While some companies take an antagonistic stance on fan-games, Sega is notable for their live-and-let-live approach to creative Sonic The Hedgehog fans. It's even gone as far as hiring some of them, resulting in the excellent Sonic Mania (opens in new tab). Left to their own devices, their community have even organised their own annual amateur games expo online. Last week the Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2019 (opens in new tab) hosted dozens of releases. Many are fan-games, but there's some entirely new properties, and even an early demo from one of Sonic Mania's lead developers. Take a peek at some of them in the medley trailer below.
Among the more notable releases is the "technical preview" demo of Vertebreaker, giving eager players a first taste of the next project by Simon "Stealth" Thomley (aka Headcannon), one of Sonic Mania's lead devs. It's a clever looking platformer about a skeleton with a stretchy bone whip that doubles as a grappling hook, bungee cord and weapon. There's an expanded demo and a Kickstarter due on Halloween, but you can take an early peek into the bone zone here on the game's SAGE page (opens in new tab).
Other notable SAGE 2019 releases include a demo for the charming Brock Crocodile (opens in new tab), a very Mega Drive-inspired mascot platformer. The Mega Man ZX-inspired Starbuster (opens in new tab) is also well worth a shot, as slicing robots clean in two with a laser sword never gets old. Dunkehr (opens in new tab) is an aggressive platform brawler starring an armoured badger with a bit of Dark Souls spirit, too.
It's not all platformers and animal-themed protagonists either. XF Drive (opens in new tab) is a 3D racing game inspired by Sega's arcade heyday, and Rodea Eternal (opens in new tab) is a fan-game tribute to Rodea: The Sky Soldier, a little-known Wii game designed by Yuji Naka, former head of Sonic Team. There's plenty to chew on here, although much of it has a distinctly old-school Sega flavour to it.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. You can check out all the SAGE 2019 releases on the expo games page here.