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Sonic Dreams Collection

From Sonic Retro

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Sonic Dreams Collection
Latest version: 1.0.1[1]
Latest release date: 2015-08-11[1]
Original release date: 2015-08-10
Engine: Unity
Credits: Arcane Kids, cyborgDino
Operating system: Windows PC, macOS PC
Mode(s): Single-player

Sonic Dreams Collection is a Windows and macOS PC fan game from indie development group Arcane Kids. Released in August 2015, it presents itself as a collection of four rediscovered prototype Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Dreamcast, and is a surreal perspective on themes of personal identity within the Sonic fanbase.

Story

Sonic Dreams Collection presents itself as a four game collection of prototype Sonic the Hedgehog games, programmed by fictional developer MJSTUDIO for early Dreamcast development hardware but ultimately left unfinished and unreleased. Later in 2013, the independent game development group Arcane Kids purchased a Dreamcast development kit off eBay which contained these previously-unknown titles. The four games were then updated for compatibility with modern systems and leaked through the equally-fictional Sonic fangroup HEDGEHOG EXPOSED as Sonic Dreams Collection.

Gameplay

Each game in Sonic Dreams Collection features a different gameplay style, often encouraging player exploration that pushes beyond the boundaries of the intended play area. Much of the content in Sonic Movie Maker can only be discovered by purposefully exploiting a physics glitch, with players later acquiring the ability to destabilize the programming of the very levels themselves. Another, Eggman Origin, is initially inaccessible due to lack of online fictional servers, and can only be played by opening the game’s file structure and running the hidden program SegaNet.

Sonic Dreams Collection's most striking content touches on themes of sexual and personal identity within the Sonic fanbase. Most notable is the game's use of vore (an erotic fetish for swallowing, or being swallowed by, an entire person whole) as a means of progression towards "ascending" to the game's completion, loosely interpreting the fanbase's original characters as a longing desire to become symbolically reborn as that character.

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Make My Sonic
Make My Sonic is a Sonic the Hedgehog original character creator. Players can customize, pose, and photograph their characters, with their creations able to be exported to Twitter. If SegaNet is running, players are also given the option to upload their characters to the fictional servers, where they will then appear in the games Sonic Movie Maker and Eggman Origin.
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Eggman Origin
Eggman Origin is an abandoned MMORPG set in a featureless white limbo populated with forgotten talking mascots and half-buried earthworms, requiring an active instance of SegaNet to be running in the background during gameplay. Original characters created with Make My Sonic and uploaded to SegaNet will appear here as heron-like creatures. By feeding enough earthworms to the bean-shaped Egg Baby in the center of the map, players can eventually feed themselves to the creature, and their original character will “ascend” to the now-extant rankings website Chao Garden.
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Sonic Movie Maker
Sonic Movie Maker is a basic first-person movie maker allowing players to record up to six seconds of video using different props, speech bubbles, and scenarios. While initially appearing innocuous, exploration past the boundaries of the stages reveal disturbing leftovers from the fictional developer, and reflect a unique perspective on the odd sexual landscape associated with the Sonic fandom.
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My Roommate Sonic
My Roommate Sonic is a virtual reality romance simulation featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and the player, his human roommate. Beginning on a relatively normal note, the simulation slowly descends into the surreal as the night progresses. Both Oculus and Vive headsets are supported, as is an option for non-VR play. Completion of the game unlocks the seventh Sonic Movie Maker stage, Roommates.

Music and sound

Composed by Arcane Kids co-founder Ben "torahhorse" Esposito, the game’s soundtrack was officially published to Bandcamp on August 17, 2015.[2] A feverish mixture of classic vgm, frantic nightcore, and sparkling Dreamcast-era sounds, the soundtrack was composed to further emphasize the game’s theme of uncanny nostalgia. Esposito’s sound design incorporates elements associated with vaporware and forgotten programming, such as the rubbery squeaks of turn-of-the-millennium computer applications, and the randomly-pitched tocking of on-screen text from early virtual reality software.[3]

After leaving SegaNet running and out of focus for around 45 minutes, the program will begin playing the song "Bossa Preciosa" by Rafael Dovalo López[4] until the window is returned to focus. The mute button that appears in the upper-left hand corner of the program fails to actually mute this song, and will move itself to other corners of the window at unknown intervals.

Production credits

History

Development

Sonic Dreams Collection’s games were developed separately during game development collective Glitch City's "Sonic is My Boyfriend" event for Valentine's Day of 2015.[6] Created by former Electronic Arts employee and indie game creator Arjun Prakash as a surreal "Sonic the Hedgehog-romance-based game jam", it was here that Prakash also created the collection’s central game, Sonic Movie Maker.[7] Afterward, Prakash decided to merge his game with two games created by Arcane Kids members at the same event, Make My Sonic and My Roommate Sonic, to form Sonic Dreams Collection. Development lasted for another three months, progressing through weekly Glitch City sessions with the help of other contributors.

According to designer Ben Esposito, the development team treated the game as a work of art. They conceived and designed it to “celebrate and satirize the modern Sonic fandom, which is known for its peculiarities.”[8] The title references the names of game compilations such as Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection.[9]

Prerelease

The game's official website, dressed up as a fanpage announcing a new Sonic leak.

Sonic Dreams Collection was initially prereleased to members of Arcane Kids’ newsletter. The email contained a link to the website HEDGEHOG EXPOSED 2015©, which hosted a download of the game protected with the password ”grandpa”.[10] In the following few days, the password was removed and the download became publicly available.

Release

Despite his significant contributions, Prakash did not receive much credit for his involvement, and upon the day of the game’s release posted an open letter to Arcane Kids accusing them of perpetuating systemic racism among game developers of color.[11] The next day, Arcane Kids issued an apology, acknowledging Prakash’s statements and clarifying that while these issues were caused by miscommunication, the insight would aid in creating more open and communicative development environments in the future.[1] The game was also immediately updated the following day to add a development credit to Prakash on the main menu, and to remove “@arcanekids” from the default Sonic Movie Maker tweet.

Legacy

The game is meant as a response to feverish Sonic fandom, a continent of the internet reserved for a community personally invested in Sega’s trademark. But it’s not a negative reaction. It’s pop art.

Zack Kotzer at Killscreen[8]

Sonic Dreams Collection gained instant notoriety for its strange content and fictional premise, with a variety of news outlets commenting on the its overall absurdity and the game growing popular with YouTube Let's Play channels. According to Arcane Kids member Ben Esposito, the game's release also generated a good amount of hate within the Sonic fanbase, particularly from long-time fans who saw the game as a personal attack. Not long after, the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter curiously began addressing its followers in an odd and derisive tone, calling attention to the series' more embarrassing moments. While likely coincidental, Esposito says the unfortunate timing resulted in a particularly-strong backlash from the community.[8] However, as time has progressed, Sonic Dreams Collection has generally seen mixed to positive reviews and an appreciative cult following.

Unfortunately, the current macOS release of Sonic Dreams Collection has not been updated for compatibility with current systems and has been rendered unplayable on modern Mac hardware.

Versions

1.0.1

Released August 11, 2015. Download: (Windows, macOS)

  1. Removed “@arcanekids” from default Sonic Movie Maker tweet.[1]
  2. Added cyborgDino credit to main menu.[1]

External links

References