Sonic CulT

From Sonic Retro

(Redirected from SCARZ)
Sonic CulT
Current owner(s): Sazpaimon
Type of site: Research
Created on: February 1999
Current status: Offline

Sonic CulT was a Sonic the Hedgehog fansite created by PACHUKA in February of 1999. Inspired by the discovery of the first known prototype of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta Page, and other websites in the "Sonic secrets" community,[1] Sonic CulT eventually became one of the largest repositories of information regarding the Sonic game franchise. It primarily focused on unused content and early prototypes, though other general game information and opinion pieces were also hosted there.

The site would be run by Sazpaimon from August 2004[2] until updates ceased in 2012. The site closed in April 2018.


In February of 1999, the earliest form of Sonic CulT was uploaded on the free webhosting service Tripod.[3] The site featured a smattering of information related to the Sonic the Hedgehog series of games, including prototype information, cheat codes, and save states for the Sega Mega Drive emulator Genecyst. Shortly after, this page was made part of a larger emulation website called EmuCult, created by PACHUKA and goomba. The "Sonic CulT" section would be resurrected after the closing of EmuCult: first on the site CultChyldren, then as its own standalone Sonic fansite.[4] The goal of Sonic CulT was to be the "number one compiled source of Sonic research." Originally gathering information from sites such as Sonic the Hedgehog Area 51 and Tom's Hacking Station,[1] the site focused on cataloging existing prototypes from the Sonic series, unreleased content, and unlicensed games. Eventually, the website would feature content not sourced from other, similar sites. Early unique content included interviews with the producer of Sonic X-treme, Mike Wallis, and voice actor Ryan Drummond.[5][6]

In 2002, the website moved to its own dedicated domain, That same year, PACHUKA was hired on as a game tester for a six month stint at Sega of America.[1] Among the games he worked on were Sega Smash Pack for the Game Boy Advance and Sonic Mega Collection for the Nintendo GameCube. His work on the latter gave him opportunity to record early footage of the collection, which he would later share on his website. Of note was evidence that Sonic the Hedgehog CD was intended for the final release, but was removed for emulation reasons.[7][8] It was also the first site to release the ROM for Sonic Eraser.[9]

An image created at the height of one of the many inter-community conflicts Sonic CulT found itself in.

Before the release of Sonic Heroes, Sonic CulT leaked the twelve CG renders of the playable cast, as well as unfinished FMV footage from all four playable campaigns.[10] This content, originally acquired by Solly of the website Dream Avenue,[11] was not meant to be shared with the public before the game's release, and was published without consulting her.[12]

During its height, Sonic CulT was seen by some as a polarizing, if not controversial, website.[13] The site featured a disclaimer that it was for "mature audiences only,"[14] and contained strong language, adult content, and crude humor. The original owner of the site, PACHUKA, would often get into conflicts with other members of the community in public settings, antagonizing them further by addressing these issues on the main page of the website.[15] Other staff members would also post on the main feed of the site, targeting individuals in over-the-top manners. The original owner would also purposely forgo crediting the work of others when making updates,[1] resulting in further controversy.

The site was briefly offline in early 2004 to allow a redesign. Former co-admin of EmuCult, goomba, created a new Content Management System called "Greenegg."[16] This dynamic software allowed for ease of organization and updating which the previous static HTML pages did not provide. On July 26, 2004, PACHUKA announced he was selling Sonic CulT.[17][18] The site would be purchased by member Tigress, with assistance from other members of the community. It was decided that Sazpaimon would become administrator of the site,[2] with InsaneSonikkuFan serving as co-admin. PACHUKA continued to offer hosting during this transitionary period, briefly becoming the face of the site once more in December of 2004.[19]

In January of 2005, PACHUKA was arrested,[20] leaving the admins unable to access the domain. The site would soon be taken down by the webhost. On February 3 2005,[21] the site returned at the domain, which was purchased by Tigress. Sazpaimon and InsaneSonikkuFan would reassume co-admin duties for the site. On June 1, 2005, Sazpaimon would announce the opening of a spin-off site, X-Cult, a video game research community covering unreleased content and early prototypes outside of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The two sites, while featuring different content, would share a single news feed.

On November 22, 2005, the domain would be recovered,[22] Sazpaimon able to gain access to PACHUKA's domain administrator account. The site would continue to be run by Sazpaimon, and feature new updates to its information database. Among these updates was new information on the development of Sonic X-treme, provided by hxc[23] and Biggestsonicfan.

On February 22, 2009, it was announced that Sonic CulT would cease being updated, focus shifting exclusively to X-Cult. Soon after, a permanent statement would be at the top of the main page, stating that "This site remains as a tribute to all of those people who came and went over the years, helping us have a better understanding of a series we enjoyed."[24] The news feed on the main page would continue to show updates from X-Cult until 2012, when it was replaced with a YouTube video created by PACHUKA.[25] This embed would remain even after the video was removed from YouTube.[26]

Sonic CulT, along with X-Cult and its related forums, would finally go offline on April 22, 2018. Having upgraded the php on the server the sites were hosted on, Sazpaimon found the aging site and forum code was no longer compatible. Instead of trying to retrofit the old code to work, it was decided to remove the site entirely.[13]


The infamous "DUST HILL IS FAKE" avatar that PACHUKA used during one of many "flamewars" on a number of Sonic community forums.

The Sonic CulT forums opened in 2002. Using the Ikonboard software, the message boards were only visible if one had a registered account. The original forums were shut down in May of 2003 during a period in which PACHUKA claimed he had no interest in running the main website. They were reopened a week later as "SCARD," which featured a subforum called "Community Forum." This new forum invited all users on the site to create polls and determine who would be allowed in unique forum groups such as "CulT Family," have moderator privileges, or even suggest who should be banned.

This experiment did not last long, with the community opting for a more traditional forum experience. This third iteration of the forums was called "Sonic Cult Advance Research Zone," or simply SCARZ. Readers of the forum still needed to register, and were given posting privileges by first making a topic in the "Validating Forum."[27] Eventually, some subforums were made viewable to visitors of the site without needing an account.

The forums had three main subforums:[28]

  • General Discussion, focusing on the Sonic the Hedgehog series
  • X-Cult, focusing on gaming research outside the Sonic series
  • Hacking Forum, focusing on ROM disassembles, game mods, and ROM hacks

There were also a number of "off topic" subforums, some of which were viewable only to registered members or those part of specific member groups.

The "SCARZ" moniker was retired in January of 2006[28]. In March of 2008, the forums were relocated to the X-Cult domain. Though initially containing the same forum structure[29], the Sonic-focused boards were quickly retired from public view.[30] The forums would continue to exist long after both Sonic CulT and X-Cult were regularly updated, with some posting until the website's closure in 2018.[31]


The logo of CulTNET.

CulTNET is the name of the hosting service owned and operated by Sazpaimon. The service was officially introduced in April of 2005[32] as a for-pay hosting service to help cover the costs of the main website. The first site hosted on the server was[32]. Eventually, a new server was purchased by a friend of Sazpaimon who allowed him to use it free of charge. For established sites within the Sonic community, CulTNET became a free hosting service. Eventually, Sazpaimon purchased his own server, moving the sites he hosted to a network run, maintained, and funded by him.

The websites hosted included:






  • goomba (Site Design)
  • drx (Contributor)
  • hxc (Contributor)
  • RyogaMasaki (Contributor)
  • SSUK (Contributor)
  • CautionIAmBoozer ("Personal Security Ninja")

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 (Wayback Machine: 2004-08-12 12:34)
  2. 2.0 2.1 (Wayback Machine: 2004-08-23 13:48)
  3. (Wayback Machine: 1999-02-19 15:26)
  4. (Wayback Machine: 2004-08-11 12:13)
  5. Interview: Mike Wallis (2002-06) by Pachuka
  6. Ryan Drummond interview by Pachuka
  7. (Wayback Machine: 2003-04-10 06:51)
  8. (Wayback Machine: 2015-07-25 10:33)
  9. (Wayback Machine: 2024-05-12 08:08)
  10. (Wayback Machine: 2024-05-12 08:14)
  11. (Wayback Machine: 2024-05-12 08:15)
  12. (Wayback Machine: 2024-05-13 03:59)
  13. 13.0 13.1 (Wayback Machine: 2018-05-26 12:00)
  14. (Wayback Machine: 2006-01-03 17:35)
  15. (Wayback Machine: 2024-05-12 08:30)
  16. (Wayback Machine: 2004-06-11 19:37)
  17. (Wayback Machine: 2004-08-10 05:50)
  18. (Wayback Machine: 2004-08-09 21:04)
  19. (Wayback Machine: 2005-01-28 16:54)
  20. (Wayback Machine: 2005-03-12 20:31)
  21. (Wayback Machine: 2005-02-10 01:29)
  22. (Wayback Machine: 2005-11-28 02:51)
  23. (Wayback Machine: 2006-09-09 13:47)
  24. (Wayback Machine: 2009-07-21 18:54)
  25. (Wayback Machine: 2012-07-17 10:51)
  26. (Wayback Machine: 2018-04-07 06:23)
  27. (Wayback Machine: 2004-11-24 09:05)
  28. 28.0 28.1 (Wayback Machine: 2006-01-10 23:40)
  29. (Wayback Machine: 2008-03-04 15:45)
  30. (Wayback Machine: 2008-04-06 12:13)
  31. (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-28 00:00)
  32. 32.0 32.1 (Wayback Machine: 2005-05-18 02:25)