Sonic the Hedgehog - the Movie: Here's What We Know So Far
Friday, 26th October 2018, 10:02am (BST), 0 Comments
Will Sonic be as good on the big screen in 2019 as he is on the console? Considering we're still way off the release date. It's pretty hard to say. But finally getting a real live action movie out of one of our most beloved game characters is exciting regardless.

We've collected all of the gossip and news so far on the film's release, so you don't have to.



The Production Lowdown

The feature film is set to hit theatres in the UK on November 28th, 2019 according to Sega and their producing partner Paramount Pictures. We may still have a year to go before we can make our final verdict on the film, but we're a lot closer than when the first announcement of the film back in February 2016.

Excitement mounted even more when the director of Deadpool Tim Miller took on the role of executive producer. He'll be joined by Jeff Fowler who is a newcomer to his role - hopefully bringing in enough contemporary talent and love for our blue friend. Although Fowler may not have been around for all that long, one of his previous shorts "Gopher Broke" was Oscar-Nominated. So, with an all-star production team, it's safe to say it looks promising!

It would seem that back in February 2016, they vastly underestimated how long it would take to get the action feature under wraps. Originally, the release date was scheduled for 2018. Yet, at least I will be with us just in time for the holiday's next year.

If you're nervous about the film's release, we get it, the writing might let us down, the animation may be terrible, it may be directed at the completely wrong audience. Which raises a very good question, which audience should the movie be targeted at?

Considering that Sonic the Hedgehog videogames were enjoyed by many kids who grew up in the 80's and 90's would it be fair to market the film at children? We're really hoping not, but the chances of that happening are still fairly slim, which you'll definitely understand if you have ever seen Deadpool.

Whilst there may not be all that much credible information flying about the internet about the Sonic movie (Even Reddit are letting us down!) we've collated the facts so far.

- The live action feature will contain live action footage and CGI animation. But will the graphics be as tight as we saw with Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy? (Now we really want to see a face-off between the racoon and the hedgehog).

- Sega will be working alongside Paramount Pictures to produce the film.

- The CGI will be created by Marza Animation Planet who have been involved with features such as RESIDENT EVIL: VENDETTA, MOOM and SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HANLOCK. So, it's safe to say that aside from RESIDENT EVIL they're pretty much new comers to the Hollywood CGI industry. Can they be trusted to nail down Sonic's attitude and speed?

- The budget for the feature is a whopping $90,000,000.





The Actors Bringing the Characters to Life

There are many popular actors who almost made the cut for the film including Christian Bale, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Jason Segel and Tom Cruise. That seems like a pretty top cast to me, but for varying reasons, the casting directions included the following:

Jim Carrey as Dr. Ivo 'Eggman' Robotnik,

James Marden as Sheriff Tom Wachowski

Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog

Lee Majdoub as Agent Stone

Tika Sumpter as the Sherriff's wife

We don't see Tails on the bill as of yet, but there are still plenty of actors and actresses who appear on IMDB without a role including Adam Pally, Natasha Rothwell, Neal McDonough and Frank C. Turner.

Whilst it's clear that they've missed a trick not including some of the considered actors (we're definitely talking about Christian Bale and not Tom Cruise), the movie still holds plenty enough promise. Although Sonic fans have already been a little dubious (that's putting things lightly) about the choice of Jim Carey as Eggman due to the vast differences in their voices.

The announcement which happened back on June 29th, 2018 over Twitter caused quite the storm. Even the original voice actor who played the role of Eggman in the videogames was consulted on the matter by the protesting Sonic fans. Valiantly Mike Pollock politely commented that he's more than happy for Carrey to take the role, however he would have gladly jumped at the opportunity.

Has Sonic lost its roots? Or are they just moving on to bigger and "better" things? You can certainly tell that the producers and executives like a gamble. Perhaps they should have just headed over to cute and cuddly slots sites and played Fluffy Fairground and tried their luck there instead of putting Sonic in the hands of some fairly new actors.

The Plot

There are definitely no spoilers hidden away in the plot which leaves us with plenty of room to run with our imaginations.

"A cop in rural town of Green Hills will help Sonic escape from the government who is looking to capture him." (IMDB)

Although, we can be assured that Sonic still remains the lovable rogue that we've come to know from the games. He'll be going head to head with Eggman once more whilst racing against the government who is also attempting to capture him. I don't think you need to be psychic to guess how the film pans out.

We're still waiting for a trailer date, maybe when that drops we'll have a better idea of the film will pan out, but so far, critics aren't very excited about the feature and chances are that it won't be the best video game film adaptation to hit the screen in recent years. Yet, for all of the loyal Sonic fans out there I'd remain open to the possibility of the film allowing you a different side to Sonic which you didn't get to see in the games!
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5 Ways to Choose Video Games for Kids
Monday, 22nd October 2018, 5:18pm (BST), 0 Comments
Eli is the community and content manager at computerplanet.co.uk who design and build custom gaming PC's, CAD workstations and desktop computers. Eli is a keen gamer and can be found on twitch when not working.
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While video games are widely played among people of all ages in this modern age, kids appreciate these games as a gift because they love to interact with the screen. But it's essential that parents take an important role when choosing video games for the kids. It's important that the videos games should be not only affordable but also fun, educative, and safe.

While video games shouldn't be a kid's primary entertainment form, every parent needs to understand the inevitability of games for their kids, especially when they love to play with their friends. While parents can comprehend this fact, they will be able to choose appropriate video games for their kids. Also, ground rules should be enforced to prevent addition. In this guide, we'll show you five ways to choose video games for kids.

Check & Confirm The Game's Rating

We recommend that you confirm that the game you intend buying has a rating that is best for your kid. Confirm that it is rated using the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) - a nonprofit organization that rates almost every game on the front and back. The rating goes from Early Childhood (EC) to Adults Only (AO), and it's a guide for parents to be judgmental to choose a game appropriate for their kids. The ESRB considers a variety of factor for their ratings, such as the player's level of control over the action, the reward system, and the level of intensity and realism.

Read Reviews About The Game

A review from other parents is an authentic way of choosing suitable video games for your kids. Just type the title in the online search engines, and you'll get a volume of reviews from parents like you. You can visit http://commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews for in-depth studies on kids games, movies, books, etc.

Play Games With Your Kids

Finding time to review and buy a video game for your kids is not enough as finding time to play with them. The best way you can understand the impact of video games on your kids is to play with them. Playing with them gives you the understanding of how the game works; if it's child-friendly and educational. Your familiarity with the game gives you the confidence that it is safe for your kids to play on their own. It's important to know that you must monitor and carefully observe what they play from time to time.

Choose Games From Your Child's Interest

Every child has an area of interest as they grow up, have you discovered that? Discovering the area of interest of your kids as they grow is vital, a child's interest can be to paint, draw, play sports, watch cartoons, etc. Choosing a video game that goes in-line with their interest helps in developing their favorite hobby, and in the long term, aid their career. A sports game for a sporty kid allows him/her to practice on and off the field. Be sure that the games you choose for them aren't a replacement for the real world activity but an occasional compliment.

Control Game Time To Avoid Addiction

Setting boundaries around the game give the kids a proper way of enjoying the game. That way, they look forward to the time set for them to play games, enabling you as a parent to monitor their game intake. Watching them prevents them from getting addicted to the game. It is proper that gaming comes after the kids' homework, home chores, and every other responsibility. Reasonably, 60 to 90 minutes of video games are excellent for any child per day.

Parents who are not familiar with technology may encounter difficulties in choosing video games, read reviews and pick games you can play with your kids. Make sure healthy responsibilities come first before games, and the kids' time is another important factor you must monitor from childhood as they play video games.
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Five of the Best Sonic Video Games
Friday, 17th August 2018, 12:54pm (BST), 0 Comments
Few video game characters are as recognizable as Sonic the Hedgehog. With a giant mane of blue spikes and with lightning fast speed, the anthropomorphic character is one of the best-known video game icons, right up there with Nintendo's cheerful plumber Mario, the spheric yellow Pac-Man and even Donkey Kong.

Sonic has become a household name over the years thanks to the many games to his name. More than 10 developers have had a crack at the series over the last three decades or so and sometimes Sonic's antics and adventures have varied wildly. So with that in mind, let's take a look at five of the best Sonic games ever.

Sonic the Hedgehog

We had to start this list off with the game that started it all: Sonic the Hedgehog. Released all the way back in the summer of 1991, the game was specifically designed after publisher Sega tasked original developer Sonic Team with producing a mascot character for its new console, the Sega Genesis, which had been released a couple of years before. The game featured the titular character running around a series of intricately designed platforming levels, in an effort to beat Doctor Robotnik, the fiendish antagonist who has stolen the Chaos Emeralds and has imprisoned animals in robots. Throughout the game, Sonic whizzes around curved areas, collecting gold rings, avoiding hazards (such as spikes), and destroying robots to free animals. It's a simple concept but this is why Sonic the Hedgehog is now known as one of the greatest games of all time.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was released on the Sega Genesis in 1994, three years after the series had begun and it represents that evolution - and the newly designed innovations - that developer Sonic Team was able to come up with. With platforming gameplay at its core, players could control Sonic or his pal Tails to once again take on Doctor Robotnik after he crash-landed on Angel Island. The game was also the second in the series to feature a slot machine, which players unlock once they have collected 20 gold rings and have passed a Bonus Post. Players can connect icons of Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, bar, the "jackpot" symbol and more in order to get additional rings. With the game being so iconic it's little wonder why we've seen its influence in the themed slot machines available in 2018. Gamers today are still looking for that classic slot experience, with three reels, for the nostalgic sense of gameplay. Much of that wave of nostalgia is down to Sonic 3.

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed



With Sonic being renowned for his sense of speed, it made perfect sense when Sega released Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. The racing game features Sonic alongside all of his iconic friends and foes (Tails, Knuckles, Shadow the Hedgehog, and Doctor Robotnik) and famous Sega characters such as the Bonanza Bros. and Jacky and Akira. The gameplay is similar to Mario Kart but allows players to "transform" their vehicles into powered-up versions such as a rocket that zooms down the track.

The game was relatively successful and was well-received by critics and fans alike. It was one of the best-selling Sega games of the year and it had sold just over one million copies by the end of the year. It was successful enough to spawn a sequel, with upcoming game Team Sonic Racing, set to release later this year.

Sonic Mania



Released in 2017, Sonic Mania was released following a poor run of form for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. After questionable design decisions and some shoddy spin-offs had diluted the brand, many fans had been left disappointed with how the series had shifted to the modern era. Sonic Mania hoped to change all that, however, by doubling down on the classic, Sega Genesis gameplay that fans had fallen in love with the franchise for. Even the ads for the game were a throwback to the 16-bit console era.

The game featured Sonic, Tails, Knuckles as they take on Doctor Robotnik and his robot army, with the game's 12 levels including eight redesigned stages from previous games in the series. Speeding, gliding, wall-climbing, swimming and flying gameplay are all featured.

Sonic the Hedgehog CD



We completed this list with Sonic the Hedgehog CD which sees Sonic try to save an entire planet from Doctor Robotnik. This game is also a side-scrolling platform but it stands out due to gameplay features like time travel feature which takes players back or forward time to different versions of that same level.

Players would be shown a "bad future" for a particular level that shows how Doctor Robotnik's efforts were destroying the stage or a "good future" with minimal obstacles and no enemies. While the series had only been around for two years at this point. Sonic CD showed how Sega and Sonic Team were able to shake things up.

The Sonic series has had plenty of iterations and spin-offs throughout the years, including an upcoming movie starring Ben Schwartz. We expect the franchise to continue too, but whether Sega and co. will be able to beat the quality of these five games is unclear.
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When SEGA have entered the poker market
Monday, 13th August 2018, 5:10pm (BST), 0 Comments
Sonic has always had an edge to him, compared to the more family-friendly world of Super Mario, who, after all, made an honest living as a plumber (even if Nintendo have come out to say that it doesn't seem to be the case any longer.) This edgy feel to Sonic has always highlighted the fact that it is SEGA rather than Nintendo that, as a company, has traditionally been prepared to take more risks rather than placing a sustained focus on brand image. This has, amongst other profitable collaborations, allowed the company to step into the iGaming world from its very earliest days.

Involvement in the iGaming scene hasn't been limited to those fun and engaging casino zones in Sonic games that we all know and love (with the most famous of these probably the one in Sonic 2); SEGA have been able to create games that have allowed players to enjoy the chance to cross over into entirely different games.

Let's take a look at a few of the best.

Sonic Casino Poker

Many of a brand's best games are the early attempts in any given market, and this game from 2007 was published by SEGA with the intention of giving them an early slice of the mobile gaming market, which was just starting to turn from being speculatively interesting to crucial for brands to enter with intent.



The game itself was based on seven-card stud poker and it has a loose connection to the aforementioned casino levels in the Sonic games. It allowed players to try and prove they had the skill to bluff or fold their way to victory in games of poker. While this game was ahead of its time in terms of the idea, it also came along during the period of time shortly after SEGA had switched from producing hardware (something that was big news, as you can see here) to being a third-party game developer, which shows precisely how keen they were to get involved early on in mobile gaming.

Poker Face Paul

While Sonic is clearly the big name of SEGA, Poker Face Paul proves that even in the age of the Game Gear, the world of poker was still of interest to console gamers. Indeed, it is possible that retrospectively this was perhaps one of the most interesting series of games to be created for the Game Gear. The use of Poker Face Paul to create poker, blackjack and other casino games was arguably a first look at the modern world of online casino gaming, where poker games can be played so readily and easily online.



Sure, Poker Face Paul was a bit less sophisticated than modern games, but it was innovative. In one version of the game that you played against yourself, you won money based on the quality of your hand, which was educational for players entering this world at the time.

While the graphics were not wonderful, the imagination required to create a solo game has helped to encourage modern online poker game providers to come up with different versions like Snap and Blast games, which are variations on traditional poker and are becoming increasingly popular, although arguably they offer far better graphics than the 8-bit Game Gear and there is more emphasis on flops and full houses than on just winning against yourself!

Caesar's Palace

Nowadays, you can enjoy playing live casino at home easily. Indeed, you have the potential to opt for virtual reality games, live games with real dealers, or you could even choose to watch live casino games unfold on TV if you don't want to take part in them. In contrast to this, 1993 was a time when the idea of Caesar's Palace and Las Vegas was still a little bit mythical and romanticised, especially for those living nowhere near the USA without the disposable income to hop on a flight.

In this sense, while the Caesar's Palace game didn't always score highly on game reviews, it must be looked at in a context that shows that it was ahead of its time despite the clear limitations of the gameplay as well as the issues in the delivery of the game. Although manufactured by Virgin Games rather than SEGA themselves, it was available to play on one of the most iconic consoles of all time: the SEGA Megadrive.

Casino Games

If you grew up with the SEGA Megadrive as part of your life, it is still unlikely that you will have heard of the SEGA Master System, which preceded it. The system at the time was commercially beaten by Nintendo, but it did still create some incredible games, including Alex Kidd In Miracle World, and most importantly, it first brought Sonic to western markets and audiences.

One of the games that was created for the Megadrive was Casino Games, which enabled people in 1989 to enjoy playing - you've guessed it - casino games, randomly including pinball(!) as well as more traditional games like poker, blackjack, and baccarat. While the game hasn't gone down in the ages as a classic, it shows that even in its earliest days, SEGA didn't shy away from including games that weren't exclusively created for kids and were well suited to the tastes of different audiences, something that was also clear when it came to the background story in the Sonic games, including Sonic 2.

While SEGA is now long gone from the world of console making, it is clear that the hard work done by game developers in the past proved that poker, casinos, and chance games all had a serious future and an audience more than ready and willing to lap it up, with financial benefits for those involved. This has manifested in the modern day through the wide range of exciting and engaging games that feature poker and the chance to play for real money on mobile devices that are a far cry from the days of Game Gear.
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Where Should Sonic Go Next?
Thursday, 26th July 2018, 2:22pm (BST), 0 Comments
Sonic Mania was released in 2017. Gaming specialist site IGN gave the series a healthy 8.7/10 score, commending Sonic the Hedgehog on returning to his 2D side-scrolling roots. Indeed, the instalment in the series reminded the original set of Sonic fans just why they became enamored with the electric blue speedster initially. But development on a sequel is slow and developers are focusing on 2018's release, Team Sonic Racing.



Racing Game as a Reboot


Introducing a racing game in a series is always a way for developers to buy some time and keep fans happy while they work on narrative and characterization for the next official story title. Crash Bandicoot received Crash Team Racing while the leap to PS2 was being ironed out. The Super Mario series introduces racing games for new platforms to ensure fans are connecting with the brand still. So a racing game as Sonic's next move is a sensible move. With 15 playable characters in the game, fans might be able to go back into the series and find the more obscure ones. Playing a racing game is like a compilation album or episode of TV - it helps remind fans of the game why they loved the characters, and is primarily led by characters.

Cross-Platform to Reinvigorate


But Sonic producers could have gone a different way with the franchise. As Pokemon Go showed us - taking the extremely iconic gameplay of Pokemon and adapting it for another platform helped breathe new life into the flagging series. As William Hill shows, Worms has been given the cross-platform approach in order to appeal to a different set of fans. Indeed, the original Worms audience who played the game in 1995 are likely to make up the audience playing the Worms Mania slot. This shows how nostalgia and reinvention of a series in a slightly different way may reinvigorate the franchise and connect to a new audience, while reminding the older audience of their existence. Franchises jumping from platform to platform could be classed as a reboot, such as when The Sims was briefly playable as a console game.

Complete Reinvention


Sometimes in order to reinvigorate a franchise, it goes through a complete reboot. Often, as with Syndicate and Fallout, this is because there has been such a long time between the games that recreating the sequel in the image of the originals would be impractical with the developments in gaming and graphics. Other times, as with Crash, the reinvention is a complete overhaul, yet retains the features people know and love. The cleverness of the Crash reboot with Crash N Sane Trilogy is that the gameplay is identical, but the graphics different enough to keep fans happy and give them something new to play that they would likely have forgotten about.

Sonic Mania's dust is settling still and excitement is abound for Team Sonic Racing. Perhaps the popularity of certain characters and settings will inspire producers to take the game down different routes. Or perhaps the return to the 2D side-scroller game will be permanent. Regardless, we are definitely excited about the last 25 years of Sonic and eager to see the next 25.
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New Zealand's Biggest Casino Winners in History
Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 5:15pm (BST), 0 Comments
The feeling of winning a prize from a slot machine, casino table or even some unusual game like Spin n Win brings up a sense of excitement, especially if it's a progressive jackpot. There's something quite satisfying about the knowledge that you've won when numerous before you haven't. Gambling makes it possible to lose a lot of money, but at the same time gain a massive amount if luck is on your side or if you have the right skills with other games. Over the years, there have been many incredible casino winners, even in smaller countries such as New Zealand.

For most of us, the thought of taking home huge amounts of cash from the casino remains a dream while others strive to beat the house and claim the rewards. Some play pokies, others take the time to perfect table games and the rest are simply at the right place at the right time.

With the list of the biggest casino winners in New Zealand below, we'll let you decide which of the wins were luck or pure skills. The list isn't in any specific order, but one thing we can say is that all the winnings are worth more than just a few dollars.



$10 Million Winning with Mega Moolah Online

In June 2016, a lucky player from New Zealand, named Rawiri Pow scooped up one of the biggest online jackpots on the well-known Mega Moolah video slot from Microgaming. The KFC employee explained that he was simply playing the games online and managed to win an amazing $1,500 at first, which already amazed him.

However, instead of cashing out, the Kiwi kept the reels turning, which eventually granted access to the progressive jackpot wheel bonus game. Not having major expectations, he spun the wheel and found himself progressing through the levels and reaching the mega jackpot, worth a gigantic $10 million!

The casino presented Rawiri with a huge check in a hotel in Auckland, which made national news, obviously. The KFC employee had no immediate plans of leaving his job and was eager to show off the reward to his parents who disapprove of his gambling habits.



Biggest Mobile Casino Jackpot - Won by Kiwi

Once again, Microgaming becomes the start of the show as a New Zealand player unlocks the biggest progressive jackpot winning on mobile at the time. The lucky player decided to play a few spins on Microgaming's Mega Moolah video slot from his mobile device only to find a massive $943,971 winning at the end of a few spins.

The winning took place in May 2013, which is around the same time mobile casinos started becoming popular. Before this win, no other major mobile jackpots were triggered, making the lucky Kiwi player the first big mobile winner.

There hasn't been any additional information about the jackpot winner or what he plans to do with the money as he chose to remain anonymous. However, the winning was confirmed by Microgaming at the time and the rewards were granted.



New Zealand Player Beats Roulette

In 2016, a lucky player claimed one of the best rewards he could've ever wished for while playing online roulette. The player chose one of the NetEnt live dealer tables and managed to scoop up over $100,000 within just a few hours.

In an interview, the anonymous player claimed to have used a combination of strategies, including the popular Martingale system along with inside betting strategies. He started with just $1,000 in his account and actually dropped down to below $500 before claiming the first win, sending his account balance up to over $2,000. He says within the first few hours, he managed to increase the account balance to over $10,000, allowing him to increase the betting values and really get into making profits. In all but 4 hours, he found himself with an account balance of $94,500 and the last few rounds sending him over the $100,000 mark.

He says he could've played longer, but with the massive profits he had already claimed, he stopped playing and decided to find a cruise for him and his family instead. It's unclear what he did with the rest of the funds and whether he went back to the casino to apply the same strategy again.



Virtual Blackjack Changes New Zealander's Life

In 2012 a player from New Zealand decided to check out the online casino world and came across multiple new variations of Blackjack he never knew about as a land-based Blackjack player. Applying the same strategies, he unknown players managed to win over $500,000 within a week!

At the time of his interview (after the winning week), he revealed he was playing Blackjack Switch, which at first seemed like a strange game, but with the new rules and features he was able to adjust the current strategy and apply it to the new game he found. The most incredible part of the win is that he began with a small account balance of just $200. "I had to begin small with the bets as my strategy was higher risk and could result in multiple winnings" he says.

He also added that after a few successful rounds he was able to apply higher risk and make bigger bets, granting more profits over time. When asked why he didn't use the same strategy at land-based casinos, he said the table limits of a regular casino game blocks any type of strategies, especially if you double up. Therefore, you end up losing a huge amount while you're simply trying to get back some of the winnings you lost before.

New Zealand's Biggest Winning Platforms

There's no doubt about it, the online industry claims much bigger winners, thanks to higher payout percentages and a larger variety of games. All the above winnings were made by online casino gamers while land-based casino winnings in New Zealand remains relatively low in comparison.

Most players claim that the freedom to wagering lower and much higher amounts on the same games allow them to apply new strategies while decreasing the rest involved with table limits. Slot players,on the other hand, have the advantage of playing jackpot games with the world's biggest progressive jackpots and with much higher payout percentages, some reaching the high 90s while land-based casinos tend to range around the min-80s.
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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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