Tuesday 17 September 2013

The final day at Westfield arcade - a gamers book for you!

If simple gameplay and a fun experience is what you look for in your world..either in the real world or reading a book or magazine..then this novel is for you. 

Andy Hunt's novel takes you back to the beginning of the 1980s where his protagonist Mike Mayberry manages a busy arcade in Indianapolis. From the beginning of the story, the greats of gaming play a huge role in Mikes world..as the likes of Pac Man, Robotron 2084 and Joust explode on the arcade gaming scene. Hi-scores , soda, burgers, hot dogs, MTV and 80s pop culture along with the social experience of actually playing in an arcade with friends brings this story to life. 

As the story progresses into the mid 80s so do the games and the fashion, music and social culture around it. Outrun, Gauntlet, Afterburner, Golden Axe and many others are an integral part of each chapter..Even the chapters are names by classic arcade games!

The narrative then heads into the early 90s with the power of the consoles taking shape...this part we'll leave to your knowledge and imagination to how it unfolds..Safe to say the story follows closely how arcades and consoles clash yet sometimes connect. The likes of Street Fighter 2, Virtua Fighter and Primal Rage make the arcades strong and fighting arcade games play a big part in Mikes world and the story at this point.

Each game like the year Andy describes throughout - is brought to life..with a fun, engaging, enjoyable and descriptive detail. Just enough to please gaming affectionsdos without affecting the flow of the story and characters that live and breathe within it..The characters too have a interesting and deep meaning that many of us gamers will relate to..You'll have friends like those in the story.. The gaming expert, the know-it-all, the fairweather gamers and the party animals - all in this the world of arcade glory days.

This story's all about arcades and gaming and the lives of the people around the arcade that Mike runs- but it also is about this period in our lives where things were more carefree and fun...simple times and great to be part of. Emotion will come over you as Mike and his friends play the arcade cabinets as they arrive for the first time.its sounds strange but when Street Fighter 2 turns up in 1991 - it literally saves the day! Even if you were too young to be in an arcade in the 80s or even in the early 90s - (even if weren't born then!) it doesn't matter.

With this book you can enter and experience the exciting world of arcades of the past with the creative imagination of its author, Andy Hunt.

Follow Andy Hunt on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/huntand

You can buy the novel from Amazon.com here:

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Summer Of Sonic 2013 Review - by AudioSprite

Being a life long fan of not just Sega but especially its high speed hero with attitude, I was delighted to gain the chance to attend this celebration of Sonic The Hedgehog. An entirely fan run event established in 2008, full of contests, cosplay, guest appearances and more, all in the name of the blue blur himself, located in the heart of Westminster, London.

I could hardly contain my excitement, great landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and such other tourist hotspots seemed of little interest, I had one thing and one thing only on my mind, the event!

The Event 
After proceeding past the usual ticket inspection I was greeted with a free “Goodie Bag” Inside I found a Sonic hat, event programme and 20th Anniversary issue of “Sonic The Comic” Something I hadn’t read since my childhood, today was already shaping up to be a great one. Entering the first hall I was instantly taken back by the sea of blue that lay before me. All peoples of every age, race, colour and creed all united for the love of one Hedgehog and his many adventures, proudly wearing their Sonic hats!

The first hall also housed the merchandise stall for the day, stacked high with all manner of toys, books, clothes and accessories, I found myself returning to this often throughout the day, as it had some rare pieces such as a limited edition “History of Sonic” which I was determined to pick up.

The main hall housed many testing consoles for Sonic’s upcoming adventure “Sonic Lost World” Which unfortunately I did not get chance to play, but from what I saw looked promising and seems Sega are building upon the success of Sonic Generations release two years before. The main stage was also situated here, were we would later be treated to some very special guests, back in the first hall, two of them were being announced.

The Guests First to kick off the appearances, an art class with Sonic the Comic writers and artists, Nigel Dobbyn and Nigel Kitching, during which a contest open to all abilities was held for the best Sonic fan art. The level of which was pretty outstanding and could easily have been drawn from the masters themselves. From the main hall the” Megadrive Band” was providing a nice backdrop with Sega classics such as Golden Axe, Shinobi and Streets of Rage to name a few, somethi
ng which I could whole heartedly relate too. There were also various cosplay entries being made, including Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, Amy and Sonic, so there was always something to keep your attention focused.

Taking live Q&A sessions where Sonic Team director Takashi Iizuka and lead art director Kazuyuki Hoshino. Though most of the discussion was about Sega’s upcoming release for the Nintendo Wii and 3DS, it was nice to hear their thoughts on the 20th Anniversary since the creation of Sonic CD and its introduction of characters, Metal Sonic and Amy. I found it especially interesting listening to Mr Hoshino taking us through the characters first concept art into their finished development.

After various announcements for competition winners and yet another walk past the merchandise stand the last of our guests was just warming up. This was the moment I had been waiting for, being a musician and lover of the Sonic soundtracks, the arrivial of lead sound engineer and guitarist for Sonic Teams house band Crush 40, Jun Senoue was a real treat.

Hitting the stage and opening the one hour set with Sky Sanctuary Zone from Sonic and Knuckles the crowd was instantly hooked. The set would also be filled with tunes from the Sonic Adventure games, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic heroes and many more. Also during the set other key members that have performed on the vocal tracks for Sonic more modern games made an appearance. The set would also end with all members joined together for a rendition of “City Escape” from Sonic Adventure 2.

As a gamer and fan of all things Sega, especially Sonic, it was a real joy to see how much love and support the Hedgehog with attitude still receives over 20 years from his original release in 1991. Seeing kids proudly clutching their favourite characters cuddly toy and the look of wonder on their faces took me back to my own childhood and why I became such a big fan to begin with. As a an event the organizers achieved everything they set out to do, to join people together from far and wide in a celebration of Sega’s poster boy. With live performances, guest appearances, competitions and much more, all entirely fan run, it was my opinion a massive success. Now to catch the train home, complete with Sonic hat of course!

Review of the event by Audio Sprite (Richard Tulk)
For more info and links:

More info on the event here too: