Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘sonic

Extra Credit: Sonic Boom’s 25th Anniversary Edition R Dash

leave a comment »

sonic_25_post

Sega celebrated Sonic’s 25th Anniversary with a whopping 4 hour livestream for a relatively small amount of content.  The stream was loaded with audio issues as well, so I guess it’s only fitting that a duplicating echo effect is present through this entire show as well, although we feel it’s still good enough to listen to and enjoy.  Fred and Jam are joined by 42 Level One’s Andy and Ali to discuss the blue hedgehog’s upcoming endeavors.


Download this episode (right click and save)

Written by Fred Rojas

July 24, 2016 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Bringin’ It Back – Reboots (Part 1)

leave a comment »

reboot_post

As times change so do video games with developers and publishers scrambling to keep up.  There are several ways to handle a classic franchise presented to a contemporary audience, which is fully covered in at the beginning of the show.  Of the most scrutinized is the reboot.  In this episode Jam and Fred debate the definition of a reboot and then get into the many attempts that have been made in the world of gaming to make what is old become new again.


Download this episode (right click and save)

RSS iTunes Google Podbean

Streets Of Rage 3D – The Joys of Buying on Launch Day Again

leave a comment »

streets_of_rage_2_title

I was contemplating whether to write a review for the recent port of Streets of Rage 2 on the 3DS but I kinda thought there’s little point. Most people reading this article will have played the game and know its great. Instead I wanted to write about the fun I had re-visiting the game and why I actually had no problem re-buying this game despite owning it on multiple systems and compilations. If you are someone that needs a score the game is 5 out of 5. Fred and I also talked extensively about the game on our Top Ten Mega Drive/Genesis games of all time, which I highly recommend checking out, you might be surprised what makes the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jamalais

August 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Blog

Tagged with , , ,

Retro Game Night: Sonic Xtreme and Sonic Blast

with one comment

This week we play the two 3D Sonic titles most of you have never touched.   First up is the unreleased demo of Chris Coffin’s late in the development cycle version of Sonic Xtreme as discussed on this week’s podcast:

And next is the Brazilian Master System port of the Game Gear’s final Sonic title, Sonic Blast, which utilized much of the same technology as Donkey Kong Country:

Written by Fred Rojas

July 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Xtreme – The Story of Sonic (Part 2)

leave a comment »

Screen capture from Sonic Xtreme

Screen capture from Sonic Xtreme

This week Fred is teamed up again by Andy (@damien14273) and Ali (@thealmiesta) of the 42 Level One podcast (@42levelone) to discuss the second and final part of the history of Sonic the Hedgehog.  For the second part we cover Sonic’s 3D outings including the sordid tale of Sonic Xtreme (and its many other project names and iterations) as well as all other 3D Sonic titles up to 2006 (Sonic the Hedgehog on 360/PS3/PC).  Although it ends badly, trust us, it’s a great ride.

Opening Song – Living in the City from Sonic R (Saturn)

Closing Song – Sonic X Theme from Sonic X cartoon show


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe:   RSS   iTunes   Google   Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

July 24, 2013 at 11:00 am

Retro Game Night: Sonic the Hedgehog, 8-bit Edition

with one comment

This week in honor of our Sonic podcast, I’m playing the 8-bit (Master System/Game Gear) outings of Sega’s mascot.  If you’ve never seen them before, they are drastically different than the 16-bit versions.

First up is the original Sonic the Hedgehog:

Next is, obviously Sonic 2:

And finally, Sonic Chaos (Sonic & Tails in Japan), which was to be the 8-bit companion to Sonic 3 had it not been delayed:

Written by Fred Rojas

July 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Blast Processing – The Story of Sonic

leave a comment »

sonic_post

This week Fred is joined by Ali (@thealmiesta) and Andy (@damien14273) from the 42 Level One podcast to discuss Sonic the Hedgehog.  With a heavily documented history, Sega’s official mascot to combat Mario had quite the history.  In part 1 we discuss the origins of Sonic and all of his 16-bit era outings (which include his 8-bit Master System/Game Gear titles, spin-offs, and his CD outing), complete with the games themselves and the stories of development. While long, there’s no lack of content or stories tethered with the beloved hedgehog.

Opening Song – Sonic Theme (from Sonic the Hedgehog on Genesis/Mega Drive)

Closing Song – Sonic Boom (from Sonic CD on Sega CD/Mega CD)


Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe:   RSS   iTunes   Google   Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

July 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

Review: Christmas Nights Into Dreams (Saturn)

with 3 comments

christmas_nightsConsole: Saturn
Released: December 1996
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Instruction Manual: It did not have one – manual of the original game should suffice
Difficulty: Easy
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $24.25 (used), $56.00 (new) (pricecharting.com
Other Releases: Yes – A Japan only PS2 remake of Nights Into Dreams includes the Christmas content
Digital Release? Yes – included in the HD remake of Nights Into Dreams on XBLA and PSN, certain content removed (see below)

Christmas Nights Into Dreams is significant for several reasons, but most of all it’s one of the only Christmas themed games to ever come out.  No, seriously, look through the vaults of retro console history, this is a holiday that is rarely celebrated save for games that focus on certain days (Animal Crossing, for example).  In the winter of 1996 Sega was already in big trouble with the Saturn.  At only about a year and a half old, Sony’s Playstation was killing it in terms of sales and there were few exclusive titles that generated any kind of buzz.  Even Sonic, the faithful hedgehog that always seemed to sweep in and save Sega’s butt, hadn’t released a real game yet.  Not only that, but this was the Christmas release of the Nintendo 64 and Mario 64 was selling out consoles nationwide.  Nights Into Dreams was the only recent release on the Saturn that appealed to the typical gamer and with its colorful aesthetic, roots in platforming, and Sonic Team developer it was Sega’s best bet for the holidays.  Under these circumstances Christmas Nights invaded the market in several forms from being a free pack-in with Christmas console bundles (that already included Nights), inside several magazines, a mail away/in store offer with certain game purchases, and even for rent at Blockbuster Video.  This “sampler” title was everywhere, but only for about 45 days, and now it’s one of the more rare and sought after pieces of a retro gamer’s collection.

xmas_nights_1

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

December 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

Review: Sonic CD (Sega CD)

leave a comment »

soniccd_boxConsole: Sega-CD/Mega-CD
Released: 1993
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Instruction Manual: Not Necessary – Link
Difficulty: Moderate
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $11.99 (used), $23.50 (new) (pricecharting.com
Other Releases: Yes – PC, PS2/Gamecube (Sonic Gems Collection)
Digital Release? Yes – Steam, Xbox 360, PS3, Android, iOS ($5 on all platforms)

Sonic CD is one of those games that it’s just popular to like.  I don’t want to start on a negative note, the game does have some merit, but it’s not a particularly good Sonic game and doesn’t quite change the universe like many will claim.  Before Sega decided to blitz every console on the market with the digital version, Sonic fans were gnawing at the bit for a decent port (sadly the Sonic Gems Collection ports had emulation issues).  Now that it’s everywhere the gaming community seems to have adjusted to a more realistic view of the CD adventure that throws a few imaginative ideas at relatively lackluster level design.

At one point you're forced to beat Metal Sonic in a race.

At one point you’re forced to beat Metal Sonic in a race.

For those that aren’t up on their Sonic history, the hedgehog was co-created by Naoto Oshima and his more known partner Yuji Naka.  After the release of the first game, Naka and several members of that team moved to the United States and joined with STI (Sega Technical Institute) to create Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  Meanwhile the remaining developers, including Oshima, took the concepts that were in early development for Sonic 2 and expanded upon them into what eventually became Sonic CD.  This is why despite coming out around the same time as Sonic 2, Sonic CD looks graphically more like the original and doesn’t seem to adapt some of the great ideas of the sequel.  Still, it does feature some interesting gameplay mechanics, like the ability to move into the past and future with two full versions of the many levels.  This dual expansion of the campaign does have a casualty: level design.  Many of the levels in Sonic CD feature plenty of wasted real estate in the interest of moving quickly to the right, odd gimmicks that net death if you don’t tolerate the so-so platforming, and several instances where Sonic’s momentum is completely spoiled by a random ramp or springboard.  Despite these layout flaws I still contest that the boss designs are superior over Sonic 2 and prove that not all of the talent in Sega’s Japanese team migrated to America.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Feature: Mascots

leave a comment »

Mascots, you have to love them.  No, wait, you don’t.  For the most part mascots have been one of the dark spots on a game publisher’s marketing blitz.  At first there was only one iconic mascot, Mario from Super Mario Bros., and frankly he was an accidental mascot that Nintendo had never imagined would become its poster child.  After Mario other companies were consistently trying to establish mascots no matter the negative cost to the consumer.  Mario is an exception not because he’s a particularly good or mistakenly genius mascot, he’s just iconic because his game was the catalyst to the return of video games after the crash of 1983.  During the mid 80s Nintendo established a handful of strong franchises that are beloved by many fans and despite Mario being the “leader” per se, he’s definitely not alone when Nintendo wants to sell a product.  I would argue that Link (from Legend of Zelda), Kirby (from Kirby’s Dream Land), Pikachu (from Pokemon), and to certain extent Donkey Kong (from Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Country) and Samus (from Metroid).  Much like Disney, Nintendo brings with it a cast of characters and franchises that all assist the overall brand in creating long running quality games.  Everyone wanted to have that same wonderful family in the 90s (all of the above named characters had at least one title on the NES by 1992), but they seemed to miss the point that these characters were not created to be mascots, they just happened to get popular enough to become mascots.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

August 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm