Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega - 1991
Machine: Sega Megadrive
Was this a cynical attempt by Sega to emulate the success of Mario on Nintendo's rival machine? Or was it just another great game to be released on the Genesis/Megadrive? To be honest, it seems that Sega recognised that their machine needed a flagship character but they needed one that exemplified their corporate image i.e. exciting, fast and dynamic. So a blue hedgehog was chosen and (nearly) everyone loved him. Even girls liked him... he was blue, cute and spiky. He was, at one point, massively popular... he had attitude (but not without charm)... he was cocky (but endearingly so)... Found the game too easy? So what. It was a joy to play.
The game is quite simple: a classic 2D platformer with an extra injection of speed. Like in the Mario games, you are rewarded for collecting - in this case it's rings. There are other things to find as well: secret rooms, hidden routes, extra lives... nothing remarkably new. What was different was the level of polish: the graphics are beautifully designed and the music is just... ace. More importantly, this level of attractiveness seemed to catch the eye of the people who used to pour scorn on video games and those who played them. People were less ashamed of sitting in front of something that looked like it was 'fresh from the arcade,' which seemed to be some sort of gamer's mantra in the early 1990s... unfortunately, this pushed video games into a whole new uncharted area that was taken advantage of by Sony and their odious machine the Playstation (SNES with a CD attached, anybody?) But while the days of video games were still innocent, Sonic was a link between the worlds of gaming purity and social acceptance. Sonic looked like... we were playing a cartoon... with the animation... ooh... and it's dead fast isn't it?
Bubbaray 07 Feb '04
Sonic Central - The official Sonic site.
Wikipedia's Sonic the Hedgehog page - Lots of great information.