NiGHTS fans are better than Sonic fans.
There I said it.
Whilst Sonic fans have been spoiled over the years, with games good and bad at regular intervals NiGHTS fans have been left on tenterhooks for years at a time, only dangled the occasional promise of a new dawn. They’re vocal when they need to be, polite and welcoming when they don’t and have a camaraderie that a lot of gaming communities can learn a lot from. Whenever I’m asked in “the industry” about my favourite group of fans to deal with I always say the NiGHTS fans and as a result I have a lot of time for them.
NiGHTS first found fame in the Sonic Team game NiGHTS Into Dreams for the SEGA Saturn, a purple and white jester character able to fly through the sky. NiGHTS lived in the dream world seeking fun, adventure and enjoying its freedom. How NiGHTS started life however was not as a peaceful character at all for NiGHTS (as is often forgotten by people) was not created by the forces of good, in fact NiGHTS was created byWizeman, the Lord of Nightmare and is a Nightmaren – a creature designed to bring terror to the dreams of those who sleep. Whilst it is not known exactly what happened, it appears Wizeman in “designing” NiGHTS imbued it with an understanding of free will. Presumably Wizeman thought this would enable NiGHTS to conceive of new forms of terrorising children that his other servants could not.
It was this concept of freewill that would result in NiGHTS to become annoyed at having to take orders and become unsettled by the path of its fellows so removed its Persona Mask, abandoning and rebelling against Wizeman and his nefarious ways.
Whilst NiGHTS found a degree of peace through this it came at a heavy cost as it lost a great deal of its power, though it found through ‘dualizing’ (sharing its form) with a Visitor (a dreamer able to retain some of its strength of personality – it’s ‘Ideya’) it was able to find a new greater level of friendship and happiness in its existence. It also made an enemy of former friend (and “sibling”) Reala through this rebellion and a new intense SEGA rivalry was born.
“Ideya Buy That For A Dollar!”
After the original NiGHTS game, NiGHTS quickly returned with a special Christmas themed series of adventures being reunited with original Visitors, Claris and Elliot. It was in this game that a series of special “presents” could be unlocked – and in one of these was a special Sonic themed version of NiGHTS! In it the player controlled Sonic as he took on, amongst other things a Dr. Eggman version of NiGHTS Into Dreams boss Puffy.
Whilst that was the only instance of Sonic appearing in a NiGHTS game, NiGHTS has gone onto appear with Sonic in a vast number of appearances in titles both playable and cameo. NiGHTS was even in Sonic Generations on the 3DS. NiGHTS endures in little ways, mostly through these cameos. Its strange that as a result NiGHTS has appeared in more Sonic games this way than a lot of established characters from the series.
NiGHTS is also the only non-Sonic character SEGA to have had an actual comic run with Archie Comics. The four issue NiGHTS into Dreams comic is an interesting affair and collectors should keep an eye out for it. Maybe we can convince Ian Flynn to take a stab at another four comic guest arc as part of Sonic Universe?
For a time SEGA were almost embarrassed by the NiGHTS fans. They’d done it all without them, they were loyal and they had done next to nothing for them for a decade. Yet the fans wouldn’t let it go. They refused.
They campaigned like crazy when NiGHTS was bizarrely to be left out of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. You can have Banjo & Kazooie in it but not NiGHTS? A popular non-Sonic SEGA character that actually HAD a fanbase left out of a game that was to be a love-note to all things SEGA? What exactly what the person at SEGA who made that call smoking? A rousing tour de force campaign saw NiGHTS reinstated (although only as flagman) in a big victory for the fans and Steve Lycett who also supported the move highly.
Overclocked Remix released their excellent Lucid Dreaming album last year, with a demo for which played at Summer of Sonic 2011 and that impressed both Takashi Iizuka and Yuji Naka present. Extra copies of the limited print CD were even requested by Sonic Team for people who worked on NiGHTS.
Not only that Lynne Triplett – TRiPPY of NiD.com – continues to astound with her work on her in-progress NiGHTS fancomic Descent into Dreams which is a more NiGHTS than anything SEGA themselves has put out in years.
Now NiGHTS is sixteen it appears, a year after the “Don’t Forget NiGHTS” NiD15 campaign started that SEGA might actually be taking notice that there is an ongoing love fro the character. Athough they’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to after all this time.
With their recent teasing of an HD version of Stick Canyon from the original NiGHTS into Dreams likely for All-Stars Racing Transformed (perhaps we’ll hear about this later today) NiGHTS is back in the public eye once more. The reaction the image generated was not expected, a lot of media (Eurogamer, for one) jumped on the image not for ASRT but for a possible NiGHTS HD – or an upscaled version of the much requested original NiGHTS on digital format. Or some version of the Japanese only PS2 port of the game.
NiGHTS lives – and will keep on living so long as Dreamers have the courage to dream.