Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic The Hedgehog Features for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
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3Out of 10
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Sonic The Hedgehog (classic) screenshot
Sonic The Hedgehog (classic) screenshot

Sonic the Hedgehog is the reason I got into gaming. I'm not trying to over-dramatise that, as I'm sure if it wasn't for him there would be some other 90s mascot that triggered my lifelong hobby - Donkey Kong, perhaps. It definitely wouldn't have been Mario, however, because he's always struck me as a bit of a twat despite being the star of many wonderful games. But for me it was Sonic, and that means something.

You can always spot someone who grew up on SEGA, as they tend to have a more entertaining and developed sense of humour than children of the SNES. They also don't take things so seriously. Maybe it's because they realise the Mega Drive had worse games. Here's the reality: Nintendo won. But SEGA had Comix Zone and Streets of Rage, which is more than Nintendo will ever be able to say.

And it had Sonic. It had Sonic 2. Maybe Super Mario World was a better game, but it will never hold a candle to Sonic 2. It doesn't have the same feeling, and it certainly doesn't have the soul.

The Mega Drive also had the comparative mess that was Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but let's just gloss right over that one for now.

I remember roughly when Sonic the Hedgehog came out in 1991; I would be five in a couple of months, and it was one of the first times when the advertising worked. SEGA in the 90s were pretty much going for the same line that Microsoft would try in 2011 - loads of black everywhere, and the pretence that it was for edgy people who loved the thrill of alternative. SEGA never had as many berks on skateboards, however. To be this good takes AGES? I was hooked.

My cousin had a Mega Drive. His family was slightly better off financially than mine, though at the time I certainly wasn't old enough to understand economics. I saw the game running at his house and I was in love. I needed it. I would go to sleep thinking about Sonic the Hedgehog, and I would talk about Sonic the Hedgehog when I woke up. I don't know if you've ever felt like you have a wide, gaping hole in the core of your being that can only be filled by rampant consumerism relating to one particular item, but that's how I felt about Sonic. I asked, begged, and pleaded for a Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog.

I got a Master System with no games, which meant I had to make do with Alex Kidd in Miracle World - it was built-in to the machine. It was cheaper, and my Mum and Dad couldn't afford a Mega Drive. I was devastated, but the Christmas when my Dad plugged in the Master System will be the most memorable of my entire life, at least until I have kids of my own.

Eight months later - eight - and it was my birthday. I was allowed a present. I asked for Sonic the Hedgehog on the Master System. It wasn't the same as the Mega Drive version, of course, and it certainly didn't burst out of the screen glistening with the colour palette of a bag of Skittles, but it still had something. It was fast. It was beautiful. The level design was still pretty good despite the complete lack of Sonic's defining loop-de-loop moments.

I played it every day for months. Here's a fact for the kids of today: there was no way to save and resume your progress in this game. I still beat it, however. Sonic the Hedgehog on the Master System was the first game I ever completed.

I eventually got a Mega Drive. I had to beg for it, mind, but my Mum eventually relented and broke down - it cost her far more money than she had, and she had to buy it on credit and spent absolutely years paying it off. I am convinced nobody will ever do something of this significance for me again in my entire life.

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Woffls's Avatar


I grew up on Sonic games, but they weren't my first. My first games were actually on an Amstrad CPC 6128 and they were all utterly terrible. I don't quite recall what it was that made me want a Mega Drive, but it wasn't as early as 1991 so I expect it was a healthy chunk of marketing on the back of Sonic being outrageously popular at the time.

My parents were also struggling because the mortgage on our house was very high, but they did have jobs. Still, it wasn't until the Mega Drive was £99 at retail that I managed to get one, but I still only had Sonic 1 and one of those Mega Games compilations. I never got past the Labyrinth Zone on Sonic 1, I was utterly terrible at it and my uncle had to complete some levels for me.

Christmas rolled around one year, I don't remember which, and I was lucky enough to get Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and some totally bad ass Sonic & Knuckles pyjamas. Suffice to say, that was a good day. I had the games, collected Sonic the Comic, read the Choose Your Own (Sonic) Adventure books, watched the TV show religiously, had some PJ's and slippers, and even had those puzzle books; Sonic was important to me.

Sonic made me buy a Dreamcast. I had since defected to the wonderment of 64bit graphics but, upon seeing Sonic Adventure at someone's house, I became fixated on 128bits of unbounded speed. It wasn't until a few price drops that I was allowed one, and I recall quite specifically that I ordered one from, now defunct mail order retailer, Special Reserve, with a few games I didn't want. I was wandering around Lymington and found a better deal in an independent retailer so I got mum to cancel the Special Reserve order, they must have had mobile phones by then, and bought that instead.

Dreamcast was okay, but soon after I was more interested in PC gaming, which I had dabbled in previously. After that I left Sonic behind, he stopped being relevant, and I never looked back. It hurt to see Sega drop out of the console race and Sonic fall from grace never to recover, but a part of my childhood will always be locked away in every copy of Sonic 2.
Posted 11:55 on 25 June 2011
87Sarah's Avatar


Great great read Martin, I know I've thoroughly enjoyed reading a piece when I don't stop to take a breath or a quick glance away from the screen until I've finished reading. :)

I remember the first time I saw it at my cousins house and stood there in awe watching my eldest cousin whizz through the levels like a hedgehog on speed!
I have four sisters and at the time I also had 4 cousins so on the day we all went over to the house there were 9 kids all gawping at the tv screen.
I'm not sure how old I was at the time, must have been around 5 and my eldest sister was around 7, the same age as my eldest cousin so I wasn't able to really pull off the moves that my cousin could so we all just stood behind him saying "wow! look at Sonic!" as he whizzed around.

I'd say when I went from watching other people play games to playing them myself that Tomb Raider was what really sucked me into gaming big time. I would spend literally hours and hours playing through the games while listening to all my CD's and I specifically remember my auntie coming into my room as I was still playing Tomb Raider after about 4 hours and saying "I just thought I'd check you were still alive, you've been on there for hours!"
And of course when a friend told me about Final Fantasy VII and I first played that I was utterly hooked, even more than Tomb Raider. I would wake up way too early for school and just couldn't get to sleep because I would think about how much time I could be putting into Final Fantasy rather than wasting it on sleep. I'd spend the whole day thinking about it and couldn't wait to get home to put in a solid 10 hours in again until maybe 1 or 2 in the morning when I'd fall asleep with the controller in my hand. :)

Those were the days!
Posted 15:00 on 24 June 2011
clangod's Avatar


Sonic was of course one of the shaping factors in why I play video games today. I definitely have a soft spot for the little bugger and he's all spinny and stuff.

Good read! It reminded me too of a few other memorable or defining moments in my history playing games. Namely the first time I saw Tomb Raider on the PS1, or the first time I played GTAIII and instantly revelled in the 3D world. The latter being one of the most liberating gaming experiences I can remember.

I still play a couple of Sonic games from time to time and wouldn't mind buying the XBLA title.
Posted 12:31 on 24 June 2011
CheekyLee's Avatar


I actually played the first Sonic in Japanese, at a friends house who imported it. We didn't know about the "The" in the middle, and thus he bought it on the strength of the name 'Sonic Hedgehog' and how it made him chuckle.

I can recall the first time I got the whole momentum thing down, and was literally sailing through the air. I couldn't help it, a semi-evil HAHAHA left my mouth, and I was hooked at that instant.

The first time I played the Master System version, I was like .... WHAT? But, after a minute or two, I was overjoyed because this was a WHOLE NEW GAME! The waterfall bit aside, I loved everything else in it. (And am now tempted to fire it up again on emulator, fond memories...)

Great piece, Garsen!
Posted 23:05 on 23 June 2011


Bah! Youngster! :)

Good nostalgia trip, though I was already in my 20's during Sonic's peak.

I was one of the handful that loved Sonic R and bought Sonic Jam because it had the remastered intro to Sonic CD, plus the 3D was pretty cool for the time.

I liked Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast and loved Sonic Adventure 2. Sonic Colours was good on Wii as well, so it's not all been bad.
Posted 20:42 on 23 June 2011
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar


My Sonic experience is not playing any until my friend lent be Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, I then heard this song, thought it was pretty cool and that's it.

YouTube Video
Posted 17:45 on 23 June 2011
enviro-bear's Avatar


Wow... that was a simply fantastic article Martin. Well done.
Posted 17:41 on 23 June 2011
reynoldio's Avatar


Simply wonderful - I share many of your experiences and feelings. Genuinely, thanks.
Posted 17:12 on 23 June 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar


Wow great read dude.

Brings back a lot of my childhood memory's, I to had to queue up for the free School Dinners and got a Master System when everyone was getting into the Mega Drive. While that was my sisters and I loved playing Sonic, I had a Commondor64 which helped me go off in to the PC route instead.

Still loved reading you thoughts about the little spiky dude
Posted 16:08 on 23 June 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I felt like I was reading my own discovery of games there - that's pretty much how I ended up getting into it too. I don't necessarily feel a huge attachment to Sonic (especially not the sequels), but seeing our family friends kids play it was incredible and I still remember that day and how awe-struck I was, even though I was only six-years-old.

I feel the same way about Sonic as I do about the Beatles - I don't care that much for them but if it wasn't for the Beatles I know I wouldn't have half the bands I love today, so I respect them greatly. I know it can be argued what influence Sonic really had, but you get me.
Posted 15:53 on 23 June 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar


What a wonderful piece. Bravo, Martin.

I remember receiving a package sent by my grandmother from Australia (she was visiting for 6 months) for my 8th birthday, containing but a card and a single gift - a cuddly Sonic. I still remember the surprise at seeing him, and cherished him - despite having outgrown all other cuddly toys several years previously. I remember opening that gift so vividly BECAUSE it was Sonic, the one game I played when at her house with my uncles, and she recognised how much fun one little series could bring to ones early life. I still have him in the cupboard. My point is, you are not alone in having a videogame character mean a lot emotionally. :)

Good piece, all round.
Posted 15:11 on 23 June 2011
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


Best thing I've read online all year.
Posted 15:10 on 23 June 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 24/11/2006
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 1,138 89
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