Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Old Sonic Adventure Website is Still Awesome

In terms of advertising, today's games share much in common with the games of ten years ago. Print, video and web are all heavily utilized methods of getting a game's name to the masses. While television and print adverts of the past stand up well to (and in some cases exceed) today's tv and print ads, one form of advertising has greatly evolved; website advertising.

Web advertising of today features streaming HD trailers, interactive interfaces, mini-games, countless connections to social networks and in-depth development diaries. Compared to gaming websites of the past, today's gaming websites technically blow them out of the water. But don't let flashy interfaces and slick buttons turn you completely off to old school gaming websites. Today I want to share a real gem of a website: the Japanese Sonic Adventure website!

Okay, it doesn't look like much. But that list of links feature a treasure trove of low resolution images, tiny video clips and hilarious Sonic Team snapshots of the golden years. Rather than go on and on about the website, I invite you to check it out yourself. After you check it out (or before, your choice) I will present:

Eleven Awesome Things on the Japanese Sonic Adventure Website!

1. The Recording Diary is hidden within one of the links and features photos from the New York, LA and Tokyo recording sessions of the soundtracks. Unfortunately, only the New York sessions were documented, with the LA and Tokyo sections "under construction".

Real life inspiration for Station Square?

Okay, this is more disturbing than awesome.

2. The Japanese Launch looked to be a blast! Check out the many photos taken of the event.

The Dream Team

3. Big Blue Painting. Not too much context for this, as I can't read the descriptive text. It looks to be a massive blue SA logo and Sonic painted outside on a wall.

4. Character Adverts. while all of these can be found on youtube, it's fun to see them in their original form. Remember when tiny mpeg videos were awesome? Here's my favorite:

5. Low Res Screenshots.
Ah, the days when we'd move within inches of our screen and squint at tiny gameplay images.

Compare this (already full size):

To this (click for full size):

6. Chao Tossing

Sonic Team weren't shy with showing what sorts of abuse were possible

7. Sonic Reveal. Imagine that it's 1998 and up until then the only Sonic you knew was the short pudgy speedster of the Genesis days. One day Sonic Team teases you with this:

Then eventually all is revealed with this:

It must have been really exciting to see the brand new Sonic. Oh wait, I was there and it was exciting! Although, I was rather concerned that the in-game model would be a contorted freak. Thankfully, the artist renderings took many more liberties than the in-game models did.

8. The Yuji Naka Morning Show wasn't a reality. Rather, Naka posed for this picture while recording a radio spot for the game. Give it a listen. Isn't he adorable?

9. The Sonic Adventure Theme download was a straight forward mp3 download. No flash player, no restrictive access. Simply the full tune in three formats.

Rock it, Naka!

10. Dozens of vacation photos! That link was just a sampling of the many many pages of photos taken during Sonic Team's trip to South America to research Mayan temples as reference for the Mystic Ruins. If you ask me they just wanted a free vacation.

Llama racing never made it into the final build of the game.

11. Subway adverts. Before the logo and character art were revealed, this simple campaign was seen throughout the Japanese transit system. Compared to the cluttered adverts usually found on trains, this was eye catching in its simplicity.

Wish I could have been there... to pull one down and stuff it under my shirt.

There are many more treasures to be found on the Sonic Adventure website, and once you're through with that there are a number of other older sites on Sega of Japan's Sonic Channel. Happy hunting!


The GagaMan(n) said...

You should see the Sega Saturn era websites. 102×75, 12fps videos anyone? XD

Hairyman said...

I miss the cute, short, fat Sonic of old. I bought a Saturn this weekend and it's bloody adorable watching the pudgy, little Sonic run around in Sonic Jam.