Tag Archives: Sega

In Dreams

The latest issue of Nintendo Force magazine has a theme of new beginnings for both video game franchises and studios.  Outside of being a gorgeous publication, this issue is chock full of informative stories concerning new ventures and creations from well-established developers.  It must be exciting to break away from one’s previous success and strike out into uncharted territory; to see a new dream brought into reality.

Of course, there are plenty of risks and difficulties involved.  Longtime fans of a particular designer often just want to play another installment of a beloved series.  These players don’t want some new-fangled game set in an unknown universe; they want to play Favorite Game 2: Return of the Awesome Hero.  One also has to consider the trouble of developing fresh IPs on a brand new console.  Many publishers want to see hot new games on the launch list for their hot new console.  They ignore the difficulties of developing for new hardware, or the fact that consumers may not rush out to buy the products.  In spite of these challenges, there are some amazing games that broke the mold and have been honored by players and pundits across time. Continue reading In Dreams

Making a Transformation

Whenever there is an announcement regarding the release of yet another entry into a beloved game series, most people seem to fall into two camps:

1) Folks who want the game to stay true to the series roots and only make slight updates to an already successful formula (aka the rabid fanboys/girls who make death threats whenever change is afoot).

2)People who want to see these classic series brought to a modern setting through gameplay experimentation and updated character design (aka the snooty naysayers who are quick to damn a company to obsolescence for not being “mature” enough).

Speaking frankly (too late for that), I tend to lean closer to the latter group.  I can appreciate that series like the Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda have made amazing games with little change to the usual formula, but I can also recognize when trying to mix up the system produced equally impressive titles.  Some of my favorite games are the results of such experiments, like Yoshi’s Island and A Link Between Worlds.  I tend to believe that if these IPs were given a bit more slack on their controlling leash, then other developers could make fantastic games that portray the series in a new light.  This is probably why I find video game comic books so interesting; they can allow a bit more creative freedom to explore new settings for classic game characters.

MechaSonic1One game series that has seen a number of these little experiments thanks to comic book adaptations is Sonic the Hedgehog.  Through the efforts of Archie Comics, side characters have taken center stage, heroes have crossed into our world, and old rivalries have been put to rest.  Some of the best of these comics have taken potential ideas that could have become games and turned them into special events for readers.  Where interesting characters like Mecha-Sonic were only glimpsed on consoles, the comic books took such an idea and turned it into an epic battle for the ages. Continue reading Making a Transformation

Choosing Sides

With the arrival of a new generation of consoles comes a fresh batch of loyal fans screaming incoherently at one another.  All across the internet, lines are being drawn in the virtual sand and mindless skirmishes are waged on every form of social media.  Even at my workplace, where people generally keep their geekier hobbies close to the chest, I hear soft insults hurled back and forth between cubicles; murmurs of which console provides a superior experience.  Of course, none of this nonsense is new to me.  I lived through the Console Wars of the ’90s, when every system had a hero to idolize and follow into battle.  As a devout Nintendo Kid, I knew where my loyalties should be lain.  From the Mushroom Kingdom my brethren and I launched vicious fireballs, scorching the Green Hills of Sega-Land.  In spite of my family’s entertainment coming exclusively from Nintendo products, I had a hidden curiosity to learn about the edgier console that the enemy so fiercely protected.

In the darkest of night (read: mid-afternoon while my mother shopped for groceries), I snuck towards the neutral zone and gathered propaganda which was highly illegal in the Mushroom Kingdom.  I have kept these remnants of my disloyalty secret until now, but I cannot hide my shame any longer.

SonicandKnuckles1

The first issue of Sonic the Hedgehog hit store shelves way back in November 1992.  Archie Comics was given the task of creating a four-issue miniseries to coincide with the debut of the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon show.  Since the concept materials for the television series were shared between DIC Animation and Archie Publications, the comic closely resembled the world depicted in the cartoon.  Based on the success of the mini-series, Sonic and his friends graduated into a full-fledged comic book run that started in May 1993 and continues to this day.  With over 251 issues in print, Sonic the Hedgehog earned the Guinness World Record of longest running comic series based on a video game.

SonicandKnuckles2I picked up my first Sonic comic in August of 1995, when the debut of a certain echidna was still rocking the gamer world with stackable cartridges.  Sonic and Knuckles No. 1 boasted a giant-sized 48 page collector’s edition at the low-cost of two dollars.  At the time, I had only encountered Knuckles in magazine advertisements and brief play sessions at friends’ houses, but the bright red marsupial seemed so damn cool.  Handled by Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante and Harvey Mercadoocasio, Archie veterans who contributed extensive work to the Sonic comics, the cover art featured all sorts of nods to Sega games.  There was of course Sonic and Knuckles, along with graffiti that referenced Sonic Spinball and a Sega Saturn hidden in the pile of Swat-Bot remains.  A perfect blend of elements to catch any young gamer’s eye.

SonicandKnuckles3The story within Sonic and Knuckles No. 1 was a sort of follow-up to the events featured in Sonic 3 (or Sonic #13, for fans of the comic book).  The Floating Island (home to Knuckles and the “only great natural wonder untouched by utter devastation”) has wandered over the safe haven of Knothole Village.  While Sonic and Tails have some experience with Knuckles and his hovering home, the rest of the village is highly alarmed at a giant chunk of rock floating over their humble abode.  Our heroes are sent to investigate the island and find that munitions, retro rockets, and a series of robots have become part of the surroundings.  After a fight with Knuckles (and the first boss of Sonic 3), Sonic and Tails explain to the echidna that someone has obviously hijacked his home.  Sure enough, Dr.  Robotnik has taken over the Floating Island and fitted it with all sorts of tech to turn it into a giant military machine.

Rather than watch his home become a weapon, Knuckles destroys the Chaos Emerald that powers the island, which causes Robotnik to abandon ship.  As the island starts to descend, Knuckles reveals a spare emerald, which halts the cataclysmic crash and saves the day for all involved.  Following the main story, there are two shorter tales that feature Knuckles protecting the Floating Island and citizens who inhabit it.  The first of these stories sets up for the next special issue from Archie Comics (Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble) and the second is a sort of educational comic about a solar eclipse.

SonicandKnuckles4As with many of the spin-offs of the Sonic comics, Sonic and Knuckles No. 1 features a series of artists working on each story.  The character designs remain generally similar to the cartoon show, but there are little nuances between each story.  The main tale features art with minimal line work, mostly relying on facial expressions to convey action and moods.  Action scenes are rife with comic book onomatopoeia to move the story along.  The separate Knuckles tales use quite a bit more shading and lighting effects throughout the artwork, which compliments the more mature nature of the character.  Due to a lack of fight scenes and limited action, the other two stories rely on extra dialogue and further detail in character drawings to flesh out the story.

Following my initial betrayal of Nintendo, I went on to purchase piles of Sonic comics (particularly the Knuckles and Tails spinoffs).  For many more years, my family pledged loyalty to the great Nintendo, finally conceding to the onslaught of the Sony Militia in 1997.  While I carry the remnants of my rabid fanboyism to this day, I have come to realize that dedicating oneself to something as silly as the console wars is a waste of time.  There are plenty of amazing games to be played across all kinds of technology.  Limiting yourself to a single console or device out of a bizarre dedication to a giant corporation only serves to cut out dozens of wonderful experiences from your life.  So let’s drop all this nonsense of “Microsoft versus Sony versus Nintendo” and just concede that the Sega Dreamcast was the best of them all, shall we?

A Night of Power Rangers

MMPR

Growing up, Power Rangers was my motivation. I watched every episode of Mighty Morphin’, collected (and destroyed) as many toys as possible, dressed up as several different colors, and fought not only my friends who had to borrow my costumes, but also those highly animated and dangerous trees in my backyard. Life as a kid was entertaining.

I was always a massive tomboy, and when the neighborhood kids and I got together to play some Power Rangers outside, it always ended up in a massive argument… because I didn’t want to be the pink or yellow ranger. I wanted to be the first female red ranger (before it actually happened in the series). And when that didn’t work out, I always slipped on my white ranger costume and caused some chaos against invisible baddies.

Power Rangers even released some video games, the first ones more boring than anything else, but Power Ranger the Movie… The Game is a game I wish I still had. The Sega version, not Super Nintendo. Ivan Ooze gave me the heebie jeebies! And does anyone else remember the Ivan Ooze silly putty that was sold? I ended up dropping it on the ground…

But what’s even more exciting now is the fact that Power Rangers Super Megaforce will be having the super ultra-cool all-rangers battle this year. What’s even better is the fact that they’ve already started filming. Here’s a photo I saw yesterday on Twitter. See who you can pick out in the background.

SuperMegaforce

To all of the Power Rangers fans, who were your favorite rangers? And if you could be any color/season ranger, which one would you be?

Game On: Resonance of Fate (Part 3)

Resonance-of-Fate_2

Once we clear these 852 battle tutorials, there’s no chance Chris will die in his first real battle, right? …Right?

Chris and Jason embark on a brand-new playthrough of the Sega/Tri-Ace RPG Resonance of Fate. We don’t know much about this game, so join us as we fumble through what is sure to be a ridiculously complex battle system presented all at once! Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email, or find out more about us on our bio page.

It’s time to make fate resonate in our hearts. Game on.

Game On: Resonance of Fate (Part 2)

resonance-of-fate

Are you ready to be embarrassed at Chris’s struggles with the battle tutorials? Well, you can laugh at him as you watch, but he won’t hear you — he’s too busy sobbing in the corner.

Chris and Jason embark on a brand-new playthrough of the Sega/Tri-Ace RPG Resonance of Fate. We don’t know much about this game, so join us as we fumble through what is sure to be a ridiculously complex battle system presented all at once! Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email, or find out more about us on our bio page.

It’s time to make fate resonate in our hearts. Game on.

Game On: Resonance of Fate

resonanceoffate

Look! Over there! It’s a main character with a ridiculous name! I mean, Zephyr. Honestly. Who was the poor sucker who lost a bet and made that happen?

Chris and Jason embark on a brand-new playthrough of the Sega/Tri-Ace RPG Resonance of Fate. We don’t know much about this game, so join us as we fumble through what is sure to be a ridiculously complex battle system presented all at once! Have a game you want to see us suffer through play next? Let us know in the comments or by sending us an email, or find out more about us on our bio page.

It’s time to make fate resonate in our hearts. Game on.