Sonic had to be the tough alternative to Mario, but lost | Tech

If you think of iconic figures from game history, you will soon come to Mario or Pac-Man. But Sonic: the Hedgehog can certainly join this list. This year the blue hedgehog is celebrating its thirtieth birthday.

He may not play the most important role in today’s gaming landscape, but history could have been very different without Sonic. In the 1980s, Nintendo ruled the games market. The Japanese company had single-handedly pulled the industry out of the doldrums after it collapsed in 1983. Mainly due to a flood of bad games, confidence in games had fallen to an all-time low, until Nintendo restored that confidence with platform hero Mario and other high-quality products.

It was almost unthinkable at the time that anyone could rival Nintendo until Sega hit the market. Their first game console passed silently, but the Sega Mega Drive was an outright success, thanks in part to their new mascot.

cool and cool

Sonic was invented to lure customers away from Nintendo’s brave plumber Mario and his colorful adventures. Developers Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima asked their team for ideas and sketches for their own game hero. While visiting America, Oshima asked random passers-by which design appealed to her the most. The cool spiked hedgehog stood out the most. A new mascot was born.

Sega captured attention with a brilliant marketing strategy. The company focused on teenagers who thought themselves a little too old for the childish appearance of competitor Nintendo. In their advertising caravan through American malls, kids were allowed to play with both Mario and Sonic, after which they had to honestly say which one they liked more. Sonic won this time and again, purely because of his speed and rebellious attitude.

With this ‘cool’ promotional material, Sega caused a furore and they were even on an equal footing with Nintendo in America for a while. Sega does what Nintendo doesn’t was their winged statement. The company went out of its way to show that they were fresh and hip, and Nintendo corny and for little kids. Sonic was the symbol of that.


Beginning in the mid-90s, however, Sega fell into disrepair, and Sonic fell with them. The company released new game consoles and accessories too quickly, which lagged behind the competition and were not supported enough with new games. As a result, fans no longer showed up for the Dreamcast, which was ultimately Sega’s last game console.

Sonic also disappeared from view, although Sega continued to develop games for other systems. Bringing the hedgehog’s super-fast gameplay to a three-dimensional world proved difficult, while Mario took that step flawlessly. Sonic’s name lost its luster with mediocre to downright bad games.

After Sega left the game console market and lost the competition with Nintendo, Sonic even became a kind of tame boyfriend of Mario. For example, since 2007 they appear together in games around the Olympics.

Here’s the latest Sonic game for Nintendo Switch:


All those roles on the sidelines kind of kept Sonic alive, even though his heyday was behind him. That slumbering presence was the perfect springboard for a big return, especially in these times when a lot of money is made with nostalgia.

In 2017, Sega released the game Sonic Mania, mainly created by early fans who had become game designers themselves. It was a perfect recreation of what made Sonic so good in the 90s: speed, attitude and cleverly designed obstacle courses.

Sonic gained new impetus and that nostalgia prepared the blue hero for a second life. He will never be as big as Mario again, but a very successful cinema film with Jim Carrey brought in more than 300 million dollars in 2020.

So this year it’s been thirty years since the hedgehog first ran across our screens. Sega is celebrating by re-releasing Sonic Colors this month, a well-received game from 2010. A brand new Sonic game has been announced for next year, of which we’ve only seen a short teaser so far. And in 2022 the second part in the film series will be released in cinemas, with Idris Elba as the big Hollywood name. So Sonic is far from finished.

Sonic had to be the tough alternative to Mario, but lost | Tech
Source link Sonic had to be the tough alternative to Mario, but lost | Tech

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