 2 HD is back on, with a new engine and staff. On a much more bittersweet note, Aaron Webber announced he was leaving SEGA. We’ll miss you, Aaron!

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.

TSSZ Celebrates 12th Anniversary

Nope, this isn’t an April Fool’s (as I’m sure you’re all “Chuckled out” by now!) The Sonic the Hedgehog news site TSSZ News celebrates it’s 12th year in action today, the site first taking to the net way back in 1999 when we were all still dreaming of Sonic Adventure.

TSSZ has proven a popular choice as a news source in the Sonic community, bringing many pieces of breaking news to light first, and providing deep insight into the current SatAM cartoon projects and fan games in development. Although TSSZ has sparked much controversy in many ways over the past few years, the site has maintained a strong following from it’s “no holds barred” reporting. Regardless of the tensions between TSSZ founder Tristan Oliver and other members of the community, TSSZ has been key in promoting the Sonic Relief charity drive, as well as other good-will causes supported community wide past and present.

We at the Sonic Stadium wish TSSZ a very happy birthday, and hope to see many more years of the site delivering news and reviews.

TSS Vault: Season’s Greetings

The Sonic Stadium has been around for over ten years. That’s quite a milestone for a humble fansite dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog. Especially one that’s done so much over the last decade for the community. But there’s a lot that we haven’t done – stuff that we have been sent in the past that we meant to add to the site, but never found time to do so. Take this series of articles as a way of me finally being able to show off some of the best of people’s creativity, as well as funky stuff in the Sonic world.

As there’s a lot of random things, it’s going to be difficult to categorise them all, but I’m going to give it a go anyway. I may also throw in some classic TSS stuff that we have added in the past too, just for posterity. So, welcome to the first Vault article, dedicated to festive things.

TSS Christmas Image, 2007

This celebratory image was created by hatted superstar T-Bird, and was to wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas back in 2007. It’s a true sign of the times, with renditions of pretty much all of the TSS and SSMB staff at the time. DiZ, Roareye, Turbo, Flint, B’man (the balloon), Violet and Strong Bad are all included here, along with presses to Iceman, Shazra and Sarge.

Christmas Don’t Be Late, 2007 [Download]

The previous art piece was part of our incredible Christmas event at The Sonic Stadium, where we replaced the front page with an advent calendar and gave away little things every day until the 25th December. Towards the end, we unleashed this – a music recording of most of the TSS/SSMB staff covering ‘Christmas, Don’t Be Late’ from Alvin and the Chipmunks. The result is quite terrifying, but it was a nice gesture all the same.

The NiGHTS Stadium, 2003

Of course, we started celebrating Christmas at TSS long before the advent calendar. In 2003, the entire site was changed to the theme of NiGHTS into Dreams. Well, Christmas NiGHTS to be more exact, but hey it fit the time of year just perfectly. Unfortunately, all we have left to show for the design is this banner image, but you can get a good idea of how we decorated TSS on the back of that. The original, large chequered background turned purple and was highlighted with snow effects. Gorgeous. I updated the site with a load of NiGHTS info at the time as well.

CosmicFalcon – My Favourite Hedgehog, 2005 [Download]

Not particularly Christmassy, but equally festive for another reason – this was the winning entry for The Sonic Stadium’s massive 5th Anniversary competition. It only seems like yesterday when we heard CosmicFalcon singing about buying all of Sonic’s games “even if they are so very craaaap.” Listening to it today, it still makes us chuckle, and was well-deserving of the Sonic Gems Collection (Japanese Gamecube version) and arcade stick that he ended up winning. Click here to see the original contest page.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Slovakia, 2006

Now these pictures are absolutely incredible, and I feel so stupid for hanging onto them for this long, so I’m putting them up here now so I can somewhat redeem myself. On two occasions in late 2006, I was sent an image from Ľuba Marcinová from Košice, Slovakia. The first one is a Christmas celebration, with Sonic manning a sleigh driven by Silver and Shadow. The second was sent to see in the New Year in 2007. Both were made with the help of Kristy & Tom and Eva & Emil Wessely, according to the original emails.

“Sorry again it came a bit late, but like they say – better than never,” read the New Year email. Er, likewise, Ľuba. Sorry!

‘Yuji Naka’s Christmas Message, 2006 [Download]

During a random era of The Sonic Hour live broadcast, Roareye and myself took to ‘inviting’ ‘Yuji Naka’ to our show for a special ‘interview.’ What happened was the birth of a brilliant parody character that took to the airwaves to cheer Roareye and myself on, and to denounce everyone’s games but his own. This was a little Christmas message that ‘Yuji’ sent out to Sonic Hour listeners back in 2006, but unless you try and dig out that particular episode there’s only one other place you can hear it – this recording. Enjoy.

TSS’ Christmas Visit to SEGA, 2005 [Read]

These days, plenty of community websites make a habit of visiting SEGA’s offices to see the latest games and grab some free goodies for their dazzling loyalty to their brands. It’s a world away from the situation in 2005, where nobody besides professional journalists ever went near the company offices. The winner of our innovative Shadow Week competition – the first in which a fansite teamed up with SEGA for prizes – was able to get a tour of the London HQ and so Roareye and myself tagged along to chronicle the day. It’s a fantastic look back to an event that was a real rarity before the establishment of SEGA’s community department and ArchAngelUK’s appointment to community manager.

If you want to see a video of myself and Roareye pratting around on the day as well, watch this classic TSS video.

Darkspeeds’ SSA Thank-You, 2006 [Download]

Elson ‘Darkspeeds’ Wong earned himself quite a few awards during 2006’s Sonic Site Awards, and he took the time to record a thank-you message to everyone who voted for him. It quickly turned into a Christmas message at the same time, due to the time in which it was recorded. He used the theme song from NiGHTS into Dreams, Dreams Dreams, as the backing track for his message. Which is funny, because…

Dreads Dreads, 2006 [Download]

You can’t have a coverage of TSS over the Christmas years without including this ‘gem’ of a karaoke song. Yes, I decided to absolutely butcher the theme song to Sega’s NiGHTS into Dreams for the first Wrecks Factor competition back in 2006. My approach was to sing in a decidedly crap ‘swing’ style, and the judges deemed my attempt at being crap authentic enough to come last place. The forfeit was to sing the DK Rap, but as I never found the time to do it after the event, AAUK picked the debut Summer of Sonic convention for myself and Roareye to perform it…

I’ll be adding a lot more lost submissions and remnants from the past over the next few weeks! In the meantime, have a great run up to Christmas and don’t get swamped by the snow/store sales!

TSS 10th Anniversary: More Fan Submissions [Update]

Well, we’re nothing if not truly grateful for the number of people who pass through The Sonic Stadium and take the time to enjoy the content we offer you guys. But I never expected such an awesome response to our 10th Anniversary – you can see some creations already submitted to us right here and the banners at the top of each page have been created by someone in the community too.

I’ve been sitting on these other fantastic submissions for a while now, so it’s time I gave these guys some love!

Tobibrocki has drawn some fantastic art pieces for us in the past, but this one surely takes the cake. Tails is more than happy to engage in reckless vandalism in the name of TSS, and Sonic’s celebrating the occasion by wearing some Way Past Cool threads. Sally’s gone and had our site name sketched on her boots, and Amy is admiring the reaction on Dr. Eggman’s face. If only we were called The Eggman Stadium, eh? Bonus points for random bird in the background. Thanks Tobibrocki!

Lawrence White took the time to do this brilliant sketch of Sonic partying next to a 10th Anniversary birthday cake. With the submission he wrote; “Though I am more of a lurker than a commenter, I browse almost every article you write up, and am always there for the latest news you post. Thank-you for all your hard work, and dedication you’ve put in through the years. I can remember the sites early years like it was yesterday.” Aw, well thanks for all the hard work for doing this awesome drawing, Lawrence. I hope we can kick it for years to come.


This lovely picture was sent to me by CTOONfan1, who felt that the event was best marked by showcasing some of the most popular characters in the Sonic franchise. I’m not sure if Shadow really wants to wish TSS a happy anniversary – he looks like he wants to punch our heads in. Bad moods aside, we love this picture, so thank you CTOONfan1!


Kjeld told me that he went for a “new sort of [art] style” with this one. The result is above, and it makes me laugh for reasons unexplained. It might be the absurd stickman nature of the characters, or it might be Knuckles’ absurd grin, or it could be Tails’ absurd face. Either way, it’s delightfully absurd, and you’ll notice that Kjeld made a banner for TSS in this style too. Thanks for this mate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxFcHELJlB8

Finally, TYoshi created this short video using Sonic Advance sprites to congratulate us on a successful ten years of existing. Blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s a great message and we really appreciate the time taken to make an animation for us. Cheers!

UPDATE: ProjectZuel was kind enough to create another image to celebrate TSS’ 10th birthday, and it features none other than Dreadknux himself, proudly standing tall with the =TSS= flag. I haven’t used the Dreadknux avatar in quite some time, so it’s pretty cool that someone remembers my neon green online persona. Many thanks, ProjectZuel, and we also wish you another 10 Way Past Cool Years. Erm, not that you’re not likely to see them, or anything… er… what I mean is, thanks.

We’ll be celebrating/catching up on more TSS content from the past over the coming weeks – particularly before the end of the year as it would cease to be our 10th Anniversary.

… it’ll be our ELEVENTH ANNIVERSARY, which is even COOLER! Aw yeah. Screw our 10th. Can’t wait for our 11th. Everyone knows 11 is the new 10. Thanks once again for all the well wishes from everyone – whether you made something to celebrate the occasion or not – and we’ll keep trying to be the best fansite we can be! Much love!

‘Happy 10th TSS’ – From the Readers

A while ago, Brad and I asked for some of you guys to get creative for The Sonic Stadium’s 10th Anniversary. We’ve had a couple of cool submissions since then – the fantastic banners from syaming-li and Roarey Raccoon notwithstanding of course!

First, here’s a nice art piece drawn up by lozfoe. Sonic and Tails throw a party, with the blue blur about to scoff some birthday cake. Tails looks like he’s having a mad time as well, even if it does look like his temperature’s being taken. A cute piece of artwork, and really appreciated lozfoe, thanks!

The second thing we got in our mailbox was this short video from FTA, one of the chaps behind Find the Computer Room. Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Shadow all opine on their favourite Sonic fansites. Apparently, this place is Sonic’s #1 site to chill out at. That’s quite some praise, coming from the ‘hog himself. Is it your favourite too?

Many thanks to lozfoe and FTA, and thank you all for supporting the site in all sorts of different ways! Let’s see if we can get through ten more years together! If you want to send in something to add to this post, send an email to dreadknux@gmail.com with your submission!

TSS’ 10th Anniversary Celebrations!

Today’s the day! The Sonic Stadium is now a whopping ten years old, and to celebrate we’re dedicating a whole week’s worth of information, media and stories from the website’s own history vaults! Stick around for those, including back catalogue updates (at laaaaaaaaast!) and some real archive building.

You might have also noticed by now that the site has had a redesign. Call it a new birthday suit as it enters its terrible teens. Site sections have now been incorporated into a menu just below the banner up there, and thanks to some wicked coding wizardry from Bmn the sections react to rollovers. As I said before, we’ll be working on getting some content up to fill up this new layout right away.

The banners themselves have been made especially for TSS’ big 1-0. Roarey Raccoon and syaming-li have both contributed awesome images to decorate the site with as we metaphorically bang lots of pots and pans about our age.

Another change is in the topbar, above the banner. Now you can see a live ticker of the songs and LiVECASTs that are airing on SEGASonic Radio. Take a look now. Go on. That’s what’s playing right now. It’s a good song, isn’t it? Click the green icon to launch a popup window that will allow you to listen to the station and chat with friends at the same time. Noice.

Sidebars will be customised for each section of the website – the functionality of this is still being ironed out, so be aware that we’re updating the design on the right hand side all the time to make it look much cooler. If you have any ideas for quicklinks that you want to see on the sidebar in a particular section – latest updates to game pages, most commented on articles, that sort of thing – then do get in touch.

(By the way, if you’re seeing icons and sidebar links to a website called SEGADriven, that’s because it is the latest addition to our network of websites – run by Lewis Clark, formerly of Sonic Yoda. Go and check out his site, it’s awesome! Plus, you can use the same account you use to comment on TSS to post your thoughts on SEGADriven, so what are you waiting for? Pepper his website with comments!)

And of course, if you want to send in anything to celebrate TSS’ 10th, then you can do so by sending your works to dreadknux@gmail.com.

I hope my website has been entertaining and useful to you over the last decade, and I have no intentions of stopping either. To the future! Happy Birthday, TSS!

April Fool!

Hey guys, hope you enjoyed our little April Fools gag there. You know us – we’re always game for a laugh on April 1st, and this year was no exception. Instead of tricking you all with some round-the-gardens thing again, we decided to let one of the best characters in the Sonic universe take centre stage.

BIGNEWS is the premier site dedicated to Big the Cat news. Be sure to give all of those articles a read, as it provides some fascinating insight into the world of the lazy cat we’ve all come to love – or hate.

Don’t worry about losing BIGNEWS either – we’re keeping it in archive well after April Fools’ day is over, so you can enjoy all the hard work Big put into this. It’s probably the most effort he’s put into something, so he hopes you’ll appreciate it to some degree. Or maybe he doesn’t hope that at all – he’s likely just snoozing in the Mystic Ruins again. Whatever.

Have a good day today – and don’t fall foul to any nasty tricks!

EDIT: April Fools Day is over, but you can still access Big the Cat’s very own website by hitting ‘BIGNEWS’ on the sidebar underneath ‘OTHER’, or by clicking here.

Sweepstakes: The Winners

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to TSS’ Birthday special on The Sonic Hour. We ended up with a great show with some good atmosphere in the chatroom. You didn’t have to tune in to SSR to know who won, though; I have the list right here. Congratulations to the following peeps, in no particular order:

  • SKrown – Sonic Rivals 2 on PSP
  • Reyn LeBeau – Mario and Sonic Super Pack (courtesy of SEGA)
  • Chelsea Noke – Sonic Car Sticker
  • John Elliot – Signed Archie #195
  • Tony Mattingly – Homemade CD Clock
  • Alex Smith – UniQlo Sonic Adventure ‘Hands’ T-Shirt
  • Ellie Finch – Sonic Jam (Japanese Version) for Sega Saturn
  • Angel C – Sonic & Knuckles Collection on PC
  • Ryan Nurse – Sonic Archives Vol. 1
  • Amelia Hansson – Sonic X Book
  • Jag Singh – Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog VHS
  • Yannick Daly – SONIC PANTSU

Unlucky to those who didn’t win anything, but that’s the luck of the draw! And double-unlucky to poor Yannick, who won our fabulous booby prize of a boy’s (4-5 years) size of white pants featuring a picture of Sonic on the front. Hopefully you won’t be too disturbed by the arrival of the prize.

The rowdy crowd in the chatroom were so nutty that they ordered us to give away the bags in which we contained the prize and entrant names in. These bags were nothing special – a plastic Forbidden Planet bag and a clear T-Shirt shrink wrap. Anders Muskens won the former and Zacharie Palmer won the latter, FYI – but only if you guys really want it. You know, honestly, what could you do with a piece of plastic rubbish?

The Sonic Hour Episode 506: “Super Sonic Underpants” will be added to the podcast in little over 10/20 minutes. Nominees for the Sonic Site Awards 2009 will appear later tonight, along with the opening of entry polls for you to begin your voting!

And TSS Birthday Sweepstakes Entries Cease! [Update]

One of our contests, as mentioned a few days ago, will be the random lucky dip that we’ll be featuring on SEGASonic Radio tomorrow night. Please do not email us with your details – I won’t be able to find time to put your names in the special ‘hat’ we have here. Good luck to all our entrants; winners (and the prize they will get) will be randomly plucked out of a hat so the handing of goodies is completely fair. There will be only one prize per winner. Here’s a shortlist of what you can win;

  • A Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games ‘Super Pack’, courtesy of SEGA Europe
  • UniQlo Sonic Adventure ‘Hands’ T-Shirt, Blue
  • Archie Sonic the Hedgehog #195, signed by Matt Herms
  • Sonic Rivals 2 on PSP
  • Sonic & Knuckles Collection on PC
  • Japanese copy of Sonic Jam on Sega Saturn
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Archives, Vol. 1
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog VHS
  • Classic Sonic Car Sticker
  • A Sonic X Children’s Book
  • A Crappy Homemade CD Wall Clock
  • White, Homemade Sonic Heroes ‘branded’ underpants, Ages 4-5

Basically, you want the good prizes and not the crappy ones. 😉 Listen to SEGASonic Radio’s The Sonic Hour at 7pm GMT tomorrow night (click the green button at the top of the page there) and then join in the IRC Chatroom (click the ‘Chat’ link at the top of the page) and chat about the show’s happenings with friends live. Remember that in the UK (where the show will be broadcast), the clocks go back one hour so for many places around the world please take that into consideration. If you’re ever confused as to what time it is for us, click here and look under the “London” section. See you then!

Happy Birthday to TSS!

sonic-birthday1

Happy Birthday to us! The Sonic Stadium was launched on this day, nine long years ago. Originally a place I created while at school to just write about my favourite game series, this place quickly became one of the most popular places to go to online. Over its long history, this site has had countless firsts, loads of exclusives, official recognition from SEGA, and been the cause of many legendary community initiatives, with the most recent being the Summer of Sonic convention.

While it’s true that we have led the way in many ways regarding Sonic site communities and approaches to design and philosophies, the real success story is in the many Sonic fans that come to TSS to enjoy what we have to say in one weird way or another. You, the visitors, are what truly make TSS great and I want to thank you so much for giving me the encouragement to stick with it for nine years. Continue reading Happy Birthday to TSS!

Well That Was Interesting

So crap went down with TSS’ servers, and we lost a whole lot of stuff. Read the SSMB Topic to find out just what happened. Considering the servers had been randomly crapping out every now and then the week leading up to the wipe, I’m obviously annoyed that I was dumb enough to not make regular backups up until the fateful incident. To be fair, I did have backups for both TSS and SSMB from the 15th February – but alas, when Apple says Time Machine ‘works’, what it really means it ‘selectively works’. Those backups were indeed lost, and it was by good fortune that I was using a copy of the TSS backup actively on my localhost that we avoided total meltdown.

While I’ll happily call myself an idiot for not taking necessary steps, you can call it karma or whatever you want, I must extend my thanks to those who wished us well (and still do wish us a speedy recovery), be it other sites like Sonic Retro and TSSZ or individuals that visit them. I guess the majority of the Sonic community aren’t total retards to a fellow fan’s tragedy, despite whatever views they may hold of each other. For example, I can’t say we’ve had the best relationship with TSSZ as of late, but I’d like to say this event has forged a new-found respect for one another in the very least.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a franchise primarily for kids, so it stands to reason that a lot of those in the community today are in fact children or young teenagers. I guess it stands to reason that there was a bit of negativity towards us when word got around of our troubles. When they get older they’ll understand that we do in fact love Sonic and indeed his later games too – I’m playing Sonic Unleashed while writing this update (I’d be playing Black Knight, but it’s not out in the UK yet) in fact.

The whole “TSS hates modern Sonic 100%, SSMB hates anyone being critical of the franchise” is a misconception that has captured the mind of the young, and it’s something I hope we can use this opportunity to show that this is not the case. We’re just a bunch of adults that grew up with the blue blur and still love to cover his franchise, for better or worse. We may be critical at times, but who isn’t? That’s human nature.

So to rebuilding TSS and SSMB it is – I hope those that have enjoyed our fan coverage will continue to enjoy it, and those that see us negatively get the opportunity to maybe see us in a different light. After all, we may not like one another’s opinions, but it’s silly to outright hate someone for it. We’re all fans, in this community together. Let’s make the most of it.

I’ll use this as a chance to say that old articles, reviews, previews and (hopefully) news that were written by TSS staff before the change to WordPress in 2008 are being added to the archive, extending our information database to cover the rich history we have enjoyed online. I am also working on revamping the site design, with an aim to return the site to it’s 2007 information-heavy glory days. All the while, we’ll be trying to recover our most recent articles that we lost (we’re prioritising with big-hitters like our interview with Archie legend Matt Herms and other articles).

TSS will be truly back baby! Just give us a second.

… Give us another second. We’re not that quick.

Also, the sidebar’s not working properly. I’ll get on that.

Now You Can Post Comments, Send News Tips!

043It’s taken a while for us to actually bother with setting up the comments system on TSS. The main reason being is that we wanted those who had signed up on our SSMB Forums to be able to simply log in and comment on stories posted on the main site. Integration, and all that. Turns out that pipe dream’s going to take a bit longer than expected, due to the fact that we need a new version of our forum software to actually start creating our own integrations and what-have you.

So for the time being, you can comment on any of our stories without waiting for any of that forum-linkup nonsense to take place. You can even register an account if you want the site to remember you, if that’s what you’re into. So go do it, and be the coolest Sonic kid on the block, or something.

Also, and we’ve had this for a while but we never really made it obvious – if you have a news tip or anything you would like to submit to The Sonic Stadium for coverage, we have a ‘Send Tips’ page where you can fill in a little form and we’ll respond in kind. It doesn’t matter what it is; whether it’s info on the latest game, your new fan project, a piece of merchandise you’ve spotted (past or present) or some random Sonic video you’ve spotted on Youtube, we’d love to hear from you!

Use this story to let us know what you think of TSS so far in 2009! We’ve got a few more awesome surprises coming your way, so stay tuned to us, as we’ll be getting special features and community updates that you won’t see anywhere else.

Internet Explorer Bodge-Up [Update]

Just a quick’un guys – remember we just released a new look for TSS? Well, it’s awesome and all, but not for Internet Explorer. Sorry about that. I’ll get it sorted soon as possible. Until then, er, use Firefox! I’m away from the TSS Tower right now so can’t really do anything about it for a few hours.

UPDATE: This is a quick fix for now, forcing the design to Narrow Hedgehog with a shoehorned design. I’ll fix it properly a bit later. Sorry guys! Least you can read stuff now 🙂

UPDATE 2: Everything’s working peachy now, so enjoy widescreen Sonic reading in Internet Explorer. Even if it does suck is the most popular browser.

Happy New TSS 2009

You might have woken up this morning and found your favourite Sonic the Hedgehog website to be looking a little different. We’ve decided to do some early Spring cleaning for the New Year, which means a more streamlined browsing experience for you, discerning reader. This new design allows for fullsize viewing, so if you have a massive monitor you don’t have to worry about trying to get info out of a narrow box. The background in the header will set itself to classic Sonic the Hedgehog stages – as it’s still Winter (and bloody cold) we thought Ice Cap was a good choice this season. Click the Sonic Head in the navigation bar (next to the RSS button) to listen to SEGASonic Radio as you surf – wouldn’t it be cool to hear Ice Cap as you’re reading this now?

If all this change is too much for you, then fret not. You can switch back to the old design by using the nifty new Theme Switcher in the right hand sidebar. It’s a little dropdown underneath the ‘Searcharoo’ box. It’s now called ‘Narrow Hedgehog’ – we’ve spruced up that design a bit too, so whatever you’re using to view TSS know that it’s fresh, B-Boy.

Expect more revamps over the course of the month – I’m currently responsible for redesigning Sonic Showcase Network (with a brand new Gallery in tow), the new SEGASonic Radio website, SSMB (once the new IPB software gets released, that is) and the 2009 edition of the Summer of Sonic website. Not to mention a secret project of mine… mwaha. Anyway, enjoy TSS in widescreen, or continue to enjoy in narrowscreen, if you like.

To The Sonic Stadium…

It’s been a bit of a mental Christmas at TSS Towers. Despite the fact that I’m too poor to buy many presents this year, I seem to have come into a bit of a windfall of packages from Up North to the Land of Oz. I’ve had gestures of goodwill from AAUK/SEGA, T-Bird, Elson ‘Darkspeeds’ Wong, Jemnezmy, Hawkz, Urtheart and DiscoPonies so I figure I will share with you lot what came in the mail this week.

First, AAUK and SEGA Europe sent us this rather natty card, above. You’ll remember this design as it’s the same one on the promotional advent calendars we received during our trip to playtest Sonic Unleashed. “To The Sonic Stadium, Merry Christmas, From SEGA” it reads. Bless your hearts, guys. Continue reading To The Sonic Stadium…

TSS is now PSP Friendly

I was bored one day and decided ‘Hey, why don’t I make the site somewhat accessible for people who like to browse stuff on their consoles?’ So, ignorant to the fact that it probably wasn’t worth my time to work on something like that for the kind of person who does that sort of thing (which includes, er, me), I’ve tweaked the design of The Sonic Stadium for Sony PlayStation Portable users.

Accessing the site is now a piece of piss, as I was made aware that it was bone-grindingly slow today. Upon recognising the PSP Browser, TSS auto-switches to a custom made theme that suits the 400-odd pixel wide screen. There’s no sidebar, and a lot of the heavy duty stuff is cut, but the exact same content and stuff is all there. So if you fancy a little fiddle, crack open that PSP and let us know what you think in the SSMB (although the forums are still PSP unfriendly at this time, so use your PC for that).

You can also sign up to the RSS on your Sony handheld too, by clicking the RSS link at the footer of the page. Swish.

TSS History: The Banners

One of the things that The Sonic Stadium is known for, beyond our eight-year history, is our bizarre sense of humour. This humour is usually implemented in our banner adverts, which we’ve had rolling for several years now. Although the banner advertisement service allows for other Sonic sites to get noticed via visiting TSS, sometimes we got bored and made our own stuff to put up on the rotation. These varied from adverts for articles and specific updates to the site itself to random ways of advertising the advert service itself.

Hit the jump for a gallery of past banners, used at some stage during The Sonic Stadium’s life. Not all of the banners have been saved unfortunately, but here’s what we have salvaged. Enjoy. Continue reading TSS History: The Banners

TSS’ 8th: The Video Games Live Present

We thought we’d share this cool little gift we got from Simon, also known as ‘ForeverSonic’, at the Video Games Live concert on Friday. It’s a little card wishing the site a happy 8th birthday, along with a little present. And you know how the best presents are always homemade (unless they’re from Sega or us, of course). A lot of time and effort must have gone into making this fluffy Sonic head, although now we’re worried if there’s a fluffy Sonic body wandering the earth looking for it. It is Halloween this week after all.

There was also an awesome Tails head made as well. You can see that above too. Happy birthday TSS – our blasts from the past continue tomorrow!

Happy Birthday TSS! PLUS BONUS ANNOUNCEMENT!

The Sonic Stadium is eight years old today (and it was Cephrien’s birthday a few days ago too, so happy birthday to you too). It’s hard to imagine that this little site of mine would be so involved in an international community like this, but we’re here today amongst other awesome websites like Sonic Retro and Sonic Fan Games HQ, and man is it all good.

As you may be aware, I’ve been chronicling the years of TSS, from beginning to end (we’re at 2001 at this moment in time, but over the course of the next week you’ll learn more about the last few years too) in celebration of what this website has achieved in its lifetime. Needless to say that (trumpet blowing time) the impact The Sonic Stadium has made on the Sonic the Hedgehog community is nothing to be scoffed at.

The Sonic Site Awards gave smaller Sonic sites (including TSS at the time) a chance to be seen amongst the big boys. The approach I made to Sega Europe in 2005 has led to the publisher gaining an interest in their target audience, which led to the creation of their Community department, the Sonic City website and the arrival of everyone’s favourite neighbourhood Sega-man, AAUK, to take pole position of what’s going on worldwide. The TSS Network helped raise the profiles of numerous fellow sites, including FastFeet Media and Sonic Cage Dome.

And then of course, you have my latest creation. Something that I am probably the most proud of besides TSS itself. The Summer of Sonic, which can essentially be called two creations under one name. Originally a website, it was born out of a concept I had waaaay back in 2001; that there should be a Sonic fansite where every single prominent webmaster should contribute to. At the time, the idea was to have a Community website that involved myself, Tristan from TSSZ (who was a lot less controversial than he is now arguably), Sonic HQ, The Sonic Foundation, Shadow of a Hedgehog… it would be a site where the whole community got involved and contributed to. Continue reading Happy Birthday TSS! PLUS BONUS ANNOUNCEMENT!

TSS Timeline: The Year 2001

This is part of an ongoing series of features that looks back on the history of The Sonic Stadium. 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.

She’s Got The Look

The launch of The Sonic Stadium had a very good initial response – some thirty people or so were regularly visitng the website in just a few weeks since it’s opening, which is pretty admirable considering that it did so with no fanfare or anything. The first few months in 2001 would prove to be much tougher, as beginner’s luck would set in and the casually interested visitors would drop off and head to more interesting sites like The Sonic Foundation and Sonic HQ.

To combat this, towards the end of 2000 I began work on a new site design. One with a dark background, two sidebars and room for a lot of links to different pages. Still feeling my way around web design, I took a free template and fiddled with that to get the look I wanted. It wasn’t a very good idea at the time because I missed several updates because of this, but it taught me a lot about how to achieve certain things in a webpage.

While I was preparing this new design, I realised I needed more space than Angelfire’s 50Meg service provided. As a result of weeks of searching, The Sonic Stadium was moved onto a supposedly limitless, free host called Stas.net which included no ad-banners whatsoever. This became my undoing, as the bursting bubble of the dot com boom meant places like Stas ended up disappearing without so much as a ‘We’re closing down, bye’ message. There aren’t many images and backups of this design, as the only copies were on Stas. This meant I had to start from practically scratch. Even worse was I had my GCSE exams this year, so the revival would have to wait until several months later… Continue reading TSS Timeline: The Year 2001

TSS Timeline: The Year 2000

This is the first in a series of features that looks back on the history of The Sonic Stadium. 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.

Prelude

I’ve always been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, ever since I saw the Mega Drive game that my friend owned (which resulted in me accidently getting a Master System in my childhood ways). Every bit of my pocket money would go on the games, and any other merchandise I could fit in too. As time went on though, the Sony PlayStation became more popular and that (along with adolescence) made my interest in Sega and Sonic wane throughout the late 1990s.

My interest was to be reignited during my last year of school. Sometime in 1999, we had a new computer centre built, which brought Internet to the masses of kids attending there. Soon enough, every kid had a floppy disk with Genecyst and a Sonic 2 ROM that they would play during lunch break whenever the admins weren’t looking. Seeing the game being enjoyed again (and playing it a heavy amount myself) kick-started my love for the games all over again.

I eventually came across a website called The Moogle Cavern (now dead). It appeared during a random Yahoo search for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, not expecting to find as many fan sites as I did. In its prime, the ‘MC’ was known for its mish-mash of Mario, Sonic, Squaresoft and other assorted franchise information. I quickly joined the forums and became a solid part of their community. Continue reading TSS Timeline: The Year 2000

Interview: Richard Jacques

Yeah, so this one’s been sitting in the archives for a while. Originally recorded on 30th June 2006, Mark Kidley from RadioSEGA and myself sat down with the one and only Richard Jacques for a chat about his career, experience working on Sonic soundtracks and with Sonic Team and much more besides. This was to be used for the original Summer of Sonic event in 2006, but time flies when you’re all of a sudden organising a real life convention.

Even though this interview is two years old, it’s well worth a listen for any RJ fan, particularly as we were out of time during Summer of Sonic 2008 to ask him any pressing questions. Juicy tidbits such as Sonic R’s original work-in-progress name being Sonic TT, his role behind Video Games Live and what game fans pester him the most about. You can download it from the TSS Media Portal – link below.

Summer of Sonic 2006: Richard Jacques Interview (TSS Media Portal) – 10.1MB
Right click and select ‘Save As…’

Sonic News? No, this is TSS.

In light of a few random messages we’ve been getting over the last week, we thought we’d better clear up some of the confusion people are having. The Sonic Stadium used to be host to a news service called ‘Sonic News’. This service involved providing readers with the latest happenings in the Sonic universe by being unbiased, serious and generally governed with a rod up its bum. ‘Sonic News’ became the new word for ‘The Sonic Stadium’, as it was the main thing getting updated every now and then, so something was done to combat this (as it was, after all, getting annoying. There is a website accompanying the news service, you know).

We brought back the News area into The Sonic Stadium. So, as we stated in our very first introductory post since we relaunched last month, Sonic News does not exist anymore. It’s not here. You can’t find it. Not even playing Hide and Seek. It’s gone for good. All news will be relayed via The Sonic Stadium, and will provide the facts you need to know coupled with some entertaining writing and perhaps even some thoughtful/homourous opinion.

“Oh dear Svend, but a News site doesn’t apply opinion into their stories”. Quite right Sir/Madam, which is where you made your first mistake. The Sonic Stadium isn’t a news source. It’s a Sonic fansite. We write about Sonic because we are passionate about the series, we collect the games and merchandise, we watch the shows (even the piss poor ones like Underground). And further, we want to be a fansite that connects with you, another fan. If you don’t agree with our opinions, fine. But don’t get confused as to why we’re trying to be funny, or trying to pour some personality into a post to begin with.

We have different awesome writers with different opinions, making for a fruity bowl of Sonic fun. We could heavily edit some of our work to be a bit more ‘unbiased’ – I almost heavily edited the “Sonic and the Black Knight” article from last night. But you know what? What’s the point if fans can’t go a bit crazy sometimes and just tell it like it is? And if you don’t like it, why do you care?

This is, for all intents and purposes, a blog. Not a news site. If you wanted really serious, boringly-told stories with your seizure-inducing gaming session of Sonic Heroes, you shouldn’t be going to a fansite. You should be going to CNN. And you shouldn’t be playing Sonic Heroes.

We hear a lot of people were in fact confused about why the ‘News stories on Sonic News had gone downhill’, and I thought it best to explain why. This is not Sonic News, we have not gone downhill, we are writing to entertain and to inspire your mind. Or something. And if you didn’t read this, at least we’re covered just in case you’re Quexinos and want to complain that facts you provided to Sonic News in 2007 were sourced incorrectly (that’s why the post doesn’t exist anymore, Richard). Got it? Cool. Let’s rock.

Sonic News Ticker is Back

If your life has never been the same since TSS changed its new look, there may be a few reasons for that. One might be that you became rather attached to our Sonic News Ticker, which allowed external websites to link through to our news posts so your pages always stayed up to date.

Well fret no more about the ticker’s future, because we’ve brought it back. You can of course use our RSS Feed as an alternative – either click the huge orange button for our general RSS, subscribe to our specific News Feed or subscribe to our Feedburner. But for those who want to simply have that ticker scrolling along their page and have only News posts filtered through it, just copy and paste the following code:

<script type=”text/javascript” language=”Javascript” src=”http://www.sonicstadium.org/ticker.php”></script>

Business as usual. Take it away, Sam.

TSS: A Whole New Approach

Welcome to The Sonic Stadium. Place looks a bit different doesn’t it? Yes, this is what we’ve been up to for the last couple of weeks – updating your favourite Sonic site to be a bit more ‘hip’ and ‘happening’. Whatever that means these days. Kids, tsch.

So why the change? Put simply, for the last two years, TSS has been a floundering Sonic ship – while we certainly worked hard to become one of the most popular fansites online, my university and other commitments over the years had put something of a hold on adding updates of any real worth to the site (having said that, we have been lucky in getting stuff like interviews with Yojiro Ogawa, Simon Jeffery and Lee Brotherton so we haven’t been sitting on our thumbs the whole time). There have also been many things I’ve wanted to post about Sonic but pretty much couldn’t due to the way the site was designed and how the front page was dealt and all that jazz.

We did have a new TSS code base in the making – you’ll probably have heard me going on about it for the last two years. That was a system B’man and I started working on from the ground up, but again, other commitments meant the thing was going nowhere, and as a result TSS suffered. A few months back I thought it was time to can the bespoke script we were making and just make do with a pre-packaged one and add our own bells and whistles to them. Continue reading TSS: A Whole New Approach

Sonic Adventures: TSSNET Comic Coming Soon

The Sonic Stadium will soon be host to a new Sonic the Hedgehog comic, due to release its first edition in Spring 2008. Here’s some information direct from the comic’s creators, Cleardream productions.

The comic is based primarily on the Sonic games, however it borrows elements from other continuities to create something fresh, exciting, and unique. The comic also aims to engage more mature readers and long term fans by portraying a more darker side to the Sonic universe as well as having a mature theme. Continue reading Sonic Adventures: TSSNET Comic Coming Soon