1. Before the arrival of Sonic, Sega’s unofficial mascot was was a big-eared dude named Alex Kidd.
His games appeared mostly in the Sega Master Drive. When executives at Sega made the decision to compete head-to-head with Nintendo’s Mario, Alex was demoted as mascot and replaced with Sonic.
2. Sega held an internal competition to see who could design the next superstar that would lead the charge in the video-game war against Nintendo.
These were some of the failed designs.
3. Naoto Oshima won the competition by designing this legendary character.
4. At one point, Sonic’s infamous arch-nemesis Dr. Robotinik was considered for the lead of this new Sega franchise.
When deciding an enemy for Sonic, designers went back to the old character designs and picked this drawing out.
5. Inspired by Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse, Sonic’s original name was “Mr. Needlemouse.”
6. Sonic’s iconic red-and-white footwear was inspired by both Santa Claus’ color scheme and Michael Jackson’s boots in Bad.
Look at the belt buckles on the shoes.
7. His sassy attitude is inspired by Bill Clinton’s “get it done” personality.
8. Sega of America believed that Sonic the Hedgehog would fail because Americans “had never even heard” of a hedgehog.
This is a hedgehog.
9. In the early stages of development for the first game, Sonic had a love interest named Madonna.
The idea was scrapped because the “damsel in distress” story had already been done by Mario.
10. Sonic’s first appearance was on the promotional material for the Sega-sponsored 1990 musical tour of DREAMS COME TRUE.
The band’s founder, Masato Nakamura, composed the music for the first two Sonic the Hedgehog games.
11. Sonic the Hedgehog was released in the U.S. before Japan.
Since the character was “softened” from the original Japanese design to appeal more to American audiences, Sega chose to release the game in North America first.
12. As of 2011, Michael Sroka holds the Guinness World Record for Highest Score on Sonic the Hedgehog clocking in at 404,980 points.
13. Michael Jackson composed some of the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Jackson left the project and refused to be credited on the game because the sound quality “devalued his work.”
14. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles were originally one game.
Because of time, money and cartridge restraints, developers split the game in two.
15. Sonic’s biggest weakness, the inability to swim, was based on a mistake.
According to Yuji Naka, one of the creators of Sonic, “[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.”
16. Jaleel White, aka “Steve Urkel,” was the original voice of Sonic in the 1993 animated series The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
17. There is a creepy message from the devil hidden inside Sonic CD.
The following reads: “Infinitely fun. Sega Enterprises. [Signed] Majin.” “Majin” means “devil” in Japanese. The music and the freakish Sonic face in the background only add to the horror (Spoiler: “Majin” is a nickname for Masato Nishimura, one of the game’s designers).
18. Speaking of Sonic CD, if you leave him idling for 3 minutes, he’ll commit suicide.
That creepy “game over” music still freaks me out.
19. Sonic can realistically run at the speed of sound (768 mph).
20. Sonic has an INSANE appetite.
21. Sonic was the first video-game character to float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Suck it, Mario.