Happy 20th Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog Turns 20
Sonic the Hedgehog has been destroying robots and warping kids' perceptions of what a hedgehog is for 20 years. In 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog burst onto the Sega Genesis scene, becoming a legit competitor to a certain set of plumber siblings over in the Nintendo camp. Mario and Luigi had a head start: The NES hit shelves years before Sega Genesis (Megadrive in the UK).
Sonic was created specifically to compete with Mario. Sort of like how Ministry was formed to compete with Depeche Mode, before Al Jourgensen went satanic-cowboy rogue. The original Sonic was not deemed safe for kids: he had fangs and an interspecies (human) girlfriend... named Madonna. Still, Sonic's attitude survived the character iterations, and the blue hedgehog became well-known for his direct feedback to the player. Just put down the controls for a moment: wait and see what Sonic does.
Nintendo-vs-Sega was the iPhone-vs-Android of the early Nineties. Sonic was Sega's superstar, joined by his pal Tails, a fox with two tails which enabled him to fly. Over the years, Sonic has evolved with Sega, moving from 2D side-scrollers to 3D worlds.
Sonic the Hedgehog actually outlived the Sega machines. Dreamcast got its butt kicked in the market, and Sega bowed out of the console race. Sonic survived, and appeared on games for Sony and (gasp!) Nintendo systems.
Sonic is looking good at 20: the rest of us hope that we're aging as gracefully as the pixellated blue garden-dweller.
Check it out: Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario will join forces for Sonic & Mario at London 2012.