In 1990, Sega, the Japanese gaming giant needed a character to challenge the global dominance of the Mario series. A flagship character who would we as synonymous with the console as Mario was for Nintendo. Enter Sonic the Hedgehog.
Originally titled Mr Needlemouse (for in Japan a hedgehog is called a “needlemouse” - rather sweetly), Sonic quickly became the front runner ahead of other characters such as Alex the Kidd (which was installed on most sega’s internally), Mighty the Armadillo and Dr Robitnick
It was quite a game to get your teeth into as a nipper. Sega was like Nintendo, but a little bit cheaper, which made it more accessible. And the Sonic games were fun and great to play. I can still hear the sound the coins made when they tinkled onto the floor and the thrill of turning into a ball to go faster. It really did shake Mario from my psyche.
Sonic quickly caught the public imagination and a host of two and three dimensional computer games were released on the back of the character - among them: Sonic Chaos (1993), Sonic Triple Trouble (1994), Sonic Blast (1996), Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (1999), Sonic Advance in (2001), Sonic Advance 2 (2002), Sonic Advance 3 (2004), Sonic Rush (2005), and Sonic Rush Adventure (2007).
Not only this but he even spawned his own television cartoon series in 1993, and then another – a darker vision this time “Sonic Underground” featured the introductions of Sonic's triplet siblings Sonia the Hedgehog and Manic the Hedgehog, as well as his mother Queen Aleena, the four of whom were destined to defeat Robotnik and rule Mobius as the "Council of Four".
And even his own comics from 1993 – 2001. Sonic even featured in two different manga. One series called Sonic the Hedgehog, about a normal boy named Nicky Parlouzer who changes into Sonic. The other series was a compilation of short stories.
And all of this from wanting something to go head to head with Mario. Of course these days the Nintendo – Sega axis is gone and sonic and Mario are friends. Even appearing in games together.