Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Sonic 6th Birthday event in Hamleys, 1997

Sonic the Comic were good to me. Hell, Sega in general have been good to me as a fan, but Sonic the Comic really did throw some good stuff my way when I was a wee lad. Not only did I win a Sonic 2 patch from them when I sent in some self drawn Sonic comics, get my artwork in an issues Graphic Zone section which won me a watch, but I also manged to win a competition they held in 1997 for a exclusive 6th Birthday party event in London. Only 100 invites could be won and you could take a mate along with you, so there was a total of 200 of us (excluding parents) going to this one-off party.

Here's the invite they sent me when I won. Yes, I still own it. How sad is that? I also have a letter they sent along with it..


Photos of the event after the jump! Whoopie!

Hamleys as you may already know is a huge toy shop in London on Regent Street with floors upon floors of the stuff. On the below ground bottom floor was a gaming section called Metropolis, which was Sega branded and had a bunch of arcade cabinets and a snack bar of some sort. My memory of the place is pretty fuzzy and I don't believe it's still there, and if it is I doubt Sega still has their name plastered everywhere (much like how Segaworld became 'Funland'), but it was further evidence that Sega were huge in the UK. You never saw anything like this run by Nintendo, that's for sure!

Game wise, they had a few Saturn cabinets set up with Sonic R running on them, about a month before the game was due out. There was a raffle to win a couple copies of the game early, along with some other Sonic stuff I can't remember exactly. I also remember there being a contest involving getting best scores on the arcade cabinets they had there, of which I only remember the Scud race machines which i gave a whirl and got no where in. There was goodie bags that came with a bunch of badges of Sonic running about on a Hamley's logo which I still have somewhere) as well as Sonic Jam and Sonic R posters. Neat.

The highlight of the event was a guy wandering about in a rather impressive Sonic costume (far better than the one that stumbled around SegaWorld), who was being helped around by some woman presumably due to not being able to see very well. I remember one moment when she disappeared for a bit and he manged to walk into a wall, causing Sonic 3D posters to fall all over him. How embarrassing. but I kind of wished we got that caught on camera, could of sent that to Who's Been Framed. He practically had to shove his face into the cake to even see it.

Aww, why so sad, Sonic? Maybe he just had a vision from the future of how far his games were to plummet. That or he just played Sonic Labyrinth on his Game Gear.

Haha, he's nicked my mates hat!

What would a birthday party be without a cake? The cake was plain white with a picture of Sonic's head ala the Sonic 3D artwork that was on posters everywhere that got his spikes all wrong. Not exactly an amazing cake, but big enough to be cut up into 200 pieces for all the guests.

I didn't really want to post this photo as the public domain like nature of the Internet would possibly jump on this like a pack of hyenas, so I hid my face to save the embarrassment of a generally unflattering photo. What I really wanted to show off however was the bad-arse jacket covered in Sonic patches. When I grew out of the original jacket they were on, my nan knitted them onto a new bigger jacket. Oh hey, I just noticed my Tamagotchi watch I'm wearing too. If that doesn't throw you back to 1997 I don't know what will.

Photos not enough for you? Then how about some home video footage? Yeah, that's what I thought. If the kid above wasn't enough to scare the feck out of you just wait till you hear some of them. Watch as a kid goes ape shit mental while Sonic is helped to cut his cake. Feel the urge to punch the annoying twat of a parent giving Sonic instructions on how he wants a photo taken with his kid. Cringe as I honk Sonic's nose, which I'm pretty sure he probably didn't like and worst of all; feel your ears bleed as everyone sings happy birthday. You'll also see Sonic do a little dance then go into a strop for some reason. Maybe he doesn't like the Sonic 3D art on his cake. I blocked out most of the noise at the start with some Sonic R music to save your ears a little.

When the event was over, we popped over to SegaWorld, which you'll also see alittle bit of at the end of the video. This was the second time, and this time instead of paying about £12 each to get in with the rides included, it was only about £5, but you had to pay about £3 for the rides individually. (those photos I showed in an older Segaworld article must of been from a 3rd visit, as they're clearly laterThere was another guy in a Sonic costume walking around there, although that one wasn't quite as convincing: he had the hugest gob that looked like a tumor on his face. The highlight of the whole video, though? Mum filming some huge screen footage of the Spice Girls to show my sister, only for me to shout "Spice Girls, but not for long!" Take note this was a couple months before they split up. Ha ha ha!


Stacey Wheeler said...

"Aww, why so sad, Sonic? Maybe he just had a vision from the future of how far his games were to plummet. That or he just played Sonic on his Game Gear."

LOL. Maybe he also had a vision of what sad people his fans would turn out to be in the future. To think that just about an hour ago I saw a picture on DA of some guy that, doing nasty love things to a Sonic plush. Not nice.

If I were there I would have died of pure bliss. 1997 was like, a major year of Sonic fangirling for me. As for Segaworld, man that footage there takes me back to like, 1999. I was so out of myself with nerves I could barely eat anything. Weren't that great though when I went, must have missed the best stuff.

Golden Sonic thing FTW.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Hang on, that part was supposed to say Sonic Labyrinth. Sonic 1 on the GG was actually rather ace. I'll fix that.

Did you get any photos of Segaworld the time you wen there, by any chance?

Stacey Wheeler said...

Oh god Sonic Labyrinth! All of a sudden the Sonic game that's on the 360 sounds like a better game. :P

I don't think I did unfortunately. Either we took none at all or they got lost. When I went it was free admission, and I didn't see much Sonic at all apart from that big statue. I do remember one of those penny presser things, and a crane machine of Sonic dolls, which I didn't win of course.

Smindas said...

Yeah, I think by the time it went 'free admission', Sega World was slowly closing down. A shame indeed.

Anyway, I remember entering the competition to go to this and not winning. I'm sure I would have been rigid back in 1999, but I can't help but feel it all looks a bit hilariously tacky nowadays XD

Smindas said...

I meant 1997, my mistake. said...


The GagaMan(n) said...

The photos and video are evidence that they were not =P

Pombar said...

I was at this event, thanks to the self-same STC contest. Awesome.

20 dollars said...

hey the video is gone =( o well, hey how old are you and do u think u can upload some of your sonic posters from 1997 on this page.

The GagaMan(n) said...

Video is still there. I have some of the posters I got in 1997 but most of them got chucked away. I still have one Sonic Jam one hanging up though.

Alan W said...

"Haha, he's nicked my mates hat and....what the hell is that?"

That is so funny!

You are so friggin lucky you got to go.

Alan W said...

Oh, and,


monkeyDluffy said...

I find that Sonic the Hedgehog is quite the tricky character to build a party around! After my 27 year old son wanted a Sonic party of his own in our basement, or else he would "jump off a bridge," I got to brianstorming, eventually creating the greatest party ever!

Sonic the Hedgehog Party Supplies