The SOR community began in 1999 on the alt.sega.genesis Usenet group, when Jonathan Hughson, Matthew Drury, Anton Berglin and several others banded together with the goal of creating what would become the world's first SOR website. For several years previously, there had been a distinct lack of any SOR sites on the net, and fans were crying out for it. This was back when the internet was still in its relative infancy.
'Streets of Rage Online' was founded by Jonny Hughson in 1999, and he spent the next two years piecing together things to use on the site. It was launched at classicgaming.com/soronline in 2001, and quickly became very popular thanks to its contributions from other fans, and its wealth of info on hacking the SOR ROMs. It was the central SOR fansite for several years (in fact it was the only SOR site), developing a loyal community of fans, until it was suddenly discontinued by Jonny in mid 2005.
Jonny Hughson unfortunately disappeared from the scene in 2006, largely due to personal issues and he was not heard from again for several years. To make matters worse, the site's ezboard forum was also abandoned, and all posts there were lost, despite the efforts of community members Matthew "bittermd" Drury and Yves "Shyning" Francis. Following this abandoning of the site, it seemed like Game Over for the SOR Community, until Matthew Drury created another site with the idea of filling the void left by the sudden departure of Jonny Hughson. Thus, Streets of Rage Expanded Universe was born, as a place where the site and community could live on - and by late 2006 the site had moved to streetsofrage.org.uk and gained a new forum.
The community was saved. Slowly, old veteran members from the SOR Online ezboard forum, such as CosmoBuggi, BESTwithSKATE and sor4needed began to come back to the newer site, alongside newcomers Mister X Neo and Mystery XIII.
From 2006 - 2007, the new site went from strength to strength, focusing on newer fangames such as SOR Remake and OpenBOR-based titles, doing a lot of groundwork for spreading the word about those early projects. The site also brought creative partners onboard (most notably the talented artist Damion Kendrick), and became recognised for its rich and exclusive content. By 2008, the Expanded Universe site had moved to streetsofrage.net where it underwent a complete artistic redesign and was merged with its older predecessor, Streets of Rage Online, to become a coalition site known as Streets of Rage Online-Universe.
Sadly, in October 2009, the original vintage SOR Online site was removed by its newer hosts at Gamespy/IGN after an eight-year run. So, a few months later in early 2010, the decision was made by Matthew Drury to redevelop SOR Online-Universe into a modern era version of Streets of Rage Online, to make use of the classic site's visual style and layout (albeit in a new widescreen resolution), therefore returning the community to its original roots.
Then, in early 2011, original SOR Online webmaster Jonny Hughson finally resurfaced, and impressed with how things had evolved since his original run as Webmaster, joined forces with Matthew Drury to give his full support to the newer site, authorising it as the "Official" Streets of Rage Online, and rewriting all of his older code to work with browsers like Firefox (as he had promised back in 2005). This new team of two talented webmasters, Jonny H & Matt D, brought SOR Online into a new Golden Age, bringing some vast improvements and updates to the site like never before.
Later that year, the SOR community celebrated the 10th Anniversary of SOR Online, alongside the 20th Anniversary of Streets of Rage itself.
Streets of Rage Online suffered with some major technical problems in April 2012, which forced multiple shut-downs of the streetsofrage.net server, and the future of the site itself began to come into question. However, thanks to the efforts of Matthew Drury, the site was saved and moved to a new server at soronline.net (its current home).
Our goal is to continue the strong tradition of SOR Online whilst striving forward into the future; offering an independently-hosted, privately-financed and ad-free site completely free-of-charge forever as a home to the community, always presenting the best and latest SOR news, downloads and exclusives.
Who runs this site?
This site is currently run by me, Matthew Drury. I'm 30 years old and I grew up in a town called Sittingbourne in the UK, though I now live in California, USA, not far from Los Angeles. I have been a fan of SOR since 1992, and a part of the SOR Online community on the internet since its very beginnings in 1999 and I've seen it all. My handle was 'bittermd' on the old ezboard forums, then 'Eidolon' at SoR.net but you'll know me as 'Matt D' nowadays. You may also recognise my name from the Streets of Rage Saga novels. Yes, I wrote those novels, love them or hate them... my whole life by now has pretty much been taken up by SOR. I have a large collection; original carts, books and comics, posters and CDs. I collect it all
I have been a fan of video games in general since the days of the Commodore C16. Over the years I have also owned a Sega Master System, Mega Drive, Mega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast, Nintendo Game Boy, GBA, N64, GameCube, Wii, Sony PS1, PS2, and an Xbox 360. As well as SOR I am also a big fan of the 'Doom', 'Resident Evil', and 'Monkey Island' series.
Away from the keyboard and the joypad, I am happily married with two beautiful young children. I am also a published author with 3 science-fiction novels out on Amazon.
To contact me:
Why set it up?
Long story. I've liked the series since 1992, when I saw footage of Streets of Rage 2 on a video that came with the Xmas 1992 edition of Mean Machines Sega, and thought it looked amazing. I managed to rent a copy of the original, and then bought both of them. I got Streets of Rage 3 not long after it came out, for my 13th birthday. After that, I started writing my SOR novels. I've loved the series for most of my life, and when Jonny Hughson's original website expired, I saw the opportunity to continue his legacy. Web Design is a hobby of mine; I have an 'A' Level in Computer Science and an Advanced GNVQ in Media: Communication and Production.Soronlinehttp://soronline.net/main.htm