The Wrap Up – August, 2018

I thought I might try something with this post; start a monthly summary of everything collecting related that’s happened in the last month. I thought it’d be a good way to look back at what I’ve picked up, what I’ve written, read, played and experienced in the world of collecting. So, without further ado lets begin…
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What Could Sonic Mania’s Success Mean For Modern Sonic?

Sonic Mania was a huge success when it came out, and the recent release of Sonic Mania Plus has been just as successful. Indeed, the “main” Sonic game to have been released just after Mania, Sonic Forces, has been all but completely overshadowed by the reaction to Sonic Mania.

If you’re reading this you probably have a bit of an idea of the story behind Sonic Mania and its Plus expansion, but if you don’t check out the below video from DidYouKnowGaming.

So, Sonic Mania was made by fans. Hugely talented fans who had years of experience developing 2D Sonic games and were hired by SEGA, sure, but fans nonetheless. The irony that the “highest rated Sonic game in 25 years” – a line SEGA itself has been using in its promotion of the game – was made by fans has not been lost on the wider Sonic community.

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Six Epic Video Game Music Tracks

Far from their humble beginnings in the 70’s, video games are now a huge, gigantic, megalithic industry. However, while everyone seems obsessed with frame rates and graphical power and mega-huge open worlds to explore, something I feel has been criminally ignored is video game music.

While it’s widely accepted how important music is to film, there doesn’t seem to be the same appreciation for music in video games. Despite this, developers spend a great deal of time, effort and money to ensure the music for their games is top notch. Music really helps built atmosphere in a game, just as it does in film and TV. Be it a horror, action, puzzle or platformer game, music is often the unsung hero.

Thus, I thought that for this entry of Collectorized I’d share a few of my favourite pieces of video game music (in alphabetical order). I hope you enjoy.

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The Issue With Variants

Variant covers for comic book issues have been a staple of the industry for some time now. The first comic book to have a variant cover was 1986’s The Man of Steel #1While there were technically variants before this, they were all due to small differences such as distributor logo. Man of Steel #1 was the first to receive variant artwork, which is what variants are mostly known for nowadays.

Variants played something of a not unsubstantial role in the “spectator boom” of comics in the 1990’s. There are a lot of pieces to the spectator boom puzzle which I won’t go into here, but if you’re interested you can read this great article by Michael McCallum on ComicBooked.com.

To give a brief history of the boom, people suddenly got the idea that buying a comic and holding on to it for 10, 20, or 50 years would eventually put their kids through university or pay off their house. Big firms such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote articles about the possible future value of these once unpalatable items and so people started buying comics by the armful.

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Does Sonic Need A Reboot?

While I said in my previous post that I didn’t actually mind Sonic Forces, there is no avoiding the fact that it just has not been a hit with the vast majority of Sonic The Hedgehog fans or gaming fans/ professionals in general. This has resulted in a lot of people asking “what’s next” for the Sonic franchise, myself included.

In my reading of various fans opinions of what the next move for Sonic could be I came across several incredibly interesting videos by fans Billiam and TheKazeblade on YouTube. While all of their videos are well worth a watch, they made two points that really struck out at me;

  1. Sonic is – and has always been – reactionary. (Billiam)
  2. The Sonic franchise is now so fractured that the brand identity is at risk of becoming completely obscured. (TheKazeblade)

Billiam and TheKazeblade were making their points in regards to gameplay decisions and designs throughout the Sonic franchise since (roughly) Sonic Adventure. Let’s take a look at those points a little more deeply.

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A Fanboy’s Thoughts on Sonic Forces

Last night I finished the main story portion of Sonic Forces, and you know what? I rather enjoyed it!

Given the amount of negativity surrounding the game within the Sonic fan community I expected Forces to be at best another Lost World, at worst another Sonic ‘06 (not that I’ve actually played that one). Instead, I found it to be somewhere between “above average” and “pretty good.” A solid 7 out of 10 I’d say.

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