Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sega, Sonic, Art and Me - Part 2

Following up from part 1, I'm back to present more Sega influenced drawings from myself during my high school years (1999-2003). As written in part 1, Sega had a huge impact on my life. Not just in the gaming aspect, but in the professional aspect as well. Sega and Sonic influenced and excelled my drawing abilities, leading me to meet my friend Andy in high school. Andy introduced me to graphic design which led to 4 years in art school which led to me now working as a professional designer. Having said that, let's get to the drawings!

Jet Set Radio was the most influential Sega franchise to my drawings (outside of Sonic). Lets have a look at some of my favorites! click the images to view larger versions

Andy and myself had a shared fascination with Bisu:

A personal favorite, a spoof of the Phantasy Star Online art:

Another group drawing, this one made it into the 2002 high school arts magazine:

Drawings of Gum and Ulala by my friend Andy:

And finally two Sonic drawings by me, circa 2001 (I had come a long way since 1991!):

Comments are welcomed, expect new Sega art in celebration of the Dreamcast's big 10 come September!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sega on the iTunes Music Store?? Yup.

This is news to me! Sega has a very small, but pretty sweet collection of albums to download at the iTunes Music Store. I stumbled upon it while paroosing the Sega of Japan website, specifically the Let's Tap page. Currently, Sega is offering a four track sampler Let's Tap album for $3.96. You can also purchase the tracks individually at 99 cents each. You can check out samples and purchase it here. Also available are four Shining Force albums from the Playstation 2-era.

Now Sega just needs to offer Night of the Werehog on the iTunes movie store and they'll have every corner covered.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Sonic the Hedgehog" Arrives on the iPhone and iPod Touch!

As reported in a previous post, Sega had a port of Sonic the Hedgehog for the iPhone in the works. Now that port is available to purchase! I have yet to download and play it myself, but early reviews are fairly positive. The port has been described as not the most amazing and not the worst. Owners of older iPhones have been experiencing minor slowdown during ring losing hits, but newer devices have been much smoother. Blur during the speedier moments has been another complaint.

Features include:
• Onscreen touch controls: D-Pad and A button
• Auto-saving, even when closing the appliaction in mid-play
• Two viewing modes: fullscreen and condensed screen, so your thumbs don't cover upcoming enemies

The game is currently selling for $5.99 at the Apple App Store [buy now], which is a bit much for a port of a game released in 1991. My advice, wait for a price drop and the eventual update to fix the slowdown (and please add a spin dash option!). Once Sega perfects their emulator, they might have a real cash cow on their hands! Gameloft releases the major 3D games, and Sega releases the ports of 2D classics at decent prices ($2.99 preferably). Now, bring on Phantasy Star!

image credits: TouchArcade

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Online Find - Sega Vision Hardware Review

The portable media player, Sega Vision, was one of the major "WOW!" moments of ATEI 2009. After its announcement, further news of the device was lost in the sea of more important gaming news. Of course, Sega's attitude toward the device didn't help. Sega firmly stated that this was no competition for the DS or PSP, and the only gaming offered would be simplistic Flash-based games. The major role of the device was to be a MP3, video and TV tuner with low end camcorder and photo capabilities. Worst of all, the Sega Vision was intended to be a prize grabber prize only; not to be sold in stores. With this information in mind, the only real reason to be excited for the Vision was that it was the first piece of Sega hardware to be released in ten years. That reason alone was enough for myself and many others to want one.

During the weeks after the announcement I searched ebay every so often to see if the Vision would turn up, but after weeks of nothing I gave up and forgot. Today, when thinking of portable Sega news, the Vision popped into my head leading me to find this "early" review. I say early as it was written in February, '09. It's well worth a read though, filled with some interesting bits (6 GB maximum storage space, indepth controls walkthrough) and a few videos of the device in action.

Check out the review at

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy 10th Anniversary Phantom Menace!

The Dreamcast isn't the only 10th anniversary this year. Today marks the 10th anniversary of the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace! Regardless of opinions of the film, one has to admit that anticipation for Episode 1 defined the summer of 1999. Along with the impending release of the Dreamcast, the premiere of Futurama and the release of The Matrix; 1999 was a year to remember.

Why does Episode 1 deserve a mention in a Sega blog?

"For the Dreamcast games, of course!",
says Anakin's wise-ass pal Kitster

The Phantom Menace has the distinction of having more movie tie-in games on the system than any other film, or film series for that matter. Between 1999 and 2001 we had: Episode 1 Racer, Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles, and Star Wars Demolition.

Respectively, the games involve racing, beat-em-up and vehicular combat. While none of the Dreamcast Star Wars games were incredible, failing to achieve the greatness they could have been due to all being so-so N64 and Playstation ports, Star Wars fans should not pass them up. Celebrate Episode 1 the Sega way! Go give the Malistair track a spin, try to unlock Darth Maul or shoot the hell out of a Sandcrawler.

Coming Soon: Reviews of the Sega Nomad classic "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine" and the iPhone's "Sega Columns Deluxe".

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sega, Sonic, Art and Me - Part 1

Part 1 - Grade School Sega Art

If it wasn't for Sega and Sonic the Hedgehog I wouldn't be where I am today. Sega went beyond defining the type of gamer I was, SEGA and Sonic were the catalyst for the career-path that I now find myself on. On Christmas Eve, 1991, I received a Sega Genesis bundled with Sonic the Hedgehog. Besides becoming hooked on the Sonic series as well as many other classic Sega franchises, Sonic also served as a subject for my hobby of drawing. At that time, I had been making a comic book series titled Monkey Man. The series followed a monkey who lived in a fictional world full of rolling hillsides and bizarre creatures. His friends included talking rocks, monsters and other anthropomorphic animals.

After my tenth issue, Christmas '91 had passed and I was Sonic-obsessed. I began to scribble drawings of Sonic characters in my sketchbooks alongside my own characters. As the years went by, my drawing skills improved. Both Monkey Man and Sonic had begun to evolve; Monkey Man looked much more like a monkey and Sonic looked a bit more true to official art. In 1993 the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog series launched, influencing me to create my own Sonic comic book: The Sonic/Monkey Man crossover. The following year, with the release of Sonic & Knuckles, I drew Monkey Boy (Monkey Man's son) meets Knuckles.

I continued to draw Monkey Man until 2001 and, 2 years prior to the end of Monkey Man, I even drew a full Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. The story was set in the quasi-AoStH/SatAM universe that Archie Comics had established and followed Sonic as he encountered a new series of badniks known as "The Bots". They included a Ternimator-like Rotor the Walrus and a giant robo-rat named K-5mrxl aka "Mister XL".

The same year that I had written "Sonic vs. The Bots", the Dreamcast launched and I was entering my Freshman year of high school. During one of my first classes, another student had spotted me drawing Sonic and told me he loved drawing Sonic as well and that he had just bought a Dreamcast. We fast became friends and soon traded VMU files at school, chilled at each others houses playing Dreamcast and drew Sonic, Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5 pictures together. My friend, Andy, also introduced me to other art practices including architecture (now his current career) and graphic design (now my career). I became fascinated with graphic design and after engrossing myself in design magazines and keeping an extra keen eye on designs that surrounded me, I decided to study design in college.

up next: High School and College-era SEGA art.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gameloft to Develop Mobile Sega Games

As reported by Sega Nerds and Joystiq, Sega Europe has struck a deal with mobile game developer Gameloft to create Sega games for (you guessed it!) mobile phones! While Sega Nerds seemed neutral on the subject and Joystiq acted like pricks, we here at the Nomad Junkyard (all one of us) are excited to hear the news!

Sega itself has been very slow in developing for mobile devices; the iPhone itself has only two Sega games, one of which is a port of an older mobile game. Some extra help was needed, and with Gameloft charged to produce mobile Sega content we can be assured to see many more mobile Sega games at a much higher quality. Gameloft's latest efforts include Assassin’s Creed: Alta├»rs Chronicles, Hero of Sparta and Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes. All were highly priased in control, gameplay and graphics. Sonic Unleashed will be the first release under the partnership, and if it is anything like the other Gameloft games mentioned, then we're in for a potentially great game.

Gameloft: Please give us Jet Set Radio Mobile.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nomad Nod in Latest AVGN Episode

In his latest game review, The Uncanny X-Men for the NES, the Angry Video Game Nerd mentions the Sega Nomad's lack of reset button. The Nerd doesn't get angry at the Nomad (who would?) but does make a good point of how shitty it was of X-Men on the Genesis to require the player to literally reset the evil computer by quickly pressing the console's reset button. Holding the button too long would cause the game itself to rest, and playing on the Nomad meant you couldn't finish the game at all! Thats about as lame as the new Wolverine movie.

Check out the Nerd's video here, the Nomad nod comes at the 12:40 mark.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Laboratory of Doctor Dreamcast - Coming Soon

During the past few weeks, I've been thinking of ideas for a Dreamcast-related video in celebration of the big 10 come September. What I've come up with will be a short series of videos on how to get more out of your Dreamcast with the existing games and accessories on hand. The series will be hosted by a character (played by me) named Doctor Dreamcast. The project is still in its early stages, but you can be assured that the videos will hit before September 9th. I have done a number of short videos in College and over the past few years have wanted to return to the process.

Stay tuned to The Nomad Junkyard for more info as the project progresses!