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Sega has signed a three-year deal with Alton Towers that will see the Spinball Whizzer rollercoaster renamed as Sonic Spinball.

The deal gives Sega "exclusive videogame rights" at the resort. As TPT reported earlier this month, Spinball Whizzer will be re-themed around Sega's famous Sonic the Hedgehog character in time for the 2010 season. Meanwhile, rooms at the Alton Towers hotel will be dedicated to the character.

As well as featuring Sonic-themed decorations and furniture, the Sonic hotel rooms will be equipped with games consoles to allow guests to play the latest Sonic titles. The rooms will open to the public on February 13, in time for the park's half-term opening.

The Sonic theme is a natural fit for Spinball Whizzer, which was previously themed around pinball. Numerous titles featuring the iconic hedgehog have included "bonus games" based on pinball, and an entire pinball game (also named Sonic Spinball) was released for the Sega Genesis (also known as the Mega Drive) in 1993. Subsequent releases followed on the Game Gear and Master System, and the game was re-issued in 2007 on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console.

The launch of the re-themed Spinball Whizzer will tie in well with the European release of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection on February 20. This features a selection of classic Sonic titles, including Sonic Spinball.

2010 promises to be a busy year for Alton Towers, with the park opening its major new rollercoaster, Thirteen, on March 20. The nearby Rita: Queen of Speed is also set to undergo a re-theme in order to fit in with the new attraction's "Dark Forest" setting.

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