Sonic is twenty today and what better way to celebrate than by playing the game that debuted the unlikeliest of mascots. A blue hedgehog with red sneakers and an attitude? What have you been up to, Naka-san?
It is indeed a great tragedy that Sega bowed out of hardware manufacturing, not only because they were responsible for some amazing consoles, but also because of the complete hash the major players seem to be making of things concerning the next generation.
Believe it or not, there is a positive outcome from Sega’s commercial nosedive and the fact that there is now no longer a Sega machine on the market. Thanks to the lack of a platform to hog exclusivity of Sega games, I can now play Sonic games wherever I choose! Thanks to Nintendo’s presence in the hardware arena, and my lack of expendable cash available to fund a 3DS, I am unlikely to ever be able to play Super Mario World on the go.
Not so for Sonic the Hedgehog, which I can legitimately play on my Android phone and iPad, not to mention the XBox 360, PC and Wii Virtual Console I have set up at home. The lack of a dedicated platform has seen a proliferation of the blue Erinaceus europaeus unrivalled by any mascot before or since.
So what of the game itself? Well, as there isn’t a lot to be said about the game that hasn’t been said a thousand times already, I’ll end this post after saying just one more thing: a lot of games stay relevant through their merit as pioneering originators of new concepts and experiences, and Sonic the Hedgehog has originality and spectacle in spades, but Sonic also has the added boon that great videogame creators have tried to recreate its brilliance for two decades and have come up short every time. Keep trying Sega; if Nintendo did it, so can you.