Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (alternate music prototype)

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Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (alternate music prototype)
Prerelease of: Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
System: Sega Mega Drive
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The "alternate music" build of Sonic Spinball is an assumed prototype of Sonic Spinball for the Sega Mega Drive. Very little is understood about this build of Sonic Spinball. It was leaked onto the internet in late 1993, and was assumed for many years to be a commercially released version of the game.

On the surface, the game is identical to the final US build, however uses a rendition of the Sonic the Hedgehog theme from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This is known to have been a last minute change to the game, as the Spinball team were unaware that Sega did not own the rights to this composition, forcing musician Howard Drossin to create a new theme from scratch after the game was "completed". It was assumed, therefore, that this dump was from an initial print run of the game, manufactured before this issue was spotted, however no such cartridges have ever been found, and further analysis of the contents reveal other minor differences, suggesting it is indeed a prototype version of the game (albeit a very late one).



"Well, no one had told us about this, and we had used the original music. Howard, our music guy, quickly ran to his little room and started writing a new piece of music. At about midnight that night we released a NEW gold master version of the game, this time with our own original theme song."

— Artist Craig Stitt[1]

Two versions of Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball are commonly available: an "earlier" ROM which features two short jingles previously used in Sonic the Hedgehog, and a "later" ROM which replaces the jingles with new songs. As the former jingles were not composed in-house at Sega, instead being created by Masato Nakamura of the Japanese pop band Dreams Come True, Sega did not hold the license to use the music in other games - something the developers Sega Technical Institute were unaware of. When Hirokazu Yasuhara revealed this fact during the game's official wrap party, STI's composer Howard Drossin was forced to compose last-minute replacements for the offending tracks.[1]

The commonly-held belief is that the former version was accidentally released in limited quantities, with two versions of Spinball once commercially available in the United States. However, modern investigation has also revealed that said version may have never been released at all.[2] STI artist Craig Stitt recalls that Howard Drossin's replacement tracks were composed the night of the wrap party, with the company having produced a "new gold master version of the game"[1] - implying the earlier version never left company offices in any official capacity. Further, no one has been able to confirm if any official retail copy has ever contained this version. The currently-available ROM has been altered with an invalid portion of its serial number, GN NK, which is invalid and doesn't exist in any other retail Mega Drive dump. However, it does appear on a few releases from the scene group SNEAKERS, known for having exclusively released prototypes for a number of contemporary Sega games stolen from Sega of America's BBS servers.[3] Additionally, this earlier ROM is dated October 13, 1993 - a full month before the game's confirmed retail release.[2]


This build was erroneously used in the 2002-08-15 prototype of Sonic Mega Collection. Final releases of Sonic Mega Collection would replace this build with the final version.


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Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (16-bit)
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