Sonic the Hedgehog celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Speed ​​character story

Time flies very quickly, and you are convinced of this when you find out that one of the heroes of video games, with whom many of us sat until the morning, is already 30 years old. It seems that the first game about a high-speed blue hedgehog appeared quite recently, but no – on the nose, in June, Sonic’s round anniversary.

Over time, the general style of drawing the character, some of its characteristics and even the declared age have changed. Now Sonic is a little more mature, or something, the character is very different from the original concept. But this is still the same hero. Under the cut – the story of a hedgehog protecting his friends from the antagonist, Dr. Robotnik, and a description of the most interesting games with these characters.

When and why was Sonic created?

Sega needed a hero as popular as the plumber Mario, who was one of the most famous playable characters in the 90s. In April 1990, the AM8 team began development. The character was invented and implemented by artist Naoto Oshima, programmer Yuji Naka and designer Hirokazu Yasuhara.

But do not think that the hedgehog appeared suddenly and immediately. Before him, the team came up with many other heroes, including an armadillo, a rabbit, a dog, and even US President Theodore Roosevelt. He was drawn as a man in pajamas, and the image turned out to be so successful that even after choosing Sonic as the protagonist of the second character, they decided not to forget, but to make him an antagonist, slightly changing his appearance so that he no longer looked like Roosevelt.

At the general meeting, which was organized by Sega, the hedgehog was chosen by the decision of the majority. After that, it remained to come up with a simple and memorable name. First, the name Needlemouth was suggested.

Initially, the sketch was black and white, but later it was painted in the colors that we see now. The name was changed a little later to Sonic. It is worth noting that initially the image of the hedgehog was somewhat frightening – it had sharp fangs that protruded almost like a saber-toothed tiger. It was the work of the Japanese, the corners of which were somewhat smoothed by the Americans – they made the protagonist more friendly.

An interesting point – in the course of working out the characteristics of the character, one mistake was made. One of the developers responsible for the physics of the protagonist did not know that hedgehogs can swim. Therefore, Sonic was deprived of this ability.

The hedgehog was made fast and impatient – such a character could not resist. He was nervous when he had to remain inactive, and in one of the games he even ran off the screen if the player did not do anything for three minutes. Well, what – you need to play, and not walk somewhere.

A little later, friends were added to the hedgehog – a two-tailed fox who can fly and Knuckles the echidna, a hero who helped break through walls, destroy stones and perform other power tasks. They all fought with Dr. Robotnik.

The most famous games with Sonic

Since the release of the first Sonic game, the world has seen over 120 different projects of the franchise – on a variety of platforms, from consoles to mobile phones. There is an interesting nuance – for the first time Sonic appeared not in his own game, but in the racing arcade Rad Mobile. There he hung as a decoration.

Well, now let’s remember the games about Sonic.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Here he appeared as an independent and very impatient character. He didn’t look too much like a hedgehog, but the gamers really liked the protagonist. Moreover, if Mario was more suitable for the younger age category (it is clear that after the appearance of the game, both young and old played it), then Sonic was already positioned as an older hero. Largely thanks to Sonic, Sega was able to quickly gain a huge share of the games and consoles market.

Sonic became a sensation, the beginning of an entire franchise that included other games, comics, cartoons and even films.

Sonic X-treme

This game was supposed to be the next big step in Sonic’s story. But, unfortunately, she didn’t. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, gamers were expecting a different, more “mature” Sonic. Secondly, the developers are having problems with the Sonic Team game engine. Thirdly, the developers began to understand that the game was not the best and lost their enthusiasm. After several months of development, one of the key team members fell seriously ill and dropped out of the process. The game was canceled. In a last ditch effort, Sega ported the isometric game Sonic 3D Blast to the Sega Saturn. But this did not give anything good, the game was not exclusive, namely, they, exclusive games of the Sonic series, were expected by the owners of the Sega Saturn console.

Sonic R.

It was a racing game with ten characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series to choose from. The team of heroes needed to defeat the same Doctor Robotnik, not allowing him to steal the Chaos Emeralds, which the antagonist needed for another attempt to enslave the world.

The game was three-dimensional, with good graphics. But the control was frankly unsuccessful, it was even called “an attempt to walk on the ice while drunk.” Another drawback is the short travel time, the game was very short.

Nevertheless, many gamers liked the game, as it had hidden tracks, secret doors that reduce the passage time and other possibilities. In general, it was difficult to call it a hit of sales, but many remembered it.

Sonic the Fighters


Again, a new genre for Sonic – Sonic the Fighters is a fighting game. The game was released in 1996 on the Sega Model 2B slot machine. It was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. This game did not make it to the Saturn either, because by the time the game was released, sales of the console were in disaster in the United States.

But the game had something to show – if only because it uses polygonal 3D graphics. There was also multiplayer in the game. The game is based on the Fighting Vipers engine adapted for Sonic. By the way, the developers have created two new heroes for this game, including the dynamite Bean and the polar bear Bark. Using a cheat code, you can achieve the appearance of a secret character – Hani’s cat.

Sonic Jam

And this is not one game, but four at once. The developers took the games for Genesis, updated them and presented them as a package. It was released for the Sega Saturn in 1997. Most likely, the game was released to maintain the interest of gamers, as the popularity of Sonic began to gradually wane.

The collection includes games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (along with the Blue Sphere, Sonic 2 & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles add-ons). There was also a bonus – the level “Sonic World”, made entirely in three-dimensional graphics. It provided an opportunity to study the history of Sonic games from 1991 to 1997.

Sonic Jam became a fairly successful project, so after that Sonic Team decided to start developing a full-fledged 3D game.

Sonic Adventure

After abandoning the Saturn, Sega began to actively develop the Dreamcast. This time, the Sonic Adventure project was prepared for the console, which turned out to be really great. The game is a rich and colorful adventure with lots of characters and great gameplay.

It was a fully 3D platformer, the first in the Sonic series. According to the plot, Sonic and his friends had to fight the Chaos monster.

Gamers liked the game so much that it sold over 2.5 million copies – this is the best result for the Dreamcast, no other game for this platform has sold in such a circulation. Overall, it was a real new word in game development.

Sonic Heroes

Another very successful project in the Sonic series of games. The game was prepared by Sonic Team specialists from the USA. The publisher, as usual, was Sega. Sonic Heroes went straight to GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, becoming one of the best-selling titles on all platforms. Despite the fact that Nintendo was the main competitor to Sega, the game was still released on the GameCube.

The player had to choose a team of three characters to advance through the game world. The difference between this part was the emergence of special levels designed to collect Chaos Emeralds. It was also possible to gain additional lives here.

In general, 2003, when the game was released (initially only in Japan, a year later – in other countries), was very successful for the Sonic franchise. At this time, an animated series was released, action figures began to be handed out to McDonald’s, and several other games were released for different platforms.

All of these games, despite some problems, belonged to the period of the franchise’s prosperity. Then something went wrong. Sega transformed Sonic Team into Sega Studios and started with the release of the Sonic Adventure 2 spin-off. It wasn’t the worst game, but then the team faced a crisis. Yuji Naka left the project, Sega management began to exert a strong influence on Sega Studios, demanding a reboot of the franchise. Not much came of it – Sonic began a period of failures.

Perhaps a reboot was unnecessary. So, in 2017, Sonic Mania appeared, which became a commercially successful project. It has become the most played Sonic game since the series’ heyday on the Sega Genesis. At the same time, it was a game in the spirit and style of the first titles about Sonic without any attempts to reload something there.

Anyway, you should hope for the best and wait for new great games about a blue hedgehog that can run fast and save the world with the help of friends.

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