One last run! The slogan used for the Kickstarter funded event that has seen Sonic fans across the country turn up in their droves for this special 25th anniversary celebration. None of this could be possible of course without organisers Adam Tuff and Svend Josecline founding this one day event back in 2008. Now eight years on, Summer of Sonic is seen as one of the biggest Sonic conventions in the world. Taking place in the heart of London, over one thousand people attended the event proving that the blue hedgehog still has some fans despite his short comings.
Set in the ILEC conference centre, the huge hall fitted perfectly for all the entertainment offered, classic titles from across the franchise were available with various consoles setup from Dreamcast to Genesis to Xbox. A Sonic Runners booth was present too with a Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice stand for fans to try out.
You could even get a chance to play the recently announced Sonic Mania marking its first appearance in Europe. I was lucky enough to get my hands on this hot property playing through new zone Studiopolis. After the disappointing Sonic the Hedgehog 4 not living up to expectations, I feel more confident that Sonic Mania will quench fans thirst for a new 2D outing staying true to its roots (although this is Sega so I’ll wait until I see the final product before jumping to any conclusions).
Starting off the day we had a Q&A session with Doctor Eggman himself aka Mike Pollock who recounted his time spent portraying the evil scientist. Mike, as always, was on form with his comical style and witty presence even throwing in an evil ham gag to keep the audience happy. Then we had a “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” styled show aptly named “Never Mind the Buzzbombers” where members of staff, fans and guests competed. Again lots of fun with highlights being a cosplayer dressed as Dr Eggman teaming up with Mike Pollock.
Other activities throughout the day included an art contest and of course a cosplay contest. Some superb outfits had been created for this event with standouts going to Rouge the Bat and Perfect Chaos; the latter of which won the overall prize. Sonic merchandise stands were present too with T-shirts, mugs and figures all purchasable. A raffle took place for a 20th anniversary figure (which I was robbed of) with all money going to charity. All in all there was plenty to keep you occupied with the Sonic and Knuckle stage being where the main action took place.
Since the forming of this fan convention Sega Europe have given their backing more and more with Sonic creator Yuji Naka and designer Takashi lizuka taking centre stage for a Q&A session. Mr Naka detailed his time at Sega giving an interesting insight. He even teased about one day possibly returning to help the hedgehog. Later along with Mike Pollock these series legends signed autographs for fans willing to wait and queue for it. You had to make sure you were ready though as due to amount of fans you could easily miss out.
Finally last but not least taking part in the various events during the day including a signing session before exploding onto the stage to close the day were the quintessential Sonic band: Crush 40. Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli make up the much-loved duo who generously stayed for the full day. With Johnny being on 1 hour sleep flying from a gig in Germany the previous day the man still impressed with his charisma. Midway through the day Jun performed a jamming session where he performed classic music from the franchise including Emerald Coast and Escape from the City.
Though the highlight of the day no doubt was the superb set played by the band to end the convention. Starting with Open Your Heart from Sonic Adventure before thrashing through incredible hits like Knight of the Wind, Sonic Boom, Live and Learn and All Hail Shadow before finishing up on What I’m Made of. Crowd pleasing to say the least, Johnny and Jun know there adored by Sonic fans and embrace it whole heartedly shown by their enthusiasm and rapport with the crowd; A stunning way to end the largest Summer of Sonic to date. With fan’s demanding more, there would be no surprise if Summer of Sonic makes a return next year in even bigger Sonic style.
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