Summer of Sonic

From Sonic Retro

The Summer of Sonic is a project that aims to get the entire fan community together and working towards a common goal. Its first incarnation was a website where many fansites contributed material to celebrate Sonic's 15th Anniversary in 2006. In 2008 it was re-imagined as the first ever convention for Sonic the Hedgehog fans. The concept was created by Svend Joscelyne, and is known to have official 'support' from SEGA Europe.

Website (2006)

The original Summer of Sonic concept was built around the idea that while altogether the Sonic community was one, there were many different factions and communities that did not take to each other very well. The website project was an attempt for all fansites involved to bury the hatchet, while collaborating with fellow webmasters of resources large and small. There was also an opportunity for artists, fan game developers, fiction writers and casual visitors to get involved by submitting their works or entering contests.

Sections that could be contributed to included 'Features', 'Fanbase', 'Games', 'Card' and 'Photos', with an additional 'Credits' section that exhaustively listed all websites and fans involved in the project. The website launched in June 2006 and remained open for contributions until late August 2006. It is still available as an archive for visitors to browse.

  • Features: Many webmasters were invited to write articles and opinion pieces about the history of Sonic the Hedgehog. Resources such as Sonic CulT and The Shadow Realm to the official Jun Senoue website provided written works to the project. The Summer of Sonic website caught the attention of Richard Jacques, Jun Senoue, Shun Nakamura and Masahiro Kumono, which resulted in various exclusive interviews and Q&As being held. Miscellaneous items such as wallpapers, downloadable cards and remixes were submitted and archived here, and external fan events also set to celebrate Sonic's 15th Anniversary were mentioned.
  • Fanbase: The fanbase category was split into many sections: Artwork, Fiction, Comics, Fangames and Videos. Visitors were invited to submit their creative works via email and have them uploaded onto the Summer of Sonic website shortly after. Most followed the theme of celebrating Sonic's birthday, while many saw fit to include amateur music videos featuring mashups of various themes and Sonic clips. Tweaker's Sonic Megamix featured alongside the roster of notable downloads.
  • Games: As many people visiting the site would probably not be a regular visitor of many Sonic sites, this section was on show to briefly detail the newest and upcoming games of the time. Sonic Riders, Sonic Rivals, Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 were mentioned in this section, with a brief info guide and a small offering of screenshots and videos.
  • Card: Using a PHP script, visitors could sign a virtual birthday card and send Sonic the Hedgehog their best wishes for his 15th Anniversary. This section of the website was so popular multiple virtual cards had to be used. A total of 121 cards containing 2026 different signatures were collated in this section.
  • Photo: Visitors could submit photos of themselves with Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise or in any sort of 'Sonical' situation to celebrate the 15th Anniversary. Every week the best photo submitted would be picked and the contributor would win a special yellow t-shirt with a sprite of Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog on the front. They are today a very sought after piece of merchandise.

Convention (2008)

The website project was such a success that many emails were received asking to continue as an annual online event. In 2008, Svend decided to change the format of the Summer of Sonic and make it a similar concept where fans of all types collaborated, but on a real life platform. The idea of hosting a convention where attendees can use the space as they will came to fruition after speaking to Kevin 'ArchangelUK' Eva (Community Manager for SEGA Europe) and the two started to co-organise the first Sonic the Hedgehog fan convention.

Dreams of an Absolution star Lee Brotherton attended as a special guest, along with composer Richard Jacques, T.J. Davis and the UK's Sonic The Comic main writer Nigel Kitching.

The venue for the Summer of Sonic Convention 2008 was in London's Covent Garden on 9th August, over 300 people attended.

Convention (2009)

The second Summer of Sonic fan convention took place at The Boiler House, Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London on the 29th August 2009. Early builds of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games were playable at the show, and all those who pre-ordered a ticket got a free artbook, styled like a Mega Drive manual.

Convention (2010)

On February 8th, Dreadknux announced that Summer of Sonic 2010 would be taking place on the 7th August. Other details were not mentioned, although it was said that there may be a charge for entry to cover costs.

This was never put into practice, and it was a free public event again. Only 1000 people at a time could enter the convention, so it was packed. Early builds of Sonic Colors (Both Wii and DS versions) and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (360) were playable on the show floor. The builds were all from the E3 versions shown at that convention. There was also a Sonic All Stars Racing tournament that took place at this year's convention.

Surprise guests included writer and artist of Sonic the Comic Nigel Dobbyn, and the legendary band Crush 40, with Johnny Gioeli and Jun Senoue rocking out the end of the convention with a concert for all attendees. Even RubyEclipse of SEGA advertising fame decided to show up at the convention.

Summer of Sonic 2012

Attendees of the fifth annual Summer of Sonic convention received a CD that contained a two part fan-made guide to create art in the style of Sonic Adventure. Called the Sonic Adventure Art Tutorial, it was written written by artist Kieran Gates, who would later go on to create official Sonic the Hedgehog artwork on both social media and the game Sonic Mania.