The many casino zones of Sonic the Hedgehog
Friday, 25th September 2020, 11:49am (UTC), 0 Comments
Ask most people to name, off the top of their head, the most iconic Sonic the Hedgehog level themes, and the casino zone will no doubt fall from their lips - albeit right after the obligatory introductory tropical paradise level of course. Dr. Eggman has to fund his nefarious schemes one way or another, so perhaps this explains the abundance of casinos throughout the series history. Let's look back at some of the most notable entries..

Casino Night Zone

The grand daddy of them all, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, released in 1992. Taking cues from the first game's vaguely similar Spring Yard Zone, the Casino Night Zone pushes the Las Vegas vibes up to eleven with glitz and glamour strewn across a vast metropolis set at night. Illuminated brightly by dazzling neon, the colours are bright and garish with reds and blues decorating the luxurious golden buildings. Sonic's movement physics naturally lend themselves to pinball style gameplay elements, which this level takes advantage of with its iconic flippers, bumpers and drop targets. Perhaps most memorable though are the potentially lucrative slot machines - drop into them and aim to match three icons for huge ring jackpots! Whatever you do though, just be careful about matching three of the Eggman icons!

Casino Night Zone was included in both versions of 2011's anniversary classic, Sonic Generations - though in the home console version it appeared only as a themed DLC pinball table. The 3DS game managed to include it as a full level, and in both, you can hear a tremendous big band version of the original level's classic theme tune - the way it was no doubt always intended.


Sonic Adventure, first released in 1998, took on a far more realistic design for its stages than ever seen in the series before, placing itself in the world of humans. With that too came perhaps the most realistic of the casino levels, Casinopolis. Sonic's take on the level has an ahead-of-its-time open world flavour to it, consisting of multiple parts, including two separate pinball tables and a sewer system underneath. Most striking though is the lobby, designed much like a real casino's interior, with slot machines and game tables. When explored as Knuckles, you'll even find a large decorative pirate ship hanging from the ceiling!

Casino Park and BINGO Highway

Sonic Heroes (2003) harked back to the more abstract visual designs of earlier games, bringing with it a key characteristic - the casino zone. Split into two named stages, Casino Park is a nod to the original Casino Night, with its heavy use of pinball tables and slot machines, though it also adds large spinning roulette wheels and moving dice platforms. The visual design is very much its own too - everything is glowing neon in all sorts of vibrant colours. Its sister stage, BINGO Highway adds more blue to the colour scheme, and the tables become long roads to build up speed as your team of characters roll across them. Grab the numbered icons to match up the BINGO numbers displayed along the way.

Both of these stages have reappeared multiple times as race tracks across the Sonic & SEGA Racing series and Team Sonic Racing.

Casino Street Zone

2010's Episode 1 of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was heavy on nostalgia as far as its levels went, with every single one of them leaning heavily on particular stages from Sonic 1 and 2. Casino Street Zone came in as the second level, and there's no prizes for guessing which stage it was based on. Visuals are very similar to Casino Night Zone, with golden buildings adorned with luxurious red carpets backed by a bustling nighttime metropolis. The golden buildings have interior sections this time, and Act 2 welcomes some new playing card mechanics, both as spinning platforms and forming winding trails on which to run.

Frozen Factory Zone 3

The casino theme occupies only one sub-stage of a larger, predominantly ice level in 2013's Sonic Lost World, the rest of which, it bears no resemblance to whatsoever. It does, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to the Casino Night Zone once again, particularly in its pinball tables which are separated from the rest of the stage and accessible only by collecting enough small silver coins, seen only in this act. Also watch out for the huge slots themselves - now free from the machines that once spun them as they roll slowly towards you.

Mystic Jungle

Don't let the name fool you. This is a group of levels found in Sonic Forces (2017) that depict a previously undisturbed jungle being transformed into one of Dr. Eggman's casinos, already full of bright colours and all the glitz and glamour you've come to expect. An unusual merging of the casino theme with another common platforming trope - the jungle theme. Classic Sonic's stage, Casino Forest, again borrows heavily from Casino Night Zone, deploying all the usual bumpers, flippers and slot machines, while Luminous Forest sees Modern Sonic on one of his typical high speed dashes through the region. There's little in the way of unique features here, save for a set piece at the end in which a gigantic jungle snake attempts to eat him for dinner!

As you can see, the casino theme has long been established as a go-to Sonic level trope that's absolutely iconic to the near 30-year franchise. We're still eagerly awaiting news of the next Sonic game to hit the consoles - maybe it will include an all new iteration of the long-standing casino theme!
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The History of Slot Machines in the Sonic the Hedgehog Franchise
Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 5:01pm (UTC), 0 Comments

Slot machines have been a part of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise for longer than most fans will realize. Players are typically encouraged to interact with these video slot games to help them unlock additional in-game rewards, or run the risk of losing gold rings. Since their first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, video slots have becoming a recurring feature, although the slots have been given a revamp in line with the differing themes of each Sonic release.

The first image that slot machines conjure up in the heads of most is the packed casino floors of Las Vegas. According to Vegas Betting, there are 40,000 slots on the Las Vegas Strip. Although the Sonic slot games found in the Sonic franchise don't offer the same mega wins and progressive jackpots that you find in "Sin City", they are certainly a great starting point for those new to the slot concept - and all you're risking is some in-game gold rings too!

From Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to Sonic Forces

The very first appearance of a slot machine in the Sonic franchise was in the second instalment. Within the Casino Night Zone, players could take part in a slot game within the pinball tables of the Zone. The key was to land two jackpot symbols with either a Sonic, Tails or Bar symbol in the remaining reel. This would earn you up to 120 gold rings and a 2x win multiplier. The launch of Sonic & Knuckles also included a slot game within the game's Bonus Stage. The game was in the shape of a + sign, with the reels embedded within it. It was another three-reel slot, with only a single payline to play with and hunt out more jackpot spins and a chance to win up to 120 gold rings. 1998's Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut was designed with a "Casinopolis" feature, which had the slot machines based within it. SEGA opted to try and gamify the slots in this release by fusing slot and pinball gameplay in the 777 Slots Pinball game.

Fast forward to 2011 and the Sonic franchise was still enchanted by slot gaming. In the Sonic Generations game, released on PC as well as games consoles to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise, the slot machine is located within the Casino Night section of the game. In homage to Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the reels were designed to look almost identical, with similar gold detailing around the edges.

A year later, the Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed karting release, akin to the world-renowned Super Mario Kart, also nodded to the franchise's history with slots. Video slot terminals were displayed on-screen during the loading of every race. Players with a minimum of five All-Star coins could spin the reels. In the event that all three reels landed a matching symbol, players would be rewarded with a new item to use at the start of the race, or indeed at the beginning of each lap. If the reels didn't match first time, players could spin once more before the race, providing they had enough gold coins in reserve.

The most recent example of slot machine gameplay in the Sonic franchise was found in 2017's Sonic Forces game. The reels are only accessible in the Casino Forest feature. Again, the reels are designed to act as part of the pinball game. Just like in the first appearance of video slots in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the slot is only activated once the playable character is inserted within the parallel bars on the slot.

Yuji Naka, the former head of Sonic Team and lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, admitted that the nod to Las Vegas and slots was due to the team's own experiences during their trip to America, which they dubbed "Entertainment Research".
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From Sonic to The Simpsons: Classics Living on in Video Games
Friday, 15th May 2020, 9:39am (UTC), 0 Comments
From Sonic to The Simpsons: Classics Living on in Video Games Why let go of your favorite classics when they are constantly being revived? You can always find new ways to enjoy retro games, TV shows and movies that have left their mark on the world. And this is thanks to the video game industry above all else. Over the years, developers have breathed new life into classic entertainment and kept beloved characters from fading away. However, this doesn't mean that other industries have stood idle. The combined efforts of entertainment mediums have helped hallmark characters and their worlds thrive. It's because of their enduring popularity and fans' dedication that they re-emerge every now and then in new forms to bring back good old memories. Below are four examples of classic franchises still going strong today.

Sonic the Hedgehog

The 2020 movie, starring Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, may be the pinnacle of the blue speedster's revival, but he's held his place in the spotlight thanks to numerous projects across the entertainment industry. Video games have been doing a particularly good job of bringing Sonic to new generations. Apart from platformer titles, there have been a number of great racing games - as if the character even needs more speed. Team Sonic Racing is the latest production, released in May 2019 and combining the best of two worlds: classic arcade themes and modern high-tech multiplayer technology.

Mortal Kombat

Another franchise still finding success no matter how many years go by. It helps that new characters keep emerging in pop culture to add combatants to the series. Mortal Kombat 11 (2019), for example, includes Terminator T-800 and the Joker alongside all of the classic fighters we know and love since the game was first introduced in 1992. Things get even more exciting when retro foundations get upgrades. In the case of this installment, they include enhanced graphics and performance, as well as a cinematic story mode that puts you in the shoes of several Mortal Kombat characters battling their way to saving the world.

Star Trek

Moving to classic cinema and TV, this is one of the biggest and most timeless franchises in existence. Many industries, from movies to music to fashion, have or seek a connection to Star Trek. When it comes to gaming, fans have an especially wide range of options. Developers ensure a constant supply of casual Star Trek entertainment for PC and mobile is on the table for when gamers need a break from mainstream releases, with a range of Star Trek titles being available from iGaming developer IGT. It's not even a surprise that the franchise has branched into MMORPG territory with Star Trek: Online. You get to test your skills as a Starfleet captain through battle and exploration in a vast and regularly updated universe.

The Simpsons

Since the famous family's debut in 1987 on The Tracey Ullman Show, we're happily enjoying every new season, not to mention a range of themed entertainment. It shouldn't be long before Playdate With Destiny, a short film focused on Maggie Simpson and released on Disney+, will be outshone by the show's next great move. In terms of video games, The Simpsons: Tapped Out (2012) was the last title to hit the scene. It's a mobile game developed by Electronic Arts that has you rebuilding Springfield after Homer accidentally blows it up. Several updates aside, it has been a while since a new game has appeared. But, once again, it's only a matter of time before this or another developer comes up with another way to make loyal fans happy.

Classics were loved for a reason. They each filled a gap in their time's entertainment and paved the road for modern creations. But many of those original masterpieces never went away. They evolve from one medium to another, while maintaining qualities that made them special in the first place.
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Try Out Rocket League - a Perfect Blend of Soccer and Racing Cars
Monday, 4th May 2020, 11:56am (UTC), 0 Comments
Until the release of Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, gaming fans could either choose a game featuring soccer or car racing. In 2008, this unique title combined the two in the most creative way possible, thus reaching out to players who love both game types.

Unfortunately, the game was not as successful as expected. Yet, the developers didn't give up on the idea and kept working on improving the game. Finally, the product called Rocket League hit the gaming market in 2015 and got the praise it deserved.

Although it's been out for five years now, Rocket League today enjoys the same popularity level as it did at the time of its launch. Although a not-yet-prominent company created the game, you should not jump to the conclusion that it isn't worth your time.

In this text, you will find all the details about this exclusive game and maybe decide to give it a try.


Rocket League features both soccer and racing cars in the most distinctive way possible. The extensive base of fans came up with a nickname soccar which perfectly describes the game.

Players control racing cars with which they hit the ball in order to score goals. On their way to score goals, cars can collect special treats known as boosts. For example, there is a speed boost that allows a player to cross the whole field in no time.

Cars can also jump and spin when they find it necessary, as well as hit and smash other players' cars. Moreover, you can personalize your car to your taste and choose the model most suitable for you.

The match can include two teams of up to four players or the classic one-on-one approach. Each match usually lasts for five minutes and, in case of a tie, adds a sudden death period to decide the winner.

There is also a list that keeps a record of players' ranking as they make progress through the game.

While it might sound simple, mastering the skills necessary to win in Rocket League takes some time since some moves are quite challenging.

Skills Matter

When you hear that players have been into the game for years now, you will understand that Rocket League requires some practice. The game has been amusing and challenging beyond everyone's expectations.

No matter how long you play it, there is always a new move you need to work on. Even the world's best players find it difficult to stay on top of the list for long, due to the constant updates being released.

Furthermore, the game reached such a level of importance during its first year on the market that it emerged into the eSports realm. Its path to glory started with the first Rocket League Championship Series in 2016 featuring a $55,000 prize pool.

Rocket League continued the expansion and became highly appreciated in the iGaming industry. Everyone who tried it out says that the game can rather be characterized as a game of skill than a game of luck.

This is good news, as it means that you can get better the more you play. Therefore, don't be disappointed if you don't excel right from the start, but work on your skills and make it happen.
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A Glance into the Sonic The Hedgehog Spin-Off Universe
Friday, 24th April 2020, 4:53pm (UTC), 0 Comments
Sonic the Hedgehog arrived with a bang on our SEGA Genesis consoles back in 1991, and has since produced a wide range of video games and related merchandise. As any successful franchise, it has also inspired a series of spin-offs, which are sometimes underrated and occasionally completely unknown even to hardcore fans. Here are our top picks across the Sonic the Hedgehog universe.

Sonic the Hedgehog movies: from obscure anime to blockbuster

It is not unusual for a successful video game to have its own series of spin-offs. for example, the Lara Croft gaming title series has produced a few popular movies, with the latest installment being the 2018 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film starring Alicia Vikander. Another popular gaming franchise that received the Hollywood treatment was Assassin's Creed, first created by Ubisoft in 2007. Released in 2016 and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, Assassin's Creed did not perform that well at the box office and was panned by critics, despite the promising potential of its source material.

With the pattern of transforming games to movies only increasing over the years, it was only a matter of time before an iconic video game franchise like Sonic the Hedgehog would be turned into a movie.

Fans were waiting for a long time to see Sonic on-screen, and for it to be done well: the first Sonic video game was released in 1991, and development for a film adaptation began a little later in the 1990s. Yet it was only in 2020 that a project actually moved past the planning stages, and only after Sony acquired the rights.

Starring James Marsden and Jim Carrey, the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog film was an instant hit with fans and at the box office. With $58 million, it has had the biggest gross opening weekend across the US for video game-inspired movies. This means that it surpassed Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, which rose to $54.4 million, the original 2001 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, at $47.7 million, and the Angry Birds Movie, which brought in $38.1 million on its opening weekend.

Yet, hardcore fans will remember that there was, in fact, another Sonic movie that came prior to this. Released in 1996, Sonic the Hedgehog the Movie was a Japanese animated film in two installments, which was released directly to video in 1999 in the UK and US. Even though the anime style looks a little outdated by today's standards, it was popular upon its first release, and remained very true to the spirit of the video games - which had just seen the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994.

Sonic pinball, Sonic slots, and Sonic comics!

More recently, the blue hedgehog made it into the slot universe, with the latest line of Sega Slots featuring the beloved character prominently. It is not uncommon for online slots to take inspiration from pop culture; for example, some online casinos offer slots based on other popular franchises like Game of Thrones, Narcos, or Immortal Romance - which taps into the vampire hype generated by Twilight. So, it was only a matter of time before a pop culture icon like Sonic also got a slot revamp. Developed by Sega itself, the slots were received warmly by fans, but they never seemed to reach such a mainstream audience as the rest of the franchise that inspired them.

Yet a little-known gem titled 'Sonic Eraser' seems to have reached even fewer fans. With gameplay similar to Tetris, this retro puzzle game was originally released in 1991, making it the very first Sonic spin-off. It remained almost completely unknown until it was rediscovered in 2004, arguably by a die-hard Sonic fan. True to that 1990s vibe, the second spin-off game was none other than 1993's 'Sonic Spinball'. Putting a Sonic spin on classic pinball games, it offered fun elements across multiple levels, with Sonic himself acting as the pinball for most of its gameplay. It incorporated ideas from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which was released in 1992, produced a second Sonic Spinball installment, and gave its name to the spinning Sonic-themed roller coaster ride in British theme park Alton Towers - a must-visit for Sonic fans.

1993 also saw the release of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which also reminded fans of Tetris, while 1994's underwhelming Sonic Drift was the franchise's first contribution to the racing genre. A more popular Sonic racing game was probably 1997's Sonic R, with several hidden elements and secret items to discover, followed by Sonic Riders in 2006.

While it is hard to keep track of every spin-off genre Sonic veered into, no list would be complete without an honorable mention of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series released by Archie Comics, in collaboration with Sega. Running from 1992 to 2017, the introduced many fans to the Sonic universe and have inspired their own spin-offs, including Sonic X and Sonic Universe by the same publisher.

Few video gaming characters have had such an impact on pop culture as did Sonic the Hedgehog. Ever since his first appearance in 1991, the gaming icon and his entourage of friends and foes have inspired a wide range of spin-offs and, after the success of the 2020 Sonic movie, it seems that the sky is the limit for our favorite blue hedgehog!
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Nintendo DS Games You Can Still Have Fun With
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 3:59pm (UTC), 0 Comments
From time to time, all of us get hit with a bout of nostalgia, and in those moments one of the best things we can do to transport ourselves back to the good old days is to play some retro games on one of our old consoles. There's nothing out there like a childhood favorite to bring back fond memories, and as one of Nintendo's best, the DS is the perfect console to boot up and get to it. There are thousands of games for the Nintendo DS that are a great pastime, yet there are a few that stand out from the rest that you'll surely have a lot of fun with.

Texas Hold 'Em Poker DS

Nothing beats the excitement that a good game of poker can bring with it, and thanks to Texas Hold 'Em Poker, a small console like the DS can become your portable casino. The game follows the standard rules of the Texas Hold 'Em variant and allows players to easily learn the rules and master gameplay through its great guides and added practice mode. If you're a fan of a good poker game but can't seem to dig up your DS, you can try Casimba online casino games here. You can find many variations of poker, and loads of other fun games and slots to spend hours on!

Sonic Rush

The Nintendo DS brought a new gameplay dynamic to the beloved Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the addition that was Sonic Rush was a great way to showcase that. The mix of 2D and 3D elements in the game made it a visually pleasing adventure, while the two screens of the console brought gameplay novelties that were surely much appreciated. Sonic Rush also introduces us to a fan favorite playable character, Blaze the Cat. Switching between the new hero and our favorite blue speedster makes this game the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

If you're in the mood for something a little bit different, then this game may be exactly what you're looking for. Ace Attorney is a visual novel game following Phoenix Wright through his quest to prove the innocence of his clients. Throughout gameplay, you'll be prompted to gather evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and perform investigations to the benefit of your client. The game has had several spin-offs and is one of the most successful games of its kind.

Pokemon Platinum Version

If you're just coming down from the worldwide hype that Pokemon GO created and could use a different dose of the adorable critters, then going back to the classics is the best option. There were a few Pokemon games released for the Nintendo DS but the Pokemon Platinum Version is the one that stands out the most to us. Following the basic gameplay of the previous games in the series, the new generation of Pokemon, the vibrant colors, and the dual-screen of the DS made this game a knockout with easier ways to navigate the fantasy world and organize your items.
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