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While Sega doesn’t make hardware anymore, at one time in video game history, they were the most popular video game console in history, even beating Nintendo. One of the reasons why they gained so much popularity during the 90s was the introduction of Sonic the Hedgehog. Here are 15 fun facts about the iconic video game mascot.
1. Michael Jackson. Sonic’s red boots and white gloves is actually drawn from Michael Jackson in the music video of “Bad.” MJ was a big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog that he also composed the score for Sonic 3 in 1994.
2. Bill Clinton. While Sonic’s style is based on Michael Jackson, his attitude is based on Bill Clinton’s “Get it Done” attitude. Sonic the Hedgehog is truly a product of the 90s.
3. Sega Mascot. Believe it or not, but Sonic the Hedgehog is not the first mascot for Sega. Before the Sega Genesis, there was the Sega Mega Drive and their first official mascot Alex Kidd. Sega ditched Alex Kidd when they were losing to Nintendo and Mario, so they changed their mascot for something more edgy.
4. Dr. Robotinik. At one time, Dr. Robotinik was considered to be the hero of the video game, but eventually he ended up as its villain. Sega also wanted to spin off an video game franchise with Dr. Robotinik, but it never materialized.
5. Jaleel White. He voiced Sonic in The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog animated series during the early 90s. Of course, Jaleel White also played iconic TV nerd Steve Urkel on Family Matters.
6. Sonic The Rabbit? Sonic was first conceived as a rabbit before he ended up as a hedgehog. Sonic was also considered as an armadillo too.
7. Contest Winner. Sega turned inwardly for their new mascot, so they held a design contest for all of its employees to come up with something new. Naoto Oshima won the contest with Sonic the Hedgehog.
8. Madonna. During his early development, Sonic had a human girlfriend named Madonna. She also had blonde hair like the iconic pop star.
9. Speed. If Sonic was real, his top speed would be 768 mph, which is the speed of sound.
10. Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. The two were actually made as one game, but because of time and money, they were split into two separate games. Sega also developed “lock-on technology” for Sonic & Knuckles, so you could actually play Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 with Knuckles.
11. Suicide. In Sonic CD for the Sega CD, if you don’t move Sonic for 3 minutes, he jumps off a cliff or tries to kill himself to end the game. Now that’s dark!
12. Swimming. One of Sonic’s developers made his one weakness swimming with the belief that hedgehogs can’t swim. The truth is that hedgehogs are actually good swimmers. According to Yuji Naka, “[I] assumed that hedgehogs can’t swim, so that’s why [I] made it that Sonic can’t swim… Apparently hedgehogs can swim, but they can’t climb out of water.”
13. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sonic the Hedgehog was the first video game character to get a large balloon and spot in the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
14. US Release. The original Sonic the Hedgehog was released first in the United States on June 23, 1991, a few days before it was released in Japan. Sega believed it was more American than Japanese.
15. Mario & Sonic. The first time Sonic and his chief rival Mario appeared in a video game together was Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games for the Nintendo Wii in 2008. The Mario & Sonic game series is quite popular with four installments since its release seven years ago.