RetroVision – SegaSonic Bros Reveals More Sonic Secrets

Given that it’s Sonic’s 25th Anniversary this year, it’s obvious that behind one of gaming’s greatest icons, there’s an awful lot of history. However, it seems that not all of that history is public knowledge. In fact it was only recently that we’ve seen not one, but two different Japanese Sonic arcade releases, rediscovered and put back into the public realm, and now we have one more to add to this list.

That game is the Sega System 32 arcade title SegaSonic Bros. However, unlike the last the last two discoveries, this time things are a little different. You see, whereas the mini game antics of SegaSonic Popcorn Shop and Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car at one time made it to the public domain, well at least they did in Japan, SegaSonic Bros never got that chance.

SegaSonic Bros 1
A screenshot of the demo screen courtesy of ShouTime.

Originally scheduled for an arcade release in 1992, SegaSonic Bros was not your traditional Sonic title. In fact, it was puzzle game built in the same vein as classics such as Puzzle Bobble. This was no mistake either, given that SEGA even went to the effort of bringing on board Bubble Bobble creator Fukio Mitsuji in order to help with the game’s development.

Unfortunately though, the game would go on to fail a location test, with SEGA subsequently scrapping all plans for the game, despite it being in a near complete build. However, whilst this is strange enough in and of itself, what’s even more puzzling is the lack of information on the game. You see, for nearly the entire length of Sonic’s history, there’s barely been any reference to this lost arcade puzzler.

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A rare reference to the game by SEGA producer Yosuke Okunari back in 2014. A reference that went under the radar of most at the time.

In fact, one of the only known mentions of this enigmatic title, came in the form of SEGA producer Yosuke Okunari, who once posted a solitary screenshot on Twitter. Aside from this there’s been no other screenshots, no promotional posters, no media coverage, and certainly no game. Well until recently that it.

Now, thanks to ShouTime, the Japanese arcade collector who recently revealed to the world Sonic’s other two titles, we have some screenshots. That’s not all either, as not content with simply proving SegaSonic Bros’ existence, ShouTime has also revealed that he has the original prototype arcade board. To say this is a big discovery is a massive understatement.

SegaSonic Bros 2
Another image of the enigmatic SegaSonic Bros up and running.

At present we may only have a couple of screenshots, but thankfully ShouTime isn’t one to hide his discoveries away to himself. In fact he proved this only recently, when he dumped the ROM file for SegaSonic Popcorn Shop. Thus allowing anyone to access the mini game via MAME, and importantly allowing us, the gaming community, to preserve an important part of gaming history.

As such, it’s a fairly safe bet to presume that we’ll soon be able to get more than just a working glimpse of one of SEGA’s most hidden and forgotten titles. And with that, hopefully we’ll be able to gleam even more information about this enigmatic entry in Sonic’s history. It certainly would be a more than fitting way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of SEGA’s blue spiky mascot.

Sophia Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she's written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DivaXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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