Image: Sega

Update [Thu 11th Jan, 2024 14:30 GMT]: The owner of the rare SegaSonic arcade board has stated that the game has now been dumped and preserved and that he didn't end up selling it after all (thanks, GhaleonUnlimited).

Speaking on the Sonic Retro forum, Monstermug said:

I didn't sell the board. Its being donated to a good cause. I cannot think of a better place for it to go where it will not only be taken care off but enjoyed by many. Patience my friends. Everything shall be revealed in time.

When pushed on who he sold the board to, Monstermug replied that it was "where it belongs" but appeared to deny that he had sold it to Sega. "Sega of America probably doesnt have a copy of Virtual Fighter 5," he said.

Monstermug confirmed that "preservation is no longer an issue," but was unable to talk about the matter further due to legal reasons:

As much as I would love to elaborate, I have signed a NDA. Thank you [to] those who worked this out. For non-believers you just have to take my word for it and be patient.

He then added that this board doesn't add much to the Japanese version:

Owners of original segasonic, [you're] not missing much. Just minor changes to make it more in line with more western sonic content. Hopefully, you all get to try it one day. Trying my best. Too much red tape to deal with and hurdles.

Original Story [Thu 27th Jul, 2023 15:15 BST]: SegaSonic The Hedgehog is one of the blue blur's lesser-known adventures. Released in Japan in 1993, it has never been re-released on any home system – nor has it been included on any of Sonic's many respective collections.

While it was exclusive to Japanese arcades (so far, 'A' and 'C' revisions of the game have been found, but no 'B' version), a 'World' revision of the game was always believed to exist – and now it has surfaced online, with a hefty price tag attached.

The existence of the board was revealed by Monstermug on the Sonic Retro forum; the poster has been collecting arcade PCBs for some time, and claims to have had an offer from a collector for $4,000, with a catch. The buyer has stated they don't want the board to be 'dumped' – something that would preserve the game's ROM and allow it to be enjoyed by fans via emulation.

Monstermug has supply video of the board in operation:

"This is the first ever example of [an] English board posted online, as far as I know," responds fellow Sonic Retro user Chimes. "In fact, I'm willing to claim that board might be a sole surviving example: SegaWorlds in the western part of the world have always used imports of the Japanese version, so seeing [an] English version is highly unusual."

Some of the forum members have floated the idea of clubbing together to raise the money to match the offer, and thereby ensure the game is dumped and properly preserved. "Is there any way we can raise $4001 here on Sonic Retro?" asks one member. "People who hoard things should suffer a fate worse than death."

"I would contribute to this," replies another. "I'd only be able to contribute a double-digit figure, but with enough of us I think we could get there."

However, in the same thread, RyogaMasaki – who posts on Twitter under the name @suddendesu and has written extensively about the game – has questioned the authenticity of the board:

The thing that stands out to me is the "how to play" screen displays the same english text twice. In the graphics, there is only one English line for this part, while there are two Japanese lines. Hence in my patch it displays it twice. If this were a proper World version, I would really expect it to display only the one line of text.

Before ANYONE shells out ANY money for this, demand high resolution pictures of the board and especially the mask roms, as well as more video of the cut scenes so we can see if it matches the order I chose in my patch.

Of course, if I'm wrong, I'll eat humble pie and hooray, great for us. But this is really suspicious.

I just saw the post above about the lack of region, extra all clear, etc. This is curious, sure, but anyone smart enough to patch in the English (which, may I remind you, is completely present in the JP version) is smart enough to make a couple other minor changes. I remain highly skeptical, however, until more proof is presented. The video alone is not enough.

I would be one of the last people to say we shouldn't pursue undumped releases, especially rare ones. But let's make something clear: I did an *extensive* analysis of both Rev. A and C. All of the English assets are present in the final version, enough to fully restore it, as I did with my patch. This description and video bring nothing new. If it does turn out to legit, I am *certain* there is no new content to find. The asking price is simply ridiculous and I don't think this item in particular is worth that cost by a long shot. Based on the facts that we know, even if legitimate, there is nothing within the content of the data that makes it worth the asking price.