This morning while making my morning coffee and browsing through my email, I came across the most amazing announcement I've seen come out of Sega since the Dreamcast. (Yes, I realize Sega has made other, potentially better announcements since then, but still.) Sonic CD is coming to the App Store. If this doesn't have you squealing with glee, you must not have been alive during the Sega CD glory days, as Sonic CD is by far the absolute best Sonic game. It comes from the era of gaming before everyone felt the need to shoehorn needless 3D into games that are perfectly suited to be sidescrollers, and it was packed with the various benefits the Sega CD could offer: Full motion video, a fantastic soundtrack, and tons of content. There's even a radical time traveling mechanic where you can travel between the past and future on the same level.

Now, before we (justifiably) start grumbling about the quality of Sega's various emulated ports, there may be a glimmer of hope out there that Sonic CD might be everything we could ask for and more in an iOS Sonic game. Long-time readers might be pickin' up what I'm puttin' down. If you're new to the scene, let me introduce you to this video from over two years ago:

To make a long story short, in the summer of 2009, pioneering iOS developer Christian Whitehead announced his "iPhone Retro Engine" and "Retro Engine Development Kit." Sonic CD was the proof of concept Christian used to show just how incredibly well his technology works. We quickly followed up with an interview with Whitehead who got into some details, and made mention that he did in fact pitch this whole project to Sega.

Not long after that, all traces of the Retro Engine and Sonic CD running in it vanished from the internet. All of the communication after the fact was strictly off the record, but one could easily assume that when someone approaches Sega with a working proof of concept to not only port their games to tons of platforms, but do it quickly, easily, and with great performance, they're going to jump all over it.

If you're not quite ready to equip your tinfoil hat and go with me on this, consider this: Everything from Sega's PR blast this morning perfectly describes Sonic CD as we saw it running on the iPhone two years ago. It's hitting multiple platforms, widescreen graphics, "special iOS features," achievements, and more. If this were anything but Christian Whitehead's Sonic CD, my gut is telling me that it'd be running in some wacky variation of the Sega CD's original 320x224 resolution wrapped in a crazy emulator and not enhanced in the slightest… Because, really, that's how Sega rolls.

We likely won't have to wait too long to find out either, as it should be playable this weekend at PAX. Hopefully they've got the iPhone version there, and I'd put my money on it looking almost exactly like the above video.

Update: It turns out my gut is calibrated particularly well today, as Sonic Retro has confirmed that Christian Whitehead (via his online alias "The Taxman") is involved with this port and it is in fact using the Retro Engine. Sega's even provided a teaser trailer:

Seriously, can't wait.

Update 2: We were contacted Christian, who again confirmed his involvement in this release but mentions that only the Xbox Live Arcade version will be playable at PAX. Bummer! We'll be keeping our eyes out for the iOS version, that's for sure.

  • http://twitter.com/DukeOf_Dope K.Greene

    I pissed my pants on purpose at this announcement

  • Nightshift Nurse

    It's unfortunate that most ofthe Sega CD's best software didn't come from Sega themselves, but I suppose there's still a shimmer of hope for the likes of Popful Mail to escape the vacuum of the nineties.

    That being said, I can't see touch input being anywhere near tight enough for this game.

  • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

    And so we have Sega port #4329087861B...

  • Mirai

    This is running on the RetroEngine, Taxman (Whitehead) confirmed it on the thread over on Sonic Retro.
    The good times are returning!

    • Robert McCrory

      That's awesome!  Now, if only the RetroEngine had iCade/iControlPad support...

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    Wtf, where the hell is Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles?!?!?!

    • Anonymous

      They sucked in comparison, so thats probably why this is here and not them. Nobody would spend time porting Sonic and Knuckles to anything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/CBrandonButler Brandon Butler

        What!!! Those games are awesome! Sonic CD was too convoluted and confusing for me... don't get me wrong I'll play it but I enjoyed the other games as well...

      • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

        I used to fight my brother over who got to play as Knuckles in Sonic and Knuckles. I'd fight you right now for your stupid comment.

      • bones boy

        Easy there, Knuckles!

      • Guest

        Someone grew up too fast.

  • Anonymous

    Best Sonic ever. Sooo excited for this!

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Still have this and love it to pieces.

    Time to find the FUTURE sign so I can jump ahead and play it! ;)

    (Although I have to admit my most played Sonic game is still Sonic 2...)

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Still have this and love it to pieces.

    Time to find the FUTURE sign so I can jump ahead and play it! ;)

    (Although I have to admit my most played Sonic game is still Sonic 2...)

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Still have this and love it to pieces.

    Time to find the FUTURE sign so I can jump ahead and play it! ;)

    (Although I have to admit my most played Sonic game is still Sonic 2...)

  • Mirai

    http://www.sonicretro.org/2011/08/sonic-cd-can-do-anything-to-several-platforms-first-trailer/

    If you can use iPhone as a Joypad to Sonic CD on iPad, this will be the Sonic game to beat.

    And i'm hoping this RetroEngine will remaster Sonic 3 & Knuckles too in time, no more emulators!

    • http://www.facebook.com/CBrandonButler Brandon Butler

      They need to include that trailer in this post...

  • Anonymous

    Awesome!

  • Anonymous

    Awesome!

  • Hanerlend

    This sounds cool! Can you play two-player as sonic and tails in this version?

    • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

      That was only Sonic 2 and up.

      • Mirai

        And Tails was never in Sonic CD..
        Except for this 'See you in next game!' picture thing..

  • Bogard44

    Now THIS is a real game :)

  • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

    SO EXCITE!! It was really disheartening to see all traces of the stuff "The Taxman" was doing suddenly disappear after Sega was made aware of it. It was impossible to know if Sega had liked what they saw and taken Christian onboard to work for them, or if they had gotten mad and smashed up his office with baseball bats mafia style. REALLY happy to see it was the former :D

  • Mirai

    What i want to know though is a couple things:
    1. Will this be Universal
    2. As this is a port, how about Retina Display? :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/madebymadison Madison Fotografie

    Meanwhile: where is Sonic 4 Episode 1 for the iPad. There are Youtube videos of demos being shown to people and months after the iPhone version appeared in the store: the iPad version seemd to have gone missing in action.

    I want my Sonic! (Although I'm quite happy with Sonic Racing on the iPad: that game is the best!!!).

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Phil Baxter

    Sonic CD is my all time favourite Sonic game by far, and it's great to hear it will get a top notch conversion to iOS. (and XBLA, PSN etc).  I'm also encouraged that the Sega trailer uses a music track from the original Japanese (and later European) release, not the US release, which had a totally different (and far inferior) soundtrack.

  • Anonymous

    Control control control

    Bringing this to an iOS device might be bad..  We'll have to wait and see.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    I think they should use this retro engine thing to update all their current Genesis ports.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Ruddock/654075778 Ben Ruddock

    Blasphemy, Sonic 2 is the best Sonic. I remember my disappointment when I found a used copy of Sonic CD in a shop back in the day, and bought it assuming it was a PC game (had never heard of the Sega CD back then).

    • JedX1X

      Sonic 2 isn't half the game that Sonic CD is. Gamespot called Sonic CD the best 2D game of all time (better than Mario Bros.3, Sonic 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Super Metroid). Sonic CD is one of the ten greatest video games in history.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1201564949 Chris Lites

    Awesome! I love Sonic's fries!

  • http://twitter.com/milkmangames Milkman Games

    i had a game for PC called 'Sonic CD' back in the day- was it the same?

    • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

      It's the same. I've got several of the Sonic games on PC, and they're all very much the same as the Genesis/Saturn versions. :)

    • http://twitter.com/Projectwolfie Chris Overbee

      It's a port of the Sega CD version, yeah.

      Fun fact: it's abandonware now.  Makes me wonder why they're making a PC port at all.

      • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

        You said it yourself; the PC port is abandonware. SEGA hasn't been selling the PC port for years. The 32-bit Windows version doesn't run on modern operating systems without an unofficial patch, and it's kind of clunky even when it does run.

        It doesn't run perfectly; there are a few oddities like clear water in Tidal Tempest zone. 

        It also used the US soundtrack; Japan (and Europe) got a different (and better, in some places) set of tunes. One feature I expect from this port is the ability to switch between soundtracks. Another probable feature is the ability to play the game with a widescreen aspect ratio.

        So there some decent reasons to make a new PC port.

  • Rgfangmunroe

    I think I just filled the cup...

  • Guest

    Reserving my squeals for what will probably be the superior version/s (*cough*XBLA/PSN*cough*), but exciting news nonetheless.

  • Cobbyco

    I really can't wait, but I hope it isn't bad on iOS. It should be the same on all devices.

    Anyway, what's stopping SEGA making a port of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles? They wern't bad games...