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Posts Tagged ‘AAUK’

 

I always wondered how it would feel to write this journal one day and I always hoped it would never come, but I guess good things always have to come to an end. Today Kevin Eva (AAUK) has left the company to work on new things and other such life related stuff. Which I have to say i fullheartedly support as he deserves decades of nice things after all the -effort- he put into his time there. I feel really really sad though. Not a lot of you guys will ever get to understand just how much of a help this guy was to the Sonic and NiGHTS community. Specificaly the NiGHTS community. We were lucky enough to know him in person and he was (and still damnwell is!) a great great friend to us, and we love him to bits.

It feels like a part of our community has come to an end. Kevin did so much for you guys I don't even know where I could possibly start.

I remember back in Nov 28th 2007 we got a message from SEGA Europe ~

"We haven’t forgotten you… far, far from it."

That was all it takes to bring a little order to chaos and prove something massively important to both fan and company. That we can get along.

And it's the truth too. AAUK's involvement with the NiGHTS community kickstarted the return to fan passion for us and erased the high-and-mighty line between fan and company. At the end of the day most of us are fans. We love what we do. We care about the company, the games, the nostalgia, the employees, the history, the screw-ups and the lessons learnt. This guy though, he went 5 steps further. He really gave a solid hardworking damn about us all (even the annoying ones, lol). I imagine that 'promoting a brand to a target online audience' is part of the job description of being a community manager, but actually caring about the characters, fan reception and the fans themselves on a personal level is something that not everyone can stick on a C.V. I think only a real fan can understand that.

If it wasn't for AAUK this website would have died a long time ago. The fans will always be dotted around the internet but thanks to him our site became the main source of everything NiGHTS related. So much great P.R and fun we all had. I mean what other fanbase can say that a company traveled hundreds of miles to their HOUSE to showcase a game in person. That they ended up on national TV and all over gaming magazines because of one guy? That we were so totally FUELED with enthusiasm at being taken seriously in return we worked as hard as we could to get SEGA good P.R, even if it meant acting like idiots sometimes. It was all because we cared. The fans still care Kev, but we're going to be at a hell of a dissadvantage without you at the helm telling us to keep our noses clean and dry behind our ears, be polite and always say thankyou :) I'd like to think that the reason the NiGHTS fanbase developed so well into such a great bunch of people is because of his influence. Kev wasn't just some guy in a suit trying to make numbers. He had true SEGA spirit. Blue blood ;) That's the kind of magic that more companies need. Well, that and funny impressions of Owl.

DiGi and I were lucky enough to see a side to Kev that wasn't just him running about at Sonic fan conventions. This is about the NiGHTS community. He made sure that NiGHTS wasn't overlooked at every chance he got. He always made sure our opinons and thoughts were heard by the people that matter, even if it made a difference or not, the real difference to us was that the company was showing a human side and even giving us that inch of a chance in the first place. And that's why all us guys care in the end – thanks for the chance and thanks for taking us seriously. Thanks for always including the NiGHTS lot.

I can only say so much thesedays, but I just wanted to say that after being admin of this place for well over a decade now that I'm not going to just nod quietly and say a brief 'be on your way'. AAUK, you're the man and I'm sure NiGHTS would be thankful too :) Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and from all the thousands of NiGHTS fans reading this.

For the future I'm not entirely sure where this leaves us as a fanbase in terms of community/creator interaction. Those are some massive shoes to fill ( not saying you've got massive feet Kev XD ) but yeah… whichever way this all goes there are always people who care. I believe we all have a part to play and that Kev done his best till the end.

Dare to Dream and good luck for the future! You will be sorely missed.
PS) Cheesecake plz.

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Summer of Sonic 2010 - London. It's been well over a week now but I've been having a hard time trying to pinpoint everything good that happened on the day. I don't mean that in a generic way in the slightest, really, it was THAT good. I wish you'd all been able to attend, but to those of you who I did get the chance to meet and put in all that hard work – thanks for giving DiGi and I a perfect day :)

So where do i start exactly? Humm, well two days prior to the convention we had a lovely (stealthy- since him coming to SoS was a secret) evening meal in China Town with SEGA America's Ruby Eclipse. I've known Ruby for a good few years now since he used to frequent our forums long before he became a community manager at SEGA, long before any journeying of dreams, owls or other assorted bat-tights. Remember those days? Well Ruby's always been a big NiGHTS fan so it was great to finally just sit down and have a bit of chill-time. It's pretty interesting chatting to Aaron because he's like the SOA version of our AAUK (just without the hilarious Owl impressions). Perspectives make me smile. It makes me happy too that my own community members really follow their dreams. I'm a proud old admin ;-;

Reading the dinner menu was fun, we found you could actually order an ENTIRE roast pig (booked 24hours in advance mind!), but we settled for our regular fare, followed up by almost criminaly delicious deep fried icecream. Afterwards we took him on a bit of latenight sightseeing for photos. There exists a video of Big Ben bonging with DiGi cursing his head off in the background. All in all a great night out with good company.

The next day consisted of me running around doing everything I'd failed to do 3 days beforehand. This year we didn't want to be selling any Studio Imagni stuff at the con since last year was great but we were kinda stuck behind a table most of the time (well poor Jof was!) so this year we wanted to just mingle and enjoy the show. And boy what a show it was!

A few days prior to the convention DiGi and I had travelled down to AAUK's new house. You see, not only was Kevin doing his regular duties as community manager and running a huge fan convention – he was also in the middle of moving home! I'm not entirely sure how he managed to stay sane with all that going on at the same time, but a large box of plastic crabs may suggest otherwise. Kev, Becky and Blake were pretty much juggling home unpacking with Summer of Sonic delivery boxes. That takes some kinda madskills. So we just made it worse for them by handing them a stack of 600 NiGHTS campaign flyers, haha. Yeah the SoS crew were good sports and let us advertise our campaign by putting a flyer into every Summer of Sonic goodie bag this year. If you want to see my art up close you can check out my upload here:

Well after about 5 days of not sleeping due to some random insomnia I was suffering from… SUMMER OF SONIC – HAD ARRIVED!

Up at 6am we were determined to get to The Pavillion early enough to grab us some free swag, which included an amazing Metal Sonic figurine. We love collecting game and anime action figures and stuff so we had to get one of these. Actually we ended up with 2 of everything since we got a bag each. A funky exclusive Sonic print bag made especialy for the convention. If I'm feeling generous enough I might hold a mini competition later on where you can win my bag.

To cut a long story short, long queue was long and it started raining. We were also heckled by some drunken Kiwi's, Rugby fans, which DiGi took great skill in giving chatback to and banishing. Just standing in the line I had a lot of requests for photographs mostly from the general public (probably confused by my slightly mad hair, lol). The event was late in opening but from experience I've never attended any sort of convention where the thing opens on time, I didn't really mind waiting anyway since I knew it would be worth it. A few of the staff came up and talked to us personaly, letting us know something of the setup nightmare the crew were having to deal with inside. Problems with expensive computer equipment being stolen, excess furniture, capacity rules thrown in at the last minute and unhelpful venue staff were really pushing the team to the limit. But amazingly, despite all this, they took it in their stride and continued to give their personal best. I know the Sonic fanbase gets a lot of stick sometimes but when the staff work together to get stuff done they really pull a bit of a Sonic Heroes 'Team work' thing. It's all rather magical, lol. But I'll get into that more later. Standing in the queue we were approached by two lovely chaps from a website I follow on Twitter called Sonicitalia.net they recognized me because of the hair (yeah I get that a lot lol XD). It was at this point that I was told that a lot of attendees rather than wearing name badges have their forum/twitter/facebook avatars printed onto their T-shirts. Great stuff. Suddenly it was a lot easier to recognise folk I knew online!

Then like reaching some kinda spiritual (slightly more blue tinted) Mecca – we were IN. Just narrowly avoiding what became dubbed 'The Pidegon Panic Zone' we were handed two dayglow orange SoS goodie bags by the TROOPER OF A MAN ~ Urtheart. With our heads half in the bags and half remembering how to walk forwards we entered into the main hall which was something of a spectacle of Sonic goodness. My inner NiGHTS fangirl felt both a sudden twinge of jealousy and pride, haha. Nah, I'm just glad that our fanbase is always welcomed so warmly in the Sonic one. I guess we're like the really campy annoying spandexy cousins that only come around once a year to 'borrow' the lawn mower and never return it. But it's all good.

My memory fails me a bit here but i think the first person we bumped into was Dreadknux, telling us that we did indeed HAVE a Studio Imagni table (set up right next to STC's lovely Nigel D none the less), whoops, so if I wanted to use it to sell quick sketches or whatever I was free to do so. I considered making DiGi stand on the table and busk rap style for our lunch but I figured he wouldn't be too into that. So we left the table idea alone (for this year anyway!) and trotted off like ungrateful gits to enjoy the full awesome of the con itself :D

Something I will say straight away is that I was definately less shy with approaching people than I was last year. I've gotten to know a lot of the Sonic community better since then, especialy the staff, since we all went to Alton Towers and Expo together this year. Great bunch of guys and girls. This year we had tons of people come up and ask us for photos with them, knowing who we were. I guess hassling SEGA so much and being generaly irritating makes you some kinda fandom D listers, lol. We had a good few jokes about burning Sonic merch and campaigning for our own convention. It felt really nice to fit in and share in the laughs. After attending the hideously huge Expo this year I felt a lot more connected to the atmosphere of Summer of Sonic. I mean I might draw anime styled stuff but to be honest I don't really know a lot of anime things, I watch the odd DVD now and then but I wouldn't exactly say I'm a Otaku. Summer of Sonic was different, probably because everyone was there because they were fans of one universal thing – Sonic. Sure they might all have clashing opinons on what makes the series good or have website rivalries online, but for one day everyone just chills the hell out and gets on. It's nice. Very full of nostalgia too. When I was a kid I'd always wanted to go to the comic conventions down in England to meet the Fleetway bunch, but the distance made it impossible. Now I live in London this has been my chance to catch up on everything I missed as a Sonic obsessed teenager.

So many fans turned up! Something like well over 800 I think? After a while I lost count of the people I hugged to death and yelled hello at. We walked around taking in all the sights, eager to see what was to be seen this year. Firstly there was an ASR tournie happening on the second floor which DiGi took part in, good sportsmanship, even if some people were using the Tails boost glitch >___>;  ahem. The amazing rare merch cabinet made a welcome return, this year it had the actual Pixel Palace Sonic sketches on show from That Guy With The Glasses. Also the NiGHTS chao plushie and some amazing little Sonic plushies I'd never seen before. There was a crab in the cabinet… but somebody stole Kevins crabs! D: *lol* (that sounds so crazy but it really did happen). It's kinda sad how people will go to a convention and lift stuff like it belongs to them. I hope whoever was kind enough to steal things was jumped on the way home :]

Also two of the main events this year was the presence of both playable Sonic 4 and Sonic Colours. We stood in the line at one point to play Sonic Colours but after seeing how slow the line was moving we felt it best to give up our spaces to the hardcore Sonic fans and wandered on our merry way. From what we seen of other people playing Sonic 4 it looks great! I'm really looking forward to both games coming out. It's odd to say it but for once I'm actually properly excited. You should be too ;) This is Sonic Cycle combo breaking.

Wandering around the hall more we found the crazy mr Elson Wong selling his comics and art (DiGi's evil twin i think!), the STC online crew, Nigel being SWAMPED by adoring fans snapping up more of his original painted art that he was selling last year (I managed to get a quick wave in there), and a big area for people to chill and draw. That's one thing i definately liked this year, the amount of chairs and sitting spaces available. Very comfy sofas. Because it's all well and good walking about but with that many people in one place things get a little hot. Well actually quite a -lot- hot since there was no air conditioning, but to be honest i think it added to the experience haha. What's a real convention without sweaty fellow geeks? XD Other things I got to see was the AMAZING pixel/hama bead comic that Becky and Kev had created by hand. Dot by dot! I was so impressed they finally got it finished considering how massive it was. There was also a table with some neat Sonic customised dolls, backissues on sale and a mystical shop that i didn't get to even breathe on because it was so busy! There was a lot to see and do. This year we mostly hung out at the stage since last year we missed everything. At the stage we were treated to some hilarious animations, flat out comedy moments (come on Vger being forced to Caramel Dansen), Never Mind the Buzz Bombers – with the cutest littlest Sonic fan ever. I swear he knew more facts about Sonic than some of us older people. Which reminds me, DiGi and I had a few mumsy 'aww' moments upon seeing various little kids enjoying themselves on the day. It was a real reminder that Sonic spans real generations, from us kids in the early 90's to todays little guys. I really hope him and NiGHTS continue to be heroes for a new wave of youngsters discovering gaming. In a world full of grey and brown FPS games with not much but death and realism I'm glad that people can still appreciate the colorful imaginative fun games.

There was also a Kareoke singing competition Wrecks Factor Live! The guy who really stole the show was T-Bird's little brother who did a hilariously GREAT performance of the Sonic Underground themesong. Cosplayers were also out in force this year with the chance to win a trophy for best costume on stage. People kept asking if I was cosplaying as Knuckles…. what? XD I think it was my red hair and the goggles. My underlying Knuckles fanboyisms must still be apparent after over a decade, gosh! I kinda wanted to be cosplaying as NiGHTS but I'd have to remake my cosplay. Maybe next year. On my travels around the hall I came aross a BIG THE CAT COSPLAYER – who I promptly attacked for a photo. Just to prove the NiGHTS fanbase has no hard feelings at all towards the feline, even if he did get into ASR and NiGHTS didn't :p

Like I said I bumped into too many cool people to mention but an honorable mention goes out to Syaming-Li who not only is just badass but created the most spectacular Sonic custom converse shoes ever. So we stood there taking photos of his feet – because yes we're weird like that. No, really, look at his shoes:

Dude.

Another honorable mention, actually scratch that, HUGE GLITTERY SLOBBERING THANKYOU, goes to Nemain. She gave us one of the nicest moments of the con. We're just standing there chatting away to people and this girl of clearlyinsanemadness comes up to us brandishing a Christmas NiGHTS plushie. It turns out she won the recent Elliot/NiGHTS ebay lot and wanted to just GIVE us Christmas NiGHTS to keep. For nothing. What the hellllll! XD DiGi nearly cried, seriously. It was so sweet of her to come up and thank us for our campaign and stuff, never mind give us a damn rare as hell Christmas NiGHTS plush. Needless to say she is like my favourite person of the entire convention now and I can't ever thank her enough for the happiness she gave us :) It's stuff like that that reminds me why I'm a fan in the first place, no not because people sometimes give me free stuff lol, the fact that people love NiGHTS enough to do nice things for other fans. It just reminds you it's all worth it you know? If you can get reactions like that. Christmas NiGHTS was later seen gleefuly downing Baileys and Ice in a drunken binge that shall never see the light of day. As long as Kevin never uploads his photos haha.

Then convention ended on something of an insanely spectacular high with the famous Crush 40 doing a live show for us. Proper mosh pit. I could go on and on about how great it was but all you have to do is watch this video to see how electric the atmosphere was. Singing along with so many Sonic fans was just… wow!  Epic stuff. Jun Senoue and Johnny Gioeli.

 

After the crowds had left and things had closed for the night we got a chance to talk to Jun Senoue personaly. At the time I didn't realise he'd actually done some work on Journey of Dreams… gah! But he's such a cool guy ;_; So polite and insanely talented. Knowing that we were talking to the guy responsible for so many great melodies over the years just made me infinately happy. He stopped us as we were walking off to tell us that us fans are the reason he is here doing what he loves and DiGi and I kinda fangeeked in unison haha. We love ya Jun!

Then, bizzarely the strangest thing happened for me. We'd just experienced this amazing convention – but the most real fun I had was helping the staff close it up for the night. DiGi and I stayed behind to help out the Sonic lot and it was just… I can't really explain how I felt but, it felt good. These people who were left at the end were my friends. The people who had given their time and love to this convention and here we all were at the end taking down the posters, pulling sheets off tables and picking up litter together. Singing, joking running about like madmen trying to get everything tidy again. I even helped clean the Loo's! (Best way to spend a Saturday night! haha) It was at this point Elson Wong and DiGi really got time to chat and the pair of them were hilarious to listen to. DiGi and him cussing major profanity at the tables as they tried to pull the cloths off just made me lose it. At one point there was an impromtu sing along of Dreams Dreams that carried quite far up the hall. Kev was tired out his brains and STILL managing to give us orders. Me, Ruby Eclipse and Graham from SEGANerds were taking down all the fanart done by people and little kids and it was seriously one of the most blissed out moments of my fandom. Quiet, nice and prettymuch a joint feeling. Proper Teamwork. Eventually it came to an end and we all posed for a staff photo, I hope it appears online soon because I'm probably grinning ear from ear in it.

And then… well then there was a lot of this. I can't remember getting home very well, but that's the sign of a good night out!

Summer of Sonic 2011. You all have to come. Thank you SO much to AAUK and Becky firstly for putting in insane amounts of patience, stress and hard work, I only ever get to see a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes but I know it's more than an undertaking. Becky sista thanks for keeping our Kev sane and healthy :D Thanks to Dreadknux for being a hardworking cool dood and letting us in the front door (you always make me laugh too much). And to the rest of you ugly lot who put in your beans we love you all (yes even you Rory) and we hope you'll never give up your passion for the fandom. Thanks for the great memories.

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SEGA in MY House?

6 December;  Author: TRiPPY

Back in January 2008 we had the incredibly surreal experience of not only NiGHTS 2 finally becoming a reality after 12 years but SEGA bringing it to our -house- to demonstrate it for us before release. Needless to say it sounds like the sort of caffeine driven lie any fan could spout but – no – really. SEGA came to our house.
How many gaming companies do that for their fans? It's little things like this that remind me why i still love SEGA so much, they still listen.

It's probably a good idea to start here with this forum topic since we'd been joking about SEGA bringing NiGHTS to us, then it actually happening haha:
http://www.nightsintodreams.com/forum//index.php?showtopic=1384


Gaze upon the slightly worrying yet sexy Dev Wii in my bedroom.

It was a day of cheesecake, sparkly reunited joy and adult chickenpox. But all around amazing. Back in January I'd been so hyped to finally play Journey of Dreams that i never actually got around to writing up what went on. I think i muttered something to the fans about 'give me a few weeks I've been wanting to play this game for 12 years', then toddled off for a lot longer than that to play the thing to death. We have some video of the day but rather than upload a massive 3 gig video of us sitting yelling at the TV set – I'll break it down into screencaps. For a detailed report of what Arch' from SEGA thought you can read the blogs here:
http://blogs.sega.com/europe/category/nights/
(or just keep reading below since i copypasta'd them for nostalgia's sake)

1. If it looks too good to be true it usually is. Mr Dev Wii eats retail code discs for breakfast. Poor Arch had been given the wrong Wii to bring all the way to Scotland to demo NiGHTS on.
Cue our horror.

2. Any longtime hardcore NiGHTS fan will know… you remember those nightmares you'd wake up from back in 1999 or 2001 where SEGA come to visit your house with a copy of NiGHTS 2 and then it doesn't work. We got to live it. FOR REAL!

Cue the tears of a broken man.


3. Our forum moderator Jof was overcome with grief (as the photos obviously show). But something SEGA probably doesn't understand is how much patience waiting 12 years non stop for a sequel gives you. This to a NiGHTS fan was just a small technical hitch. We famously carry some kind of fandom curse so this was normal. This called for practical thinking! Problem solving! The sort of DEEP THINKING that only true NiGHTS fans could co-

Oh yeah! We had our own Wii. Duh.

SO BEHOLD!
*RAPTURE!*


NiGHTS 2 on my TV, not just some horrible delusion.


Girly screams all around.

And what is the first thing you WANT to know, VITAL to gameplay enjoyment for the next 12 years?

CAN WILL BE THROWN OFF THE EDGE OF DREAMGATE?
Unfortunately no, but we'll forgive them…. somehow.


Ok forgiven. NiGHTS isn't all flowers and rainbows. This pleases us greatly.
As does verbal smackdown… and the fact they left THAT line in. You know the one ;)


NiGHTS can HEAL THE SICK with his tight spandexy powers, see how much life is brought back to this poorly man plagued by the deadly adult chicken pox. He can walk again! Especially now that he owns more NiGHTS merchandise than SEGA itself.

SEGA gives DiGi +9999999 revive.

All is good in the world. Game enjoyment was had, bags were screamed over, copious copies of JoD were handed out and laughter ensued. Today was a great day.
But it wasn't over yet! It's a mandatory requirement that any SEGA representative stepping into our household MUST answer to the fans and be thoroughly interrogated via our Dreamcast show. Which went swimmingly well. You can download show06 here:

http://www.nightsintodreams.com/?p=101
(includes HOT EXCLUSIVE GOSSIP on Shenmue 9!!)

Afterwards we set him free but SEGA now knows the NiGHTS fanbase is SERIOUS BUSiNESS. After the mind control wore off AAUK returned to England and wrote up the following SEGA journals:

 

ArchangelUK & The Dreamers of EDiNBURGH:
Pt 1 – Up, Up and Away

What do ArchangelUK, £900 bottles of cognac and the Paralympics team of Gibraltar have in common? As it happens we were all at Gatwick airport last Thursday, though whilst the cognac was gathering dust and the Gibraltans were off to some sort of training camp I myself as the Online Community Team’s resident representative for all things Nightopian was off to Edinburgh to the very heart of the NiGHTS fan base.

The reason for this was very simple – it was a lot cheaper to send me to them then get them down to us. :)

So, armed with a bag full of NiGHTS merchandise a suitcase containing a Wii (and looking at the weather a sense of foreboding) I marched off to do battle with the airport check-in system… at 3:45am.

Let me tell you strange things happen at 3:45am, for a start paying £20 for the slim chance of winning a Ferrari they’ve somehow got into the departures lounge sounds like “a good idea” – you imagine yourself with “Magical Sound Shower” blaring from the speakers as you zip along the straights of Malibu. Feeling rather worried by this and keeping the £20 firmly in my pocket I instead headed straight for the arcade and blasted off a quick few laps on OutRun2.

Speaking of arcades is it me or is the entirety of the Arcade system now solely resting on machines produced by SEGA and Namco? I swear there are more SEGA machines around than any other publisher – and the rest seem to be Time Crisis.

The plane boarded on time and we were soon in the air, the pilot finishing his welcome by inviting us to “enjoy all the marvellous facilities we have on this aircraft… Not.” So as we sailed into the sky with the strains of Dreams Dreams 2008 in my ears I was really looking forward to the trip, I was even looking forward to the surprisingly tasty looking in-flight breakfast which was served pretty much immediately.

Yup, everything was going smoothly… and then I made the mistake of opening my tub of orange juice.

Like some sort of cosmic switch the plane all of a sudden lurched sideways as we hit a terrible bout of turbulence which did its best to cover me in the orange liquid. I clamped my palm over the top of my cup in desperation to try and prevent further spillage but still I fear looked rather like the recipient of shrapnel wounds from a Tango grenade when all was said and done.

We landed on time (and for a while on one wheel) at Edinburgh airport which seemed surprisingly small and as I set foot for the first time on Scottish soil I was pleased to see that absolutely no stereotypes about Scotland were to be seen. Yup it was windy, rainy, cold, bagpipe music was playing as I entered the arrivals area and the first man I saw was in a kilt trying to sell me shortbread. Absolutely no stereotypes at all.

After a brief scare when I almost left my case at the airport I exited to find freezing sheet rain and dragging my belongings onto the shuttle bus rode off to my hotel room and my first meeting with TRiPPY and DiGi…

Posted by ArchangelUK in NiGHTS on 4:24:11PM Jan 23, 2008

ArchangelUK & The Dreamers of EDiNBURGH:
Pt 2 – Play The Game

For those who used to get Sonic the Comic back in the day you may well recall that there was an artist who kept getting her work featured – Lynne Triplett. It might surprise you to know that Lynne and TRiPPY are one and the same, and with bright red hair you’re not likely to miss her. As one half of the “First Couple of Nightopia” (TM AAUK, 2007) and with partner in crime DiGi Valentine (himself resplendent with a signature tuft of bright green hair) aiding and abetting, she has lead the NiGHTS fan base for more years than it’s polite to say.

Having got the word that the guys had arrived I zipped down to the lobby to find them there along with NiGHTS forum mod Jof and TRiPPY’s brother Derek. So you have ArchangelUK, TRiPPY, DiGi, Jof and Derek – it seems someone was letting us down on the wacky names front.

Later it was revealed he was a DeZ. Oh well.

We went to catch a bus back to the Triplett household and talked Journey of Dreams, Reala, original NiGHTS, SST, SEGA, Sonic Wrecks and many other things. I was pleased to see DiGi who had literally dragged himself off his sick bed of the last week, having spent all that time suffering from a rather nasty case of adult chicken pox as he was devastated at the thought of missing out on my visit.

Awww.

However as he waivered somewhat standing up I did fear a stiff breeze might blow the poor guy away, so feeling a bit guilty I reached into my AAUK branded bag o’ tricks and produced, with no fanfare, a copy of Journey of Dreams which I thrust beneath his astounded eyes. DiGi held it like he might accidentally break it for a few moments before issuing an excited squeak – but in a manly way, right DiGi? TRiPPY and DiGi examined the game which they had been waiting 11 years for – and wouldn’t be out to the general UK populous until tomorrow – and began chattering earnestly, a bit more life back in DiGi which I for one was very pleased to see.

A short adventure with some excitable dogs later, one of whom called Smudge didn’t want to let me off at our stop – an agent of Wizeman perhaps – we arrived at their flat and I stepped through TRiPPY’s bedroom door into… the largest amount of purple I’d ever seen in my entire life.

The room was completely done up in NiGHTS’ colour scheme – there were statuettes and plushies, posters and artwork everywhere. In the corner stood on a mannequin TRiPPY’s NiGHTS costume which apparently takes about 6 hours to put on, I assumed DiGi was joking about that but TRiPPY’s nervous laughter suggested otherwise. I was also pleased to see a large variety of Sonic merchandise as well as pretty much every SEGA console known to man.

Here’s a photo of TRiPPY in said regalia:

“Du-al-ize!”

Yes, both terrifying and alluring at the same time. I think…

Everywhere I looked, everywhere, was just a mass of NiGHTS… I didn’t even know there was half as much NiGHTS paraphernalia in existence as I saw in there.

Anyway to business! I began setting up the Wii I’d dragged with me from SOE HQ all the way to the south of England and then all the way up to Edinburgh. Oh dear. The green frontage of that Wii was not a good sign…

I popped the game in and my fears were realised, I’d been given a Dev Wii and it wouldn’t play the retail code – NOOOOOOOOO! Luckily TRiPPY had a Wii, but it did mean that they would not be able to see any of the more advanced levels and see the unlocked items to begin with. So after I got the Tutorial out of the way for them I let them loose on Journey of Dreams, while I muttered some rather choice language as I packed the console back up again.

Soon the room went very quiet as people concentrated, trying to get the highest number of links possible and while the boss levels proved deceptively tricky at first – Jof being our savior and getting us past them – there was nothing but grins around the room. Even from Derek and he’s not a NiGHTS fan at all!

Time was marching on but I’d been very open in my desire to be used as much as possible by the guys, so it was time to start thinking about the dreaded Dream Cast podcast.


Posted by ArchangelUK in NiGHTS on 5:08:54PM Jan 25, 2008

ArchangelUK & The Dreamers of EDiNBURGH:
Pt 3 – Of Merchandise and Cheesecake

With sinister clowns, magicians and giant fish vanquished it was time to try out the multiplayer. TRiPPY was keen to take people on and as the former World Record holder for defeating Wizeman had every right to be confident. Unfortunately Jof beat her, then DiGi beat her, then her brother beat her… then I beat her.

Whoops.

However she’s been practicing like crazy and no doubt will be up for a challenge should you ask her at any time.

After that we recorded the podcast where I answered a load of questions from NiGHTS fans to the best of my ability. Having already helped provide them with various answers with the interview with Iizuka-san, fan base questions instead were in the “who the heck are you” and “why are you here” bracket as opposed to the “what are the fundamental changes in control methodology” bracket. Though when you bare in mind my answer to “What is your role at SEGA?” was “ham and cheese” you can guess how things went.

The podcast is up on NiGHTSIntoDreams.Com now if you’re interested (parental advisory – explicit DiGi in places).

Speaking of cheese, TRiPPY had a hankering for some cheesecake but first I had a little matter of giving out some rather splendid gifts courtesy of SEGA. From my magic bag I pulled seemingly endless goodies including Sonic t-shirts, NiGHTS posters, a Sonic 06 mug, glow in the dark NiGHTS stickers, soundtrack samplers, the Japanese NiGHTS pre-order toy, Ghost Squad, Golden Compass, Sonic Rush Adventure and Sonic Rivals 2.

Poor DiGi was half-buried under a mountain of merchandise by the time I finished, unable to move.

That would have been all, but for the bag within the bag. Ah yes, in a major merchandising coup I pulled out a Japanese NiGHTS bag, the same bag that had been given out in ridiculously limited quantities at the Tokyo Game Show.

The reaction was PRICELESS, a sort of strangulated yell followed by diving and grasping and clutching with great excitement and lots of thank yous.

I dunno about you guys, but rather think they liked it…

It was at this point that TRiPPY REALLY needed some cheesecake, so as we were now all rather on the hungry side ourselves it seemed only right that we go out for some food. Catching a bus which took a small eternity to arrive but thankfully had no excitable pets on board we made our way back to Edinburgh city centre. All of this of course was great for me because it allowed me to return to my hotel room and dump the accurs’d Wii back there with a shake of my fist skywards… or at least southwards.

So where to? Well, a restaurant presumably so having tidied myself up a bit I raced back downstairs to rescue Team NiGHTS – or more specifically the reception staff from this odd collection of youths sitting in the lobby of their swanky hotel.

Having found a bar called the Filling Station, which was filled with various examples of motoring Americana, we sat down and ordered drinks. Not really being in the mood for anything too strong I ordered an Appletizer which was roughly about the same time I found out about the Heathrow crash.

Yes, trust me guys there’s nothing that makes your day than to find out there’s been a mysterious airplane crash on the airline your flying back on the very next day. So while I was sipping my drink thinking as soon as I left tomorrow the wings would fall off or I’d find out that the pilot had mysteriously been replaced by a hippo, the guys placed their orders and talked about the game some more.

Oddly enough the topic at hand was Owl and what a great character he was. This was odd as I was sure Owl would annoy the hell out of everyone (Visitor. Visitor. Hoot. Visitor. Yes. Ho ho. Visitor.) Including myself but that was until people saw NiGHTS’ reactions to Owl.

You see if you are a Visitor who gets a little tired of Owl keep an eye on NiGHTS in the cut scenes. Ignoring the one prior to the water ball level in which Owl nearly drowns… to howls of laughter from Helen and NiGHTS. NiGHTS is often rolling his eyes and looking incredibly bored at the old bird’s hooting and generally not giving a, well, hoot.

TRiPPY made a very good point too about NiGHTS being somewhat snappy in places, i.e. “Dual-ize” in that NiGHTS is as you may recall still a Nightmaren despite also being a “carefree rascal”.

The food arrived shortly afterwards, I forget what mine was called but it was essentially an inverse pizza apparently full of ALL THE CHEESE IN THE WORLD. As such I completed about half of it, which I suppose gives me a D rank.

Other topics flowed through the meal including NiGHTS’ voice artist (and the voices in general), speaking with Iizuka-san, creating NiGHTS artwork, how DiGi was NOT going to use the stickers I’d given him for an urban advertising campaign as I didn’t want to end up with some street fine thank you very much and how amazing, apparently, NiGHTS’ ass had been rendered on the signature artwork.

Yesssss……

TRiPPY demolished her slice of cheesecake in near record time all the while making lots of ‘mmmm’ noises which considering the rest of us had no desert didn’t go down too well. The meal was paid for and we left, but where to now?

We decided to march up to Edinburgh Castle – as you do – and risk the wrath of the ghosts and ghouls…

Posted by ArchangelUK in NiGHTS on 12:45:34PM Jan 31, 2008

 

ArchangelUK & The Dreamers of EDiNBURGH:
Pt 4 – Journey’s End

You’d thought I’d forgotten about this hadn’t you? Well we’d left my story, which was a while ago now, as we had just finished the podcast and a slice of cheesecake had been sacrificed to the great TRiPPY beast.

Now apparently, as it was really cold and damp it was a very good idea to go up to Edinburgh Castle – this was especially neccessary so we could yell “Yay castle!” at the ancient edifice. You may have guessed I was beginning to wonder what was in the cheesecake following this statement – but I wanted to go and see it regardless so up we went.

The castle was of course closed and the Queen wasn’t in – which was very rude of her, I’m from frickin’ SEGA! But the views from atop the very, very steep hill across Edinburgh were truly fantastic. A twinkling cacophany of white and yellow lights and the sound of the wind… and somebody taking out their frustrations on a pay-and-display machine.

Having discovered it was even colder where we were, we turned tail and walked back chatting about this and that. I was told of how the current streets of Edinburgh are built over the streets of old which was done so to trap the plague victims and wipe the slate clean – judging by the large steps on either side of the road this had been happening a lot. Edinburgh also has so I’m told one of the most haunted graveyards in the country, the ghosts and ghouls within being none too pleasant. Tourists coming out with mysterious injuries inflicted up them, cuts and bruises – TRiPPY recalled she came out of one of the trips with a massive bruise on her thigh. That the ghosts were angry and vengeful.

“I’m not surprised if you lot keep paving over people.” Was my reply.

Seeing Jof off at the train station we went back to the hotel where I wished everyone goodnight where I went off to a very comfy bed and a slice of banoffi pie and a coke from room service (I paid before you lot say anything). The next day myself, DiGi and TRiPPY met up to kill time before I had to go off to the airport again.

I was rather desolate to find that Gamestation had recieved a delivery of Wiis in that very morning – if only I didn’t have the accurs’d Dev Wii I could have bought one and taken it home with me! NOOOOOOO!!! We moped around and had breakfast before I had to get my bus to the airport, the highlight being a tramp outside the job centre who started yelling at me that I was a bum for no reason whatsoever.

The time came for goodbyes and I departed for pastures more Southern, but even then there was a twist in the tail. Only a few days later (as some of you know) TRiPPY and DiGi through a series of unfortunate events were forced out on the streets and ended up having to rough it. Several of you have asked me how they are and the good news is that they are indeed safe and well in a new abode.

In fact Miss T and Mr D were helping me with something else a bit closer to home yesterday – keep an eye out for details on that!



Posted by ArchangelUK in NiGHTS on 11:52:39AM Mar 19, 2008

 

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SEGA Blogs

5 October;  Author: TRiPPY

SEGA's online community team is, in my opinion, one of the best ideas the company has had in recent years. Working directly with the fans the community managers blog about new releases, magic up promotional events and competitions, give us resources and goodies- all while juggling a million other non blog things at the same time. Online PR if you will ;) Lovely bunch of people. SEGA – well done.

We've had the pleasure of working with SEGA on a good few occasions now. Be sure to check out the other pages on our site for our community event reports.

Here's a list of all NiGHTS related SEGA blogs!

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