Sometimes, even the creators of a game don’t know what’s been shown of it.
A little over thirty-one years ago, the Japanese magazine Famicon Tsushin printed screenshots of Sonic 1, taken from the game’s Tokyo Toy Show 1990 build. A few days ago, those screens resurfaced on Twitter, shortly after the magazine was posted to Archive.org, thanks to @VGDensetsu. The screenshots featured a clear look at an unused Sonic 1 beta enemy, from before badniks were created. While this technically wasn’t the first time a decent screenshot of this enemy was found (and blurry screenshots were around in the mid-2000s), it did mark the first time it garnered widespread attention from the Sonic community…and Yuji Naka!
Naka’s reaction was one of surprise: he had no memory of screenshots of the enemy ever being taken. In a tweet, roughly translated by Google, Naka said “I don’t have much memory of putting this enemy on the screen, so it may be a screen I made, but I feel like I couldn’t do that at that time, so it’s a mystery.” Obviously, the usual caveats of relying on flawed Google translations apply here.
You can check out the VGDensetsu tweet here, and you can find the scan below:
Did you check out the new Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania trailer that SEGA released today? If so, you may have noticed an interesting teaser at the end of it. And it features a familiar face we know all too well.
A defining element of the Sonic the Hedgehog series is the superb soundtrack that has accompanied our favourite characters across 30 year’s worth of adventures. Here’s the top 10 of what our resident music maniac T-Bird considers the best of three decades of music featured in the Sonic Universe!
10. Sonic R
Often dismissed as cheesy (but come on folks, Sonic is often super cheesy), the Sonic R soundtrack is the first entry on my list. While not everyone’s cup of tea, very few Sonic series soundtracks come close to being anywhere near as upbeat at this first foray by Sonic into a more contemporary sound, drawing from late 90s dance and Eurobeat. Authored by the one-and-only veteran composer Richard Jacques and embellished with vocals provided by TJ Davis (previously of D:Ream and Gary Numan) Sonic R is packed with plenty of guilty pleasures – not that there should be any guilt of course! We think Sonic R has a solid-gold track listing, and we will always sing Can You Feel The Sunshine at Karaoke, given the chance!
Highlights: Can You Feel the Sunshine?, Living In The City, Number One.
9. Sonic Heroes
Follow in on the coat tails of the Sonic Adventure series, the Sonic Heroes soundtrack continued the tradition of maintaining a thematic landscape, heavily drawing on the rock sound that worked so well for the last two titles. Sonic Sound Director Jun Senoue once again utilises his links to the world of melodic rock to recruit the vocal talents of Ted Poley (Danger Danger) and Tony Harnell (TNT) for We Can, in addition to two belting themes from Crush 40. Employing industrial electronic act Julien-K to provide an angsty theme to Shadow the Hedgehog’s team in the form of This Machine is perfect. There are far too many great stage themes to list in this game, but the fact that Wave Ocean and Bingo Highway have seen so many reworks and remixes since 2003 is testament to the enduring nature of this soundtrack!
Highlights: What I’m Made Of, This Machine, Wave Ocean
8. Sonic Rush
A unique entry to this list are the funky tones of the Sonic Rush soundtrack. Lead by the rather eccentric Hideki Naganuma (if you don’t believe me check out his Twitter), the genius behind the unforgettable Jet Set Radio soundtracks, provides an infusion of funk, soul, drum and bass, and a mountain of samples from every corner of the music industry. Naganuma’s approach delivers something that is seldom replicated anywhere else, and will leave anyone earworms for days to come. From the happy-go-lucky Back 2 Back to the darker tones of Wrapped in Black for the final boss, you won’t believe that something so powerful can output from a DS.
Highlights: What U Need, A New Day, Wrapped In Black
7. Sonic Unleashed / World Adventure
In a tonal shift from most other Sonic titles, sound director Tomoya Ohtani elected to take the soundtrack to Sonic Unleashed down a more orchestral avenue, to reflect the more cinematic qualities of the game, the environment, and the exploratory nature of the game’s hub worlds. What is delivered is a grandiose performance from the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, interjected with fast-paced and floaty drum and bass day tracks, and the cool jazz strings and flutes for night stages, more often than not arranged by an unsung hero of Sonic sounds, Fumie Kumatani. Although the Werehog battle theme finds itself being overused, its hard not to adore this soundtrack for its variety.
Highlights: Apotos Day, The World Adventure, Cool Edge
6. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive / Genesis)
It doesn’t get much more definitive than the theme to Emerald Hill Zone (with the exception of Green Hill of course) and as such Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s soundtrack ranks high in this list. Composed by Dreams Come True superstar Masato Nakamura, the music collection featured on the title is one of the most definitive to have featured on the Mega Drive / Genesis, exploiting the full range of channels available to deliver a soundtrack with depth and character, with catchy hooks and brilliant basslines. The game concludes with a rendition of DCT’s Sweet Sweet Sweet, to bring the feels as you save the planet once again.
Highlights: Emerald Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, Mystic Cave Zone
5. Team Sonic Racing
The most recent entry into this list is the soundtrack to Team Sonic Racing, another titled directed by Senoue-san. Not only is TSR packed with rearrangements and mash-up tracks from previous Sonic games, The SONIC ADVENTURE MUSIC EXPERIENCE, including long-time Crush 40 session bassist Takeshi Taneda and Crush 40 percussionist Akht, drive the heart of this assembly of octane-fuelled compositions, with a massive supporting cast including TORIENA, Hyper Potions, Tee Lopes, and Tyler Smyth (Dangerkids). As such, Senoue and company have delivered what is definitely one of the high-water marks in Sonic the Hedgehog music of the modern era.
Highlights: Ocean View Lap Music, Frozen Junkyard Lap Music, Boo’s House Lap Music
4. Sonic CD
I am going to have to cheat here in that this entry is a two-for-one and include both the American and Japanese soundtracks here (controversial, I know..and not the only time I will cheat either!) for quite different reasons. Naofumi Hataya and Masufumi Ogata’s masterful works are lined with J-Pop sounds, that while might sound a little contemporary and dated, are some of those associated most with Sonic games by the old guard. Spencer Nilsen’s soundtrack on the other hand delivers a much more ambient and darker tone to the game, completely changing the atmosphere; it really goes to show that a soundtrack can completely change the feel of a game. Regardless of which camp you fall into, you can’t deny that both games come armed with a great opening and closing vocal tracks.
Highlights: Sonic Boom, Tidal Tempest (US), Stardust Speedway – Bad Future (US), Comic Eternity (JP), Metallic Madness (JP), Boss!! (JP)
3. Sonic Mania
A modern classic. I probably don’t need to say much more than I have previously, in that Mania’s soundtrack is nothing short of a love letter to Sonic music through the ages. Fan-turned-professional musician Tee Lopes’s universal understanding of the DNA that comprises Sonic the Hedgehog soundscapes is nothing shy masterful, and has set a lofty standard for whatever follows in it’s wake in 2D Sonic titles. Lopes takes the best of the existing material and gives it a polish, breathing new life into well known tracks without detracting from what made them so brilliant in the first place. Additionally, Lopes demonstrates repeatedly throughout that his own compositions are just as phenomenal. Indeed, this is a soundtrack for the ages, and it feels criminal to select just three tracks as highlights!
Highlights: Prime Time – Studiopolis Zone Act 2, Blossom Haze – Studiopolis Act 2, Skyway Octane – Mirage Saloon act 1
2. Sonic 3 & Knuckles
A close call between this and the number 1 spot for sure, but many will hardly be surprised to see this game near the top of the listings. The songs of Sonic 3 & Knuckles are a culmination of tracks that are the very epitome of what makes Sonic soundtracks so good – a completely unique aural experience that has been much emulated but never replicated. Whether it’s the incredible “guitar” licks of Flying Battery, the “steel drums” of Angel Island, or the even the driving basslines of Ice Cap, this game sounds incredible even to this day, and further augments this great game. The calibre of the soundtrack is hardly surprising given that it’s authors include the likes of Senoue-san, Michael Jackson music director Brad Buxer, and in all likelihood the King of Pop himself!
Highlights: Hydrocity Act 2, Flying Battery Zone Act 1, Sky Sanctuary Zone
1. Sonic Adventure 1 & 2
The crowning jewels of the music of Sonic the Hedgehog are the timeless masterpieces that are the soundtracks of the Sonic Adventure series – and yes, I couldn’t pick a favourite. Pulling out all of the stops, Senoue et al. pulled out of the collective minds not one, but TWO massive musical landscapes to embellish the plethora of game environments, with no constraint on musical genre. Songs like the pop-punky Escape from the City and the spectacular power anthem that is Open Your Heart are unmatched in their power, driven home with a triple threat of galloping guitar work, thunderous percussion, and soaring vocals.
Nearly every playable character across the two games have their own distinct theme tune and genre, so their really is something for everyone. This format extends to the stages but is never forced, in fact quite the opposite; breaking into a vault to a jazz soundtrack has never felt so sincere to a 1960’s secret agent film with I’m A Spy…For Security Hall, or the slow Hawaii-esque guitar twangs of sitars that rings throughout Azure Blue World as Sonic adventures across the beach of Emerald Coast. I’m sure many fans will have stopped in Station Square, Mystic Ruins, and even a Chao Garden or two, to just pause and take in the atmosphere delivered by this soundtrack.
A perfect soundtrack for one of the most celebrated games of the series.
Highlights: Too many to list!
Here’s a handful of soundtracks that just missed out on featuring in the top 10:
Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear) – there are lots of 8-bit gems that missed out here, but Sonic Triple Trouble is a real diamond in the rough; Sunset Park Act 3 is a real highlight, and Fang the Sniper’s theme exudes a Mexican standoff – perfect for this rootin’ tootin’ sharp shootin’ Wolf. Or Gerboa (who knows!)
Sonic Colors (Nintendo Wii) – A tonally different game once again, Colors deserves a mention here as it’s soundtrack perfectly complements the lighter tone of the game itself, and Tomoya Ohtani gladly provides this in his distinct fashion.
Sonic Forces – Controversial, but why not! Forces, while being one of the poorer outings of Sonic in recent years, has some crackers in the soundtrack, and a smattering of catchy drum and bass-centric vocal songs. Let’s also not forget the heavy hitting Theme of Infinite provided courtesy of the Dangerkids!
Sonic Generations – This has probably missed out on the top 10 for being more of a revisiting of old soundtracks, but is nonetheless brilliant, and there are some phenomenal reworkings of Sonic CD’s Sonic Boom, and a blistering version of Heavy Arm’s theme.
Shadow the Hedgehog – Not to everyone’s taste, but I adore this soundtrack, which is heavier than a heavy thing, and a firm favourite of metal fans for sure. The theme song, I Am…All Of Me, is one of the most powerful Crush 40 songs going, and never fails to get the blood pumping.
Sonic Song Sin Bin:
Sonic Underground soundtrack – Apologies to the Sonic Underground gang, but this falls firmly in the sin bin – and although I am often one for a bit of cheese, this is too difficult not cringe through. Sonic and his band should probably not give up their day jobs! I will make one exception here – and that is the theme song, performed powerfully by Michael Lanning. That rocks.
Wonderman by Right Said Fred – During the advertising campaign in the early 90s, SEGA teamed up with dance-pop act Right Said Fred to create the bizarre Wonderman, which while making tenuous mentions to spin attacking and power sneakers in the lyrics, has little else to do with Sonic. It peaks at number 55 in the British charts, which tells you everything you need to know. Watch the bizarre music video below:
Sonic Jam (Games.com) – Barely a soundtrack, this game features single-channel renditions of stages from earlier Sonic games, that are unrecognisable due to having their tempo reduced by an order of magnitude.
Agree with our list? Don’t agree with our list? Let us know your favourite Sonic songs and soundtracks in the comments!
Remember that retro SEGA-themed picross game announced last year? Well, we just got an update on it from its developer, Jupiter: it’s still alive! That may seem like an odd update to give, but Jupiter has been oddly silent about the project for sometime now, leading many to wonder if the project was dead.
Jupiter’s update didn’t contain any additional info, such as a release date or screenshots, but at least we know the project itself is still kicking! To reiterate what we already know: it will have puzzles from 59 Mega Drive/Genesis & Mark III/Master System games, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Alex Kidd, and Phantasy Star.
Who likes financial briefings! Now, don’t raise your hands all at once, I know we’re all really excited to get new financial numbers, but for those of you who aren’t already sifting through the 74-page 2020 Results Presentation on SEGA SAMMY’s investor relations site, here are the highlights.
Although several other sites latched onto the “Super Game” mentioned eight times in the report, the way it appears in the presentation suggests “Super Game” might just be a term they use for a game that they can sell to a global audience. It may include new IP considering they have a separate 3-year plan to globalize their existing IP, but it would be very weird for a 5-year plan to include making some sort of global omni-game containing multiple titles. Not impossible, but very weird.
Other notable bits from the report include:
The Sonic series led traditional software sales with 4.4 million units sold, followed by Total War (4 million), Football Manager (3.8 million), and Persona (3 million).
Sonic is used as an example of strengthening the brand through media mix, specifically citing the original Sonic movie, the upcoming sequel, and the Netflix series Sonic Prime.
Games highlighted for release during fiscal 2021/2022 are Humankind, Shin Megami Tensei V, Total War: Warhammer III, Lost Judgment, and Phantasy Star Online 2 New Genesis.
SEGA’s European studio is working on an unspecified FPS project.
SEGA is instituting an approach of Remaster-Remake-Reboot in regard to current and past/dormant IP. Examples listed under past IP include Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Rez, Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS, Shinobi, Virtua Fighter, Altered Beast, House of the Dead, Streets of Rage, and Soul Hackers, all with the asterisk “*Under examination of which IP to utilize.”
Game software sales stayed strong, and Free to Play titles were really strong throughout quarantine/social distancing.
SEGA SAMMY reiterates that they were hit hard by the economic effects of Covid, leading them to restructure (voluntary retirement, sale/restructure of arcade divisions). Spaces most prominently affected were the arcade business, arcade machines, pachinko/pachislots, and their resorts.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how much SEGA SAMMY is worth, they report having 367.6 billion yen in liquid assets as of March 2021 (or roughly 3.4 billion USD, 2.4 billion GBP, or 2.8 billion EUR). This amount is just liquid assets, and does not include the value of property the company owns or the IP it holds.
SEGA SAMMY acknowledges responsibilities regarding environmental sustainability, diversity, job satisfaction, and addiction prevention.
Oh, and hey, they’re working on a Gamera pachislot machine, which I personally like for esoteric reasons.
If you’ve been following things, you may remember that this was leaked via a datamining of the game Ninjala for Nintendo Switch (these things tend to happen) where references to the Sonic franchise were found. Anyway, Ninjala makers GungHo finally revealed the existence of the collaboration with our fav blue Hedgehog. Only, that’s all for now! We’ll have to wait and see what the collaboration will actually be about. When that time comes, we’ll let you know!
Ninjala for those who don’t know is a free-to-play competitive action game that’s out right now worldwide exclusively on Nintendo Switch (from the director of Dissidia Final Fantasy on PSP, I am not kidding). So if you have a Switch, you can try it out now (find your regional store page on the official site) and see if it’s your thing, and it’ll hopefully give you an idea on what to expect from this collaboration.
It’s June 23rd, and you know what that means. Today marks the anniversary of Sonic’s first adventure. Of course, in the game’s canon, he remains a 15 year old. But Sonic 1 released 29 years ago on this date, which means Sonic, and even Dr. Eggman, are now 29 years old.
Good things come in pairs, and following the Sonic sale on the U.S. Nintendo eShop, Microsoft joins in with intense 50% discounts on ten more Sonic games for multiple Xbox Marketplace regions, most of which aren’t part of the Nintendo sale. As a reminder, all these games are playable on the Xbox One, and will likely be playable on the Series X in the near future.
Prices in USD/GBP respectively.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis) – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic CD – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic the Fighters – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure – $2.49/£1.69
Sonic Adventure 2 – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – $4.99/£3.37
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II – $7.49/£4.99
Sonic Unleashed – $7.49/£5.99
Sonic Generations – $9.99/£7.49
While at Comic Con last week, I managed to grab a SDCC exclusive copy of Tangle and Whisper issue number one, The very first IDW spin-off mini series based on comic exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog characters. Written by Ian Flynn with art by Evan Stanley.
Yes, it’s that time of year again – Sonic the Hedgehog officially turns 28 years old on this day, 23rd June 2019. I mean, he doesn’t -really- turn 28 because Sonic is not real (sorry), but today was the day, 28 years ago, that the original Sonic the Hedgehog game was released on Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. So, that makes Sonic (and Dr. Eggman, technically) the same age. Continue reading Happy Birthday Sonic the Hedgehog! 28 Years Old Today!
The tie-ins won’t stop! Japanese mobile RPG game Idola: Phantasy Star Saga is running a special promotion where you can grab a “Special Soul Symbol” based on the recently released racing spin-off title Team Sonic Racing.
In a recent interview with Japanese gaming website 4Gamer, Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team, answered some questions regarding Sonic’s future. The following excerpts from that interview were translated by Nintendo Everything.
When asked about Sonic’s upcoming 30th anniversary in 2021, Iizuka said that “planning would need to begin now,” and that he’d “really like for us to take on some sort of new challenge for it though.”
On the subject of Sonic in eSports, Iizuka was ambivalent, saying that because Sonic is primarily an action platformer, going into eSports “might not be feasible.” However, he did express a willingness to take on new genre challenges, bringing up the recently released Team Sonic Racing as an example. He indicated that “there’s always the chance that something suited to eSports might come out of those different projects.” The Sonic franchise is no stranger to spin-offs in other genres, so it would appear that an eSports focused Sonic spin-off is at least a possibility, albeit a remote one.
While this likely has nothing to do with Sonic’s still-far-off 30th anniversary, Iizuka did confirm that a new 3D Sonic title was in development earlier this year at SXSW’s Sonic panel.
As part of Nintendo’s E3 2019 Direct, we got a new look at Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 for Switch. We got to see new footage of numerous events, as well as the release month of November 2019.
Sega also opened the website for the game showcasing the numerous events they’ve announced so far, starting with four new ones:
– Surfing – Snow Board
– Karate – Kumite
– Sport Climbing
– Skateboarding – Park
Sega also confirmed numerous characters, all returning from the previous games so far. The website displays Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and Bowser from the Mario series, and Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy, and Eggman from Sonic’s series. However, others were shown in the trailer, including Donkey Kong and Silver.
Sega also confirmed the return of online multiplayer for the first time since Sochi 2014, though to what extent is not currently clear.
The trailer may also briefly features retro graphics for one of the events. Whether this is simply a flourish for the trailer, or a legitimate game mode is currently unknown.
Finally there are a few new screenshots to check out below:
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 releases on Switch this November.
We didn’t want to wait until the end of the month to talk about this one. Recorded the day after the trailer’s release, Jason, Alex and Chris discuss their opinions on the Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer. We may have seen leaked images early, but we weren’t going to pass judgement until we saw the hedgehog in motion. Well we did and…..it’s even worse than we thought. Join us and listen to what we thought of Sonic, James Marsden, Jim Carrey and more.
Video game legend and former Sonic Team character designer Naoto Ohshima turned 54 today. Ohshima is best known for designing Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Eggman, as well as directing Sonic Team classics like Sonic CD, NiGHTS into Dreams and Burning Rangers. After leaving Sonic Team following the completion of Sonic Adventure, Ohshima formed Artoon, where he would go on to create Blinx the Timesweeper (an attempt at creating a platforming mascot for the original Xbox) and act as a producer for a few Yoshi games.
These days, Ohshima serves as the Vice President of Arzest, a Japanese video game studio he helped form after leaving Artoon in 2010.
From all of us here at the Sonic Stadium, happy birthday Naoto Ohshima!
Yesterday we brought you the news that SXSW were teasing a Sonic related announcement.
Well that announcement has just been made and we can now reveal that there will be another Sonic Panel at this years SXSW! The initial details for the panel are as follows.
Date/Time: March 16, 2019, from 1:00PM to 2:00PM.
Aaron Webber (SEGA of America),
Jasmin Hernandez (SEGA of America),
Jun Senoue (SEGA),
Takashi Iizuka (SEGA of America)
Nothing has been confirmed or even teased with regards to announcements, but… and I stress this is my pure speculation here…
I’d like to think that since the panel is close to TSR’s release, there will be some new information on that, especially since Jun is… if you’ll excuse the pun… instrumental with the music for that game.
Jasmin Hernandez was also the production manager for Sonic Mania Adventures, could get confirmation of Season 2?
And you know that with Aaron and Iizuka on the panel, Aaron will do all he can to pry any secrets from Mr Iizuka on the day!
What do you think? What do you think will be announced or talked about, let us know in the comments.
Less than 24 hours after the first teaser poster for the upcoming Sonic movie was released, a second posted was spotted at a movie theatre showing Sonic sat on top of the Golden Gate Bridge displaying his hairy legs and the graffiti ‘Sonic Wuz Here.’
Well, a second photo has emerged of this poster at another theatre putting to rest claims that it was in fact a hoax, it is very real, so behold Sonic’s hairy legs!
In this month’s Sonic Talk, we talk about Shenmue and how sometimes nostalgia isn’t enough. More on Team Sonic Racing, our final thoughts on Sonic Mania Plus, the Sonic movie, GX’s distain for Funko Pops and much, much more! Continue reading Sonic Talk 55: Funko Pooped
Just two days before the Sega Ages games start rolling out in Japan, Sega in the west have announced the d3t-developed Sega Genesis Classics (Sega Mega Drive Classics in EU) for Switch. This was released earlier this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Continue reading Sega Genesis Classics announced for Switch
Sega have announced their line-up for this year’s Tokyo Game Show event in Japan (which includes Team Sonic Racing). Alongside it, they’ve announced a special stage event will be taking place on September 22nd at 15:10-15:40 that will be all about their Sega Ages line-up for the Switch eShop. The stage event promises updates including “major title-related announcements”. Continue reading SEGA AGES TGS Event Announced, Major Reveals Planned
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