That was a Tumblr ask I got a few months ago. I said I’d answer it eventually, so here we go…
I suppose I’ll open this by explaining what TFH is for those of you who read this blog and A) Are not part of the Sonic community and B) have only become friends with me somewhat recently. Buckle in, though, because it stretches all the way back to the point where I originally started making games. If you know the history and just want to skip ahead, look for the big text.
Sonic: The Fated Hour (TFH) was a fangame I started working on when I was 16. For those of you not keeping track at home, that was all the way back in the paleozoic era of 1999. When I say I’ve been making games for a long time, I mean it. Sonic Adventure was either on the horizon or had just come out, and I had just gotten my first internet-capable home computer. Four or five years earlier, me and my friends got the idea in our heads that we could make video games. We drew up some level maps and characters for a game we called “Sonic: In Your Face”, a sequel to Sonic & Knuckles. It never went much further than that for them.
For me, I continued wanting to understand how games were made. Not long before we got our internet-ready 266mhz Packard Bell, I had endeavored to learn a little bit of GWBASIC on our previous computer, a decrepit Hyundai with a monochrome monitor from the 80’s. With the internet now stretched out before me, I could make games for real. What I initially ran across was a Sonic fangame called “Sonic 2000”. I don’t remember much about it now, but it became a stepping stone to a much larger community called the Sonic Fangames HQ (SFGHQ). SFGHQ was run by Rlan (if you know him, yes, that Rlan) and had a community of about a dozen or so people not unlike me who were producing fan-made PC games based on Sonic the Hedgehog using a line of Clickteam software encompassing Klik ‘N’ Play (KNP), Click & Create (CnC), and The Games Factory (TGF). As I entered SFGHQ, the talk of the town was a game called Sonic Robo-Blast, a KNP game using custom-made graphics.
I was shocked.