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Archive for November 9th, 2011


   
 

Free Stuff Friday for 11-11-11

This week’s free stuff Friday falls on 11-11-11! OMGPONIES we’re going to give away 11 prizes, because we love you!

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On the Block

1. Sonic Blankie! You guys loved it so much last week, we’re bringing it back this week! A soft, warm and cuddly micro-raschel throw featuring Classic Sonic!

2. Aliens vs. Predator Hunter Edition for PS3! Limited edition and super fancy! You’ll get the game, a graphic novel, 3D lenticular card, a patch and your very own Facehugger!

3. Comic Book! Sonic Super Special 1st issue!

4. Cream the Rabbit Hat! 

5. Dreamcast Hoodie! (XL)

6. Guess Who’s Back XL T-shirt!

7. Controller Hoodie in your choice of size!

8. Alien Lenticular! 

9. Shinobi 3DS and Australian Pre-Order Bonus Scarf! (Game will only work on North American 3DS)

10. Poster-mania! House of the Dead: OVERKILL – Extended Cut, Sonic and Shinobi posters!

11. Sonic Boom Shirt in the size of your choice!

How it Works

1. You must be following us on Twitter to be eligible. (If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one by going to http://www.twitter.com and click the green “get started — join!” button in the center of the page.)

2. At random times on Friday, we will announce the prize we are giving away, a word or phrase, and what number of response you need to be to win. Send us a direct message (DM) via Twitter and be that number to win the prize. (@ replies do not count as entries!)

Example:

We tweet “GIVEAWAY: Sonic T-shirt, size L. Be the 15th person to DM “Sonic Adventure” to win!”

You see this, and want to win it, so you send us a direct message that says “Sonic Adventure”. If you are the 15th person to do so, you are the winner!

Quotation marks do not matter, capitalization does not matter, but spelling does matter!

3. All followers are eligible to win all prizes, unless a restriction is noted. Restrictions are usually due to the prize being region-locked. For example, US games that won’t work on UK gaming systems. There may also be age restrictions due to the rating of the game.

4. We will announce the winner on our Twitter feed once eligibility is confirmed.

How to Send Direct Messages on Twitter

Due to a change in our account status with Twitter, you should be able to send us direct messages without us following you.

There are a few ways to send us a Direct Message on Twitter. The easiest way is to go to our Twitter page and select “message” under the “Actions” heading in the side bar. If you do not see “message”, this means that we are not following you. Please send a message to @sega to let us know, and we will follow you. When you click “message” you will be taken to a window where you can type a message and press send.

You may also select the “direct messages” tab from your Twitter homepage, and select SEGA from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Again, if you don’t see our name there, it’s probably because we’re not following you. Let us know, and we’ll follow you.

There are also many Twitter clients that you can use instead of using the website. These include TweetDeck, Twitteriffic, Tweetie, and Twhirl. Each of these programs works differently, so you’ll want to figure out how to send a direct message on the program you use. If you want to send us a test message, we’ll let you know if we received it or not.

 
   
   
 

Shinobi Retrospective: Part II

Revenge of Shinobi

A Ninja Casts Ninja Sequel Magic

In which suddenly a bunch of ninjas appear!

Ninjas do a lot of things, which the internet has taken pains to chronicle. One thing they do very well is to return: springing from the Shadows to continue their stories and avenge deaths and look cool, when you least expect them. To wit: there have been 11 games in the Shinobi franchise, not counting the various versions of each game for different platforms.

Shinobi first returned in 1989 to Arcades as Shadow Dancer, which made it to the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1991 (more on that below). The first Shinobi game on the Genesis/Mega Drive was The Revenge of Shinobi.

Revenge of Shinobi pulls together a lot of what forged the Sega of the 90s. The platforming was extremely challenging but in an organic way (you always felt in control, and like the difficulty was part of the game instead of fighting the controls), the power ups were fun, but – more than anything – the game had a sly sense of humor and a silly streak, something that extended to Sega’s entire 90s attitude, especially if you saw any of the commercials from that decade.

Shinobi games are stories of revenge and betrayal — but there was also a goofy streak running through this game.

Revenge of Shinobi

This is the game that, in its original incarnation, had Batman, Spider-Man, the Terminator, Rambo soldiers with headbands and machine guns who definitely weren’t Rambo, and Godzilla a big dinosaur monster unrelated to any trademarked properties.

Some were look-alike replicas (the one that definitely wasn’t Godzilla was in a later version replaced by a cyborg dinosaur monster, just in case there was any confusion). Some — like Spider-Man — were actually licensed from Marvel (although when the game was re-released he had to be replaced with a re-colored look-alike). Likewise, Batman in later versions was changed to — and this is a best guess — this guy.

The other big thing to mention: this was also a launch title¹ for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive. While Altered Beast (the much-touted launch title) was a big, bold arcade translation, and certainly retains a core of arcade fun, Revenge was built specifically for the system and holds up as well as anything in the genre.

Revenge of Shinobi

The presentation here was also pretty stellar. The entire build-up to the Godzilla giant dinosaur monster sequence in a warehouse is well done, with the game hinting at something ominous before springing the screen-sized boss on you.

The game’s music was done by the indomitable, inimitable Yuzo Koshiro. All you need to know is that he did the Streets of Rage II music, but he has done a ton more, and his Revenge of Shinobi music is a terrific debut for the Genesis, and definitely a preview of what was to come. Here, listen!

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Lest you think I am all sunshine and ninja-rainbows about these games, I will offer up some criticism: As a launch title, Revenge of Shinobi suffered from one of the Genesis’ few (only?) real faults, having a rather flat color palette, along with some flickering frame rate. This is just something the Genesis had to deal with, though of course later on there were mesmerizing and colorful. Revenge didn’t have a huge palette to work with but it definitely fit into the mood of the game.

Sorry — that’s the best I could do for criticism. I love Shinobi.

The One With The Dog

Shadow Dancer (Wii Virtual Console)

That 1989 arcade game Shadow Dancer made it to Mega Drive/Genesis in 1990 – Shadow Dancer, or as you may remember it, the one with the dog. To quote Joystiq from a 2008 review, the game “answers the question of what could possibly be cooler than a ninja stalking around a gritty urban landscape: that ninja’s dog.” In case you are wondering: Yes, dogs enjoy a similar status in Japan as in the West, and are (not surprisingly) admired for their loyalty. I couldn’t think of Yamato (the dog) without thinking of a kind of heart-wrenching story of a famous dog in Japanese history.

The game uses your canine companion to marvelous effect – a quick charge-and-release of the B-button and he will attack the nearest enemy. This still requires timing to make good use of, and if he happens to be “defeated”, he returns as a pup, returning to full strength shortly thereafter. If you learn to pay attention you’ll also notice that he will turn and alert you to enemies about to sneak in, and you can learn to use him in a surprisingly organic way.

Shadow Dancer (Wii Virtual Console)

It’s a clever mechanic that the game integrates well into its puzzles: for Shinobi games, “puzzle” meant sussing out ways to defeat the knots of enemies camped out in each screen. It’s tremendously fun and finds the right balance of being challenging on the console while remaining immensely “learnable” — teaching you the true way of the ninja. And his dog.

Stay tuned! There is one more ninja-part to the ninjaspective Shinobi retrospective!

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1. Nit-pick: Technically it was not a “launch” title, but it debuted in December of 1989, four months after the U.S. launch of the Genesis, and before the X-Mas season. Let’s call it a launch title.

Retrospective: Part I

 

 

 
   
   
 


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