Sonic Hacking Contest: The best mods to come from the awesome event

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For the last twenty years, there has been a huge community of developers breaking open the Sonic games from the nineties.

From Knuckles in Sonic 1 to a complete redesign of Sonic 2, it's even lead to some developers work with SEGA to create official entries, such as Sonic Mania.

However in the last few years, there has been a contest where anyone could submit their entries based on their hacks, called the 'Sonic Hacking Contest'.

The entries have already been submitted for this year, and are now available to play. With that, lets look at some highlights so far.

Hacking Contest 2020

The games are judged by a collection of judges from the community, and are awarded 'Trophies', such as:

  • Retro
  • 3D
  • 2D PC
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Each of these categories will also have a Top 3 Result, followed by individual trophies:

  • Best Visual
  • Best Audio
  • Best Technical
  • Best Level Design
  • Best Voted by Media Panel
  • Most Entertaining
  • Most WTF (Polygon Jim)
  • Best Team Entry
  • Best Multiplayer Entry
  • Best Fresh Concept Using Existing Concepts As A Backbone
  • Most Potential
  • Most Improved Since Last Year
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The contest is ending on the 1st November, so make sure to download the ones available from here, where you can change aspects of Sonic Mania, or even other Sonic games, such as Sonic R, Sonic Adventure DX, Sonic 2, and many more.

READ MORE: Sonic Mania Mods and the art of extending a game.

Best Mods Submitted

This writer has been playing through all of the entries so far, and here's some highlights:

GEX the Gecko in Sonic 1

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Gex Returns in, Sonic 1?

A character long forgotten from the late-nineties, Gex is a Crystal Dynamics product, where the levels would be a parody of many films, but you would collect flies and remotes to complete the levels.

The same applies here, but across the whole of Sonic 1. It's a fantastic upside-down on the Sonic formula, and it oddly works really well.

Sonic Remixed Adventure

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Emerald Coast in 2D.

What if Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 were converted into Sonic Mania? You would get this mod. Featuring the same music and sound effects from the two games, you are able to play two levels, 'Emerald Coast' and 'Final Rush', and they are accurately converted into Sonic Mania, with Sonic himself gaining an appearance that matches the Sonic from the two games.

It's a 1:1 match here, and one wonders if SEGA could replicate this in some way for the 20th anniversary of Sonic Adventure 2 next year.

Sonic R Mania

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Sonic R Mania
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Sonic R Mania!

Not only does this completely overhaul the existing stages with Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Mirage Saloon and Studiopolis, but the awful handling is much improved here.

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This writer always enjoyed the original game, with the music being incredible, but now it's even better, with all the sprites from the Sonic Mania levels directly ported over into this mod.

It plays much better, and I can't help but wonder if there should be a 'Sonic R 2' sometime.

READ MORE: This fan-made LEGO Sonic collection needs to happen.