Happy Birthday, Sonic The Hedgehog
24 years ago on this very day in the Western world; a brand new Character made his 1st appearance on the Sega Mega-drive (Genesis in North America) and entered our living rooms and has been ever present since that day.
Sonic represents so many different things to me; he's an Icon of when video games tried something different back in they day to challenge Mario, a forthright character that dares to do the impossible in the story and he's a huge piece of my childhood.
This guy was my hero as a Pre-teen (because it's ok to be like that at that age) because I dug the appeal of what the character stood for by looking for friends and those who couldn't defend themselves and being able to run that fast with the witty, sarcastic and will to win attitude.
The early years was somewhat simple gaming; get from a to b in a side-scrolling platform game as fast as you could and defeat Dr. Robotnik in his many machines that would fuse with his Egg-O-Matic and release the woodland creatures from the Badniks as organic batteries that Butnik would use to help build factories and attempt to conquer Planet Mobius.
When I look back at the Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog & Sat-AM that were both aired at the same time (which today is almost unheard of airing two shows of the same character) I think of a time where writers had a better understanding of how to write a series that related to the games without feeling like the stories seemed out of place.
Adventures of, while being as pet-coon-goofy as possible, would have subtle nods to the games and being entertaining as possible.
It made Sunday mornings worth waking up for in the early 90's and when I see the intro above it brings back fond memories to happier times.
Whereas Sat-AM was almost like 2001 AD meets Sonic The Hedgehog. It was such a polar contrast to Adventures of with a darkened, more serious and mature tone that appealed to young teens as well as Pre-Teens that liked the darker stories with the subtle environmental themes that were at play but done in a much more subtle manner as opposed to Ted Turner's Captain Planet that practically beat you over the head with those themes.
When you have competent writing staff, good artists and a stellar cast you know that this will be well received. And some 22 years later; we the fans still love it.
When you look at what the evolution/Makeover Sega did for him in the late 1990's/early 2000's you got a glimpse of what would come for him in the future. At the time Sonic Adventure felt like unchartered territory as we had been so accustomed to the tried and tested method of 2D side-scrolling from Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles; that full on 3D Sonic would be an experience to remember.
That was a fun-time to be a Sonic fan. Not only was he back after a 5 year absence but he was back with a make over and talking at long last (and the subject of many debates in years to come). It had an immense replay value which to this day I return to when I feel nostalgic and feel like visiting yesteryear.
The sequel would show more of an emphasys on speed as the sandbox gaming style was replaced with going straight from level to level and would go from 3 characters each on two teams. Team light comprising of Sonic, Tails in his mech bi-plane and Knuckles against Team Dark with Robotnik playable for the first time in a game and the debut of Shadow the Hedgehog & Rouge the Bat.
I love the way this trailer was done; it showed you very little and the score gave you a sense that this game was going in with a darker theme compared to last time with SA 1.
I would comment on Sonic 360 (aka 2006), but I've commented and vented enough on that *ahem* event and don't wish to be reminded of that further.
The 20th Anniversary in Sonic Generations, which I affectionately call SG; to me was meeting old-school and new fans half way by providing Classic Sonic gameplay in 2.5D side-scrolling just as it been first featured in Sonic Unleashed 3 years prior to this and having Modern Sonic blast through in 3D and 2.5D.
My only complaint with SG was that it was too short. I do grant that they could only have so many Zones from each Era of Sonic's career but at the same time I would have loved to have seen Emerald Hill, Starlight, Ice cap, Carnival Night, Flying battery, Hidden Palace and Marble Garden Zone.
This was one of the few times where my expectations were exceeded. As the sheer fan-service that us hardcore fans/Sonic-ites/Hedgeog-ites was just pleasure overload. Hearing the score for endless mine in the classic version of City escape was something you had to spot carefully because if you played endless Mine in the 2 player option of Sonic 3 you'd recognise it.
It was a time where it felt like 20 years had been removed and you were at the age when Sonic first debuted in 1991.
This is where I think SonicTeam got it right for once; cut-footage was kept to bare minimum and only used sparingly and had old-school levels updated for the modern levels with remixes for the classic levels where you still recognise them but you can tell modifications have been made.
And Modern having a more rock feel to it
And with the event of him having a Hollywood Adaptation in the near future you can only question as to where he will go from there.
I'd like to say that his future is secure but given Sega's pension for making bad business decisions as of late it's unsure. Especially when Sonic Boom which was worst sales-performing Sonic game to date is being given a sequel on the 3DS and a question mark over Sonic's future console releases with Sega downsizing just to release PC and mobile games.
Only thing I can advise is to stay tuned for what happens for Sonic's 25th next year.
for now, I shall simply end this by saying; Happy 24th Anniversary, Sonic.
Thank you for 24 years of awesomeness.
Leave a Reply.
A 7 year Veteran online reviewer/critic/entertainer