Monday, August 08, 2016

Archie Sonic Comics: Trouble With Characters

Buying Alert:
Sonic Gear, being a merchandise showcase site sometimes has 'buying alerts'...and this is one of them. If you want some of the older "compilations" or "collected issues/stories" from Archie Sonic Comics, now's the time to buy. Why?

*Skip to the other star to see the update's content comment

It looks like Archie Sonic Comics will be sued by a couple of it's old artists.
They say Archie "Stole their characters". Did they? It depends on what kind of a contract the artists had when they signed on to do work. When you sign a contract, you read it to know what type it is. There are a couple of types, and only lawyers can sort it out which one they had. However, to simplify a bit:

Type 1: You're just hired to draw comics with pre-existing characters and follow the plots laid out by the writers. (So, like an illustrator.)
Type 2: You're hired to develop NEW characters, who are then possessed by the company. Much like designing someone a mascot, that character is FOR the company & they're hiring you to manufacture it and then buying it off you when you're done, to use however they want. (So, like a chair-you make the chair, you sell the chair, they buy the chair and it's now their chair forever.)
Type 3: You're hired to draw for the comic, and they ask you to bring in some of your own characters, but the company doesn't get to keep them. You can then re-use them at your leisure anywhere else and not owe them anything. If you leave/the contract ends, the characters are then NOT able to be used/continued by the company.

Is what's happening that Archie says it had Type 2, but the artists think it had Type 3? Did someone lie about the type?
When the lawyers say what happened, there will likely be some kind of news release or something.

What's affected:
The older compilation books & issues. Also any future reprints. It's mostly the "BS" characters that fans hated too, like Sean Connery Ripoff-Wannabe, some stuff to do with the whole 'sword of acorns' thing, a few single-appearance guys and most notably Mammoth Mogul. So anywhere you find him, you'll want to buy that item if you don't have it already. The lawsuit will likely mean they can't ever reprint that stuff again just to avoid hassles. It may not even matter if they win, they may just shelve the whole batch of content.

*This week's update...
Yep, more Anniversary stuff is still appearing. And that's great! The anniversary is a big deal, and it's cool to see SDCC features give-away loot of it too. The most surprising thing was the Sephora Face Cream Mud thing. Yeah, it's just a Sonic sticker on their usual item, but it means they're paying attention to Sonic, which is interesting.

Little Bigheads Eggman: No surprise he appeared in the bag. He's the least-bought plush out of all of their over-priced small dolls. It was a convenient & friendly way to unload him.

Boom Proto Clothes: These are all genuinely well designed & good ideas. What's up with all the prototypes though? It seems like protos are ALL that comes in actual goods.

Domino Show: He did all that and he's not actually a fan? Someone's dedicated to dominoes. It's cool to see Sonic inspiring people though.

Next Week:
Update will likely have a small delay. Probably a better look at the Sonic X shoes, and more Japan Posters for sure.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2 New Sonic Games - Good News For All?

New game announcements!
It's always exciting news when Sonic's the star! So far, there's Sonic Mania an entirely classic game that's creating all sorts of interesting talk*. Then there's the more controversial one that doesn't have a name yet and doesn't show any game play. (It's more controversial because there's no gameplay in its single trailer so far) SonicGear isn't a games blog, so why bring these up?
(Speculation is at the bottom)

Merchandise. (Of course!)
You can INSTANTLY understand the prolific amount of classic style stuff that's all around us right now when you observe Sonic Mania. All that stuff, and the new license company Vandor on the scene in USA making buckets of items all of that goes to support Mania. (How about that DropDead Clothing in the UK too) It also handily explains classic Super Sonic-Dress-up Hello Kitty toy SDCC exclusive. With actual NEOCLASSIC art seeing more of a spotlight...the new items can feel fresh too, which is great. (If you like Sonic enough to own 1 thing, you might like to own more than 1. It's important that items look different enough to feel collectible) The other reason for the abundance of classic stuff isn't great though...

Boom strips away modern Sonic
Yes it IS time to re-run-speak once more on the topic. When Boom was announced & Boomstyle became 'a thing', Sega Marketing was quick to re-assure the fans that "no version of Sonic will disappear" and then instantly made modern Sonic disappear. They stripped the modern license from every company selling Sonic in the USA to ensure only Boomstyle would get the spotlight. You can hunt on Gear for proof, look at when the last date of genuinely new merch with modern Sonic stops appearing. After a certain point no new modern thing appears, it's only classic & Boom.

This is being falsely called "Generations 2", but it's already been stated (by game people, not the liars in marketing) that 'its not a sequel'....there for it will have to be called something other than "2" and can't use the word "generations".
The important thing is, that it has Modern Sonic in it and isn't made out of Boomstyle (so perhaps Knuckles fans can be happy again? Not a Knuckles fan? You can recognize that they are upset though) Since this game isn't just a portable, it's a big-console-deal, no doubt modern Sonic will be allowed to return to merchandise.

Bottom Line: No matter which Sonic style you like best you ought to be able to be happy with available merchandise!

*What talk?
A true console return to 2D gaming? If they get "The feel" of S&K or S3 or Sonic CD right this will be a smash. Every developer seems terrified of anything not 3D because "2D is old and inherently bad/inferior/nostalgia grabbing/low-tech/lame" so Sonic doing this is a big step. Mario fans are talking about a real console (not just portable) 2D Mario game again, and so are others (Donkey Kong, etc) to see what fun could be had there also. Will Sonic lead the way into more fun gaming as he once did? We can hope! (In gaming if it's fun to play ALL dimensions should be welcomed)

3rd Game:
Clearly....Fire & Ice Boom on DS so Boom merch will naturally continue to appear.

Why is the Gear update late?
Because the new uploading program (a 'new feature'....yes more like anti-feature) isn't as reliable as one might hope and decides when and when-not it will work. It is arbitrary & there's nothing to be done for it as it does not produce errors it merely refuses to do things. Waiting seems to placate it and that's what happened this week. It decided to work and so the site was updated.

Next week:
More prototype Boom stuff. They're hot for renders of things that don't exist yet. It's making people curious whether any of it will actually get made. (Considering one of the items is...a BIKE?)

The un-named game is post-apocalyptic. Eggman with his giant egg robos or whatever those are in the trailer has clearly "won" that town/city/area & Sonic is mad and goes to fight him. The word "Resistance" also plays into the fact that Eggman won.
How'd he win? Time travel.
Why is it not a sequel to Gens? In Gens he just messed with time and wrecked stuff, here he went thru it and did 1 specific thing.
Classic Sonic too: Confirms the time angle
Appropriate? Yes, Sonic CD did the time thing first & did it well. It's not outlandish like the Werehog & if they play their cards right they can leverage CD's greatness and past/future/good future/bad future level design to access complexity and depth.
Potential to be great? Absolutely.

Monday, July 18, 2016

SonicGear - Back in Action for Updates

This week's update brings good news!
The site is back in action after the attack of 502. Use the previous blog post to see what this error had to say, and what it did. This post explains (briefly...oy) what it really was and actually manages to have some Sonic content as well. So you know things are on the mend.

The real cause of 502 PORT command
The host company for SonicGear decided to suddenly change from FTP to SFTP without telling anyone or sending letters or posting notices. When that happens, all web site building programs that don't have the ability to know what SFTP is, will start letting off errors. (ill-explained or not) Of course, GoLive didn't recognize it.

What to do about SFTP?
Well it's some kind of advanced security thing so older software doesn't have any ability (nor can be changed) to use it. So the Golive Gear uses is likely version 7 from...................2003. And stuff from 2015 doesn't even know of SFTP so yes there is no chance. And of course, one cannot tell companies what to do so SFTP it is, and SFTP it stays.

The solution:
Filezilla. It's a free FTP program that lets you do SFTP because whoever is making it actually keeps up from the times. It's easy enough to use but adds a layer of work back into gear that wasn't there before. But, it is the best that can be asked for in this situation of legacyware.

Drop Dead: Sonic Line
The original update that got skipped (so, the first week) was spent gathering all the clothing from the line at the DropDead website and prepping it for use on the Gear. It was meant to only skip 1 week. There was such a huuuuge haul of stuff. The 2nd week was trying to solve the error issue, and here is the 3rd week when it finally appears.

DD A First
This is a first for non-Japan Sonic fans. A company making a whole LINE of clothes dedicated to Sonic. There's plenty of stuff! It's all classic style, but does use neoclassic art in several instances to keep it fresh. It's more than just tees, with jackets, underwear, sweatpants, sweatshirts and more all available to choose from. This is exciting stuff simply because there is so much of it, and a company dedicating a line for the first time.

Opinion Zone:
It's a nice enough line. It's pricey though. There's only so much that can be done with classic Sonic that hasn't been seen before but they do manage. The colors are a tad drab, but it is all supposed to appear very 'adult oriented'.
Why are their models all such gloomy-gusses? A pile of sour faces they are!
Some of the stuff is too subtle to be paying that kind of money for. If you want to spend a bundle to rock a brand and flaunt Sonic you don't want (probably) nearly invisible items.
Good fun: Very hairy Tails shirt
Red sock: Get the red sock out of the laundry on that poor girls 'rows of Sonic faces' terrible shirt. It just looks stained and ill designed
Jacket confusion: Why make the girls jacket better than the boys? It will just annoy folks
Socks: If it's that expensive, make it look more like his shoe

Bottom line: Very good this line got made, it's an assortment that brings new stuff to the table & proves Sonic's enduring popularity

Update 2:
Yes 2 updates in '1 week'. The 2nd isn't as large as usual, but was used to test the new system & make up for what got missed. If you sent something in and DONT see it yet, never fear, it'll probably appear next week. The 2nd update was to keep things from getting behind/getting out of hand at the inbox.

Next week:
Probably prototypes, the new Lego Sonic Dimension figure, an exclusive, and hopefully no trouble getting things done.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Where Is The Update? It's Error 502

Where is the SonicGear Update?
It is done, but can't be posted because of ....502. Well what's that?

I don't know.
SonicGear is updated/created using Adobe GoLive, and has been updated pretty much every week in exactly the same way with the same settings for the past 3 to 5 years. Likely even longer, with the server settings. Same host, same program, same way, same time, same info, same proceedure, same settings. Nothing ever changes. Until this week, when 502 appears. What is it exactly? It's

"Can not list folder
Reason: Can not list FTP Folder 502 PORT command not implemented"

That's hardly an explanation, you say?
That's right. What is a port command? Why does it need capital letters? Who implements it and has un-implemented it only this past week in order to cause it to happen? HOW do you un-implement and why? (Is someone unplugging a wire? A switch is off?) After some searching, it's apparently a pretty rare error. It would be nice if the error message explained itself a little better or told you what to do when you see it. As it is, it just has 'hit ok' and then it goes away and you can't do anything else.

The bottom line:
It is apparently something that is on the server side of the site. That means it's nothing that's been done here and nothing TO do here to make it right again. The tech support has been contacted, they said it was fixed on Tuesday and it's not, or they thought it was, or it actually was and then they re broke it or whatever. So they've been re-contacted but takes a little while to respond. But there is nothing to be done for anything until then.

The update itself:
It'll be a biggie. To spoil the content, it's the entire new clothing line that just came out. So it'll get a blog post to go along with it, and the fanfare for the new pages and all that. Really, with a news so big as that it's a shame the 502 has come at this time to disrupt it.

Next time:
Well hopefully the update goes up before the end of the week. One update was already skipped because of the line release (all updating time was devoted to gathering all the line info instead)

Blog posts will continue un-interrupted so if nothing keeps happening with the site, do check back here at the blog for any news updates.

Monday, June 27, 2016

25th Anniversary Big Update

This week's Gear update was still pretty big...
Not like in the past with 'an update per day' celebration, but it still had more stuff than usual. And a good thing too...because much of it was 25th related. Of course there was a company cake, a booth at the Vegas Licensing Show, the usual "we will probably make this" from Joypolis (that  no one ever finds/takes a picture of) & a few reveals like

The commemorative coin gets a metal display tin
A jewelry company gets a Sonic license
August 23 will have news on it
Lego Dimensions gets Sonic in it

So, everything's pretty positive!

A Jewelry company has never had a Sonic license before...
But, jewelry of Sonic wherever it appears always seems to be real big with the fans. The Sonic/Tails friendship charm was amazing but WAY too scarce. They could have had tons of money with it but kept it too unavailable. This could be an exciting development.

August 23 News:
SPOILED! By Famitsu the magazine. It's an 'all new Sonic game' announcement. Whichhhhh is what everyone thought it was going to be anyway, so...good. The fact that it is (by way of wording) not more Boom is also good. (Actually, while everything was ramping up apparently toward the Anniversary, it created a hype train for a game...which then didn't get mentioned at all so really at this point a game announcement is the only thing that will satisfy anyone.)

Rumor mill:
It has something VR Related

Lego Dimensions:
I guess this is good. It's one of those 'spend more' games where you have to buy toys to play them in the game, so adding as many franchises as possible is, of course, the most desirable thing to do. The game itself is a good idea if you have a batch of money & seems to be handled well. This of course, means there will be a Sonic physical figure made, so it's good content for gear.

At the LasVegas Licensing show booth of Sega, they had that terrible Caltoy Tails plush where it barely looks Tails-like and is even completely the wrong color. WHY do they have that? I am super curious about this (obviously because merchandise) was there a big "DONT" sticker under him?

Super Cute:
What is that little squishy pokey stuffy looking Sonic art on the "circle item" Joypolis prototype art? I guess the circle is either some coaster or a frizbee or something but that silly little Sonic is lots of fun. Hopefully the things actually get made/show up somewhere. Their 25th Prize Machine display figure is great too...too bad it's stuck in prize machines though.

Next week:
Boom shoes. That appear to be NOT for toddlers! Sonic shoes that actually fit normal people's feet? It'll be a flying pig day! (The shoes are real, so pigs got to get their feathers ready) More Japan posters, more vintage dolls, and more from Vandor, who is apparently super into making a good first impression with plentiful nice items.