WHOOSH! What was that blue blur? It was likely videogaming’s speediest mammal, Sonic the Hedgehog. From saviour of little creatures to becoming an Olympian, he’s one accomplished spiky thing. In celebration of his 30th birthday, here’s a handful of fun facts…
1. The original Sonic the Hedgehog game, for SEGA’s Mega Drive system (or ‘Genesis’ in America), was released in the U.S., Europe and Australia on June 23, 1991.
2. The Japanese release of the game came a little later, with a few graphical enhancements such as animated clouds on the start screen.
3. The Hepburn romanisation of his name is Sonikku za Hejjihoggu.
4. Sonic’s original name was the rather dreadful Mr. Needlemouse.
5. Sonic was designed specifically to be a competitor in the mascot stakes to Nintendo’s Mario, as the wussy Alex Kidd just wasn’t cutting it.
6. Sonic is blue because that’s the colour of SEGA’s logo.
7. Sonic actually first appeared in a different game, as a dangly air freshener in arcade racer Rad Mobile.
8. Speaking of arcade racers, Sonic’s skidding noise was recycled from Outrun.
9. Confusion has reigned over the name of Sonic’s nemesis. While Doctor Ivo Robotnik in the west, he was originally Doctor Eggman in Japan, while ‘Eggman’ is his nickname. The head of SEGA’s Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, cleared up any confusion once and for all, telling STACK, “His name is Dr. Eggman,” Iizuka-san states for us definitively. “He used to be called ‘Dr. Robotnik’, but now he is called by his nickname, ‘Dr. Eggman’, by everybody – including himself.”
10. Robotnik/Eggman has an IQ of 300. But somehow he still can’t outsmart Sonic.
11. Robotnik/Eggman was one of the attendees of the Bad-Anon villain support group in Wreck-It Ralph.
12. His game, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, was just Japan’s Puyo Puyo with altered graphics. Big, eggy, lazy!
13. When later introduced to the series, Sonic’s pal Tails had a full name of Miles Prower. Yes, punsters, he worked in imperial measurement…
14. One of the imprisoned little critters that Sonic saves is Flicky the bluebird. She actually had her own game long before Sonic came along, a simple platform arcade game that was simply named Flicky.
15. Unlike Sonic, real hedgehogs can swim.
16. Archie Comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog is the longest-running such publication based on a videogame.
17. Clever fan-person neuroscientists named a human protein after the blue wonder – ‘sonic hedgehog’.
18. After a frightening first CGI Sonic model, the live action/CGI Sonic the Hedgehog movie turned out pretty well. A sequel is in development, which will also feature Tails.
19. The screenplay for the movie was penned by the pair of guys responsible for National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze, from a story by the guys who came up with Wedding Crashers 2…
20. Sonic’s self-appointed girlfriend is named Amy. That’s a really cool name…