Sonic Dreams Collection, video game, Sonic the Hedgehog, box art

SEGA’s quality control gone too far

Contributor Timlah delves into the world of Sonic Dreams Collection, and explains how his perfect Saturday night involves staring into the blue hedgehog’s eyes.



Tim, contributor

Contributor overview
Website: GeekOut South-West
Description: Some men just want to watch the world burn – but that quote certainly doesn’t fit the eccentric Timlah. Geek culture has completely consumed this chilled-out cosplaying conundrum. Regularly smiling and keeping it geeky, he’s hugely fond of indie games and alternative gaming systems.

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Title overview
Name: Sonic Dreams Collection
Developer: Arcane Kids
Publisher: Arcane Kids
Release date: August 2015
PEGI rating: Not listed
Platforms: Mac, PC
More information: Official website

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Timlah says…

Recently it was unearthed that SEGA had plenty of games they didn’t release as they didn’t meet their quality control standards. These were put into a package called since called the Sonic Dreams Collection and honestly, I don’t know what the team were thinking when they decided not to release the four truly-stunning titles contained within. They were so far ahead of their time, it’s unfathomable; perhaps they feared people would become suspicious of SEGA’s research and development labs as some of the technologies involved are on par with the most sophisticated games of 2015. It’s almost as if they knew about the future before it happened… but I digress. It would only be right for us to delve into Sonic Dreams Collection further, see what was originally in the four titles and what has been added since this news has come to the surface.

Before we begin, please note that because these games were found in SEGA’s bins the collection is free for everybody to access. If you click on that previous link you’ll download a bunch of files – including a .exe – but don’t panic, as back when the games were due to be released this would have been normal. The files are perfectly safe to access; trust me, I’ve played them myself and have only transformed into a Terror Squid six times.

When you first boot up Sonic Dreams Collection, don’t be put off by the red screen and writing. This was typical of dev copies of games back in the day. The amazing team at Arcane Kids were able to bring this to the modern era and, lo and behold, once you get past the red screen you’re presented with a lovely splash. This was something they put together for us to make it feel like a more complete unit. Well done guys – you rock!

Make My Sonic

The first game on the list is Make My Sonic, which would have been released back in 1996 as one of the first ‘OC creators’ of its kind: a complete package for those who wanted to create an original character in the Sonic series. What’s interesting is that, due to limitations at the time, it would have been impossible for everything to have customisable sliders so they instead made use of a randomisation feature. If you were to click on ‘Head’ for example, you got to change the size of the head. I think SEGA weren’t quite there but when you can make the bonce go from pea-sized to a helium balloon in seconds, you knew you were onto a winner.

Even naming your character was a bit of an arduous task. With limited memory available in the storage medium this game would have been released on, doing anything as complex as storing a name inside a variable was a waste of precious resources. So they allowed randomised names instead: cycle through the titles, cycle through the sizes of the body parts and even the colours of your protagonist, and you’re off to a flying start!

Eggman Origins

Next up is the very first Sonic massively-multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG)! Eggman Origins is a game that has very limited documentation available. All we know is that SEGA developed an incredible device, surely a peripheral of some nature, and called it SegaNet. This would have allowed people to connect their device to the internet (as slow as it would have been back then) and then connect with people from all over the world.

Now this doesn’t sound so phenomenal at first, but consider that it would have been the first console to have allowed it. Eggman Origins would have been released back in 1997, possibly to promote SEGA’s new device – truly an incredible feat. They say it’s possible to get into the game these days but I have yet to seen it in action. Perhaps we can trick one of the files somehow into letting us play?

Sonic Movie Maker

In 1998, the blue hedgehog was back once more with a title that was so far ahead of its time, it makes Vine look like a seriously antiquated service. Sonic Movie Maker was a way to make movies within a game. Recording times of only six seconds were available, and you played through as an unspecified character who would go around and record scenes you controlled within the title. You could grab objects, other characters and more.

Most impressive was the camera system itself: you’d be staggered to see the amount of powerful filters and effects available. You play in a first-person view of your character, who gets hold of a camcorder. Presumably this device doesn’t have much memory as it only stores six seconds as previously mentioned, but it doesn’t stop it from being full of really amazing-looking filters to apply to your movie. Honestly, I think Hollywood should stop making films immediately and let Sonic Movie Maker take its place.

My Roommate Sonic

Finally, the most oddly-romantic game of them all, My Roommate Sonic. SEGA were visionaries when this would have been released back in 1999. They were able to create a title that worked well on virtual reality (VR) headsets; and in fact, Arcane Kids were able to get hold of an Oculus Rift developer’s kit and hack in support for the device. This is an experience I really wanted to have for myself but alas, I don’t have an Oculus. Please do try out the game if you can get your hands on one.

This is a wonderful story about how you’re in love with your roommate, Sonic the Hedgehog. It starts off with the two of you on the sofa and you glace over at your sweetheart, who gives you the thumbs-up. This title is way past cool! It turns out that Doctor Robotnik is on your side as he’s texting you a lot, trying to teach you how best to make your time with Sonic last. From tickles to staring into his eyes, this game was made to be romantic and visionary… literally!

Conclusion

There are plenty of easter-eggs to find in all four of the games above, some of which were left in from the original code and others which were added by Arcane Kids. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday night: in, alone, with me and my pal Sonic. One thing that slightly disappointed me was that the instructions on how to play aren’t written in English; but each title is so intuitive that you don’t really need directions. Overall, I’d say this is a collection you should try out immediately.

In case you didn’t sit through this entire article and want to put a silly comment below for all to read and cringe at your cringe-worthiness: no, this is not a serious post. It’s a bit of a joke but hey, hopefully you got a kick out of it! I know I certainly had a laugh at the games covered. Why not take a look at my review over on Geek-Out South West where I give Sonic Dreams Collection a serious analysis.

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