On 9/9/1999 the SEGA Dreamcast released in North America, and now 18 years later we’re still talking about it. On this SEGA News Bits, we celebrate the birthday of SEGA’s final home console by recommending the best exclusives, looking at the indie games released in 2017 and looking ahead to what indie games are coming in 2018 and beyond!
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Happy Birthday, Sonic – now give us our presents! Today marks Sonic the Hedgehog’s 26th anniversary, which officially signals the end of Sonic’s 25th. While the past year has been light on games, the biggest moments for the franchise has been a change in focus in several areas. Sonic Boom has seen a massive downgrade. Originally a multimedia alternate branch from the main Sonic franchise, featuring games, toys, comics, an animated show and a big fan event in New York in 2014; now only the animated series remains. As of this moment, no season 3 is confirmed and less than twenty season 2 episodes have yet to be aired. Could Sonic Boom be on the way out? Funnily enough, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice was the only Sonic game to release during the 25th anniversary timeframe, making it technically the 25th anniversary game. A Japan only special edition with 25th anniversary swag supports this.
It’s fifteen years later and we’re still trying to understand the concept of love. That’s right, on this date SEGA and Smilebit’s Jet Set Radio Future released in Japan to Microsoft’s Xbox! Just a few days later, on February 25th, the game hit the Americas (thankfully not retitled Jet Grind Radio Future) and then on March 14th those in Europe got to see what those in Japan and the Americas were raving about.
Jet Set Radio Future was a dramatic shift for the franchise for a number of reasons. As the first direct sequel (the Game Boy Advance game was more of a downgraded – but still highly enjoyable – remake), JSRF looked and played very differently. The entire universe had a new art style, characters were very different both in look and allegiance, and the game played less like an arcade game and more like an open world adventure. But hey, what can you expect? It was the future!
Today marks the 7th anniversary of SEGAbits.com! Seven years ago today, SEGAbits admin George posted the site’s first article, simply titled “Welcome to SEGAbits”, and right out of the gate on that same day the first piece of news was reported. From day one, the goal of the site was to cover the latest SEGA news, review retro and modern content, and to host an ongoing podcast. But really, the reason SEGAbits was founded was that we felt the internet needed a great place for SEGA fans to visit and interact with each other, discussing their favorite games from the past and speculating what was on the horizon from our favorite company.
After the break, read special anniversary messages from George and Barry which look back on the past year and ahead to what to expect in 2017 from the site! As always, we really appreciate the support of our readers and also want to thank our team of writers and contributors (Moody, FlareHabanero, James, Adam, Aki-At, Kori-Maru, Happy Cat, Sharky, and Dakota) who put a lot of work in over the past year.
17 years ago saw the launch of the Dreamcast in North America on September 9th 1999. We’ll be taking a look at games that launched day and date with the system and share our memories with SEGA’s last major console.
The Japanese SEGA franchise Sakura Wars is turning 20 years old, and to celebrate it, a special event will be hosted in Japan. Titled “Chisa Yokoyama’s Sakura Wars 20th Birthday Party”, it will feature a total of five talk events from the varies voice actors who have been involved with the franchise in both the games and the special OVA Sakura Wars: The Radiant Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms. This event will span between September 23rd to September 25th, which is coincidentally a few days before the release date of the SEGA Saturn version of Sakura Wars that started it all.
Sakura Wars has not made a presence for itself outside of Japan, but in Japan it’s one of the most beloved franchises from SEGA. Combining strategy RPG and visual novel elements, the series has had the longevity to produce 5 mainline titles, several prequels, gaiden, and spin-offs titles, and anime and manga. Most games take place in an alternate universe in the early 1900’s after the first World War, with the key difference from our timeline is that it involves advanced steam powered machinery and the concept of spiritual power or reiryoku (霊力).
For information on pricing, talk events scheduling, and location, click the Read More tag.
Its crazy to think that we have had this site constantly running for six years now, with a lot of support from not just our staff and web developer but also our readers. I’m glad to say that our past year as a website was great, we saw a surge in traffic and we’ve been seeing a spike in our forum activity (if you haven’t, join!).
So what can you expect from SEGAbits for the rest of 2016? We are working on updating our forums with new software (trust me, they are going to look great), we will be doing original content for upcoming SEGA game anniversaries, we will continue bringing you some of the best SEGA interviews, and of course we will continue to make a ton more SEGA News Bits throughout the year. Did I mention SEGA news? We will definitely be doing that. We are also hoping to get new writers to contribute and hopefully become a influence on the future direction of the website.
But outside of this, what do YOU want us to be doing and focusing on? What features would you like the site to have? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you again and here’s to another great year!
Twenty-three years ago today, SEGA changed the future of video games with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, and to celebrate Sonic’s golden birthday (that’s when your age matches your birthdate) we’re teaming up with The Sonic Stadium and Sonic Retro. All week long, all three sites will form Team SegaSonic, bringing you Sonic the Hedgehog articles, original content, videos, streams, and more from today through to the 29th! Also, as part of the celebrations, we’ll be hosting a panel with Sonic Retro at Too Many Games in Oaks, PA on Saturday the 28th at noon – featuring a Dreamcast round table, a My Life with SEGA episode premiere, the history of Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s Hidden Palace Zone, and a trivia contest with rare SEGA prizes including The House of the Dead 3 & 4 posters signed by series director Takashi Oda. There will also be several Sonic prizes on hand.
Readers can join in on the celebrations as well! All you have to do is follow SEGAbits, The Sonic Stadium, and Sonic Retro on Twitter and share your Sonic the Hedgehog photos and memories with the hashtag #Sonic23on23. The best tweets will be retweeted and shared to over 11,000 SEGA and Sonic fans, and we all know that in today’s world nothing is more rewarding than a retweet.
Holy Sonic balls, we are now 4 years old. I know that if you have been scrolling through the site lately you probably have noticed that there has been quite a lack of ‘George’ written posts and I’m here to inform you that I have not abandoned the site. If anything, I missed it. It’s just something I have been doing since I first got internet on my Dreamcast back in 1999! It started off with chats on IRC rooms, moved over to forums and eventually ended up blogging! This lead me to wanting to own my own SEGA site, thus here we are at SEGAbits.
Thankfully I have had great people on board here to help me come up with ideas, this site might have been started by me, but decisions are group based. I want to thank the awesome staff we have here, who work very hard on the site and usually have some of the most brilliant ideas. One of the big reasons the site looks so well is because of our web designer Will, who is working on a new look for the site and has been with the site since before it was even launched! I want to thank A.J. for single handily making our YouTube channel relevant, thanks to Nuckles and Shigs for going to events for us and running the Sonic Talk podcast, thanks to Ben for all that work he does behind the scenes with his editing skills and I also want to thank Barry The Nomad who came in and created some great images for the site, while also helping me make theSwingin’ Report Show podcast awesome. One of the biggest help we had on the site last year was our partnership with Sonic Retro/SEGA Retro, so I definitely want to thank those guys. Its been a great partnership!
But mostly I want to thank everyone that reads the site! You guys make our little fun hobby way more enjoyable. What’s 4 more years?
Twenty-five years ago today, SEGA released what was arguably their most beloved and popular console: the SEGA Mega Drive.
Since April 1st of this year, SEGAbits has been teamed with Sonic Retro, the internet’s best resource for all things Sonic the Hedgehog. But the folks at Sonic Retro didn’t want to limit themselves to just Sonic, and so the SEGA Retro wiki was born. SEGA Retro covers anything and everything SEGA, from hardware to games to arcade titles. Despite being less than four years old, the wiki has amassed nearly seven thousand articles and continues to grow. The SEGA Retro wiki has been just a click away from SEGAbits, by selecting “Info” from our navigation bar, but we wanted to go one step further and highlight the many excellent wiki entries in a new SEGAbits feature entitled “SEGA Retro Spotlight”.
Given the significance today has for SEGA history, we’re going to highlight SEGA Retro’s entry on the SEGA Mega Drive.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of Sonic’s most inventive, craziest, and funniest cartoons: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog! One of my strongest nostalgic connections to the Sonic franchise was this 1993 cartoon series. It was the only cartoon of my childhood which I remember watching from the very beginning. While I was a huge Ninja Turtles and The Real Ghostbusters fan, both cartoons were at their heights a few years before I began watching.
When The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (hereby known as AoStH) premiered, I remember exactly where I was. It was September 6th 1993 and I was eating breakfast in our kitchen, catching the first episode (in airing order, not production order) “Best Hedgehog”. The image after the break is a pretty accurate representation of what I saw. Yes, despite it being 1993 we still had an old black and white in our kitchen.
In a video that is sure to make Sonic fans smile, we see Sonic (actually a guy in a costume) celebrating his 22nd birthday at Tokyo Joypolis in Japan. Surrounded by SEGA staff, Sonic received a birthday cake complete with candles and blew them out with the assistance of Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. The stage featured some snazzy graphics including assets from the upcoming Sonic Lost World, as well as a dancing strawberry cake. No doubt following the event, Sonic and Iizuka hit the club while Jun Senoue tried to convince the DJ to play some of his music. Good times.
The number three is quite an important one for SEGA fans: the highly successful Mega Drive/Genesis was the third SEGA console (excluding the many variations of the SG-1000 and Master System), Sonic 3 & Knuckles is considered to be Sonic’s greatest 2D epic, and fans often request Sonic Adventure 3 and a Shenmue 3. It is fitting, then, that we make such a big deal of our three year anniversary. While three years may not seem like a long time, for a website it is quite a feat. For three solid years our writers, admins and mods have strived to bring SEGA fans the best general SEGA fan site we can. We’ve done our best to keep up to date on SEGA news and reviews, from official stories to fan projects, and strived to create as much original content as we can. As such, we are very proud of our many features including the My Life with SEGA video series, Tuesday Tunes, writer round tables, the Friday Five (which will return soon), the Sonic Talk podcast, and our general SEGA podcast the SEGAbits Swingin’ Report Show. We have also redesigned the site a number of times, but always for the better, to give readers and followers the best visual experience we can.
Of course, all of the above means nothing without a crucial element: our readers and community members. Without all of you, SEGAbits probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as it has, and would be nowhere near the success that it is. As such, we want to give a huge “thank you!” to our readers. Thank you for frequenting the site, thank you for the comments and news tips, thank you for the hours spent in our forums and thank you for making us the number one general SEGA fan site on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Also, a big thank you to the many members of SEGA’s staff who helped us out with articles, interviews, contests, and events. You know who you are, and you’re awesome. So here’s to three years, and here’s to many more!
While SEGAbits.com doesn’t officially turn three years old until February 6th, we were too excited to wait and want to officially announce the SEGAbits 3rd anniversary My Life with SEGA contest! AJ lays out all the rules and prizes in the video above, but to nail the details into your heads here is a recap:
WHAT TO DO:
Create a review of a SEGA game, a game on a SEGA console, or a piece of SEGA hardware. The format is up to you: written, video, a drawing, a photo of a sculpture. As long as it is a review of something SEGA, and you’re able to share it with us, you’re in the running.
WHAT YOU GET IF YOU WIN:
The top three winners will be featured in a SEGAbits.com article. First place will receive AJ’s personal copy of Technocop for the Genesis, a Genesis model 2 and a copy of the official “SEGAbits Presents My Life with SEGA” DVD. Second place will receive AJ’s copy of Outlander as well as the My Life with SEGA DVD. Third place will receive a copy of the DVD. The best runners-up will also be featured in an article.
Submissions must be sent to us by the end of February (the 28th). Winners will be announced the second week of March and prizes will be sent out at the end of March.
Written reviews can be submitted via the contact button in the navigation bar at the top of the site, or emailed to us at: SEGAbits@gmail.com
Drawings can be submitted the same way, either as a link to a page where your drawing is hosted or by attaching the drawing to an email.
Videos can be shared by being posted to your personal YouTube account and then shared with SEGAbits as a video response to the above video, or by emailing us a link.
GOOD LUCK, SEGA FANS! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.