Childhood relics: Sonic Adventure Gamebook 2

Stupid of me to make scans. Of course, everyone loves Sonic and so these guys already did it, but they did it one better: they scanned every page, and high quality too. As a blogger I feel like a failure. Still, we must press on and discuss today’s relics of childhood. I was sorting through and binning some old kiddywink stuff at my parent’s house when I came across this old Sonic “adventure gamebook” that I remember fondly.

Sonic_1

It’s 1994, baby! It’s X-treme!

Sonic Adventure Gamebook 2. And I was surprised to find that in practice that meant an accurate, zone-by-zone depiction of Sonic 2 on the Genesis/Megadrive. There were a total of four of these things, so I imagine they all correspond to the original four Sonic games. The book itself is a Where’s Wally/Waldo riff, with a few spot-the-difference sections, mazes and anagrams. This was a pretty well established formula from Ladybird – they made a number of licenced and unlicenced adventure gamebooks back then, and perhaps even today for all I know?

Sonic_6

Some of these gamebook challenges are actually pretty tough, but at least seeing Tails suffer helps ease the frustration.

Supplementing the games, the TV cartoon series and the myriad of other merchandise associated with Sonic, the book is an easy cash-in really. There’s not much to say about it, except that its got a clear target audience, i.e. 6-10 year old me, and a clear purpose – cementing Sonic’s place in history as a well-known, well-liked and well-remembered mascot, and therefore creating a receptive market for the Saturn Sonic game that never was. It’s also well illustrated, with satisfyingly big double page spread images – A3 size pics, in effect.

The fact that this book was essentially Sonic 2 play-by-play was probably lost on me at the time, since I a) never actually owned a Megadrive or Sonic 2, and b) never made it beyond the first few zones of the game when playing the game at a friend’s. Incidentally, that same friend was the only person I knew at the time who owned a Saturn. I realised eventually that the only reason he had one was because his dad was a Sega fan: I remember him talking to us about the Dreamcast launch and Sega being on their last legs financially. It wasn’t so much the fact of him talking about Sega – my dad occasionally spoke about the grave business of console warz – but it was the way he said it, with genuine sadness in his voice that Sega was doing so poorly.

Sonic_5

Those memories aside, this book gave me an opportunity as a kid to get to know Sonic vicariously, and that alone was worth something to me at the time since I rarely caught the Sonic cartoon on TV. Another factor was that my access to games at home was limited to the Amiga, and Charlie Chimp was not much of mascot compared with Sonic.

...

What is he exactly anyway? That looks like more of a G for gangsta on his hat than a C for chimp. And what respectable mascot carries a bucket of paint while swinging on vines?

In my recent clear out I also stumbled across a dusty collection of floppy disk games for the Amiga, so alongside Sonic I’ve been indulging in memories of that era, both good and bad. Let’s be honest though, it’s mostly bad. Perhaps there’s another post on the Amiga side of things, but I have little patience for Amiga stuff these days. I’ve got some more pics of the Sonic book and some Amiga diskettes below, and as a P.S. I’m sorry about my recent absence from the blog. There’s plenty of posts (and a podcast episode) in the process of being written/edited – and none of them are about Sonic, you’ll be happy to know – but ironically I’ve not found the time to put that stuff out because I’ve been playing too many games. Ain’t that the truth.

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6 comments

  1. Sir Gaulian

    A lot of this sort of ‘tude-filled gaming paraphernalia is a reminder that those of us that remember games in the 80’s and 90’s basically grew up alongside games, as they evolved from toys to what they are now. I think that element of innocence got lost somewhere along the way, sadly.

    Love the pictures of the disks too! I remember the days when piracy had a bit of class to it!

    • veryverygaming

      Very true, it was a time when the merchandising machine that we’re familiar with now was getting warmed up! I don’t think videogames have quite reached commercial breaking point just yet, after all Michael Bay’s live-action Sonic the Hedgehog film is still yet to be announced.

      As for the disks, thanks for the tip-off! I had some vague suspicions but never even thought to ask why those games would be on hand-labelled floppy disks.

  2. moresleepneeded

    I am surprised. I actually owned the first two Sonic Adventure Game Books, one of the Sonic Puzzle Books, Where’s Sonic? and Where’s Sonic, Now? (along with a few sonic novels), so I was a bit surprised to see a blog about these books. I can remember looking for different things on each page (such as monitors, Sonic’s shoes, etc.) and having to find all the Chaos Emeralds. Unlike the games, however, it was much easier to cheat with the books. Some of the puzzles did seem hard at first, but were much easier after I worked them out. Where’s Sonic? was also much more similar to the Where’s Wally books.

    The floppy disks also look familiar, but I don’t recognise any of the games.

    • veryverygaming

      Wow, I’m surprised you had this too plus some of the others. Do you remember by any chance where/how you got them? Funnily enough I remember I got mine through a book fair at my school.

      • moresleepneeded

        I can’t remember where I got all of them. I know I got Where’s Sonic? and Where’s Sonic, Now? through a book fair or book catalogue that was given to the students. I think I got the others in a book shop.

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