Summer Of Sonic 2013 (3rd August) Show Report

Summer-Of-Sonic-2013Just over a month ago, the annual convention focusing on our beloved blue hedgehog took place in the UK, drawing an incredibly large crowd of Sega fanatics and industry names. Summer of Sonic has begun to take shape over the last few years, so much so Sega and Sonic Team have even given it their blessing. Needless to say we sent out our very own Sonic fan-girl out to investigate.

Summer of Sonic 2013

(Saturday 3rd August, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London)

Once upon a time, there was a proper little Sonic fangirl. She read the comics, wore the T-shirt and all the characters were lovingly sketched across her school jotters. She even made a cassette recording of the music from the Game Gear and Megadrive games. Now brace yourself for the tediously predictable twist - that girl was me.

Sadly I've fallen out of the loop somewhere in the past twenty years and become what you might call a "lapsed Sonic fan". I missed out on the Saturn and Dreamcast and I'm lucky if I can name half the residents of Mobius these days (um, it's still "Mobius", right?) Yet Sonic's fandom has burned bright across the world throughout my absence - just ask the fans who gathered from far and wide to attend this year's Summer of Sonic convention in London. Not only was there plenty in store for old timers like myself but the enthusiasm of the new fans helped me rediscover what I'd loved so much all those years ago.

“Summer of Sonic” began in 2006 as a website created by Svend Joscelyne celebrating Sonic's fifteen year anniversary. As the tributes and shared memories poured in, friends who'd met online began meeting in person. The meet-ups inspired an annual convention that’s escalated in size and scope since its conception; earning official support from SEGA and regularly playing host to members of Sonic Team, SUMO Digital and the band Crush 40. The free convention has become so popular that hundreds of tickets get snapped up in a matter of seconds - that's almost as fast as Sonic himself!

This year's event, hosted by Rory Joscelyne and Adam Tuff, had plenty in store for Sonic fans old and new. We got a taste of the forthcoming “Sonic Lost World” with exclusive game footage and playable demos for Wii U and 3DS. Q&A sessions were held onstage with Sonic Team’s Takashi Iizuka and Kazayuki Hoshino, creator of Metal Sonic and Amy Rose. Art classes were held by Nigel Kitching and Nigel Dobbyn of Fleetway’s “Sonic the Comic” - still running online and now in its twentieth year. The Sonic Paradox animation team screened their eighth “Sonic Shorts” parody compilation before announcing their follow-up project “SEGA Shorts”, which will incorporate more classic game characters. The charity organisation SpecialEffect showcased some of their technology, including a version of Sonic operated with Eye-control. Annual activities included the cosplay contest and the Sonic trivia quiz "Never Mind the Buzzbombers".

For me, the highlights were the live music sets. The Megadrive Band wowed the crowd with a medley of classic Sonic tunes and gave retro gamers more treats with renditions of themes from Golden Axe and Streets of Rage. The day ended on a high note as Jun Senoue, renowned Sonic composer and member of Crush 40, rounded things off with a blinding set of guitar and synth music. He was joined by vocalists Daniele Narducci and Susie Brown and even a certain spiky blue character couldn't help crashing the stage.

During “Ask Iizuka-san” the head of Sonic Team was asked his favourite thing about Summer of Sonic. His answer was that it’s “for the fans, by the fans.” A surge of pride was felt across the room (which I’m sure was shared by those who tuned into the live stream) and rightly so – their spirit and energy made the event and would brighten the most cynical of hearts.

A great day was had, new friends were made and it’s no wonder that I spent the following morning getting reacquainted with my old favourite Sonic games.

Summer of Sonic 2013 Highlights

Link: Summer of Sonic 2013 Photographs on Flickr


Last Updated ( 08 September 2013 )  

Lindsay Robertson

Lindsay is freelance writer, librarian and all-round pop culture junkie. She considers herself a Game Historian (like that’s even a thing!), enjoys debunking controversies and particularly loves any game where girls kick ass. Being Scottish, she can usually be found at the bar.

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