Tagged: Sonic Team

When Akon worked on Sonic the Hedgehog

I just had to share this fun bit of Sonic trivia that gave me a good laugh today. (And you know it’s going to be good because Sonic the Hedgehog is involved. Sonic’s involvement is a must for trivia to be considered good in my book.)

This story begins with Sonic 1 and 2 for the Megadrive/Genesis. We’ll get to Akon later, rest assured. Now, the music for the first two Sonic games was written by Masato Nakamura. Nakamura was the lead composer for a popular J-pop band called Dreams Come True. I’d vaguely heard of Dreams Come True but hadn’t ever listened to them until recently. I shouldn’t have been surprised, given the early Sonics have easily some of the most iconic videogame music there is, that Dreams Come True look to be a really good band. I know basically nothing about J-pop but this group makes me want to know more about J-pop. They sound a bit like classic Michael Jackson but with a great female vocalist.

Here they are performing live in 2014. Look out for Nakamura on bass!

Around the time of Sonic 2’s release in 1992, it seems Nakamura decided to use a melody from Sonic 2 as the basis for a Dreams Come True song. The melody he used shows up in Sonic 2 in a few different places: it’s most developed form is in the ending music, but there’s a short form of it used in the options menu. Here’s the ending, which has the fullest version.

Personally I always liked this tune but have to admit it never jumped out to me as having potential to be a pop hit. Well that’s why I’m not a superstar music producer, clearly…

Is it cheesy? Sure, a bit. But all things considered, this is a cracking arrangement and performance. I find the English vocals by Miwa Yoshida especially impressive – she sounds completely comfortable and natural singing in English despite (presumably) not being a native speaker.

This would be a nice story on its own, but unfortunately I have promised Akon content, so here goes. More than 10 years after Sonic 2 and Sweet Dream (also known as Sweet Sweet Sweet), the game commonly referred to as Sonic ’06 saw a number of bands and acts hired to record songs for the soundtrack. The results are both amusing and cringeworthy, like with one of the game’s main themes performed by Zebrahead:

Zebrahead remind us here in the chorus, lest we ever forget: in Sonic’s world, life is an open book and compromise does not exist. Sega knew that, which is why they hired then-superstar Akon to remix Sweet Dream by Dreams Come True for Sonic ’06! 

In this one remix everything comes full circle. The scales have fallen from my eyes and life suddenly seems somehow complete.

14 years after Masato Nakamura walked away from the Sonic series, he returned (in a fashion) for this oddity of a game. To recap: a song from Sonic 2 was arranged and performed by a Japanese band. Akon covered the band’s song and contributed those ridiculous autotuned vocals that made him a household name in the mid 00s. Sega then put the end result in Sonic ’06 and a trivia is born.

A new venture!

I have some exciting news. Since neglecting this beloved site I have been secretly working on a new project together with Maya. While there is still work left to do around branding and things, I couldn’t wait any longer to announce it on VVG.

Here is a prototype video essay put together by us on the subject of flight in videogames. In a move designed to shock and deceive, we named it ‘Flight’. The video essays we have planned are, in many ways, takes on our favourite subjects and themes from the blog and the podcast. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been kicking around these thoughts online here for just over six years – wow. The biggest difference here of course is the new (to us) medium of the video essay, and so far it’s been a challenging but rewarding one to work in.

In case anyone is curious about the games featured, the video includes footage of the following games (in order of first apperance):

  • Demon’s Crest (SNES)
  • Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Saturn)
  • Soukyugurentai (Saturn)
  • Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
  • Skies of Arcadia Legends (Gamecube)
  • Sky Odyssey (PS2)
  • NiGHTS Into Dreams (Saturn)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis/Megadrive)

I’m really curious to know what you guys think of our approach with this video, so if you have any feedback we’d greatly appreciate you letting us know with a comment below. Thanks!

It only took 25 years… Sonic Mania (Switch)

So I picked up Sonic Mania from the US eShop in the recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. When you see a deal, gotta go fast, right?

I’m not the biggest Sonic fan by any means but I did grow up around (not exactly with) Sonic games for the Megadrive. Of those early Sonic games I spent the most time with my favourite, Sonic 2. 2017, 25 years after Sonic 2 was released, Sega finally released a worthy successor. I kid of course – it’s fun to argue which of the classic Megadrive games is the best but honestly they all have something to recommend them. Post-Megadrive though, there’s no doubt that the Sonic series went from system seller to mixed bag. After all that Sonic’s been through I’m amazed how well Sonic Mania turned out. To the point where I have no qualms saying this is the best Sonic game ever made, even after just a few short hours. Continue reading

Just do it, just Burning Rangers (Saturn)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Megadrive/Genesis was a childhood staple of mine. I played it every which way, learning the levels and special stages, even though I never owned the game personally till the Gamecube era courtesy of Sonic Mega Collection. I don’t have that kind of hyper-nostalgia for Sonic as I do for a game like Goldeneye on N64, say, and I am well aware of Sonic 2’s flaws. But on a recent gaming podcast I heard someone describe their first experience with Sonic 2 as an adult, and their picking apart the game’s issues bordered on painful listening. It was so incredibly different to my own time with Sonic – a long, long time, made up of lots of short bursts spread over years of my life, my entire childhood…!

I wish I had grown up with Burning Rangers in the same way. Or if that’s too much to ask, just chatting with someone who had had that experience would be really fascinating. For me, coming to this game now, it just doesn’t fit into with my wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am gaming style of late (see the GGTOW manifesto for more deets). Continue reading

VVG Show 10 – Nostalgic NiGHTS

Welcome to a very special NiGHTS into Dreams themed episode, wherein we plumb the depths of this unique 2D/3D hybrid flight-based racing/platforming/action game! Buckle up for nostalgia…

Adrian opens the show by explaining why his love for NiGHTS burns strong and true. This raging fanboy makes a number of comparisons between NiGHTS and Super Mario 64, not to pronounce a winner and loser in an epic clash between Sega and Nintendo so much as to praise both games for their shared outstanding qualities. After a brief musical interlude Maya enters the discussion to pile further praise on NiGHTS, giving her impressions and memories. The good times don’t last though as Maya resorts to mocking her fellow podcaster’s love of the game. Thankfully, not even Maya’s insults can detract from the sweetness that is the NiGHTS credits music which concludes our tenth episode.

Episode 10: Nostalgic NiGHTS

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