In the late 1980s, consoles sold mascots. Nintendo had Maria, Namco had
Pac-Man, and Sega had… Alex Kidd. Does anyone remember the unfortunate Alex?
Probably not, but fortunately according to Seg, on this day exactly 31 years
ago, one character caught the momentum and is unstoppable to this day.
It was the blue hedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog, who got his game for the then Sega Mega Drive console. During the development of the game, it was not planned from the very beginning that Sonic would be a hedgehog. Other fast animals such as squirrels, rabbits, or dog were also considered, but in the end, the idea of a hedgehog prevailed.
The character was also not immediately blue but was conceived as a
turquoise hedgehog, but they had to paint it a darker color to stand
out better among the surroundings. The name Sonic also came later during
development - at first, the character was called Mr. Hedgehog. Sonic's main
opponent, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, was designed before the protagonist of the game
had the look.
Sonic the Hedgehog internally bore the working title "Defeat Mario" and seven people worked on the game. Their desire to surpass Nintendo's hit was huge, so much so that they worked on Sonica's development for 19 hours a day for months. The development team led by Yuji Nak was especially proud to have created the fastest character in the world of video games. But the real challenge was to design a fast-paced game in which players would not get lost. The levels for Sonica were therefore redesigned several times until the team became satisfied.
Sonic the Hedgehog in the final version was a unique 2D platformer in which
the title hedgehog ran uphills and downhills of colorful worlds, hitting
robots and collecting gold rings. The game had six zones, each of which
numbered three chapters, culminating in a final conflict with Dr. A robot.
Although Sonic did not provoke a revolution like Mario in his time, his play was praised on all sides. The visual side of Sonic stood out the most, followed by fast, simple gameplay and excellent level design. The news that Sega finally had an answer to Marija quickly spread and the game reached one million copies in 1991, and the following year Sonic helped Sega earn the first billion dollars from the sale of the Mega Drive console. Sonic ultimately sold more than 15 million copies on the Mega Drive console.
Sonic was exclusive to Sega’s consoles in the 1990s and
helped them overtake Nintendo during 1991 and 1992, but later came to
life on almost every other platform, from PCs, Android, and even to
unimaginable competing consoles from Nintendo. Before Sonic appeared on
Nintendo, there were pirated versions in which the character was called
Sonic has become a huge franchise in these 31 years. He had several successful sequels, although the speed of the release of new games often did not benefit him. In the last 20 years, we remember only a few good titles, including Sonic Mania, which was developed by Sonic fans, not its owners.
In 2020, Sonic received its movie adaptation. The appearance of the film Sonic initially resulted in great displeasure from the fans, but after the redesign things fell into place and we got a surprisingly solid film that achieved a notable result, so its sequel is already being shot.