It’s been 20 years since Sega released their first Sonic the Hedgehog game on June 23, 1991. (Aack! 20 years!) Sonic was Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario, replacing the much blander Alex Kidd, who had a good run as the Master System icon. Sonic was designed by Yuji Naka and Naoto Ōshima, and refined by a committee of Sega programmers and artists. An interesting piece of Sonic trivia: his first appearance in any video game was not in his first Sega Genesis/MegaDrive game, Sonic the Hedgehog, but as a picture on an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror in one of the vehicles in the Sega stand-up arcade racing game called Rad Mobile, released on April 26, 1991.
Since his debut, Sonic has starred in game for many platforms, including the Sega Genesis / MegaDrive, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Windows PC, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, and Nintendo Wii. He’s also starred in his own comic book and cartoon series. Now that’s a sign of an enduring character!
Although he never became the cultural icon that Mario did, Sonic has endured for two decades, and games with his brand continue to be released, albeit without the same sales figures as a Mario Bros. release. So, Happy 20th Birthday, Sonic – here’s to another 20 years of spinning your way to gaming glory!