Sonic Classic was an online community made up of, amongst other things, fans of Sonic the Hedgehog and especially the classic series of Mega Drive-based games featuring said character. In its heyday, it was a wide-encompassing board with over 700 members and counting. It originally existed as Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta, changed its name to Sonic Classic later in life, went through several other incarnations, and eventually gave rise to – and ultimately was completely absorbed by – this very website, Sonic Retro.
On January 3rd 1999, Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta was born, dedicated to his discovering a ROM image of a famous prototype version of the much-loved game Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis. It is unknown who dumped the ROM found by Simon Wai, but it was found on a Chinese web site after a thread in the newsgroups discussing it.
The wide-spread circulation of this ROM file soon followed. Its discovery, spread, and subsequent analysis marked a significant turning-point for the Sonic scene. Before the ROM was available, groundless speculations were made based on some poorly scanned pictures, and lots of faith was required in order for many theories to stand. After the ROM was discovered, investigations were made by means of hacking savestates or the ROM directly. Hacking is now a foundation for new theories, which brings the Sonic community as a whole another step closer to the truth of what Sonic 2 was intended to be.
The very first edition of SWS2B had an animated GIF of said game's title screen and featured white text on a blue SONIC/MILES morphing background.
In early 2000, Simon Wai decided to put his focus towards college, and left the Sonic 2 Beta page as an archive, soon to be deleted. A member of the message boards, Pelord archived the site and rehosted it on the original Sonic Stuff Research Group in May of 2000. Sonic 2 Beta's focus was more on game theories, and general Sonic interest; the actual hacking and discoveries were usually posted on Area 51 and Tom's SoStH Page. Although the actual site received few updates, one section — the mailbag — was very popular, and it was the original origins of several jokes such as "I wod lick a Sonic 2 ROMS"
On March 24, 2001, Pelord created the ezBoard edition of the Sonic 2 Beta Messageboard, a switch from Simon's AnyBoard creation. Time passed, and the need for moderators became apparent. LocalH and Terunaga were chosen. Sonic Sue became the first administator on Sonic 2 Beta after winning a hoax contest. During the ezBoard era, Terunaga, Bryn2k, Ashura2k, LOst, and TStodden served as moderators.
As time passed, the Sonic 2 Beta page found itself drifting away from Sonic research, becoming outpaced by the quickly-growing Sonic CulT and the prime days of Area 51. Thus, too, the mood of the forums started to drift toward Sonic information compilation, with things such as manual translations from Japanese Sonic games, and became more of a social center for those in the scene.
In July 2002, Sonic 2 Beta administrator Sonic Sue returned from a month's absence that had been caused by problems with her computer. Upon her return, she noticed that the forums were different from how they had been when she had left, but she saw no reason not to do her job as she had been instructed to. About a day after her return, member Kilometers Prower posted a 'discovery' in the Sonic 2 Beta Discussion forum about an area in Labyrinth Zone (of Sonic 1) that could be reached via debug mode. A member known as Sonique said in a not too pleasant way that it was already known and posted about at other boards.
Sue asked Sonique not to flame other users (per Pelord's rules), and told her that members of Sonic 2 Beta had obviously not seen the discovery, and since some members do not visit other boards.
The next day, the first thing Sue heard when she got online was an IM from a member known as MangoMan, telling her that the Beta Discussion forum was under attack by a member named PACHUKA, who was spam-bumping tons of old topics using images with offensive references and language (Note: Pelord always had a no swearing rule.) and that she was being flamed also. PACHUKA was online at this time, and so Sue gave him a number of reasonable warnings asking him to stop. (She recalls about ten of them. Other members tried convincing him to stop as well.)
The inital warnings were ignored, and Sue warned that if he continued spamming, he would be banned. It did continue, and she backed up her warning by actually banning him. She was the only admin online at the time, and could not let the forums get more disrupted than they already had.
Approximately ten to fifteen minutes after the ban, PACHUKA replaced his avatar with a message saying "Sonic Sue is a cunt", and posted some unpleasant things on his website. Within days, people who had never been seen on the forums before had started coming over to Sonic 2 Beta messageboard to flame her for being ban-happy, even though PACHUKA was only the second person she had ever banned.
In late 2002, Simon Wai emerged, as if from thin air, to announce his return to the community. Simon recreated Sonic 2 Beta the way he wanted it, and told Pelord he wanted the name Sonic 2 Beta back. Pelord agreed to the terms, and Sonic 2 Beta became known as Sonic Classic. Simon said that Sonic 2 Beta Message Board could remain open, but they must change their name. One of the few names put on the table was Sonic Classic, the name of Pelord's old Sonic-related website. This name stuck and became official in December 2003. (At the time of the switch, Sonic Classic was located at pub10.ezboard.com/bsonic2beta). The current ezBoard link is http://go.ezboard.com/bsonic2beta
Although ezBoard had served Sonic Classic's hosting needs for years, the ever rising price of Gold Community forced the staff to move. Free hosting for a message board the size of Sonic Classic, however, wasn't something easily found. A small hosting site for Sonic-based web pages, named SSonicNET was run by members of the community Sonic McTails and Alexbt. It had opened in July of 2002, offered free hosting to Sonic based sites, and had hosted a backup of Area 51 and a few other sites. Pelord eventually decided upon SSonicNET for hosting. Shortly after hearing this news, SSonicNET moved to Invision Power's Hosting, and was redesigned.
The first beta version of this new board was installed in November of '02, at http://projectnemesis.ibforums.com/sclassic (later moved to http://projectnemesis.ibforums.com/sclassic/forums ). It was at this time that Sonic McTails and Alexbt became full-time technical administrators on Sonic Classic staff. Alex, specifically handled the daunting task of fully implementing the ezBoard look-and-feel into the Invision Power skin design.
Invision Board 1.1 Final was installed, and was upgraded to 1.2 before going "ILVE" (sic) on February 16, 2003, and has remained on SSonicNET's hosting through March 18, 2005. Sonic Classic was SSonicNET's largest site, using 4-10GB of bandwidth monthly.
The beginning of the new board was arguably characterized by its friction with Sonic CulT. Many arguments erupted and many members left for a variety of reasons; however, SClassic moved on. During this friction, hackers obtained Alexbt's password to the ezBoard. All of the topics in Dust Hill Zone, the staff forums, were made public for all to see, and at a point soon after that, the ezBoard was entirely reskinned to look like Sonic CulT. A quick cry of help to ezBoard gave the power back to its rightful owners, but at that point a great deal of damage was done, leading to the entire board being wiped with no archives.
In August of 2003, there were several security break-ins to Sonic Classic, via various backdoors and password thefts. Pachuka and TurboKiller/BorisZ turned out to be major players in these hackings. Pachuka always insisted that L0st and LocalH also had a hand in these hackings, but this seemed unlikely as they were both SClassic staff. LocalH's account on Sonic Classic was among those that were broken into by Pachuka, along with his AIM account, which is why he was able to place the blame so easily. Other involved parties included EveryNameWasTaken and AJ.
In March 2005, newly adminned staffer Scarred Sun made an offer to Sonic McTails to purchase SSonicNET. McTails declined the offer, and a plan to move Sonic Classic and SHIT went ahead. On Friday, March 18, 2005, after hosting was finally granted, SClassic and SHIT made an impromptu switch. SHIT was the first site on the new Sonic Classic to fully make the transition. Delays to the Sonic Classic forums were a day long due to a large database. The forums were brough back online in the evening on March 19th.
Initally, the Sonic Classic Cooperative had two main sites — the Sonic Classic forums and SHIT — and was planning to launch a third site, ASPRS, before the end of 2005. ASPRS, a Sonic news collective, was a novel idea but extremely time consuming, and never really made it off the ground.
On May 1, 2005, Sonic McTails was attempting to restore Shadow255's user account and accidentally overwrote the creator names of a month's worth of posts. Any strange lingering posts that are credited to Shadow255 may be this way for that reason.
On May 12, 2005, Turbokiller/BorisZ decided it would be fun to hack the board in celebration of his birthday. This resulted in massive downtime as McTails tried to repair the forums. This also interfered with repairs from the overwritten account creator issue. Forums were finally reopened on May 20.
On May 1st, 2006, Sonic Classic administrators shocked many sceners by unveiling a new fundamental website, Sonic Retro. Outgrowing its former image and legacy, Scarred Sun & Alexbt (along with other staff members) planned out a new site that would take bits and pieces of Sonic Classic to form a bigger, better, and more organized site, including tight integration with the Wiki. Sonic Hot Dimensions was also included in the forum move. Sonic Classic Forums remained much as they were, but located within Sonic Retro's forums.
Following his earlier trend, Turbo decided to mess with Sonic Retro/Classic on his birthday (approx May 12, 2006); he left Sonic Hot Dimensions open.
The forums were restored to a June backup on July 17, 2006 at approx. 3:00AM EST.
Sonic Hot Dimensions was tired of the clashing and left Sonic Retro Forums. Sonic Classic Forums then merged itself with the rest of Sonic Retro and became exclusively Sonic Retro Forums.
Scarred Sun later resumed her duties as server administrator in late July/early August.
On August 5th, the forums became the latest victim by what has been called an epidemic hacking spree by a group of Turkish crackers going under the alias of the "Turkish Defacer". The forums were restored quickly the same day, only to be brought down again and again.
Following the Turkish hackings and a minimal attempt to restore the forums, moderator UltraVR offered to move the forums to his server and run them on VBulletin, a more secure forum software package. The move happened in mid-December 2006. In doing so, the forums effectively became Sonic Classic again. Scarred Sun stepped down from her position as head administrator, and Ashura2k was elected her replacement for the future of the board.
The site later abandoned the old name and theme and assumed the name PixelTanker, in honor of pre-PlayStation era gaming. The new board used a black and red color scheme, deviating from the usual blue-based scheme. Plans were in works for expansion of the forums into a larger site, but it never received many features besides some Flash games and a news page.
With the apparent disappearance of UltraVR, and the death of his server, PixelTanker was no more. As a result, Alexbt revived Sonic Classic once more under its original name. It now ran on a Simple Machines forum, using a skin based on the ezBoard version. It remained as a meeting place and general forum for the frequent visitors of the previous SClassic incarnations, with the name Sonic Classic mostly acting as a moniker to identify the community. It was, in essence, no longer a forum that concentrates on Sonic as a subject of discussion, though it still had a Sonic discussion forum for nostalgic purposes. This new incarnation of Sonic Classic launched on October 8, 2007.
On February 28th, 2008, it was announced by staff that Sonic Classic would be transitioning back into a classic gaming site and forums. The new site was to be called Press Start. However, it was never launched, although the forums did bear its logo.
After a time where little work was done to reach the site's new vision, the most being a parody of the new name on the logo, it was decided to merge Sonic Classic with sister site Sonic Retro once more. The site shut down on July 7th, 2008.