Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog (Japanese: ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ, Romaji: Sonikku za hejjihoggu) is the flagship character and mascot for the video game and arcade game (and formerly home game console) company Sega, which has released a series of video games in which he either stars or plays a role. Sonic was competing head-to-head with Nintendo's mascot Mario for over a decade until Sega went out of the home console market. He now lives on various Nintendo systems and other consoles.
Sonic replaced Alex Kidd, who was Sega's mascot prior to 1990. Naoto Oshima designed the character while Yuji Naka was the main programmer. He would later become head of the Sonic Team division. He was also used as the mascot of Sega's Blast Processing, a feature of the Sega Genesis which supposedly allowed Genesis games to draw polygons faster.
Sonic was an early example of the "obscure anthropomorphic animal starring in a platform game" character archetype that was later seen in characters such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Blinx, and Sly Cooper.
Sonic is a blue, 15 year old hedgehog who lives on the planet Earth (or Mobius in various other American or European sources, which, depending on the universe, varies from being simply the name of Earth in the future to being an entirely different planet). He has the ability to run at supersonic speeds, hence his name. He is always running all over the world, rarely stopping for anything. He is carefree and relaxed; however, he is also very intolerant of injustice, and he will do anything he can to help those in need. He has also got a quick wit, short temper, and a fairly large ego.
His blue pigmentation was explained in an issue of gaming magazine GamePro as being the result of getting caught in an explosion involving cobalt, but this is probably not canonical. There is an alternative explanation in Stay Sonic: Official Sega Handbook, a book about Sonic the Hedgehog written by Mike Pattenden. At some point it was divulged (probably from an American source) that Sonic enjoys eating chili dogs.
The premise of the games revolves around Doctor Eggman (Doctor Ivo Robotnik in the earlier releases in North America and Europe) trying to take over the world by turning the animals into robots (often called Badniks, though this is an US/EUR term and hasn't been used since Sonic Adventure). Sonic is charged with saving them. In later games he is joined by Tails (Miles "Tails" Prower), Amy Rose, Knuckles the Echidna, Cream the Rabbit and a host of other characters. Sonic must collect Golden Rings to protect himself from the robots, and he ultimately must collect the Chaos Emeralds from the Special Stages in order to become his most powerful form, Super Sonic. However, Sonic's quest does not necessitate collecting the Emeralds himself; he must only prevent Eggman from collecting them and dooming the world with their power.
Sonic has numerous abilities, including Homing Attack, where he hits enemies while jumping, and Light Dash, where he can run along a path of rings, even in the air. He is a poor swimmer, however, and will drown in water, even as Super Sonic. (However, as Hyper Sonic in Sonic & Knuckles, he can stay alive in water.)
In SatAM Sonic's love interest is Princess Sally Acorn; in the video games Amy Rose thinks she is Sonic's girlfriend (Sonic, however, is quite repelled by Amy's constant advances but in the modern day Sonic TV show Sonic X, there is a bit more of a mutual vibe between Sonic and Amy); Breezie hedgehog in Adventures of Sonic the hedgehog cartoon; and both Sally Acorn and Mina Mongoose in Sonic's Archie comics.
Sonic has faced several other adversaries in the games, such as Metal Sonic (Mecha Sonic), Fang the Sniper (Nack the Weasel in America), Shadow the Hedgehog, and Rouge the Bat. Quite a lot of enemies. But it's nothing the leader of Sonic Heroes' Team Sonic can't handle.
Interestingly, one of a class of genes involved in fruit fly embryonic development, called hedgehog genes after the name given to the first member of this class discovered, has been named "sonic hedgehog" after this character.
Sonic is also incredibly popular with the fangaming community, with possibly more fanmade games than any other video game star.
In all games, Sonic is voiced by either Jun'ichi Kanemaru or Ryan Drummond. In the TV shows, he is voiced by five different actors (specific to each show): Jaleel White, Masami Kikuchi, Martin Burke, Jun'ichi Kanemaru and Jason Griffith.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (AoStH, US) (Sonic voiced by Jaleel White)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM, US) (Sonic voiced by Jaleel White)
- Sonic Underground (US, France) (Sonic voiced by Jaleel White)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Anime, Japan) (Sonic voiced by Masami Kikuchi and Martin Burke)
- Sonic X (Anime, Japan) (Sonic voiced by Jun'ichi Kanemaru and Jason Griffith)
A series of six Sonic Adventures gamebooks were published in the UK by Puffin:
- Book 1 - Metal City Mayhem, James Wallis
- Book 2 - Zone Rangers, James Wallis
- Book 3 - Sonic v Zonic, Nigel Gross and Jon Sutherland
- Book 4 - The Zone Zapper, Nigel Gross and Jon Sutherland
- Book 5 - Theme Park Panic, Marc Gascoigne and Jonathan Green
- Book 6 - Stormin' Sonic, Marc Gascoigne and Jonathan Green
- The Green Hill Zone
- compendious Sonic fan page
- Ultimate Sonic Play online. An unofficial game.
- Sonic Center Test your rankings in the games listed above
- Sonic the Hedgehog Information Treasury A Sonic community-driven wiki.