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|Fast Facts on Sonic CulT|
Sonic CulT was a large information repository started by PACHUKA in February of 1999. It was inspired by Simon Wai and his discovery of the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Beta. Ever since then it has become known as one of the largest information repositories for Sonic the Hedgehog in the community. It was last run by Sazpaimon, who also co-runs the CulT side project X-CulT with PACHUKA. Sonic CulT eventually closed down in April 2018 due to the website software becoming incompatible due to a server upgrade and with the site not being updated in years there was realistically no point to upgrade the software.
PACHUKA first emerged in the emulation group as co-head of EmuCult, which challenged the status quo of then-prominent emulation sites such as Overclocked, Emucamp, Retrogamer, and Zophar's Domain by ridiculing and mocking them. In his spare time, Pach set up a site called CultChyldren, including "Sonic CulT," (Stylized with a capitalized T due to the emerald in its logo.) from the former EmuCult. The Sonic-CulT was basically a gathering of information PACHUKA had found via Game Genie codes (around this time, he published an early Sonic 2 hack, Twiztid Sonic 2, which had basic palette/text/playlist changes) and the earliest pieces of the research scene—information on the Wai Sonic 2 Beta and magazine scans.
PACHUKA and saxman
As Sonic CulT began to grow, in 2000, Andy Wolan of the Sonic Stuff Research Group attempted to join the two together. This failed due to the SSRG's hosting on ZTNet, which also hosts sites such as Emulation Camp and Zophar's Domain, both of which had been hacked by PACHUKA in the past during the time EmuCult was open. ZTNet refused to host them, and PACHUKA was given access to the news script for the SSRG as a consolation. A few weeks later, the news script was hacked by someone who began to post offensive content. Andy blamed PACHUKA, as he believed the IP's matched, and publicly lashed out at him on the main page of the SSRG. However, since both PACHUKA and the hacker used AOL at the time, and all AOL users are assigned dynamic IPs from the same pool, it was impossible to show that PACHUKA was the hacker based solely on the IP address. PACHUKA was proven innocent, but Andy refused to apologize. He claimed that saxman wrote the news article and that he was the one to ask for an apology from. saxman refused to give PACHUKA an apology, and the two quarreled for two years.
DUST HILL IS FAKE
After a four-month stint in jail in mid-2001, PACHUKA returned to the scene by posting "DUST HILL IS FAKE" to Area 51. Due to the Desert level picture and the first series of interviews with Brenda Ross, it was widely believed in the Sonic research community that Dust Hill Zone was in fact the Desert Level. PACHUKA argued that it was very unlikely that the picture was real, and that the level had never made it out of the concept stage. Though he had calmly and logically explained his justifications, the posters at Area 51 attacked him and bickered amongst themselves for more than 20 pages before Stealth closed the topic and forbade further discussion on the matter.
First Cult Forums
The Sonic CulT Ikonboard first emerged, and though many people were familiar with the site, few visited the forums. However, the instability of Area 51 and the SSRG in the months following (forum switches, Area 51 being shut down due to "software piracy," etc.) led to a boom in traffic, where former members of Area 51 migrated to the CulT. In this time, the IRC Channel #area51 on Mirkknet became popular amongst forum-goers, which helped establish the true social order of the CulT, despite not being an affiliated channel. IRCops dosdemon and lord joined Sonic CulT and members who would later become Admins or Posse (Grap3, RyogaMasaki, Beta, etc.) were among the most active and often opped.
Sonic CulT and SSRG
Andy's hatred of PACHUKA began in 2002 when Andy shut down saxman's site, due to arguments between the two. saxman asked to have his work removed from the SSRG, and Andy refused, removing his entire site. Since saxman and PACHUKA had recently made up, PACHUKA posted news about it on the front page of his website. This infuriated Andy, who proceeded to say many harsh things in an IM conversation to PACHUKA . PACHUKA began to publicly retaliate against Andy, in hopes of helping saxman get his site back, resulting in a major flamewar. PACHUKA was eventually banned from Area 51. During this time, the CulT moved to its current .org domain, established a #cult channel on Mirkknet and set up an Invision Board which became quite popular.
saxman never got his site back from Andy, so PACHUKA offered to host it. PACHUKA purchased the domain (SHaCNet) and hosted it on the server Sonic-CulT was hosted on. saxman tried to reason with Andy on the SSRG's forums, however all of his posts were deleted. Later that year, GerbilSoft and Ultima were banned from the SSRG, because both expressed interest in joining saxman's new hacking community, SHaCNet. Eventually, Andy claimed that SSRG is dead, and began posting Anti-PACHUKA and anti-saxman articles on his site. saxman attempted to make a truce with Andy, who demanded that saxman take down the history page on his site. saxman did not wish to do this, but offered to edit out any negative comments towards Andy or the SSRG. Andy declined the offer and insisted that the history page had to be removed completely. Exhausted, saxman gave up the truce:
|“||Well it's official -- the truce is off. He's going to update his stupid little "saxman" page to include the e-mails and probably a bunch more lies. I'm so SICK and TIRED of this. I just want it to end.... but I refuse to change my site in unfair ways just to end it. It he doesn't like my generous offer of modifying that Story page and all, that's his problem. He can whine all he wants. It'll end when people who support him realize that "hey, this guy won't let this thing die." It might take the longest time, but it'll happen sooner or later. Well, let's keep a watch for an exciting new update to the saxman page shall we?! =D||„|
The Fall of SSRG
Soon thereafter, Andy announced his retirement from SSRG. He gave ownership of the site to Chaos. Chaos got along with PACHUKA better than Andy had, and the two managed to form a 'peace treaty'. A topic called 'ENOUGH' was posted on CulT and SSRG, showing to everyone that there would be peace between the two sites. An infuriated Andy Wolan stormed back onto the scene and banned PACHUKA from the SSRG. PACHUKA took down Sonic CulT in protest and refused to bring it back up until Andy agreed for peace. Instead, Andy replaced the whole of SSRG with a simple page declaring its death. PACHUKA brought the CulT back up, stating:
|“||SSRG and Sonic Cult were SUPPOSED to be on friendly terms now. I approached Chaos and we agreed that the actions of Andy weren't going to be repeated, and we could be friends. And if we could be friendly, so could the 2 communities. I thought it was a good idea. Chaos thought it was a good idea. Both communities thought it was a great idea. But Andy, in all of his selfish glory, felt that peace with someone he didn't like was unacceptable. And Andy, not trusting ANYONE to make up thier own mind, came back from his "retirement of maturity" and decided to show everyone that a "25 year old man that can't be running a video game website" was in fact, so full of shit that his eyes are brown. Due to this, I took the cult down out of protest to show people I was serious.
So, why is it back? 3 reasons:
Three days after the incident, Jan Abaza called it quits, and closed down the Area 51 community for good. Most of the former Area 51 users migrated to either Sonic 2 Beta or the Sonic CulT community forums.
Rise to Power
When SSRG closed down, Sonic CulT had already become the largest Sonic research site in the community. Many of SSRG's previous members either migrated to Sonic CulT, or other smaller sites such as Sonic Classic.
In approximately May of 2003, Pach shut down the Sonic CulT boards. He claimed that he didn't have passion for the site anymore, and that he was weary of everyone complaining about his dictatorship. A week later, he restored the boards with a new name (SCARAD) and a new government style: Democracy. There was a new forum named "Community Forum" where users could add polls and vote on who should get kicked out and who should get family/posse/admin, etc. It didn't work well, so Pach held a vote to see if people wanted to have it done the old way again. After the overwhelming "HELLS YEAH" response came in, CulT was treated to a fresh new messageboard called SCARZ (in honor of Sonic Tsunami, and his SCARRRRRRRRRRZ) running under dictatorship yet again. During this time there were many forums added and removed from SCARZ, such as Ask Alice, Shit Talk, and "OMG, DRAW PLZ."
#cult moved on to AJ's Phasedisruptor irc server (which was originally created for injoke channel #nazis) in October 2003 due to Mirkknet's merger with Foxchat (On Foxchat, dosdemon was no longer an IRCop and aliases were limited to eight characters). Boozer then jumped in with his own server and customized IRCd, and after a while CulT IRC grew into pretty vast network. CulT IRC at this time caused a significant amount of controversy due to the abusive nature of its IRCops, who had taken a liking to some of the new commands the customized IRCd offered: the ability to make users "say" things that they hadn't really said, the ability to appear completely invisible in chat rooms to non-IRCops, and other similar things.
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Many members, PACHUKA included, weren't pleased with how the site was laid out. All pages were static HTML, and very disorganized. PACHUKA concluded that the site needed an entirely new CMS. Goomba (Co-founder of EmuCult) was given license to create this new system, which came to be known as Greenegg. (based around a theme of a green Death Egg) Upon completion, it was uploaded to the server, and PACHUKA shut down the site's main page while he rebuilt it. It's still being used by the site today. Greenegg is a MySQL-based CMS, and wound up being far better organized than the original static webpages. However, the system is showing its age, and closer inspection shows that it was very poorly written. The current owner of the site, Sazpaimon, has given the task of rewriting Sonic CulT's CMS to drx.
Between 2004 to present, Sonic CulT has had several changes.
CulT Buyout and Ownership Change
In mid-2004, PACHUKA announced that he was no longer interested in running his website, and decided to sell it to the highest bidder. Many CulT members put up funds to buy the CulT, totaling $850. Member Tigress fronted the money, and was later paid back by others who had promised to pay. The consensus was that the member Sazpaimon, and at the time maintainer, would be appointed as head of operations of the website. On August 18th, 2004, PACHUKA gave the team temporary hosting on his current server, which ended up being a bad decision, as the host was asking for sums totaling $200 per month, whereas PACHUKA received free hosting. Soon after, Tigress gave her share of the site to InsaneSonikkuFan, her boyfriend at the time.
Many members of the site voiced their general displeasure with the ownership change, calling the site "TCR CulT." Angry forumgoers hacked the site several times. Soon after the ownership change the hosting was cut for unknown reasons and without any backups. A strategy for bringing the site back up was established, and on October 3rd the site was back online. Unfortunately, the team could not come up with the money pay for December's hosting bills, and Sazpaimon decided to shut the site down.
PACHUKA had noticed the team's difficulty with maintaining the CulT, and offered his hand in helping them. PACHUKA's plan was to pretend that he was returning to the site as owner, while Sazpaimon could do as he pleased with the site. Sazpaimon would receive free hosting because the server admin believed that the site belonged to PACHUKA. Sazpaimon agreed, and informed InsaneSonikkuFan of Pachuka's plan. ISF did not trust Pach, and even went so far as to ask for a signed and written statement from him. When he was informed of this, Pach pointed out that ISF's opinions were immaterial - Saz owned the domain, and he was the one in charge. Sazpaimon dismissed ISF and gave the domain to PACHUKA for him to use as proof to his host that he ran the site again.
Pachuka was arrested shortly thereafter on charges of sexual battery. The site was taken offline by a friend of his with no way of bringing it back. A temporary forum was established, but the main site would be offline until February of 2005.
The Slow Return of the CulT
During 2005, the site saw numerous server changes due to problems with different hosts. In February, the site was hosted on a friend of Sazpaimon's server for a very low price. Random outages prevented the server from being online at normal times, and a few months later the entire server went offline. The site was deleted before Sazpaimon could back it up.
Shortly afterward, Sazpaimon received hosting from a member named Dark, a friend of Tweaker's. The CulT would reside on this server for a number of months before it was decided that it simply wasn't adequate as host to site as large as CulT. The site was moved onto a more powerful server, but it was DDoSed shortly thereafter and the host canceled service.
Later that year, Sazpaimon had managed to get into PACHUKA's domain adminstrator account and recover the sonic-cult.org domain, as well as PACHUKA's other side-project domain, anti-otaku.com, mere weeks before the domains would have expired.
The CulT now owns a dedicated server which is used to host a number of community sites, including Hacking CulT, Hidden Palace, and NiGHTSintoDREAMS.com. Since then, the site has since regained its spot and popularity in the Sonic Community. Though PACHUKA has been released from prison, he has no interest in maintaining the site, though he does keep in close contact with Sazpaimon.
On the site's tenth birthday, someone (possibly PACHUKA) posted on the site's front page that the information database would no longer be worked on and that its community had merged with X-Cult.
The site has not been updated since 2012 and the main YouTube video is no longer available. The site was taken down on April 2018 along its sister site, the X-CulT forums due to a PHP upgrade on the server, breaking all the website and message board software with every page redirected to a enlarged Sonic death sprite.
The exact reasons for the shutdown were provided on IRC:
[20:04:18] <@Sazpaimon> I upgraded php on the server and couldn't be assed to retrofit all the old code for it [20:04:29] <@Sazpaimon> so i killed it [20:04:57] <@Sazpaimon> literally every piece of software on both sonic and x cult was incompatible [20:06:02] <voice> php5 [20:06:09] <@Sazpaimon> php 5.3 [20:06:19] <@Sazpaimon> pretty much the last version the site could run on [20:06:46] <voice> oddly enough the only thing that broke on rsn when I bumped to 7.x was a lot of the files had <? instead of <?php and apparently thats no longer acceptable [20:07:04] <@Sazpaimon> my dude [20:07:13] <@Sazpaimon> sonic cult's cms was literally written for php 4 [20:07:45] <voice> sounds like fun [20:08:02] <@Sazpaimon> i would also need to upgrade invision board [20:08:12] <@Sazpaimon> which means paying for a license for invision board [20:08:21] <@Sazpaimon> which means porting the old skins to invision board [20:09:22] <voice> never understood why people didn't just go with free shit like phpBB [20:09:35] <voice> even the pay-for boards end up having massive security holes [20:09:42] <@Sazpaimon> that doesn't detract my second point [20:10:01] <voice> oh I understand the skins problem [20:10:08] <@Overlord> oh [20:10:26] <@Overlord> Sad to hear, it's the end of an era