Free Shinobi costume DLC for Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble being offered via email newsletter

SegaBits is a great one-stop-Sega-news-shop, but one service we cannot provide for you is free cosmetic DLC for the latest Sega games. We can still tell you when Sega offers you some however. Case in point, this special new Shinobi costume that Sega is offering to anyone who signs up for their email newsletter for the upcoming Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble game. No price is better than free, so head in past the break to sign up and enjoy your Shinobi costume when Super Monkey Ball: Banana Rumble comes out for Nintendo Switch on June 25th, 2024.

The SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show LIVE: Reel Ghostbusters Artist Chris Sorrentino

On this episode Reel Ghostbusters Artist Chris Sorrentino (aka PizzaPlazm) talks about his 80s animation inspired art which brings scenes from the Ghostbusters films into the style of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon! We’ll also talk about the many faces of Chris Sorrentino, including his longtime podcasting (Super Live Adventure), his cosplaying (Baby Belushi) and his comedy. Of course, being a SEGA video game focused show we will also talk video games including those weird licensed ones.

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SEGA Announces Panel at Anime Expo; A New Era of Shadow

SEGA announced they will have a panel at the biggest anime celebration in Los Angeles, Anime Expo 2024. The panel will focus on everyone’s favorite brooding hedgehog, Shadow, including his origins, his story in SONIC X SHADOW GENERATIONS, and more.

Hosted by popular voice actor Zeno Robinson (Hawks in “My Hero Academia”, Hunter in “The Owl House”, and more) the panel will feature Takashi Iizuka (Sonic Team Creative Officer), Kirk Thornton and Stephanie Sheh, (English voices of Shadow and Maria), as well as Alan Wan, Kevin Molina-Ortiz, and Christopher Luc (Directors of Studio Giggex), as they discuss all things Shadow. The panel will also be answering fan submitted questions surrounding Shadow, Sonic, and more.

The panel will begin on Saturday, July 6 at 12:30 PM PT in Petree Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Be sure to follow us on our website and social media pages as we will be attending Anime Expo covering SONIC X SHADOW GENERATIONS and many other SEGA titles on the showfloor!

Sega 8-bit game publisher 2Minds opens pre-orders for Game Gear adventure “The Sword of Stone” + new Mark III and Genesis/Mega-Drive games

Looking for something new to play on Sega’s 8-bit console library, including the Game Gear? French publisher 2Minds has reopened their online store as well as opened pre-orders for a new narrative exploration adventure for Game Gear titled “The Sword of Stone”. In addition, they’ve also opened pre-orders for new Mark III and Genesis/Mega-Drive cartridges of their Master System game library, along with a new Game Gear version of their existing Master System puzzle game “Heroes Against Demons”. The new Game Gear games cost €59 ($63.65 USD), Mark III games cost €55 ($59.33 USD), and Genesis and Master System games cost €50 ($53.94 USD). All pre-orders are estimated to ship in September, while Master System games, as of this writing, are already available to ship. Make sure you get the correct game cartridge for your personal setup.

All of the games are packaged with high quality cartridges containing brand new game PCBs of 2Minds’s own special design. They also come in a box with a color manual. The Game Gear games also come with brand new plastic shells for the cartridges, just like all brand new Game Gear games had. Really takes you back, right? Keep in mind, the Genesis cartridges are still Master System games, but playable on Genesis without the need of a Power Base Converter. They may not work with Genesis consoles incompatible with Master System games, such as the Nomad and Genesis 3, as well as the 32X. (Fun fact: Sega actually released a Master System game in a Mega-Drive cartridge themselves once.) Mark III games will have all text on the box and manual written in Japanese.

You can see links to the store after the break, along with picture galleries of all the available games.

SEGA Talk #140: Gain Ground (1988)

On this episode of Sega talk we discussed the 1988 arcade classic Gain Ground. How did this game Translate to the Mega Drive and Master System? Does the game have memorable characters and a story? What Legacy has it left? We discuss all this and more on Sega Talk!

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Support us on Patreon! Get early access, have your memories read on the show, select the games we talk about!

VGNYsoft preparing a new reissue of indie Dreamcast hit Sturmwind; Pre-orders open up May 15th, 2024

Remember the amazing indie Dreamcast shooter Sturmwind? Developed by Duranik and originally published by redspotgames in 2013, Strumwind was a fun and beautiful side-scrolling shmup that has long since gone out of print. Now, a new publisher, VGNYsoft, who is no stranger to publishing new Dreamcast games, has gotten a hold of Sturmwind and is about to release an all new print of the game with all new packaging. Like redspotgames before them, VGNYsoft is preparing a collector’s edition as well as a much more plentiful standard edition. The special edition packages the game’s jewel case into a cardboard box and includes an all new Sturmwind branded VMU plastic shell, silicone pad, and black d-pad, perfect for anyone trying to refurbish an old VMU. Only 500 copies of the special edition will be available, so act fast if you want one. (VGNYsoft have also cheekily pointed out the fact that their game discs will be professionally pressed instead of burned onto a CD-R, which is a jab at Limited Run Games for a very recent controversy of theirs.)

If you missed out on Sturmwind during it’s original release or during one of its other reissues through different companies, then this is a good chance to get an affordable and brand spankin’ new copy of it today, or at least May 15th, 2024, when VGNYsoft opens pre-orders on their own new print. You can find pre-order links, as well as a video trailer, after the break.

Creator of the GEMS sound driver for Genesis/Mega-Drive, Jon Miller, has passed away

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you all of the news recently shared on Twitter by Ecco The Dolphin creator Ed Annunziata that his old colleague, Jon Miller, has sadly passed away on May 7th 2024. Unfortunately, his exact birthdate is unknown, so we don’t know of his age at the time of death.

Jon Miller (Not to be confused with Joe Miller, former Sega of America Vice President of Product Development from the Genesis/Mega-Drive and Saturn years who, himself, passed away in 2014) was a software programmer at a few companies that worked closely with Sega of America in the early 90’s. At those companies, Jon had worked on Genesis games like Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (1991), Chakan The Forever Man (1992), Taz-Mania (1992), Taz in Escape From Mars (1994), and X-Men 2: Clone Wars (1995). He was also a co-creator of GEMS (Genesis Editor for Music and SFX), a sound driver and audio production software for PC made to ease the composition of music for Genesis games for musicians who were not well-versed in FM sound programming. GEMS has been used to make music and sound effects in many American-produced Genesis and 32X games, including every game that Jon himself worked on. His brother, Mark Miller (Composer for the Toejam & Earl series, as well as Sega Channel) was another co-creator for GEMS. After 1995, Jon would join Crystal Dynamics, where he would work on games such as Gex: Enter The Gecko (1998), Akuji The Heartless (1999), and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999).

On behalf of Sega fans everywhere, we here at SegaBits thank Jon Miller for lending his talents to many classic games, both Sega and non-Sega, and for his service in assistance to many composers of Genesis games. May he rest in peace. Many condolences go out to his friends and family.

Join us beyond the break as we reminisce on some classic Genesis game soundtracks that made use of GEMS in memory of Jon Miller.

Original pre-Sega Columns game found; now playable through MAME on modern computers

Columns is, without a doubt, a bonafide Sega classic, but it didn’t start out as a Sega game at all. The truth is that Columns was invented within the walls of computer hardware company Hewlett-Packard in 1989, by programmer Jay Geertsen. He made the original Columns game for HP-UX, an operating system unique to HP’s company computers at the time. Friends of his within the same company then ported his Columns game to MS-DOS and Macintosh computers. In 1990, Sega learned of Columns, bought the rights to it off of Mr. Geertsen, and got straight to work on the first Sega Columns games for Master System, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega-Drive, and their System C arcade board. While those versions of Columns went on to widespread fame, most have never played or seen either of the original three computer versions of Columns.

Now, a twitter user calling themselves Trevgauntlet Noə has managed to get a hold of the original HP-UX version of Columns, gotten it running, and took some screenshots of it. They even went the extra mile and made HP-UX and this original Columns playable in the MAME emulation software for both Windows 10 and 11 and Ubuntu Linux. All Columns fans and Sega historians alike owe Trevgauntlet Noə a big thank you for their effort in preserving this rarely seen piece of Sega history.

You can check out the tweet right here or click the above screenshot. For a gallery of all screenshots they’ve made, as well as links to the HP-UX Columns software for MAME on Archive.org, take a look past the break. While you’re there, tell us in the comments about what your favorite Columns game is.

SEGA in the Media: The 1993 and 2022 Sonic the Hedgehog McDonald’s commercials were filmed at the same location

Would you believe that the 1993 McDonald’s Sonic 3 (the game, not the movie) Happy Meal commercial and the 2022 McDonald’s Sonic 2 (the movie, not the game) Happy Meal commercial, filmed 29 years apart, were actually filmed in the exact same location? That’s right! Over on Facebook the page Film Locations – Then and Now shared a post detailing a McDonald’s restaurant in California that is purely used for filming commercials. The MockDonald’s, as locals call it, is at 17030 Green Drive in City of Industry, CA and has existed for decades. The restaurant has appeared in the 1988 film “Mac and me” as well as dozens, if not hundreds, of McDonald’s commercials. The company is so committed to the location that it has seen numerous changes to the exterior to fit with the on-brand look of the company’s restaurants.

SEGA Announces Sonic Rumble; Closed Beta to Be Held from May 24 – May 26

Today, SEGA has officially revealed Sonic Rumble, the newest addition to the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, releasing this winter. The upcoming Sonic mobile game invites players to enter a twisted toy world created by the notorious Dr. Eggman.

In Sonic Rumble, players will take control of toy figures to compete in thrilling 32-player battle royale challenges, racing against each other to collect the most rings and prove themselves to be the fastest in the toybox. With iconic characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe available for customization, players can create their own unique avatars and dive into the action-packed gameplay.

Fans can look forward to the upcoming closed beta, set to take place from May 24 – May 26, 2024 which you can apply on the official website. What is everyone’s thoughts on this upcoming Sonic mobile game? Let us know in the comments below.

Sonic Mania Plus Now Available on Netflix Games

Artwork illustrated by Mark Hughes

Today, Sonic Mania Plus is now available on mobile for the first time, exclusive to Netflix Games for free!

Sonic Mania Plus is a true, classic Sonic experience – gorgeous pixel graphics featuring a variety of new original Zones along with iconic favorites from Sonic 1, 2, 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog CD.

Play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles, as well as two characters seen in past titles: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, who return with their own unique abilities.

You can download Sonic Mania Plus on Google Play here.

The SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show: C2E2 2024 Chicago Convention Report

C2E2, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, was this past weekend running from Friday, April 26th through Sunday, April 28th and SEGAbits was there! Armed with nothing but a press pass, a handheld voice recorder and a $75 budget host Barry walked the show floor and checked out the artists and voice actors attending the show. What Sonic or SEGA talent did he see? Listen to this audio account to find out!

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SEGA Talk #139: Tom Kalinske (1976-Now)

On this episode of SEGA Talk we look back at the career of Tom Kalinske, the man who started at Mattel and took on Nintendo with the SEGA Genesis and leaped over to take over the education toy market with LeapFrog. This is the retrospective of Tom Kalinske!

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Support us on Patreon! Get early access, have your memories read on the show, select the games we talk about!

Google Play’s official Twitter gives us a totally accurate history refresher on Sonic the Hedgehog

 

You know it’s a slow news day when we’re talking about something like this. Sonic fans everywhere were shocked and confused yesterday, April 27th, 2024, when the official Google Play twitter account decided to give everyone an unhinged informed look back over the years at how Sonic the Hedgehog has evolved with time.

It all began with the above post claiming to show us Sonic as he got “older and older”. As you can see, this tweet was labeled with a community note telling us that the entire thread is inaccurate and does not, in fact, show Sonic getting older and older, while giving helpful links to Wikipedia for context. We’re off to a great start right here.

Take a seat and say goodbye to a couple of brain cells as we journey through Sonic’s aging process through the eyes of Google Play. Take a look past the break once you’ve steeled yourself. (Oh, and click the screenshots of each tweet to be taken to the actual tweet.)

EDIT: Google Play has since deleted the entire thread. Oddly, they have not posted a single thing in the two weeks since then. Post your conspiracies about what happened in the comments below.

Atlus N64 classic Snowboard Kids gets an all new, official vinyl soundtrack

You thought there was snow way we’d talk about a Nintendo 64 game here on SegaBits, but being a part of Atlus history means this is now Sega history too. You shred that right.

Cult classic N64 racer Snowboard Kids (1998) has just come out with a new soundtrack on vinyl courtesy of Fangamer. Atlus West have revealed this new vinyl soundtrack on Twitter today, which is now on sale for $29 USD and has already begun shipping. This comes with 17 tracks from the original game on one record, all by original composers Tomohiko Sato and Isao Kawai, from original developer Racjin, formally known as Racdym.

There is also a special limited edition blue vinyl set being sold by Channel 3 Records, which is limited to only 300 copies, so act fast if you want that. That is, otherwise, the same soundtrack and is also available for $29 USD and already shipping.

Catch the ski lift to take you past the break for photos and links to order both versions of this vinyl soundtrack.