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Archive for August, 2009


   
 

SEGA Community at Penny Arcade Expo!

SEGA Logo

SEGA is headed to the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this week! Featured at the show is the community team, swag, and a few of our favorite games are going to be on display at this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, starting Sept 4th, 5th, and ending on the 6th. This is your chance to meet our team, get some hands on time with our games, and pick up some special Swag!

We have a few community projects in store for Sega fans, including some ways to pick up some Sega swag and even play Alpha Protocol in a special offsite event.

Play upcoming SEGA Games at the Expo

Bayonetta - GamesCom - 8/20/09

image0120Bleach: The 3rd Phantomimage0082

At the Expo we’ll have some of our upcoming SEGA games fully playable for you to enjoy! Bayonetta, Phantasy Star Zero, Sands of Destruction, and BLEACH: The Third Phantom are all fully playable from the show floor! If you missed these games at Comic-con or have been dying to get your hands on them, this is your chance.

SEGA, Phantasy Star, and Valkyria Trivia!

We’ll be hosting three unique Trivia contests at the expo – one for general SEGA knowledge, one for the Phantasy Star fans, and one in celebration of our awesome dedicated Valkyria Chronicles community! The winners will all go home with rare swag specially selected for their trivia contest! We’re having different trivia per day, so be sure to head on over for the Trivia session you have the most knowledge of:

Friday: Valkyria Chronicles Trivia – 3pm – 4pm
Saturday: Phantasy Star Trivia – 3pm – 4pm
Sunday: SEGA Trivia – 12pm – 1pm

Play Alpha Protocol & Meet Obsidian Entertainment!

In addition to the excellent games on the floor, we are giving Sega fans a unique chance to play a game we are all very excited about, Alpha Protocol! In a secret offsite location, we’ll have several stations set up throughout the 4th and 5th to provide you with an extended play session of the game, give you some time with Obsidian Entertainment, and some Alpha Protocol Swag.

AP Blog 2

Meet your hander, Ruby Eclipse…

To secure your spot at our Alpha Protocol community event, you’ll need to first find your handler. Stationed at the SEGA Booth with PAX, blending in with the crowd, you will find Ruby Eclipse (pictured above in casual Sega attire) who is waiting for a very specific phrase to confirm your identity as a Sega community member. Your job, should you choose to accept it, will be to find Ruby and tell him the following phrase:

“The Adirondacks are beautiful this time of year.”

If successful, his response will be:

“Yes, but the Alps are lovely all year long.”

Once confirmed you’ll be given the details of the event and put on the list for attendance and given an Alpha Protocol T-Shirt (while supplies last).

Alpha Protocol T-Shirt!

We’ll have multiple play sessions available on both Friday and Saturday, so don’t delay – find Ruby, make the handshake, confirm your spot, and play Alpha Protocol before anyone else.

Cosplay SEGA Style!

Just like San Diego and New York, we’ll be posting times for Meet and Greets at the SEGA booth, where you’ll be able to say hi in person, chat about your favorite SEGA games, and talk / ask about anything else SEGA-related you want. (Yes, even Shenmue.) Anyone who shows up to one of our Meet and Greets in costume as a SEGA Character will be going home with something extra special! Bonus swag will also be given out to anyone who cosplays Valkyria Chronicles, Phantasy Star, Bayonetta, Sands of Destruction, or Sonic the Hedgehog!

Bayonetta Score Attack

We’re giving out GAMER T-Shirts (while supplies last) for players who can beat our set score for top halos earned in our demo after beating the first boss. Simply head to the booth at the designated times and check in with Ruby Eclipse, if you can grab best our score, you’ll instantly win a T-Shirt. Here are the rules & times:

Friday: 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 3pm
Saturday: 10am -12pm & 1pm – 3pm
Sunday: 11am to 1pm

  1. Check in with Ruby before you start playing the Bayonetta Demo
  2. Play the demo until you beat the first boss – he’s the first big guy, you’ll know him when you see him.
  3. If you’ve achieved our top score or higher, raise your controller and Ruby will confirm the score and pass you a shirt.
  4. If you didn’t hit the score, you can enter again, but you’ll need to head back to step 1 to check in again and give someone else a shot at the demo.

See You at the Show!

We’re really excited to head out to Seattle and see everyone at PAX. We’ve got a lot to do for SEGA fans, so don’t delay in getting out to our booth, heading to one of our Alpha Protocol events, and picking up some sweet swag.

 
   
   
 

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing: Hint Countdown!

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing - GamesCom

I’ve seen lots of speculation on the forums about what yet-to-be-revealed characters could be in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. Rather than just come out and say it, I thought it would be fun to make a game out of it!

Here’s how it works. I’ve got a phrase that will give you a hint as to who the next character is. Every day (Monday – Friday), we’ll re-post the phrase with 2 of the letter blanks filled in. Figure out the phrase, then figure out what it means!

I’ll be posting the phrase updates on our SEGA and Sonic Facebook pages, as well as the SEGA Twitter feed and the Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing forums.  Become a fan/follower there to keep up with the latest letters!

Here is the phrase with the first two letters filled in:

O______ __ ____ ____ ______ ______ ___ ______ C_____ __ _______

Best of luck!

 
   
   
 

Ruby goes to Canada – Toronto Fan Expo, Day 2!

As of this morning, I have been ‘officially’ welcomed to Canada. This ritual requires a little something called a Double Double and a Maple doughnut (with filling) from Tim Horton’s – and they were both quite awesome. So first up, special thanks to the segashiro guys once again for bringing in those for me – that was seriously my entire lunch, and a very tasty one! So, check this out. Apparently the line to get in today was absolute chaos – due in no small part to a low amount of volunteers guiding people around. I managed to get a few pictures of the madness, and keep in mind this is at about 11 AM – a whole hour after the show had already started! That line winds alllllll the way around the room, and was just the line to get to the building the con was in! Once you got to that building, there was another line that was about a 30 minute wait just to get inside! Thankfully, once in the first time you could get a stamp that would let you in much faster – but still, talk about one heck of a line, right? I think this picture speaks for itself. (Yes, that is a real tattoo.) For reference: SEGA Tattoo = instant swag if you find me at a show.  Next, I had a cool chat with some guys about the future of Phantasy Star and SEGA, and hooked them up with some Rappies once one of them mentioned that he used to skip school just to go play the old Phantasy Star games on Genesis. Does anyone else give you free swag for skipping school? I think not!

Rappies!

Right behind our booth is an awesome import store with all sorts of classic games and systems. With the anniversary of the Dreamcast coming up, I thought this shot was quite appropriate – note the SEGA Saturn on the right too!

So many classics! I own at least nine of these DC games, and they’re pretty much all awesome.

At 4:00 PM, we started our SEGA Trivia! The turnout was much bigger than I expected, and ended up filling a huge part of our booth – when all was said and done, we gave everyone who entered a free SEGA sticker and other free stuff for joining! Here’s the group shot, with the winners below it: Me: On three…. one, two, three! Them: “SEEEEEGAAAAAAAA!” Our SEGA Trivia winners! (First to third, starting on the left) After the SEGA Trivia was over, we spread the love to a fantastic SEGA game known as Valkyria Chronicles! All three of our winners scored themselves a limited edition Valkyria Artbook, and everyone else who entered also got some free stuff to take back with them: The VC Trivia winners – First place in the middle, second on the left, and third on the right. On the way up to do some podcast recording, I ran across two guys with some Knuckles and Shadow hats – as it turns out, they had plushies to match:

Eyyyyy!

I sat down with the guys below to record a podcast and talk about SEGA, our games at the show, and the growing importance of community for both SEGA and the games industry as a whole. They had a Coke waiting for me when I arrived, so what better way to say thank you than… Moar rappies! As the evening began, I noticed one guy who had shown up at the booth at least three different times over the last day. He told me he was trying to beat his own personal record on the Megaton score for Bayonetta’s Climax attacks – and then he proceeded to rock a 750! (For those who haven’t played, you button mash X as fast as you can to get a high megaton score. Most people have trouble just getting 500!) I took a picture of him getting a 650 just afterwards – good luck on your goal of 800 tomorrow amigo!

The show closed just after 7 PM tonight, and we shut things down to head out for some dinner. There was a really cool view of the city skyline from outside, so I grabbed a shot of it:

After dinner, what better way to end the day than Cheesecake, right? It may not have been as good as Jr.’s Cheesecake that Kellie and I had at NYCC, but it was still pretty awesome eating cheesecake outside in the nice Toronto weather.

With the day at an end, I went back to the hotel to post the pics, write up this blog, and settle in. Tomorrow is the last day of the convention, and after that I’ll be heading home, so the third and final blog in this series will probably arrive late Sunday night or sometime Monday. Thanks again to everyone who visited the booth and said hello today! I even took extra swag, and you guys managed to make me run out a day before the show ended.

Until tomorrow…

SEGA!

 
   
   
 

Ruby goes to Canada – Toronto Fan Expo, Day 1!

What a crazy last 48 hours life has been.

It all started with a midnight train ride to the airport, which led to boarding my plane at 5 AM, then to hopping planes in Denver, arriving in Toronto at 4 PM, spending an hour on the metro to get to my hotel, and finally heading over to the convention center. I have been awake now for a consecutive total of almost forty hours. That said – it’s been well worth it.

The first thing I saw when I arrived at the SEGA Booth were two people wearing Knuckles and Tails hats. Generally, the rule of thumb is that anytime you see someone with a hat like that, things are either about to get totally awesome or totally awkward. Thankfully, it was the former, as I was just about to finally meet DJ Fob Fresh from segashiro.com! Besides talking for a good hour with them about everything SEGA, they were even kind enough to hook me up with an epic SEGASHIRO T-shirt – like the ones they’re wearing here!


The guys from segashiro.com pose for a picture – and to show off their awesome apparel.

I also got a few pictures of the SEGA Booth, which has four playable Bayonetta stations, two DS systems rocking Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, and one DS system each for Phantasy Star Zero and Sands of Destruction!

As the convention was wrapping up for the day, we ran into two very special SEGA cosplayers on the way out!

Up, down, left, right, chu, chu, chu!

Awesome job you two! Our thanks go out to all the SEGA fans we saw today, and here’s to meeting even more of you guys tomorrow! Speaking of, here are the Meet and Greet times you can find me at the SEGA booth on both Saturday and Sunday:

Saturday:
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Sunday:
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Remember that I may also be at the booth at times besides those listed, but I will for sure be there at the times above. Also, we’ll be starting up some Trivia contests tomorrow afternoon – be at the SEGA booth at 4 PM for the SEGA Trivia contest, with the Valkyria and Phantasy Star contests to begin shortly after!

Thanks to all the SEGA fans who said hello for making today a fantastic start to the show. Check back in tomorrow night for Day 2 of our Toronto coverage. See you then!

 
   
   
 

Sonic & Knuckles out on XBLA on September 9th!

Sonic and Knuckles-6

Let the locking-on begin!

Sonic & Knuckles — sequel/counterpart to Sonic 3 for SEGA Genesis — is due out this September 9th for XBox Live Arcade. The best news? The game will emulate the “lock-on” technology available in the original. This means that it will work with previous XBLA releases of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic 3.

Here’s how it works: If you have any of the previous XBLA Sonic games (1, 2, or 3) , Sonic and Knuckles will detect this and unlock additional options for play. Here’s what you can get:

Sonic the Hedgehog: Unlocks the game “Blue Sphere”, the bonus/Chaos Emerald level from Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Lets you play as Knuckles, complete with the ability to get to previously inaccessible areas of the game, and new power-ups added for playingas Knuckles
Sonic the Hedgehog 3: Play as Knuckles in Sonic 3, and also changes the flow of the game and connects it directly to Sonic & Knuckles, so that you can play the two seamlessly!

Knuckles in Sonic 2
Sonic and Knuckles-1

As for Sonic & Knuckles itself: I always found this to be the most intricate and most challenging of the Genesis-era Sonic games. The levels are intricately designed, Knuckles is a ton of fun to play with, and there’s a great deal of detail that went into the level design, where each zone feels like a seperate world you can get lost in for hours finding all the secrets & tricks.

Knuckles also provides a unique playstyle, since instead of just spin-dashing, you’re climbing & gliding as well, which adds a really neat element to the traditional Sonic-style levels. A fitting end to the cycle of Sonic games on the Genesis, and it will be great to see the lock-on technology bringing it all together. Look for it on XBox Live Arcade this September 9th!

 
   
   
 

Ruby goes to Canada – Part 1: Maple leaves, Passports, and Moose(s)

Ah, Canada.

When I think of Canada, the first things that come to mind are generally pretty simple: Maple leaves, the French language, and Moose. Why Moose? Because of a book I read years and years ago back in school – it looked a little something like this.

The Canadian Moose: Godless Killer of the animal kingdom, and second only to bears.

Besides wanting to call them Meeses, I remember a very specific part of this story in which the main character, after surviving a plane crash and lost in the wilderness of Canada, is attacked by a Moose – and so, as with all stories we read or hear when we’re younger, Canada was immediately painted in my mind as a land of vast forests, cold weather, and giant, killer Mooses. Er, Moose.

You can imagine part of my surprise, then, when a little over a month ago I was asked if I’d like to go to Toronto and represent SEGA at our booth at the 2009 Fan Expo. Specifically, I’d be covering Bayonetta, Phantasy Star Zero, and Sands of Destruction – with full freedom to do as many Community meet-ups, swag giveaways, and podcast recording I wanted. It took me a whole second to realize the offer was serious (I’m sure my eyes got a little bigger at this point), and respond excitedly that I’d love to.

As all the paperwork was going through, I made sure to find my passport, check to see if it was still valid (I knew it was, but checked anyway – am I the only one who does this?), and then start deciding just how much swag I could fit into a single duffle bag / backpack on the trip up north. In the end, I decided to just take as much swag as I could and try to give it all away by the end of the event.

Already, the response from the last blog entry just announcing the trip has been fantastic. This will be the first time SEGA has officially sent a community member to the land of Maple leaves and Moose, and it sounds like there will be a lot of awesome SEGA fans to meet with, game with, and hook up with some free swag – I’ll even trade anyone for cool Canadian souvenirs, if you have some. 😉

As the week goes on and my Friday flight draws nearer, expect to see even more entries in the Ruby goes to Canada series, including a daily journal with all the goings-on, pictures from the event, and more once everything kicks off this weekend!

Hooray Moose(s) – and Canada!

Now to get back to work on the “Ruby and Clumsy go to Tokyo” plans… wish us luck!

 
   
   
 

Pre-Order Alpha Protocol on Steam and Get Space Siege Free!

Alpha Protocol Special Promotion on Steam

If you are a PC nut like myself, you are anxiously anticipating release of Alpha Protocol and likely picking it up across Steam. If you can’t wait any longer and want an incentive to pick up a pre-order, Steam is running a special promotion for Alpha Protocol – sign up for a pre-order and you’ll be gifted a free copy of Space Siege for the PC! Space Siege is instantly playable (following a download) and can tide you over until Alpha Protocol releases in October. As always with Alpha Protocol, the choice is yours…

 
   
   
 

SEGA Republic Hands-On Report!

SEGA Republic, Mall of Dubai

We’re happy to have an on-the-ground report of SEGA Republic from SEGA operative Hend, who lives in Dubai and couldn’t wait to get to SEGA Republic.

On Monday I finally got to to go to SEGA Republic! I’ve been waiting for it to open for one year! So being there was great, even though I was sick that day, I had a lot of fun, for those who doesn’t know what is it, it’s a theme park, everything there was awesome! The rides were so amazing! My fave one was ‘Sonic Hopper’ I enjoyed it a lot and I loved ‘halfpipe canyon’ felt so good riding it.

Also there was a ride called ‘SPINGEAR’ it’s about Dr. Eggman even though he’s evil, he’s one of my fave characters, I told myself I had to ride it but it was so scary so I didn’t! But I will… One day! Anyways everything about SEGA Republic is great! The staff are super sweet, the rides are amazing like I said before, it’s perfect, best theme park ever!

Thanks so much to Hend for filing a visit report and sending along all these great photos!


SEGA Republic, Mall of Dubai

SEGA Republic, Mall of Dubai

SEGA Republic, Mall of Dubai

To see more of Hend’s great photographs, visit our SEGA Republic Flickr set. If you’re planning to go to SEGA Republic in the Mall of Dubai, please send us your photos, videos, and stories! You can email us at communityteam@sega.com.

 
   
   
 

Revenge of Shinobi: Out Now for Virtual Console!

Joe Musashi–aka Shinobi–has been around as long as almost any SEGA character. The original arcade game came out in 1987 and Shinobi games have always been a hallmark of the best SEGA has had to offer in graphics, sound, and music.  It’s been a pleasure to see these games reintroduced in all sorts of ways, and now the Genesis version of Revenge of Shinobi has been released for Virtual Console.

Revenge of Shinobi

Revenge of Shinobi

Chronologically, Revenge of Shinobi is a direct sequel to the original, released around the same time as Shadow Dancer. It’s style is very similar to Shinobi III with the limits on shuriken and organization of levels. A few things are worth noting about this game:

Difficulty

The Shinobi games in general — like certain other ninja games — are NOT easy. Let’s revise that — these are some of the more difficult platformers you can play, and they rely a lot on timing and careful planning of levels. Revenge of Shionbi is no exception and I found all of my old platforming skills woefully dusty when playing through this again.

However, what has always set Shinobi apart, I think, is that while extremely difficult the games feel fluid & fun: Revenge of Shinobi makes you feel like, well, a ninja, and pulling off an impossible-seeming series of jumps and attacks to get through a maniacally difficult juncture in a level is very satisfying indeed.  Add to this the clever use of “Ninjitsu” powers and you have a really nice element of strategy.


Crazy Bosses

No, really. Check this out. There’s a definite spirit of mischievousness and fun that makes this Shinobi game different from the others in the series. Whereas most Shinobi games kept to more “traditional” bosses–a big guy wielding a sword, an even bigger guy wielding a sword, a helicopter with Ninjas jumping out of it, an advancing wall of gigantic cybernetic Hindu dieties–Revenge of Shinobi features a number of, ah, recognizable level bosses.

The production history of the game actually features a number of changes since some of these bosses trod on other copyrights–notably, a version of Godzilla  was made to look more like a giant “skeletal dinosaur”–however most have remained intact. This includes a Batman/Spider Man hybrid and a suspiciously muscled cybernetic opponent wearing sunglasses who seems interested in terminating your number of continues.

Revenge of Shinobi

Revenge of Shinobi

Last note: In addition to graphics that seem very well-suited for the Genesis (terrific backgrounds and detailed animation), the game has really excellent music and sound. The music in particular: it was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, who, aside from doing the original Shinobi music, has also done Sonic the Hedgehog and the Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack (among many, many more).

There’s a reason Shinobi became an iconic SEGA character, and for those interested in finding out why, definitely give this game a whirl.

 
   
   
 

SEGA Republic Opens in Dubai

SEGA Republic

Image courtesy of the Dubai Mall

SEGA Republic, a theme park with over 150 attractions,  is officially open in the Dubai Mall.

According to AMEInfo:

With nine adrenaline-pumping attractions such as Spin Gear, Sonic Hopper, Halfpipe Canyon, Storm-G and Initial D4 Limited, Sega Republic is sure to thrill all visitors from the young to the young at heart.

The various attractions are spread over five themed zones – Speed, Adventure, Sports, Cyberpop and Redemption – featuring a huge array of everything from action packed motion-simulators to simulated sports games, classic carnival games and one of the region’s largest selections of prize-winning redemption games.

Combining the latest in leisure technologies with high entertainment value, Sega Republic represents a milestone in indoor theme park development. While the Speed Zone offers thrills for the adrenaline seeker on attractions such as the 9-metre drop ride Sonic Hopper, the Adventure Zone has the keenly awaited SPIN Gear, a spinning coaster replete with sound and visual effects, themed on the story of an evil attempt to capture Sonic the Hedgehog by his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman.

The Sports Zone is the place to test one’s skills and win at the latest trendsetting sports simulation games that are based on real world sports. One of the highlights of this zone is Halfpipe Canyon, a hi-tech snowboarding half-pipe that gives riders the thrill of throttling up and down a 7-metre incline at speeds of up to 40 km/hr. The Cyberpop Zone offers cutting-edge interactive entertainment through a variety of next-generation gaming equipment, virtual experiences and light-hearted fun.

The Redemption Zone hosts one of the region’s largest selection of redemption games as well as a huge selection of winnable merchandises for all ages.

Image courtesy of AMEInfo

Here are some people on what appears to be a Sonic-themed drop ride.

Image courtesy of the Dubai Chronicle

This is, according to the Dubai Chronicle, the Sonic Spin Gear. It appears to be a roller coaster with individual cars where two people face each other and spin around a central point while going down the track. (It also appears to be tons of fun.) The Dubai Chronicle says:

SPIN GEAR is an inimitable rollercoaster experience replete with sound and special visual effects. It occupies the largest floor space within SEGA Republic, spanning over 16,145 sq ft – more than 20 per cent of the total area. SPIN GEAR has a total track length of 380 metres and a maximum track height of 13.55 metres. Its array of spins and accelerations will deliver a truly exhilarating experience for adventurous and fun-loving guests at the park.

A total of 400 people per hour can enjoy the ride, which is billed to be one of the most popular attractions at SEGA Republic.

If you’ve been to SEGA Republic, we’d love to hear what you thought of it! Put your comments below, and if you have photos, please let us know. We’d love to share them with all the SEGA fans.

 
   
   
 


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