Jun 9, 2011

Doing what Nintendon’t

I’m a huge fan of @Sega games, especially the Sonic the Hedgehog series. At least the old school, side scrolling games like Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, though I’m still unsure about Sonic the Hedgehog 3.  Of course we’ll just ignore the fact that there were a lot of piss-poor 3D versions of Sonic the Hedgehog that made the true fans cringe and scream in agony, while we move onto the latest foray into the franchise – Sonic the Hedgehog 4.

For what it’s worth, it’s a decent game. I’m sure plenty of people worked hard as part of Team Sonic to bring this game together in an attempt to get back to the roots of the franchise and bring back all the things that the fans loved from the glory days. Unfortunately for @Sega they managed to fubar quite a lot in their launch, namely in actually managing to do a better job with a multi-million dollar development budget and entire team of highly skilled and paid programmers than a single fan who managed to produce Sonic Fan Remix unfunded and in his spare time.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 – while good, is nowhere as amazing as Sonic Fan Remix

What’s worse is that in the digital age of marketing, @Sega has managed to forget a few cardinal rules of the game, which I’ll be outlining here:

1. If a single fan of your franchise can do more justice with your franchise than an entire team of paid professionals and a multi-million dollar budget, you don’t send a flurry of DMCA notices to have the content removed.

2. This is the age of the Internet. Anything truly spectacular is like Bebe’s Kids, it doesn’t die, it multiplies.

3. Any truly intelligent executive should know that the first question shouldn’t have been “How fast can we have that content taken down?” but instead “Why isn’t he working for us?”

Allow me to elaborate.

You see, if you were to follow that link to the Sonic Fan Remix, you’d be greeted by a well polished website and a gorgeous gameplay video of the beta. You would also notice a giant button saying “Download” which leads to a file repository which has removed the game on “Copyright Violation” grounds – which is an ambiguous way of saying:

Sega decided they were having their asses handed to them by a single programmer/artist who was working in his spare time without a budget to create a Sonic the Hedgehog game that garnered more attention and praise than their own multi-million dollar production called Sonic 4, and instead of admitting they did a piss poor job and having earned the scorn of multitudes of diehard Sonic fans (to the point of calls for boycotting the game), they decided to get pissy and send their lawyers after Sonic Fan Remix, having it removed on ground of copyright violation.

Sonic Fan Remix | Actual HD Gameplay

In the history of the prosumer culture, this has never once actually worked to the advantage of any corporate entity. I can name the RIAA/MPAA versus Napster, Limewire, eDonkey, and others in a never ending battle which rages on today to the dismay (and wonton monetary losses in litigation for the RIAA/MPAA in the process). Anything truly revolutionary in the digital world doesn’t die, it multiplies or evolves into something greater, like a Phoenix.

To be honest, if I were working at @Sega and saw this game above prior to the launch of Sonic 4, I would have probably pissed myself. It is in nearly every possible way superior to Sonic 4, right down to the fact that it didn’t require a Hollywood style blockbuster budget to create, nor an entire high-paid professional team. Adding to that the meticulous detail the programmer put into actually studying and figuring out the game physics from the original games in order to replicate the experience in the new game precisely.

This one guy has managed to do what the entire current Sonic Team could not, with all of their resources and manpower.

However, in the spirit of corporate stupidity, @Sega decided that instead of seeing this work and making it their number one priority to make it an official @Sega game, giving it the resources and manpower it deserves, they instead decided to bawl about Copyright Violation, and make a piss-poor attempt at sweeping their shame under the collective rug in hopes nobody would ever talk about it again.

So true is the case of Sonic Fan Remix. While @Sega may have thought they have done due diligence and wiped Sonic Fan Remix from the face of the Earth, they have instead given the fans of the franchise even more reason to spread the game around the world, to multiple server mirrors, making the game available in not just a single location, but probably hundreds and propagating like wildfire, while gaining scorn for their own Sonic 4 series in the process.

Ignoring the Streisand Effect in the online world is a cardinal sin. Ignoring what your customers actually want is part of those seven deadly marketing sins as well. Not having enough common sense at the executive level to know the difference between filing DMCA or Making it a priority to hire the person is simply bad business in the prosumer culture.

Let me tell you what I see when I watch (and play) Sonic Fan Remix.

This is, hands down, the most brilliant example of a portfolio that could ever grace the desks of Sega Enterprises and they tossed it aside never understanding that they’ve literally been handed the Goose that lays Golden Eggs.

This isn’t to say that @Sega should cancel Sonic the Hedgehog 4, by any means. What I’m getting at is that Sonic Fan Remix is the single most opportune event that could have come to their attention. A literal gold mine for the rebirth of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Here’s a plan of action for Sega:

1. Hire the guy behind Sonic Fan Remix.

2. Make Sonic Fan Remix an official Sega production.

3. Keep the name Sonic Fan Remix.

4. The premise of the title is that the fans submit levels with a level creator that Sega puts out in a contest, with the winners being included officially in the release.

5. The level creator remains in the game upon release.

6. Fan created levels are then facilitated to be uploaded to a central repository, with which other players can download such levels, rate the levels, and even attach gamer points and fan created achievements to their custom levels. (think Little Big Planet 2)

7. Sega can create official extended level packs in this Remix network (aside from fan created levels) as a Downloadable Content pack, as well as additional features, unlockables and characters for preset microtransaction payments.

8. Sega makes every Sonic fan deliriously happy, saves face, provides a Sonic game that successfully relaunches the franchise, acknowledges the ridiculous talent of the creator of Sonic Fan Remix, as well as every fan on Earth, while facilitating residual income from the process, and rebuilds/unites every Sonic the Hedgehog fan on the planet under a single banner called Sega.

Until such time as Sega comes to their senses, Sonic Fan Remix isn’t going anywhere, simply because the world is full of fans that want it. As such, Sega needs to quit trying to squash it and actually acquire it productively before it spreads further outside of their control.

I’ll leave my readers with a (currently) working link to download Sonic Fan Remix in the meantime.

Of course, in the event that @Sega hasn’t learned a damned thing from this article, I may provide another link to a mirrored copy of this game. However, I will shake my head in awe of their corporate stupidity – as you should too.

Link doesn't work? Try clicking here: Google Search [Sonic Fan Remix]

Update: The June 9th link was taken down and replaced with the June 11th link. Apparently @Sega hasn't learned a thing from reading this, or maybe they haven't bothered to read it and comprehend what is being said here. No matter how many times they DMCA the mirrors, there exists hundreds or thousands of mirrors of this file across the world, and that number continues to grow the more they remove single mirrors of this file (after all, wouldn't you expect people to say "The link doesn't work, but here's three more mirrors I put up for you") - Even if @Sega keeps killing the links I'm providing here, anybody with 5 minutes and access to Google can find "Sonic Fan Remix Download"

Any further link updates will be posted in the comments of this post in the future event that the link above stops working. Feel free to post your own DL links in the comments for Sonic Fan Remix as well.

1 comment:

  1. June 11, 2011 Update: Seems the original mirror was taken down under the same premise. Just to prove the point of the Streisand Effect, here is yet another Download Link: http://download.digiex.net/Games/SonicFanRemix/SFRdemo.rar