So by 1991, Sega had firmly made its mark on the video games industry and has created a character which defined the brand. Sonic the Hedgehog was a brightly coloured, high speed ball of energy which appealed to more then one demographic. The original game was a tribute to production values and marketing. Here was a fantastically smooth side-scroller which zoomed along at top speed with no lag whatsoever. It was intelligently marketed and each facet of Sonic was meticulously designed – the body colour, the head size, the shoe size and the characters which complemented and populated Sonic’s world.
Sega’s next task then was to move forward with the franchise, sometimes tweaking and
re-releasing and sometimes reinventing. A new character was added in 1992 – Tails, an equally cute fox who complemented Sonic’s abilities with unique characteristics of his own. The first example of reinvention was Sonic Spinball in 1993, a natural evolution one could argue, which used Sonic’s ability to curl up into a ball as the basis for a pinball machine.
Sonic Spinball Gameplay
The twenty years that have followed the release of Sonic The Hedgehog have seen a total of 30 releases of various Sonic games – the thirtieth being Sonic Generations, available for the Playstation 3, the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo 3DS. Sega’s console manufacturing business was crushed in the battle between the industry powerhouses of Sony and Microsoft. It ceased that business in 2001 but continues as games software developer for other console platforms.
So, you may ask, over that twenty year period, which have been the standout Sonic games? This is never an easy question to answer – younger gamers may have no experience of the original games. Many older gamers will insist that the first two Sonics (1 & 2) still remain the most playable but that might just be for reasons of nostalgia. The 3D versions also garnered plenty of fans. Probably best to dig out that old Megadrive/Genesis and decide for yourself.
In the meantime here’s a quick preview of Sonic Generations….