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Confusion over S2HACK and S2BETA history... help with proof of dates?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by saxman, Nov 20, 2022 at 5:55 AM.

  1. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I don't know if I can adequately explain this or not, but I'm going to do my best:

    Supposedly, Simon Wai made the Sonic 2 beta ROM available to the English-speaking world on January 3, 1999. At one point, I also saw an entry of Simon's page detailing this fact (can't seem to find it right now though).

    Andy Wolan offered me and Simon the opportunity to join the Sonic Stuff Research Group in early January. My page of course was the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide. And I remember both the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide appearing on SSRG literally hours after Simon Wai's page.

    The history of the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide is that it was first released to the public as a simple text file sometime in December of 1998. The original text file even has the December 1998 date in it. It was put into HTML format once I agreed to join SSRG.

    I'm struggling to determine *where* I made it available. My fuzzy memory tells me I sent it to Simon Wai to be put on his page (before it was moved to SSRG, obviously). But if the beta ROM was made public (and subsequently a website created for it) on January 3, 1999, that would call the December 1998 date into question. So either I shared it somewhere else, or that beta release date is incorrect. In fact, I may have shared it on two websites, but I'm not totally sure.

    Hopefully I haven't lost anyone so far...

    I know for a fact that I didn't have a computer at home to use for several months in late 1998. The work I did on creating the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide began using a computer at my dad's business. My grandad bought me a computer before Christmas. So my guess is that was maybe mid-December. One of the first things I did when I got it up and running was share my Sonic 2 hacking notes with either one or two websites.

    I remember that I had missed out on a lot that was going on around the internet for the months I didn't have a computer. When I checked my buddy SSNTails' website (at this point, it was SegaSonic.Net) for the first time in a while, he had the Sonic 2 beta title screen logo at the top, which I found stunning since it was different than the final Sonic 2. It was at that point that I began to follow the trail to what ended up being the Sonic 2 beta ROM.

    What I'm ultimately saying here is I am having difficulty proving these dates. has a lot of missing entries (did they remove some stuff??). Is anyone willing to help track down some of this missing history? Did Simon Wai actually make the Sonic 2 beta ROM available in December of 1998? Was my Sonic 2 Hacking Guide actually made available in January of 1999? Is anyone able to make heads or tails of this?

    For reference, I can tell you the old SSRG URLs were as follows:

    Any assistance in trying to clear this confusion up would be greatly appreciated.


    One small tidbit I recall is the original website claiming that you could "win" a copy of the beta Rom by hitting a certain view number on the website back in the day (this was when public view trackers were all the rage on the 90s internet), I.E. BEFORE the public release date. My memory is fuzzy on the details, but I recall seeing the screencaps and wanting it so badly and being teased with the prospect of playing it a bit before it came out.

    Is it possible the S2Beta was privately passed around to a few people prior to Jan 3rd 1999, thus that allowed for your documents to be formed earlier?
  3. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I'm not 100% sure, but I think you may be thinking of SoStH. Andre Dirk apparently had two cartridges, one being the Simon Wai version, and one apparently being like the final, but missing the Sega logo at the beginning (or at least I think that's what he told me). I don't remember the thing about winning it, but I do remember him attempting to sell them for a large amount of money. This was before the beta ROM release.

    The Sonic 2 Hacking Guide was only created with the final ROM in mind. The significance of the beta is I thought it was already released by the time I put the document out on the internet. And I feel like I had it posted on Simon Wai's page. But I may have had it shared on two different websites... can't remember for certain.

    Unfortunately, my memory has fused together certain events from 24 years ago. I only remember the beta ROM being available with Simon Wai's page on tact. Which leaves me to conclude either one of the dates (S2hack-December or S2beta-January) are wrong, or they're right and my memory of when certain surrounding events happened are misaligned. It's really quite shocking to me there isn't a better record of this stuff, or at least one that I can find.



    I remember SoSTH, but I am not sure if this was the only site that had that early info. Did Wai have his own page back then, and if so, what was it?

    Internet archives only goes back to 2004.

    It's still a trip to read this one though. That "hoaxes" section in particular takes me back, as those were all the rage on just about every page back then.

    Now I remember I still want a Knuckles in Sonic Spinball hack. What the heck, guys? I've been waiting 24 years!

    (Oh wait, I actually did submit 2 hoaxes on page 6. I think that was my first ever internet contribution too. Wild.)
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022 at 5:20 AM
  5. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    ...I'm genuinely confused. It sounds like not only did he have the cartridges, but he had a ROM too (since he mentioned KGen; and some of the screenshots which must be taken from an emulator).

    If he had a ROM, why didn't he share it? Although in the Links section, he gives Simon Wai credit for finding ROM, which makes it more confusing.

    Maybe there's just a mix of old and new information going on here. Makes putting a timeline together very challenging though.

    To answer your question in Simon Wai, I don't think he had a website before the beta ROM. He created the website specifically for its release.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022 at 5:47 AM
  6. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

    For some mysterious reason... Administrator
    Andre Dirk did not have the ROM for the "Simon Wai" prototype. The original version of his Secrets of Sonic the Hedgehog website had photographs taken from his television, which were also rehosted on a website called Sonic Pandemonium (the only "officially sanctioned" place the images were rehosted). By December of 1998, Andre was "auctioning" the cartridge, of which one such update can be seen here. January 2nd, 1999 was when Simon Wai posted the binary on Usenet. His summary of finding it still technically exists on the wiki. A few years back, I remember looking on google groups and finding a post from a day or two prior of Simon asking in a non-Sonic group if anyone had the ROM, but I can't seem to find it right now. I think the moment he found the file, he made it widely available.

    If you guide was first put on the Simon's site, it couldn't have been before January 2nd. If it was put up somewhere else first, I don't recall. I don't know if this is much help, but there you go.
  7. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    This helps a bit yes. Thanks!

    Hmm, reading that Usenet posting, the dates is clearly posted. Pretty hard to dispute. January 2nd it is then.

    So that leaves me to resolve this December 1998 date. I've been saying for nearly 24 years now, over and over, that the Sonic 2 Hacking Guide was first made public in the form of "s2hack.txt" in December 1998. And yet, I can't quite seem to prove that with what I've been able to recall from It's incredibly frustrating that so much isn't archived. I thought maybe I had it posted to SoStH, but I don't see any signs of it there. And filenames apparently aren't indexed on from what I am reading, which means I can't search for that filename.

    Thinking about it more, it had to be hosted on Simon's site for certain, because that's how Andy Wolan found it, and subsequently offered me space on what would soon be formally called Sonic Stuff Research Group.

    I still believe it had to have been hosted on another page too, or else that December date just wouldn't make a lot of sense (unless I've been wrong for 24 years).
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2022 at 9:19 AM
  8. RDNexus


    It's saddening how we folks tend to forget that stuff doesn't stay on the net forever.
    Even I only nowadays do think of trying to archive as much as possible of stuff personal or of my interest.
    But also, the 90s and early 2000s was a pretty hectic time for netizens, so it'd still be tough to work this all out even if we had always wanted to.