Since the day I joined SEGAbits, one of my goals has always been to shed light and draw attention to some of the more obscure games in SEGA’s history. With 32X month in full swing, it just didn’t seem right to let the month pass without writing some kind of article that sheds light on one of the rarest titles in the system’s small library: Darxide. This is a game that few people have played and even fewer people know how to play, so today I’m not only going to go over the history of the game, I’m also going to explain its mechanics so that if you do ever get to play the game, you’ll know how.
The Sonic franchise has an image problem. It remains disrespected, discredited, and broadly misunderstood for years, not because his titles are consistently good, but rather because the good titles are often swept away and ignored in favor of snark towards past failures. In this sense, games writers might as well joke about airline food or women drivers. I’m not a marketing wizard, nor do I claim to have all the answers, but I do think it is important to highlight what the problems are and are not. At the very least, the culture could stand to be snarky and dismissive about something that happened six months ago instead of six years.
The following is a guest article from Sonic Stadium writer Brad, written as part of our intersite #Sonic23on23 celebration. Enjoy it, and maybe check out our guest article over at Sonic Stadium written by our own Ben Burnham.
Ah, birthdays. The perfect times for parents to get out those old, embarrassing pictures of you when you were a baby. Our spikey blue hero is no exception to this, however his own classic outgoings were never something to be embarrassed about. In fact, many fans still refer to the original trilogy of games as some of the best games the series has made. I’m not far removed from this ideal, and as such I wanted to look back at these old gems of classic gaming, chronologically.
Terror in virtual reality awaited me as I waited for over an hour to check out the Oculus Rift for the first time. I didn’t waste the wait too much. I did go off and leave Nuckles87 in my place for a bit to play as Sonic in Smash Bros 3DS. I won my match and even had an adventure kicking some Koopa and Egg Robo butt. But that’s not why you’re reading this. So after getting inside and sitting on a nice sofa, the fine folks at Oculus strapped on my headgear and headphones and put me into the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Jet Set Radio Week rolls onwards! Today’s feature dusts off a classic issue of the Official Dreamcast Magazine (ODCM), which was published in the United States from June 1999 (the premiere Issue 0) to March 2001 (the final issue 12). Issue 6, which we’re shining the spotlight on today, released in the summer of 2000 and was a much anticipated issue as it featured an extensive preview of the upcoming Jet Set Radio – which was retitled Jet Grind Radio for the US market at the time the magazine went to print.
The author of the preview, Francesca Reyes (former Editor-In-Chief of the Official Xbox Magazine), is a name SEGAbits readers may remember. Francesca, as well as former ODCM Editor-In-Chief Simon Cox and former Gamespot Editor-In-Cheif Ricardo Torres, joined us for our 50th podcast to celebrate the Dreamcast’s birthday and talk about the history of the magazine. For the preview, Francesca not only flew out to Japan to go hands on with the game, but she also met with SEGA’s ragtag Smilebit team! After the break, let’s crack open this classic issue and see what this wacky cel shaded graffiti game is all about.
The Year of the SEGA Console highlights several pieces of SEGA hardware celebrating milestone anniversaries, and for the most part the featured consoles are well regarded. March’s Genesis Month focused on what was arguably the most beloved consoles from SEGA’s past. The Saturn (20 years old in Japan) and Dreamcast (15 years old in the West), despite their missteps, are equally loved. But what about the black sheep of the SEGA console family? The 32X, which turns 20 this year, has been bad-mouthed, stomped on, and even impaled by flaming arrows.
The Pico, a children’s computer which turns 20 this year in the US, hasn’t received the same vitriol as the 32X, but it too has been pushed aside as one of the disreputable members of SEGA’s hardware family. The reasons for this, I’d suspect, are that the Pico software is simply not targeted at gamers. The software, dubbed Storyware by SEGA, are teaching tools and interactive storybooks. As such, a bulk of the Pico’s library could be seen as “childish” and “boring”, but when approaching the console in the right mindset, it really is an amazing piece of hardware.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: It ends up the Ouya controller WAS the problem of my control woes as I got the Fire Controller from Amazon today and I can say that Crazy Taxi works just fine on it. The drive/reverse buttons are in their proper place and we have brakes! The gas and brakes or on the R and L triggers respectfully, so while still not that comfortable, work much, much better than before. I owe an apology to Sega for blasting their port when it was poor bluetooth controller support that was the main culprit.
Last week, I picked up the new Fire TV as a mini console for my living room. I like the idea of playing some mobile games on a full blown console but sadly, the Ouya just wasn’t what I wanted out in that regard. Fire TV solves that by not only having a ton of video apps, but much more popular mobile games rather than the overload of weak indy games the Ouya consists of. Very fun games like Asphalt 8, Rayman Fiesta Run and Riptide 2 occupy a decent launch library. Those games include some of Sega’s more popular titles. I tried out four of the eight Sega games available and sadly, the porting of those titles from seems to not have gone over as well as hoped. My impressions after the jump.
There’s little doubt that Sonic has, against all odds, cemented his place in the gaming landscape.
There was a time, and it was a time that I’m sure many reading this will remember, when Sonic existed exclusively on SEGA platforms. He was the face of the company: the representation of an edgier and more daring console competitor, and, in many ways, the total opposite of his rival, the mascot representing those other systems.
With SEGA’s exit from the hardware business, it was only a matter of time before this would all shift. Sonic Adventure 2, a game developed without any intention of ever being released on a Nintendo platform, was nevertheless met with incredibly warm reception among the Nintendo fanbase when it debuted on the Gamecube roughly eight months after its Dreamcast release. And rather then fading away like many mascots of old, Sonic was, in a sense, reborn to an entirely new audience.
It’s sometimes easy to worry about Sonic remaining true to himself, especially as he and his games have taken on several incredibly different forms over the years since. With the latest rumor that we’ll have a new Sonic game next year, I think it makes sense to look ahead at where we all think the hedgehog should be going. I’m definitely excited to see what plans SEGA has for the blue blur; it’s my hope that Sonic can continue to evolve and change while at the same time never leaving behind the essence of what defined him all those years ago.
Update: a friend of the family replied to my inquiry stating “I believe this is a miscredit”, and I was directed to his agents who could potentially give me a solid answer. At the moment, it looks like Christopher Evan Welch did not voice Tails.
UPDATE 2: I have reached out to Christopher Evan Welch’s talent agency Paradigm in New York and the credit of Tails attributed to Christopher Evan Welch is “not accurate”. Thank you to Courtney of Paradigm for her help.
UPDATE 3: Another confirmation, this time from Christopher Evan Welch himself. A friend of his contacted me and told me “I asked Chris about it a couple of years ago and he said it was a mistake.” Also the voice of Coconuts, Ian James Corlett, informed us that the recording for the show took place in British Columbia, meaning Christopher Welch was likely a young boy from that area much like his 1996 replacement.
UPDATE 4: Ian James Corlett tweeted some more information to us, stating that the voice of Tails was from Seattle, which is quite a coincidence as that is the city where Christopher Evan Welch was working. While Christopher (not Evan) Welch was close to Vancouver, it’s possible he recorded his lines in Los Angeles. Jaleel White recorded in Los Angeles, and given the chemistry needed between Sonic and Tails, it is possible Christopher Welch recorded in LA.
This means that the voice actor for Tails, Christopher Welch, is a different person entirely and may still be out there.
Since the news broke that the voice actor for Tails in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had passed away, 90’s era Sonic fans such as myself were heartbroken to learn that we lost another actor from the iconic show. However, as I spoke with Sonic fans in various forums and instant message conversations, several red flags went up regarding Christopher Evan Welch’s participation in the cartoon series. For starters, there was the age. Christopher Evan Welch was 48 at the time of his passing, which means he was 28 in 1993. Several sources back this age up, including friends and family on Chris’s Facebook memorial page, comments on Variety.com’s story, and a photo on The Seattle Times which shows Christopher Evan Welch in 1993. He was definitely not an 11 year old in 1993.
It’s incredibly rare for a failed system to carry with it such a long-lasting legacy. With the closing of one console generation comes the opening of another, and with time, the systems of old one fade into the realm of memories.
The Dreamcast didn’t get to see the end of the sixth generation of video game systems; at least, not in a traditional sense. But its thriving indie scene was then created, living on for years after the system’s discontinuation, with small independent games released, even today, for SEGA’s white box. Digital remasters of Dreamcast games on HD consoles continue to be greeted with interest and enthusiasm, this anticipation reaching even beyond the SEGA community.
For those of us who owned a Dreamcast from 1999 through 2001, we know that the system was truly something special. It was the only video game console to see its launch at the tail-end of the 90s, carrying with it not only the cultural magic that was the year 1999, but also carrying on its shoulders the last remnants of a dying arcade industry, without a doubt making the most of both. But the Dreamcast also had an eye to the future. As the first sixth gen video game system, it lead the way for many of the games we would go on to experience in a generation that saw storytelling and presentation make a significant jump. The Dreamcast’s games were not (for the most part) the types of linear “movie-games” we see today, but they were certainly cinematic; far more than what came before. They were innovative, they were different, they were funky, and they had soul.
They were art.
Guess who finally got his hands on a Sega Master System this weekend after 27 years? Me! In this video featuring my fat, bearded mug, I’m gonna show you my first experience with the Master System itself (outside of a Genesis converter)along with 4 games. Snail Maze, Outrun, Space Harrier and Lord of the Sword.
Go to the comments section for a very cool Master system video I found on youtube.
Hey folks, do you remember the newspost we put up about the Hatsune Miku game being tested near L.A. a few days ago? Well, it just happens to be at the closest mall near me. So, I set out and got some video.
It’s not just for Project Diva though, Round 1 is an AWESOME arcade. It’s a Japanese owned arcade franchise and it only has two arcades so far. Both in So Cal. They got Karaoke, Bowling, those Japanese photo booths, sit down fighting cabinets, tons of UFO catchers and most important, the newest video arcade games. This includes pretty much every light gun and racer game Sega’s made in the past ten years. It’s great for import Japanese games as well. From Initial D, Namco’s Mario Kart Arcade, Taiko Drum Master to many rhythm games including of course, Project Diva. Think Dave and Busters with a very Japanese flavor but with just some cafeteria food instead of a full restaurant.
Three months until the release of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and there is still a lot we don’t know. What racers have we yet to see? How does the vehicle mod system work? Is Cream the Rabbit somewhere in the game? Thankfully, we’re not completely in the dark, as Sumo Digital and SEGA have revealed quite a bit since the game’s announcement. I thought I’d write up a short article collecting all we know of the game’s track roster. What has been announced, what has yet to be announced and what SEGA eras are getting represented? After the break, we’ll answer those questions! But not the one about Cream, sorry.
It’s sad to see how bad Sega is doing these days. With the whole restructuring and with many offices closing it’s hard not to worry about our favorite game company’s future. Heck, if I were Kellie, Ken or the rest of the community staff, I’d be dusting off my resume’s right about now. But I feel many of us kinda saw this coming. We promoted and championed our favorite new Sega games (and still do) only to see them poorly marketed and handled like garbage with little promotion outside of Sega’s own website. So why is Sega doing so badly as of late? What are they doing wrong? Read on to see my own personal feelings on the matter. Just remember folks, this is an opinion article.
There have been a lot of talks since SEGA announced that Sonic 4: Episode 2 wouldn’t be headed for the Nintendo Wii. Many long time Sonic fans got angry, mostly because they only own Wiis. I know some of you might grunt at the thought of only owning a Nintendo Wii, but that’s their choice.
Not to mention that the first title appeared on the Wiiware service, got pretty good scores on the service. So why do you think SEGA pulled it and why do I think they should reconsider putting it back on the Wii?