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Happy 20th Birthday, Sonic

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It's been two decades since June 23rd 1991, when Sonic the Hedgehog was released for the Sega Genesis. That was the year of the first Gulf War, Boris Yeltsin being elected the first president of Russia during the dismantling of the Soviet Union, and Linus Torvalds developing a little thing called "Linux". Much has changed since then, not least of all for Sonic.

The blue blur was unleashed on the world just as the 16-bit war was coming to a boil. Sega and TurboGrafx had laid their cards on the felt, and Nintendo was just following suit. The next few years would see a pitched battle between Sega and Nintendo for the hearts (and money) of gamers the world over, a battle which was symbolically led by Sonic and Mario. Sonic was the antithesis of the tubby plumber: fast, fast, fast and sassy to boot. To be honest, I don't remember the first Sonic game - I was a bit too absorbed by Super Mario Bros. 3 and then Street Fighter 2, but when Sonic 2 came out in 1992, everybody played it. Well, everyone I knew anyway, and when you're in grade school that's all that matters.

Sonic's 16-bit early years were kind, and he made Sega very, very rich. Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles were big deals in their own right, but then the market changed under Sega's feet and Sonic...well, his teenage years haven't been as kind. The shift to 3D was hard for a lot of franchises, Sonic included, and after the demise of the Dreamcast Sonic became a bit of a drifter - even showing up on Nintendo consoles, an idea which would have been branded heresy only a few years earlier. But recently Sega's been working hard at finding Sonic's mojo again, and it's certainly excited about his 20th birthday.

As GayGamer.net reported earlier, Sonic Generations is being released this year to commemorate the anniversary, and for the next 20 days Sega is offering a demo of the game via XBLA and PSN. Also for a limited time, you can get 50% off Sonic games on XBLA, a discounted Sonic bundle on the PSN, and a discounted 20th anniversary bundle that you can download for your PC here.

But wait! There's more.

Sonic and Tails will be hanging around Phantasy Star Universe; you can go on missions with them, and if you wish them a happy birthday you'll get swag. There's also a sweepstakes, and an announcement that Sonic will be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

Clearly, Sega's stoked. Happy birthday, Sonic. Here's to 20 more.

2 Comments

Nexus said:

Maybe a bit unrelated (because it didn't have Sonic in it), but I can't for the life of me figure out why they have not yet brought us Knuckles' Chaotix.
With all those Collection thingies and now with the Virtual Console, what excuse do they have for not rereleasing it?

Never really got to play it much back in the day, but I remember liking it the few times I did.
Would love to be able to give it a proper go now.

jayoshi said:

I don't think any 32X has been released. Maybe it's hard to port. I don't think that would be the case because it can be emulated to perfection. I have played Chaotix on my computer through one and it's not enjoyable now. That could be the reason why they never released it on xbox live arcade or Virtual Console.

Back on topic though, I really enjoyed the demo for Sonic Generations. It was very short but I played it twice in a row. I wish they included the current (Sonic Colors) Sonic level in the demo but the 90s Sonic played just like it's genesis days. So much better than Sonic 4. I'm very excited about this. First Sonic Colors and now this. Finally someone at SEGA/Sonic Team got the hint.

I grew up with a Sega Genesis (as well as a Sega CD) and with Sonic. I'm very happy to see the little guy have a nice comeback.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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jayoshi on Happy 20th Birthday, Sonic: I don't think any 32X has been released. Maybe it's hard to port. I don't think that would be the...

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