Happy Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog!

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20 years ago, on this very day, SEGA released a game that would prove so popular it would lead to their Genesis/Mega Drive outselling Nintendo’s Super-NES by a factor of 2-1 during the 1991 holiday season. Its lead character  – a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog – would also become SEGA’s mascot in response to Nintendo’s ubiquitous Super Mario.

We are, of course, referring to the beloved Sonic the Hedgehog – who turns 20 today (though he’s actually perpetually 15)! It wasn’t the first game to feature the red-shod speedy blue mascot; his beginning were actually a little humbler, appearing as a toy or air-freshener affixed to the rear-view mirror in SEGA’s arcade racing class, Rad Mobile. The first games featuring Sonic, mostly 2D platformers are hailed as classics and rightly so; they were the first to introduce an element of speed to the platform genre. Since then, he’s appeared in over 65 games that have sold over 75 million copies between ‘em.

Unfortunately fate hasn’t been too kind to Sonic; for some reason, his games (barring a handful of handheld titles)in the last ten years have ranged from “pretty bad” to “absolutely awful.”  You can blame it on the transition to 3D, the ever-increasing cast of useless support characters or Sonic Team’s seeming inability to some up with decent idea, one thing is for sure; Sonic’s legacy just isn’t what it used to be. Sonic’s 20. Feel old yet?

Still, I don’t want to be too negative on the fella’s birthday, after all – so tell us…what’s your favourite Sonic memory?

Last Updated: June 23, 2011

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