It may seem hard to believe in this day and age, but there was a time when some games just didn’t see the light of day in the west, even those featuring big names like Sonic the Hedgehog.
While you might think Team Sonic Racing is a modern idea, Sonic appeared in several earlier kart racing games, including Sonic Kart 3DX, a 2005 game released only in Japan for the Sonic Cafe service. This was a mobile phone service with a library of titles available for a monthly fee.
Consequently, the majority of western gamers, including Sonic fans, have been unaware of Sonic Kart 3DX, or know of it only by name.
That is, until 18 minutes of game footage appeared on a Japanese YouTube channel, which you can watch above. Boasting arcade-style graphics and apparently switchable between closeup and pulled out views, Sonic Kart 3DX doesn’t appear to have any competitors to challenge the main racer. However, playing the game in the original online environment gave you the chance to play against other sonics or engage in time trials, which still work.
Sonic Kart 3DX is revived here thanks to emulation software. The original game disappeared in 2007 when Sonic Cafe was taken offline.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.