Star Light Zone

Star Light Zone dt-published

I’ve been a Sonic The Hedgehog fan since a very young age, spending countless hours playing the Genesis games and later the Dreamcast games.

As a pre-teen, I got 56k dial-up internet at home and my life changed forever. I grew up in the countryside and had little or no access to music, movies, literature, anything really. Moreover, I was a bit of a social outcast, extremely introverted and shy and did not get along with many people at school or where I lived.

Online, I found a sense of belonging that was missing for some time. I was always interested in programming, making video games. Finally, I had other people that I could talk to about this and with which to share my work! I almost immediately, through what I imagine was a very poorly executed Yahoo search, found the Sonic fan gaming community and was instantly captivated.

For the remainder of my teen years I was an active part of that community, working on my own games, collaborating with others, helping people with their own projects or simply having fun, shooting the shit, being a dumb teenager together with people that were halfway across the world. Eventually I got into college and moved away from the community, but I’ll always remember those times fondly.

Today, I find myself in a similar place with music and the amazing ____wave online community. Just a bunch of people getting together over a shared love of expressing themselves creatively, of looking back at their fondest (and sometimes less fond) memories and repurposing them, bringing them under the light of the present, making something new out of them.

Star Light Zone is one of my favorite levels in all Sonic games. It feels endlessly joyful and hopeful, in both its futuristic cityscape aesthetic, its fantastically frantic pacing (especially after the slog that is Labyrinth Zone) and, most of all, in its music.

Consider this the latest manifestation of my Sonic fandom, this time through a completely different medium. This song always sounded jazzy in my head, like something you might hear entering some downtown bar that simultaneous fills you with nostalgia and a sense of wonder, of possibility.

I’ll probably never write another “jazz” song ever again, but I’m very happy I wrote this one. Hopefully it’ll take you somewhere happy too.


  • Original song by Masato Nakamura
  • Written, mixed and mastered by Life Patterns