In Celebration: Casino Night Zone in Sonic 2
Sunday, 16th June 2019, 8:04pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Casino Night Zone It’s time to look back in wonder at a stone-cold classic zone in the Sonic game franchise. This is a zone that is famed for its golden color scheme and incredible pinball action. It’s a zone that has inspired countless other games and once played is never forgotten. Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about Casino Night Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. So, let’s switch on our consoles and take another look at this genre-defining gambling section.

Inspired by the Slot Machines of Vegas

"las-vegas-2012-20" by Mathieu Lebreton (CC BY 2.0)

Casino Night Zone is inspired by the real-world casino environments of Las Vegas. The fabulous city of gambling and glamour is known for its glittering surroundings and ever-popular slot machine games. And just how popular are the city’s slot games? Well, tourists from all over the world visit Las Vegas to play them. And millions more regularly play similar slot machine games in the comfort of their own homes via the internet. Currently, Starburst is the world’s most popular online slot game - whether that's due to the eye-catching graphics, the available bonuses or wide-ranging compatibility is not clear. But what is clear, is that there are plenty of others to choose from, too, and they all have one thing in common - they’re incredibly enjoyable. Knowing all this, it’s easy to see why the creators of Sonic the Hedgehog decided that our favourite character also deserved a little bit of slot game fun.

Infused with Pinball Fun

"Count-Down" by Chris Ainsworth (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The other inspiration for Casino Night Zone is pinball. Many readers may be too young to remember when pinball machines could be found in every town, but they were the original arcade machines. Taking just one look at the history of pinball, we can see that these machines were hugely popular and also great fun to play. So, it makes sense that the makers of Sonic 2 decided to combine pinball action with slot machine fun to make the ultimate zone.

An Overview of the Zone

If you want to know more about Casino Night Zone, it’s best to play it yourself. To enter, you have to play through the game until after the Aquatic Ruin Zone. You will be confronted with neon colors and gaming elements including pinball flaps, bumpers and slot machines. Also, look out for the spring catapults. At the end of each of the two acts, you will have to confront a pinball bumper intent on stopping Sonic. But can he be stopped? Never! Sonic springs around the zone at his usual speed, bouncing from section to section with glee.

Playing the Slot Machines

Perhaps the most exciting part of Casino Night Zone is playing the slot machines and you can do this by entering a hatch at the top or bottom of a machine. You can then activate the machine and find different combinations of the three elements to get a reward. And what’s the best reward? Rings, of course! But there is also the risk that you can lose rings, giving gameplay an additional element of excitement. Another option is that you can simply win nothing, which adds realism to the game because part of the joy of playing slots is that you never know what’s going to happen.

Get Gaming

If you need any further inspiration, you can read our full article about Casino Night Zone.  But you’re probably itching to get gaming. So, enjoy Casino Night Zone and the rest of Sonic 2.
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Sonic Mania Plus Review
Sunday, 16th June 2019, 7:59pm (UTC), 0 Comments
While Sonic fans are still reeling at how Sonic has gained an online presence becoming as popular as any other Sega game, there have been some recent developments. You see, the brand has even made its way into the heart of online casinos and video slots are being designed based on the theme. This website will prove the vast range of incredible games and maybe you will even find Sonic hidden somewhere in there. But for now, after playing the latest updated version of Sonic Mania Plus, you get the full scoop of what to expect from one of the best Sega updates in history.

The Graphics

While Sega fans appreciate the block effect of Sonic, the updated game offer great graphics and vivid colours, really complimenting the imagery projected. 2D graphics and a 1990's soundtrack adds to the enjoyment of the game, really setting this version apart from its predecessors. The complimentary approach of both the past of the game while looking to what Sega fans want from the future, has really added value to the game and you get this feeling from Sonic's updated quests.


You will appreciate the classic Sonic styled controls, easing you back into familiar habits and allowing you full and easy access to movement for your character. There are two gaming options to choose from which is great if you really want to explore all aspects of the game, allowing you prolonged adventure.

The screen offers a wider aspect ratio which allows you to absorb all the obstacles and appreciate all the new colourful graphics.

The Characters

The sense you get when playing with the new characters is distinctly familiar with those of the older version, so comfort ability is easy in coming. Sonic has a new power in this version, he is able to roll forward quickly after a jump, a welcomed feature as you gain more rewards with supersonic speed.

The two other characters; Knuckles and Tails each have their own set of powers which changes the game up when you switch between the characters in the game. Each zone also interacts differently with each of the characters and you will find enjoyment in them all.

The Green Hill Zone

This is the first zone of the game and the impressive sound effects replicates the very first Sega Sonic Mania release. There are however new music tracks and an abundance of interactive characters. The new spread animations personalize the game to some degree and it could be hazardous appreciating this as you might die in the game!

There are a number of 12 zones, each sporting obstacles and new rewards. As you pass each zone, the difficulty increases, giving fans everything they have ever hoped for.

This little hedgehog has got spunk and fans know how reliable he is. If you are looking for another Sega creation to add to your list of great games, be sure you take a spin and enjoy the recent updates for a new and improved Sonic Mania Plus.
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Is There Space for Sonic in Today's eSports Scene?
Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 11:56am (UTC), 0 Comments
The Sonic the Hedgehog series has been around for several decades - the eponymous blue character has been reminding us that he has "gotta go fast" since 1991, with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive. With platforming sequels, Sega made Sonic one of the most famous video game characters, right next to Mario, Donkey Kong and Link, says TIME.

However, Sega has had difficulty in keeping Sonic popular in the 21st century. A shift to online multiplayer gameplay as well as highly competitive games and eSports have left people wondering if there is room for the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

Sonic Isn't Like Most Popular eSports Games

The big reason why Sonic the Hedgehog doesn't quite fit in the eSports scene is that it isn't like most popular eSports games. The biggest titles in eSports, looking at the availability of eSports betting odds on Betway, are games like League of Legends, Overwatch and Dota 2. The games eSports fans enjoy watching and betting on are ones with large casts of characters and with players having to master the abilities of those characters to win. These games are also played in teams, while Sonic is mostly a single-player franchise.

Games that are popular in eSports are also updated regularly. League of Legends was released in 2009 but with updates, as developer Riot Games has added new characters, new skins, and new items for players to use when they're out on the Rift. Overwatch has also added new maps, and Rainbow Six Siege has added new operators in 2019. Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog DLC in 2017 but it isn't so important to the franchise and that means that if the games were an eSports, they wouldn't be able to offer viewers much variety.

Does Sonic Have Any eSports Strengths?

Sonic the Hedgehog does have some strengths as an eSport, however. Sega's level design is brilliant and fans love stages such as the Sky Chase Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the Emerald Hill zone with its tropical fauna and flora, its sloping hills and its dangerous spikes. The many maps of games like Overwatch have helped that game become a success as players discuss the best strategy for a level, and enjoy watching eSports players explore the stages.

Sonic also has a competitive scene. It may not be eSports, but Sonic the Hedgehog players do often try to beat each other and set new records. An article by Mashable explains that there is a large Sonic the Hedgehog speedrunning scene as players compete to try and beat a level in the quickest time. Thousands watch these speedrunners on Twitch and at tournaments. This confirms that fans do enjoy watching competitive Sonic, but on a much smaller scale than most major eSports tournaments.

Could Sega Turn Make Other Sonic Games Successful eSports?

If Sega was to turn the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise into a successful eSports, then it probably wouldn't do that with the Sonic platforming games. The games are famous and loved by millions of people, but they aren't great for eSports. Most are single player and for speedrunning events, where competitors may use the same techniques to get through a level quicker, that may not be entertaining for viewers on an eSports stage.

There are several Sonic the Hedgehog games that aren't platformers, though, and these may be good for eSports. The BBC says that Sega is developing four games that take Sonic the Hedgehog to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and this competition would make for an entertaining eSports league. There's also the Sonic Mania racing game which stars Sonic and friends like Tails and Knuckles. People enjoy watching and betting on races, such as horse racing and Formula One, so there may be room for a Sonic eSports league too.

Sega hasn't made any announcements about if or how it plans to get Sonic the Hedgehog into the eSports scene. However, if it did, it could help the series to make a name in the 21st century and potentially find a new audience of competitive gamers and eSports viewers.
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Sonic Mania is Free to Play This June in PS Plus
Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 12:19pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Author: Mario Petkovski

If you are eagerly waiting for new PS4 releases, like the upcoming Crash Racing game remastered, Madden NFL 2020 or the Hideo Kojima blast Death Stranding, Sony got you covered to ease the waiting time. From 4th of June, Borderlands 1 and 2 and Sonic Mania are available for free, for all PS Plus users!

It seems like Sonic is on a role this year with the release of the new game Sonic Team Racing and the movie that is in developing Sonic The Hedgehog. Just to put a little more excitement for the Sumo Digital's character, as we mentioned, Sonic Mania is free to play this June in PlayStation Plus.

You can experience the game celebrating the past and the future in Sonic Mania with its all-new 2D Sonic adventure running at 60FPS infused with HD retro-style graphics. You can play multiple characters like the explosively fast Sonic, Tails, or even power through obstacles with Knuckles.

This retro game will act as a drive through memory lane, with an exciting new twist on classic zones, while fighting against new bosses, as well as Dr. Eggman's evil robot army. You can also go head-to-head with players in Competition Mode or enjoy the game in Co-Op Mode with a friend.

Sonic Mania is a great game that will bring on the fun and excitement to you and your friends. It also passed all the reviews with a great score topping up 8.7/10 in IGN.

As we mentioned earlier, this year is a big year for Sonic with the new Team Sonic Racing game that was released on May 21st. Team Sonic Racing is published by Sega and developed by Sumo Digital for the ultimate racing game. The lunch price for this game is $40 is it sparked a fire in Sonic's fans.

The game is designed with Sonic Adventure Mode, which is a single-player component of Team Sonic Racing. In the adventure mode, you can choose between standard races or quickly car mini-games to progress through the story. Mini-games prove to be fun as they have things like a drift through objects, blow up robots which are a test for the mechanics of the game.

The story mode is under six hours long and somehow it does not encourages replayability just because even when you choose a different character, the story mode stays the same. There are even no significant rewards at the end of the races.

However, the good thing is that the story mode somehow manages to infuse more personality into each of Sonic's friends and get to know them a little bit better. Team Sonic Racing has a lot of the tracks from the first Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing, which is a good thing bringing some nostalgia to the trip. The mechanics of the racing feel different from the last two Sumo Digital's racing games. Cars are definitely heavier and seem like they are slower across the track.

The structure of the races is changed as well, there are teams of three and with the racers, you can exchange items as well as riding each other slipstreams for a speed boost. This brings a lot of excitement and unpredictability to the race which is always a good thing.

The new Sonic kart racing game will bring you lots of fun with an ingenious team-based twist as well as interesting adventure single-player mode.

Also, as we mentioned above this year marked the announcement of the new Sonic The Hedgehog movie. It received a lot of attention just because the main character Sonic is not what people expected to be. The internet went mad after they released the initial trailer and fans were disappointed by the looks of Sonic.

After the reactions of the public, they announced that Sonic will have a new look in time for the premiere of the movie. Despite the weird design of Sonic, the movie looks quite interesting and it is set to be released in February next year.

This is truly an interesting time for any Sonic fan, there are a lot of new things to enjoy. Make sure you download the Sonic Mania game this June if you have PlayStation Plus active membership and compete with people from all around the world.
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Sonic Needs to Embrace its Casino Heritage to Excel in the Modern Age
Thursday, 9th May 2019, 1:15pm (UTC), 0 Comments

Ever since the Casino Night Zone appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in 1992, the blue-haired hero from Sega has had strong links to gambling. The special level was so popular that it appeared in numerous other titles in the series, and this has led to other Sonic gambling games coming about. Sonic is looking to regain the popularity it had in the 1990s, but it must adapt in order to appeal to modern audiences. One way to do this is to follow the commonly used franchise model of branching out into the online casino industry in order to attract more players.

There is no denying that there is still a huge market for Sonic games. A lot of players seek nostalgia, while others simply love the character and series. However, if the latest games are to become as massive as those which preceded them, Sega may need to expand the franchise in other ways. One of the main marketing strategies for a lot of modern franchises is to spread out onto as many platforms as possible.

The online casino industry has proven a fruitful place for franchises to gain more attention. This is because this sector of the gaming industry is thriving, and rakes in over $45 billion each year. Game series gain more attention by getting into the iGaming scene, and this has been seen with major franchises like Tomb Raider and Hitman.

Sonic has a long history with casino games, one which Sega could use to its advantage. With there already being existing Sonic slot games for mobile, it would make sense to create offerings which can be played by online casino players as well. Sega Slots came out on iOS and Android in 2018, and the game was similar to the modern slot games found at online casinos in design and gameplay.

Sega Slots is a five-reel offering, which is the same format as the slots at Aspers Casino. These include titles like Reel King and Lord of the Ocean, and players who enjoy these types of game can make use of the Aspers welcome offer, which is a 100 percent deposit bonus up to £500. If Sonic slots were made available at sites like this, it would bring the series to the attention of more players who would then seek the other games out.

The Sonic the Hedgehog film from Paramount Pictures is on the horizon, and set to be released in November this year. The Jeff Fowler-directed offering could reinvigorate the Sonic franchise, but only if it attracts enough viewers. Sega should follow in the footsteps of other successful series such as Tomb Raider, Hitman, and Jurassic World, and use the online casino industry as a way of attracting mass audiences to other areas of the franchise. Because Sonic has a long history with casino themes, it isn’t out of the question for the blue-haired hero to be represented in the prosperous iGaming industry.
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A brief history of Sonic racing games
Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 1:24pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Sonic is a character that seems like he'd fit the racing genre of video games like a glove. And the truth is that the upcoming Team Sonic Racing is merely the latest in a long line of Sonic racing games that span almost his entire career. Some stick to the traditional karts, others have kept Sonic and co purely on foot, while the rest have taken to the likes of hover boards and even transforming vehicles! And indeed, the Sonic universe is full of great locations pre-built and ready to host great racing tracks, including lush green hills, nefarious factories and casino cityscapes filled with slots. So while we get excited about the latest installment, lets look back at how the blue blur has tackled the genre in the past..

Sonic Drift Series

Sonic's first foray into racing came to the Game Gear in 1994, with the Japanese only release of Sonic Drift. Sega's answer to Mario Kart featured characters Sonic, Tails, Eggman and Amy Rose racing karts around tracks inspired by the zones found in Sonic 1. Given the limitations of the hardware, Mode 7 scaling could not be used of course, and the resulting tracks felt rather bland and inferior to Nintendo's counterpart. The game was followed by a sequel the following year - this time released worldwide - Sonic Drift 2 (or just Sonic Drift Racing in Europe). This added long time favourite characters Knuckles and Metal Sonic plus the rarely seen Fang the Sniper. Unfortunately it fared little better with reviewers, who complained of the game's handling.

Sonic R

During the long gap between Sonic Team's Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure, British company Traveller's Tales were asked to fill the void during the late nineties with spinoff Sonic games such as Sonic 3D and this on-foot racing game for the Sega Saturn, which released in late 1997. Sonic R, one of the first fully 3D polygonal Sonic games, features 5 initial characters and 5 courses. While this was minimal compared to most rival mascot racers at the time, it's worth noting that these courses were huge - brimming with multiple routes, shortcuts and secret rooms in which various collectables were hidden, and used for unlocking more characters, which gradually replaced the core lineup as more challenging AI opponents. The handling could be argued as a little awkward, but those who truly "got" this game enjoyed some great replay value thanks to collectables and a variety of time attack modes. It's also perhaps best known for its cheesy sound track. "Can you Feel the Sunshine", anyone?

Sonic Riders Series

In the following decade, Sonic Team themselves would have a stab at the racing genre with Sonic Riders in 2006 (GameCube, XBox and PS2), which was followed by Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity in 2008 (PS2 and Wii) and 2010's Sonic Free Riders for the XBox 360 Kinect. These games featured Sonic and friends taking to hover boards in order to thwart a band of miscreants called the Bablyon Rogues. There are some nicely designed courses on offer that employ variety and specific challenges depending on the type of character you have chosen (speed, flight or power). The hoverboard aspect encouraged the developers of the first game to think of various mechanics to mix up the racing action a little, but these largely served to complicate gameplay and make it much less of a pick-up-and-play experience. The sequel dropped these in favour of an entirely new set of complicated features that failed to turn heads. The series was completed by the motion-controlled Sonic Free Riders, which asked players to twist and bend their bodies in real time with the characters to navigate around the tracks. This wasn't an entirely reliable form of control however and again the game failed to hit that core casual market by offering an easy-to-use experience.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Series

Arguably the most successful attempts to date were the efforts from arcade racing experts Sumo Digital, first with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing in 2010 for XBox 360, PS3, PC, Wii and mobile. While strictly more of a Sega racing game, the Sonic series is still by far the most prominently featured, but the characters also race alongside heroes from the likes of Chu-Chu Rocket, Super Monkeyball, Billy Hatcher, Space Channel 5 and even Shenmue. This time it's pure, simple, accessible racing with no unnecessary gimmicks and a great handling system. Players race across tracks inspired by the various games, including several from Sonic Heroes. The popular sequel, 2012's Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed does one better by allowing the vehicles to automatically transform between car, boat and aircraft when the situation calls. This leads to some genius track design that often changes from lap to lap. Add to that even more classic Sega IP such as After Burner, Golden Axe and Panzer Dragoon, and more courses inspired by Sonic levels such as Starlight Carnival from Sonic Colours and even Sky Sanctuary from Sonic & Knuckles, and you're looking at one of the best mascot racers ever made!

Team Sonic Racing

Also handled by Sumo Digital, this upcoming racer (for PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC) uses the same engine as the All-Stars games, but differs in that it only concerns the Sonic series and adds an exciting new team-based mechanic to make racing a more co-operative experience. Players will be able to form a team of three to race across new tracks inspired by the Sonic universe, but coming in first place will not necessarily get your team the win. Victors are determined by a points system that also takes other factors into account such as rings collected and average position across the finish line, so you'll need to think much more tactically. Those desperate for a more co-op nature to racing games should be very excited! Originally due in 2018, the game has been delayed to May 2019 to ensure top quality, which should only be good news! Let's find out next month if it can match the dizzying heights of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and claim the title of best Sonic racing game ever!

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Sonic's latest Wii U outing turns away from the popular and well established speed dashes of recent games, in favour of a more traditional platformer approach. But does it work? Get ready for one of the most different Sonic games in every respect!
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