Imagine co-creating one of the most iconic video game characters of all time and then, thirty years later, being sentenced to jail. Those are the highs and lows of Yuji Naka’s life — the man responsible for developing Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega, and then caught participating in insider trading while at Square Enix.
In the early 90s you either had a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis — it was the parents who paid for these things and most would chafe at the idea of buying a second console. There were many Genesis kids who looked on at the Zelda series with some jealousy, but there WERE options to get a similar experience. Both of them have finally arrived in the Genesis section of Nintendo Switch Online as of today.
Today during Summer Game Fest, Sega revealed the first old-school Sonic the Hedgehog game since 2017’s Sonic Mania. Contrary to the open-world game released last year, Sonic Superstars will be entirely 2D and a return to the gameplay that made the ‘hog famous.
We were kind of surprised by the latest addition to Nintendo Switch Online because generally, the stuff that winds up here is not stuff third-party publishers consider valuable enough to sell elsewhere. The Castlevania series, for example, will not appear on NSO because Konami would rather sell those games in their own packages. Street Fighter is another brand that’s too hot for NSO, or so we thought. NSO just got one. It’s the Genesis version of Street Fighter II, not the SNES version, but hey, it’s playable.
Sonic has had plenty of TV shows (the latest one, Sonic Prime, is running right now on Netflix). But he has a tendency to (hedge)hog the spotlight. We’re sure other people in his circle of contacts would appreciate breaking out into shows of their own. It took thirty years, but after making his debut in Sonic 3 for Genesis, Knuckles the Echidna will finally receive his own star vehicle, which for now is just appropriately called “Knuckles.”
Over the weekend the rumor sprouted up that Sega was looking to buy out mobile developer Rovio for a billion dollars. We were skeptical because (a) the only thing Rovio is known for is Angry Birds and that property hit its peak ages ago, and (b) there’s no way Sega has a billion dollars.
It’s interesting how Nintendo and Sega, despite coming from the same region of Japan, have polar opposite approaches to treating their fans. Nintendo can be very strict about fan works, striking down free games made in earnest by people just wanting to express their love for the company’s characters. Then there’s Sega, who not only fully allows Sonic fan games but will sometimes officially endorse them.
Did you purchase Sonic Origins when it came out last year? If the answer is “no,” you’re in luck — Sega just announced an upgraded version, Sonic Origins Plus, that contains more content. It’s one of those moments that’s aggravating for one consumer but a blessing for another.
Sonic has been a star of American comics for almost as long as he’s been a star of video games. He first appeared in a comic in late 1992 and stayed with Archie Comics for over 20 years, until an incident with one of their ex-writers drove Sega to pull the license. Basically Archie was bad at holding onto contracts, Ken Penders found out and used the loophole to file ownership of characters he’d invented, breaking the continuity and eventually ending the series.
Every serious console collector needs a Dreamcast. Sega’s last and greatest console only lived for around two years but had an incredibly sweet and short life, publishing many original and innovative game concepts that would influence generations to come. The Dreamcast was first to make online play possible directly from the console (and keep in mind this was the 56k phone-line era, so games had to be designed to function under those speeds — and did). It also came with a device embedded into the game controller called a VMU, or Visual Memory Unit.
Everyone wants to copy Breath of the Wild…soon it’ll be Sega’s turn with Sonic Frontiers, coming this fall. The best thing about Sonic games is going as fast as you can, but will the vast, open meadows of Sonic’s new Hyrulian world and lack of real direction kill any true sense of momentum? Early footage seemed to suggest “yes,” but we’ll withhold judgment until the game is actually out.
After announcing a Mega Drive Mini 2 for Japan, Sega has decided to….KIND OF release a Genesis 2 in America. At the moment you can buy one, but that won’t be the case for long: Sega will only manufacture one-tenth the amount of Mini 2s that they made of Mini 1s. Sega of Japan is handling the whole thing and the miniconsoles have to be shipped from there, adding an extra shipping fee of $20 to the price of $99. In other words, this isn’t for everyone.