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  • Sonic's 10th Anniversary: The Ten Year History!

     
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    This article is to celebrate the special occasion that is Sonic's Birthday - Today, on June 23rd, 1991, the first Sonic game was released upon a crowd of unsuspecting video gamers. It was due to Sonic's coolness and the way that the Sonic games instantly made platform games fashionable, plus with the backing of the greatest games developer in the world, that Sonic the Hedgehog became more popularly known in the video game household.

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    Very soon, cartoons were spawned, figures manufactured and comics, music and god knows what else were created, sold, and loved by many fans out there. And even now, after the horrific times that Sega has been through after the Mega Drive, Sonic has still been the world's most popular video game character.

    This feature is dedicated to that special hedgehog, and Sega. you'll find a whole 10 year history of Sonic up to the present day, unforgettable Sonic moments, where you can send your moments in too, Sonic's rivals battling for platforming crown, and what the future may hold for Sonic, including info on rumour Sonic games that may be released in the near future.

    This article was updated in 2007.

    1991

    The Platform Revolution

    The year 1991, where it all started. The Sega Mega Drive was already released, and the prospect of the Super Nintendo bringing Mario made Sega rethink their strategy. They needed a mascot... Surely no-one expected the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, and when people found out about it, everybody across the country went to grab a shiny new Mega Drive and a copy of the platform hopping video game. Here's the games that came out this year...

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    June 23rd: Sonic the Hedgehog (USA)

    This was THE platform game that blew everyone away - Mario set the platform genre, and Sonic was the one that manipulated this genre for fantastic speed, extra routes through levels and special stages above all things. This game had it all for its time - speed, anti-gravity stages, stupidly big loops to run around. This was the game that revolutionised platform games - forever.

    The funky tunes were composed by Masato Nakamura - he was a member of a massive Japanese Pop band, Dreams Come True. Nakamura's collaboration with SEGA on Sonic was a sure-fire popularity cracker for the Land of the Rising Sun.

    At this time SEGA credited their games with codenames for their staff, and as such Yuji Naka (or "Yu2") and others who created the game did not get the credit they deserved. Matter of fact, Naka-san left SEGA and was lured back to SEGA of America shortly before working on Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

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    June 23rd: Sonic the Hedgehog (UK / Europe)

    Pending the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in Europe, and particularly the UK, SEGA Europe cannily slid Sonic onto everything TV-wise: Sonic 1 featured heavily in SEGA's "Pirate TV/Cyber Razor Cuts" Television Advertisements, and appeared on various store adverts across the Christmas period, including Argos.

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    July 26th: Sonic the Hedgehog (Japan)

    The Japanese version of Sonic the Hedgehog came in several different versions. Version 1 was the Western copy, and was also released in Japan. Versions 2 and 3 were only released in Japan: Version 2 included moving clouds in Green Hill Zone and a rippling effect in Labyrinth Zone.

    Version 3 had a bug fix - when Sonic hits spikes, you're not allowed any recovery time if you hit spikes while on the rebound, right? Well, Version 3 had this all fixed up. Only Versions 1 and 2 have been publicly found.

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    October 25th: Sonic the Hedgehog (Master System - UK / Europe)

    Shortly after the Mega Drive version of Sonic 1, the Master System was treated to Sonic the Hedgehog too. What most people don't know was that, although it was released in Latin America, the Master System games were being shipped to Europe and other PAL regions too.

    Whereas the Master System (or Mark III) didn't make much of an impact in Japan or America, where Nintendo reigned supreme, SEGA's machine was a success in Europe, where Nintendo didn't care much to release the NES in our land until "they were good and ready".

    This game wasn't a port, but rather a standalone 8-bit outing, which performed well and entertained many. Of course, some of the features could not be managed on 8-bit machines, but it still had a great element of speed, puzzle and waterfalls in it. It was a great game in its own right.

    The Master System Sonic 1 is considered by many as a challenger to the Mega Drive version as the best Sonic game, for those who owned the 8-Bit wonder-machine.

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    December 28th: Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear - Japan)

    The SEGA Game Gear was released in 1991 to combat the Nintendo's Game Boy. After a very long and arduous battle between the two handhelds, the Game Gear eventually gave up the ghost in 1996, as short battery life and a slowly declining number of games during its last years killed it off.

    The Game Gear has the same power as the Master System, which makes this no surprise that this is a port of the Master System 8-Bit adventure. The Game Gear has a higher colour palette however, which makes the colours more vivid and exciting.

    Despite the port, there are slight differences between the handheld and console versions - for example, the second act of Jungle Zone does not have a bottomless pit if you fall in the Game Gear version.

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    1991: Sonic Eraser (Japan)

    The Mega Drive dabbled in the World Wide Web way back when, it's true. In Japan only, you understand though. Naturally. Gamers could purchase a "Mega Modem" and subscribe to the online service, to download games and limited content. One of the games up for exclusive download was 'Sonic Eraser', which was a puzzle game that had Sonic in a little window in 2-Player Mode. Suffice to say, it's a bit crap really.

    International / Other Releases

    • December: Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear - USA, UK / Europe)
    • 1991: Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car (Japan)
    • 1991: Cosmo Fighter Galaxy Patrol (Japan)

    1992

    The Year of the Fox

    Sales of Sonic 1 hit the roof, and travelled well into the next galaxy! A great victory for Sega, yet this was not the end for Sonic. The excellent storyline thought out by Sonic Team in the first game paved the way for a sequel, and that's exactly what they did. Roll on Sonic 2...

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    October 29th: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-Bit – UK / Europe)

    Again, not to be outdone by its bigger brother, the Master System and Game Gear also hosted a return of Sonic the Hedgehog. Although Tails was present in this game, you could not play as him. The plot involved you rescuing him from Eggman (who had captured him) and destroy his secret base, the Crystal Egg. It is quite a difficult game, as you need all Chaos Emeralds to succeed.

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    November 21st: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Japan)

    To celebrate “Sonic Twos-day”, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis was released almost simultaneously around the world. One of the most popular Sonic games to date, this has been the Sonic game with the most sales ever, and why not? This was a corker of a sequel, with more bad guys, the arrival of the Death Egg, Sonic’s companion Tails, a new 2-Player mode, and much more as well.

    Much has been added to the sequel, no wonder it sold out so quickly. But, there were secrets even Sonic Team hadn’t the time to add in the cartridge. One was a mysterious level titled ‘The Hidden Palace Zone’…

    International / Other Releases

    • November 21st: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Game Gear – Japan)
    • November 24th: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (USA, UK / Europe)

    1993

    The Year of Sonic Mania!

    This is the year where things got busy for Sonic the Hedgehog. Lots more games were released to please the Sonic-maniacs throughout the country, and then… the merchandise came out. Yes, this year was most prosperous for Sonic. Fans have been crying out for a repeat of this year for many many moons now, and Sonic X looks set to do the job…

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    February: Archie Sonic Comics (USA)

    Archie Comics publish the first official Sonic comic series called Sonic the Hedgehog. Starring Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Sally, Rotor, Antoine, and Bunnie against the evil Dr. Robotnik. At first the comic was a 4-issue mini series but has spawned into a series with several spinoffs and specials and to this day is still published.

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    February: Sonic Hot Air Balloon (Switzerland)

    There was a huge Sonic the Hedgehog Hot Air Balloon that made a tour around the world plugging Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This appearance was in Switzerland. Thanks to ‘Leon’ for the two images provided above.

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    May 29th: Fleetway Sonic the Comic (UK)

    Fleetway Comics start publishing the official Sonic the Comic comic books in the UK. The comic series stars Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles “Tails” Prower, Amy Rose, Porker Lewis, and Johnny Lightfoot. They work to keep Mobius free from the evil Dr. Robotnik.

    The comic was also published in Italy as “Sonic Videogame & Fumetti”, Germany as “Sonic der Comic” (discontinued in 1995), France as “Sonic Mag”, and Holland as “Sonic Magazine”. Reprints of the comics started on July 2000 and only recently ended in January of 2002.

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    June 29th: SEGASonic the Hedgehog Arcade (Japan)

    Not much is known in the west about this Arcade game featuring everyone’s favourite hedgehog, as the machine never saw light of day outside Japan. The game had three characters – Sonic, Ray the Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo. The characters were controlled by a large trackball built into the arcade machine, and players ventured through a world similar to Sonic 3D Blast. You can still play Sega Sonic Arcade, provided you grab the necessary ROM and Emulator for the game, although Emulation is pretty slow at this stage.

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    September 1993: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

    The AoStH animated cartoon series from DiC begins its syndicated run. The longest running Sonic cartoon ever, it’s a goofy Disney type cartoon about Sonic & Tails against Dr. Robotnik and his silly goons. 65 episodes were created, making it the longest running of any Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon. It airs on Toon Disney as of now.

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    September 1993: Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM)

    Created by DiC. The Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon had better animation then AoSTH and a more mature tone. The series aired on ABC Saturday mornings alongside AoStH, and earned the moniker ‘SatAM’ from fans because of this, to distinguish between the two series. It was based on Archie’s Sonic comic series. 26 episodes were created – the first season was thirteen episodes and the second season aired in 1994 with another thirteen episodes – but never made a 3rd season due to it’s cancellation from airing at the same time as Power Rangers began.

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    September 23rd: Sonic CD (Japan)

    Due to lack of space on the Sonic 2 cartridge, Sonic Team set their time travelling sights on Sonic CD, the only Sonic game to grace the Mega CD, and possibly the only good game on it also. Eggman has found a moon that can bend time, thus consequently going back in time and making the world into his own that way. Cheat. Sonic finds out and stops him as always. There are many secrets in this game, and the different backdrops as you travel back and forth in time are stunning.

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    September 25th: Sonic Chaos (Master System, Latin America)

    Sonic Chaos was one of the last Sonic game on the Master System, before the surprise release of Sonic Blast in Brazil - but there was more to come on the Game Gear. For the third game, Sega had given the graphics an overhaul from the last two games, and included the Spin Dash as well as Tails as a playable character (at last). In this game, Eggman steals the Chaos Emeralds from South Island, and Sonic & Tails must stop him before the whole world is destroyed by the imbalance that occurs from the missing gems.

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    November 19th: Sonic CD (USA)

    Releases with a brand new soundtrack crafted by Spencer Nilsen – the composer was set a deadline of just two weeks to change the soundtrack, in which time he created US-flavoured versions of all Present and Future (Good and Bad) stages. As well as an entirely different intro/outro theme titled Sonic Boom.

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    November 23rd: Sonic Spinball (USA, UK / Europe)

    No real sequel was released this year on the Mega Drive. No, Sonic Team had a much better treat in store for the Mega Drive owners. This Sonic game was a great little break from the platforming antics that the hedgehog is usually involved in. This was pinball – with a difference. Chaos Emeralds were the key to the exit, with a boss on each of the four levels, this game certainly wasn’t easy.

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    November 25th: Macy’s Day Parade (USA)

    A Sonic Hot Air Balloon appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in America. The 65-Foot hot air balloon makes its debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The float holds more air then the others and is the only float ever created based on a video game character. Something no one heard about, the float crashed into a lamppost and injured 2 people. That is the power of Sonic to unbelievers, we reckon.

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    November: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (USA, UK / Europe)

    Once again moving away from the platforming Sonic game that we all know and love by now, Sega of America has a bright idea of bringing us this Tetris-a-like puzzler. Looks can be decieving – this is actually an old puzzle game called ‘Puyo Puyo’ repackaged for the Western Audiences, hence Japan never got Mean Bean Machine over there. Sadly during this period game publishers felt that anything quirky from Japan that could be cool needed “beefing” up for us lot. Shame that. Still, Mean Bean does open many Sonic fan’s eyes to a great puzzling game.

    International / Other Releases

    • October 15th: Sonic CD (UK / Europe)
    • November 19th: Sonic & Tails (aka Sonic Chaos – Game Gear, Japan)
    • November 23rd: Sonic Chaos (Game Gear, USA, UK / Europe)
    • December 10th: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Japan)
    • December: Sonic Spinball (Game Gear – USA)

    1994

    The Year of the Echidna

    1994 was Sonic’s peak time on the Mega Drive, and he appeared on a few killer games that made you glad you were livin’ in the 90’s. Baby. Ahem. This year was the great introduction of Knuckles, everyone’s favourite echidna. He made his first appearance in Sonic 3, the big one for the Mega Drive, then went onto Sonic & Knuckles, then Game Gear. Here’s the lowdown of the games.

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    February 2nd: Sonic 3 (USA)

    Released with a free copy of the Sonic Boom LP. Sonic makes his big comeback on the Mega Drive, and Sonic Team have improved the graphics greatly for this game. Knuckles first appears here, but is not playable – more a nuisance. This game was supposed to be bigger, hence Sonic & Knuckles was released as the second part to Sonic 3.

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    March 24th: Sonic Drift (Japan)

    A change from the norm, this was a racing game starring Sonic and a small party of his buddies. You raced in cars along famous levels such as Emerald Hill Zone, and used weapons and dirty tactics in order to get ahead of the pack and win that trophy!

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    August: Sonic’s Gameworld (Japan)

    The SEGA Pico was released as a console edutainment system to help teach youngsters using their TV. Sonic’s Gameworld was released, and it included several games and activities to help kiddies to learn and enjoy learning at the same time, without being extremely elitist about it.

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    September: Tails and the Music Maker (USA)

    Released for the SEGA Pico, Tails and the Music Maker was a creative outlet for children to master the art of music. Using Tails as some kinda foxy slave, you dragged notes onto a scoresheet into any pattern you like, and the results could be heard when you were finished. Noice.

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    October 18th: Sonic & Knuckles (USA, Europe, Japan)

    Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 were actually meant to be one whole game, but due to cartridge space S&K was released on a special lock-on cart, which works with Sonic 3 to give you that very big game that Sonic Team were supposed to give you in the first place. You can play as Knuckles now, and the game is backwards compatible with Sonic 2 and Sonic 1.

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    November 11th: Sonic & Tails 2 (Japan)

    Sonic is back on the Game Gear, again with new and improved graphics and with the intro to Knuckles on the handheld, although you can’t play as him. You can play as Sonic or Tails, and this is basically a sequel to Sonic Chaos, but much much better, which explains why this game is called Sonic & Tails 2 in Japan.

    International / Other Releases

    • January: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Game Gear – Europe)
    • February 4th: Sonic 3 (UK / Europe)
    • February 27th: Sonic 3 (Japan)
    • August: Sonic Spinball (Game Gear – Europe)
    • September: Sonic Spinball (Game Gear – USA)
    • November: Sonic Triple Trouble (aka Sonic & Tails 2 – USA, Europe)
    • December 7th: Sonic the Hedgehog: REMIX CD release (Japan)

    1995

    The Year of the Game Gear

    Well, this year wasn’t exactly the best for Sonic, things started to grind to a halt as people were getting older and less interested. Sega did not lose faith though, and brought out games for the Game Gear, but no Mega Drive games as many owners were hoping, as the Mega Drive was giving way to more powerful consoles.

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    March 17th: Sonic Drift 2 (Japan)

    The sequel to Sonic Drift made it over here in the UK, and in the States, but it didn’t seem to do any good as people just had little interest in the Game Gear anymore. It’s a shame that, because it was a brilliant game.

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    March 20th: Knuckles’ Chaotix (USA)

    Knuckles’ Chaotix was yet another break from the norm – so much so that Sonic doesn’t even get the starring role! Based off of a prototype game called Sonic Crackers, Chaotix features two characters binded with a link ring, and the whole thing works like elastic. Hours of fun with two players, a tad annoying on your own with the computer.

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    April 28th: Tails Sky Patrol (Japan)

    The first Tails game was very successful, but the second one wasn’t that good in my opinion. It was only released in Japan, which may have been a good thing, it wouldn’t have sold very well over here. It involved Tails flying to the exit. But it wasn’t that simple. Many obstacles are planted to stop you, and if you touch a wall floor or surface, you die. o_O

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    September 22nd: Tails Adventure (Japan)

    When Sonic didn’t cut it, games moved onto Tails. Fortunately, this game was very popular indeed, and once again was very different to the normal platforming outings that Sonic usually had. This was a mix between platform and RPG style gaming, and worked extremely well.

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    October: Sonic Labyrinth (Europe)

    Sonic changed his platforming tune yet again, as Sega brought out new and innovative Sonic game genres. This time, a puzzle game involving finding keys to reach the exit within the time limit.

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    December: Simpsons Appearance (USA)

    Sonic makes an appearance in The Simpsons, the episode was called “Marge Be Not Proud”, and is episode number 3F07. Bart was thinking whether or not to shoplift a video game. Then out of a Mario game, a small Mario jumped out and told him to take it, then a Luigi came out and said to take it, then a Sonic ran by quickly and said “Just take it! Take it take it take it take it take it! TAKE IT!” (Sonic is on the right-side of the pic).

    International / Other Releases

    • March 24th: Sonic Drift Racing (aka Sonic Drift 2 – Europe)
    • April 21st: Chaotix (aka Knuckles’ Chaotix – Japan)
    • May 12th: Knuckles’ Chaotix (Europe)
    • July: Sonic Compilation (Europe)
    • August: Sonic 1 re-released in ‘Sega Classics’ (USA)
    • September: Tails Adventure (Europe)
    • October: Sonic 2-in-1 (Europe)
    • November 17th: Sonic Labyrinth (Japan)
    • November: Sonic Labyrinth (USA)
    • November: Sonic Drift Racing (aka Sonic Drift 2 – USA)
    • November: Tails Adventure (USA)

    1996

    The Year of Cancellations

    1996 was better than the last year for Sonic, many games were announced by Sega that just might save the life of the Saturn and give a great Goodbye to the Mega Drive. Some titles were not released, or cancelled due to one reason or another, but there was a surprise Sonic release that hit the nation…

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    January: Sonic OVA (Japan)

    The two part Sonic Anime OVA is released in Japan. The story goes like this, Dr Eggman tricks Sonic and Tails into going to Robotropolis. Dr Eggman kidnaps the President’s daughter Sara (these two characters are totally new and are only featured in this anime). Sonic and Tails get into trouble as Knuckles saves them from Robo Robotnik (Dr Robotnik in a giant robot).

    Sonic, Tails and Knuckles run to stop the robot generator from going off. Dr Robotnik releases his ultimate robot called Hyper Metal Sonic, which is a clone robot of Sonic seen in Sonic CD. Sonic and Metal get into a giant battle at the end of the movie. Both movies cost ¥3,980 each.

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    May: Sonic X-Treme Announced (USA)

    This ever-so-good-looking game was planned for a Saturn release. This was going to be the game Sonic Adventure ended up being (the franchise revival), only on 32-Bit consoles. The world was totally 3D, with rotating cameras, free platforming, the lot. Due to development problems Sega canned this and made Sonic 3D Blast instead. Features that we could have experienced in this game was the Spin Slash, throwing rings and much more.

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    June: Sonic Championship (Japan)

    This appeared in Japanese arcades and was quite successful. Other than the arcades, it made an appearance on Sega TV but was never released on the Saturn as Sega had hoped to. It was a great fighting game and involved Sonic, Amy, Knuckles, Metallix, Bean and Bark along with many others.

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    November: Sonic 3D Blast (USA, Europe)

    This was Sega’s backup plan after they had difficulties developing Sonic X-Treme on Sega Saturn. It wasn’t proper 3D – instead the gameplay was at an isometric angle – but there were polygons involved. This wasn’t created by Sonic Team as most people would believe – the Sonic fan should know that this game was developed by Travellers Tales – although Sega did have a part to play. This was the first of two Sonic games created by the British developer for Sega, the second being Sonic R of course. Although many people were disappointed about X-Treme, Sonic 3D was a great game in its own right, and Sega was able to release this on both Saturn and Mega Drive.

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    November: Sonic Blast (USA, Europe)

    With a surprise release of the game on the Master System by Tectoy in Brazil, and about three years after the last Sonic game, Sega release Sonic Blast. A platformer starring Sonic, but you can also play as Knuckles. It really is quite amazing for any 8-Bit machine to do what Sega have done with Sonic Blast, its really worth checking out. The very last Sonic game to appear on the Game Gear.

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    November 24th: Sonic Christmas Blast (USA)

    Sonic Christmas Blast first aired on USA Network on November 24, 1996 at 12:30 PM/11:30 AM, a few months after AoSTH had ended its original run. Based around The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog, although elements from other series were added such as Princess Sally from Sonic The Hedgehog (SatAM). DiC basically merged the two shows to create something like the Archie Sonic Comic Book’s classic issues.

    Dr. Robotnik (posing as Robotnik Claus) takes Santa’s place in an evil scheme to have people give him presents, instead of the other way around. Sonic and Tails are searching for a present for Princess Sally (who is the OLD pink Sally and says nothing the entire episode) when they learn that Robotnik Claus has stolen every gift on the planet. Sonic and Tails go searching for the real Santa, who is locked away seven miles South of the North Pole.

    Eventually finding him, Santa points out a Special Ring that Sonic is wearing that will give Sonic Super Speed if he passes a few tests. Can he pass and save Christmas?

    International / Other Releases

    • July: Sonic the Fighters (aka Sonic Championship – USA)
    • August 9th: Sonic CD (PC – Japan)
    • August 26th: Sonic CD (PC – USA)
    • October 3rd: Sonic CD (PC – Europe)
    • November: Sonic X-Treme Cancelled (USA)
    • November: Sonic’s Gameworld (USA)
    • November: Sonic’s Schoolhouse (USA)
    • December 7th: Sonic the Fighters Soundtrack (Japan)
    • December 13th: G Sonic (aka Sonic Blast – Japan)

    1997

    The Year of the SEGA Saturn

    The Saturn was released in 1995/96 and after a strong amount of games released on it, Sega thought it was time for Sonic to move on from the Mega Drive onto their new 32-Bit console. Ironically, although this year was the greatest for Saturn/Sonic lovers, there was no real new Sonic platforming to be had, which was a shame. And also odd, as Sega and Sony were pretty much on even ground at this point. Until the PlayStation pulled ahead…

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    June 20th: Sonic Jam (Japan)

    This was really a compilation of classic Sonic games, made to ease the pain of many who had switched their Mega Drives for a Saturn and had missed those brilliant platforming adventures of old. This was from Sega though, and therefore was not your ordinary run-of-the-mill compilation. As well as Sonic 1, 2, 3 and Knuckles, Sonic Jam also had a special 3D level called Sonic World, where you could see hilarious Sonic movies, character bios and more.

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    November 18th: Sonic R (USA)

    Sonic R was a very special game for Saturn owners around the globe. This was the originality of Sega and Sonic Team that they had waited for, and in no means did it disappoint. If you MUST slag it off, we can talk about how there was no real challenge and once you had done everything, you may feel a bit unfulfilled. BUT, on the up side, this really does get touted as the best Saturn game by many who owned the console. Graphics were gorgeous, Sonic characters galore, many different paths through tracks (which is rare in racing games) and hidden items to collect while racing.

    International / Other Releases

    • February: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island (aka Sonic 3D Blast – Sega Saturn, Europe)
    • February 14th: Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Screensaver (Japan)
    • March 20th: Sonic & Knuckles Collection and Sonic Screensaver (USA, Europe)
    • August: Sonic Jam (USA, Europe)
    • August: Sonic Classics (USA)
    • September: Sonic 3D Blast (PC – USA)
    • September 25th: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island (PC – Europe)
    • November 21st: Sonic R (Europe)
    • December 7th: Sonic R (Japan)

    1998

    The Year of Tacky Handheld Remakes

    1998 was a dull year in terms of Sonic games. This was the year though, that Sega’s new fangled ‘Dreamcast’ hit Japanese stores, and man, did it go off with a bang! This year also sees Sega getting mucho money, although they were still in debt. The world goes crazy after the Dreamcast launch in the Land of the Rising Sun, and many US and UK gamers were just left drooling for the 128-Bit console until 1999…

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    June: Sonic Jam (Tiger Game.com)

    Sonic Jam was recreated for the new handheld console, Tiger Game.com. Seriously, was this some kind of sick joke? o_O This ended up looking nothing like the Sega Saturn version. You wouldn’t expect the movies or elaborate features in such a small cartridge, sure, but not even half of the Mega Drive games were correctly ported over. The OFFICIAL screenshots on the back of the box do it no justice – they are fake.

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    December: Sonic Adventure Promotions (Japan)

    During the Japanese Sonic Adventure launch, some with a keen eye would notice a certain blue hedgehog adorning Coca Cola banners – the two photos above are from the Coca Cola building in Japan (last time we checked :P)

    International / Other Releases

    • January 21st: Sonic R Soundtrack (Japan)
    • August 22nd: Sonic Adventure on Sega Dreamcast Announced (Japan)
    • November 6th: Sonic Team Powerplay CD Release
    • November 11th: Sonic R (PC – USA, Europe)
    • December 2nd: Sonic Adventure: Songs With Attitude CD (Japan)
    • December 16th: Sonic Adventure REMIX CD (Japan)
    • December 23rd: Sonic Adventure (Japan)

    1999

    The Year of Sonic's Comeback

    The year where Sonic made a dramatic comeback. And what a happy occasion it was. On October 1999, Dreamcast was launched in the UK, with many scrambling to buy the luscious console, each cheerily handing over £200 for a platform with great potential. Sonic Adventure was released on the same night. All of us who had fond memories of Sonic in his heyday felt emotional over the return of everyone’s favourite hedgehog. So, Sonic Adventure sold out almost as fast as the blue one himself! Sega was happy, they had a headstart on Sony and the PS2…

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    January 3rd: Sonic Underground (France)

    Created once again by DiC, With 40 episodes, Sonic Underground carried a strange storyline about Sonic and his siblings trying to get back together with their lost mother. While they spoiled Dr. Robotnik’s plans along the way, naturally.

    sa1-15 (1).jpg

    September 9th: Sonic Adventure (USA)

    Released with the launch of the Sega Dreamcast. This was the title that brought many childhood fans back again. If you have never heard or played Sonic Adventure, please do yourself a favour and play it now. Sonic and friends have been given a complete makeover, and they look ten times cooler than anything out there!

    Everyone across the whole world must have at least heard of this game, and what a belter of a game it is and all! Six characters to choose from, with each characters’ story intertwining with all the others to form a giant storyline. Graphics so good they make you cry, the cool addition of the Chao A-Life system and action so good you drool without noticing, this is THE Game of 1999, and will be remembered forever.

    October: Sega Dreamcast Commercial (USA)

    Dreamcast advertisement #1 with a Sonic appearance: “Day Dream”. Aired on US TV from SEGA of America, it features Gary Payton of the Seattle Supersonics rapping with Taka, a character from the well-known “Virtua Fighter” series. It also features Sonic the Hedgehog as a DJ mixing for more than 40 other characters on the dance floor. As Sonic remembers his adventures in Speed Highway, he gets outta control on the turntables and Tails can’t keep up with the beat and falls off the table he was sitting on. Gary tells him to “stay off the light speed.” Sonic replies: “My bad”.

    October: Sega Dreamcast Commercial 2 (USA)

    Dreamcast advertisement #2 with a Sonic appearance: “Opening Day”. Aired on US TV from SEGA of America, it introduces the immense living and conspiring world inside the Sega Dreamcast console and features more than 40 game characters including an animated Brian Grant of the Portland Trailblazers. Naturally. Sonic is running and jumping at the beginning. Taka from Virtua Fighter Says: “Sit down, rodent!” Tails talks to Brian Grant. Tails says: “Brian, you’re gonna get whooped”. Brian retorts with: “Shut up, quadruped!” What a witty man.

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    December 3rd: Sonic Pocket Adventure (USA)

    Although not created by Sonic Team, this was Sonic’s first outing on a console (or in this case handheld) other than Sega’s own. This was Sonic 2, but the graphics were not as good. But there was plenty of action, and many differences and additions to the game too. Ironically, soon after sales of Sonic Pocket Adventure died down, the Neo Geo Pocket Color flumped in the West.

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    December 22nd: Rosie O’Donnell Appearance (USA)

    Yay, another Sonic the Hedgehog appearance! This time its some silly dude in a (frankly, scary) Sonic outfit, prancing about in an American TV programme called the Rosie O’ Donnell Show. In this episode, the presenter (Rosie) gave away Dreamcasts to the audience members.

    International / Other Releases

    • January 20th: Sonic Adventure Soundtrack (Japan)
    • August 30th: Sonic Underground Begins USA Syndication
    • September 7th: Sonic The Movie (aka Sonic OVA – Europe)
    • October 14th: Sonic Adventure International (Japan)
    • October 14th: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island (Saturn – Japan)
    • October 14th: Sonic Adventure (Europe)
    • October 18th: Sonic Adventure (Benelux)

    2000

    The Year of Tideovers

    Not a lot of Sonic games released this year, but nobody cared since they were still playing Sonic Adventure and all the new titles that Dreamcast had to offer. Fans had Sonic Adventure, and they were happy. This year sees only one title, and that was in the US…

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    November 14th: Sonic Shuffle (USA)

    This was released in America – the UK release came in 2001. This was to contend with Mario Party and their stupidly increasing sequels. The atmosphere may seem familiar because it was coded by former members of the Mario Party team. You were on a kind of ‘board’, and using numbered cards you had to gain Precioustones to win the game. There were lots of fun mini games on the disk too.

    International / Other Releases

    • January 11th: Sonic Pocket Adventure (Japan)
    • December 21st: Sonic Shuffle (Japan)

    2001

    The Year of Sonic - For Everyone!

    2001 is the year to start getting excited. Because… it’s Sonic’s 10th Anniversary! And what better to celebrate this year than the world’s most anticipated game ever (those who said Metal Gear Solid 2, go away. Besides, it’s been held back till 2002)…

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    May: Sonic Adventure 2 Promotion at E3 (USA)

    During the world famous E3 Trade Show in 2001, to plug the arrival of Sonic Adventure 2 and the announcing of ‘evil dude’ Shadow, SEGA managed to plant a great big hoofing Shadow poster right outside the walls of the event. Talk about slick. Thanks go to Meejay for providing the photo for this entry.

    June: Sonic Adventure 2 Commercial (USA)

    Sonic makes an appearance on a Sonic Adventure 2 TV advertisement. A laboratory is conducting experiments on a good hedgehog, then they reel in some cattle down to the evil hedgehog. It then shows some scenes from the game. Choice.

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    June 19th: Sonic Adventure 2 (USA)

    The Americans got the game a few days before the supposed simultaneous worldwide release (grrr…). But, woah baby. This was THE game of the year, bar none. Did you hear me? BAR NONE! A massive storyline, a 2-Player mode, hidden secrets, evil and hero sides (meaning two sides of the story to play on) and Tails in a Eggbot! Not only that, but lucky Sonic Fans got a limited edition box set which included a gold coin, a history booklet and a CD with the cream of Sonic music on it.

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    December: Sonic Advance TV Commercial (Japan)

    Thus begins our look into all the future crazy Japanese adverts featuring Sonic. This one we like to call “Magical” – it plugs Sonic Advance on GBA, and has Sonic running through a street. By using his speed to (what may seem like) cause damage, he also ends up making life better for others. One example being Sonic running past a cute Japanese lady, with his speed causing her incredibly short skirt to lift up. As you see in the distance a kid and an OAP are left with a ‘wide shot’ staring into space as if they were in heaven. “Magical”.

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    December 20th: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (Gamecube – Japan)

    This marked Sonic’s debut on anything other than a SEGA mainstream console! As SEGA went down the pan due to constant losses, the company had ducked out of the hardware business and went back to third party games, like they did at the start. It seems from this that Sonic Team are siding with Nintendo platforms for Sonic in the future – the port of SA2 to GameCube was done quickly as you can see, and it’s quite good to play, except for that stupid sticky jump…

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    December 20th: Sonic Advance (Japan)

    Originally rumoured to be a Mega Drive port, this is a Sonic 2D platformer of its own – it stays somewhat closely to the series’ roots, yet the level design is nothing to shout about. Good fun though.

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    December 28th: CoroCoro Comics Appearance

    Corocoro Comics begins publishing the second official Sonic manga in Japan, featuring art by Harukaze Santa. Corocoro specialises in comics for the ‘prepubescent crowd’. So kids, then.

    International / Other Releases

    • June 23rd: Sonic Adventure 2 (Japan, Europe)
    • August 22nd: Sonic Adventure 2 Cuts Unleashed CD (Japan)
    • September 5th: Sonic Adventure 2 Soundtrack (Japan)
    • November: Sonic Shuffle (Europe)

    Into the Future...

    As you can see, Sonic has been on a fantastic journey in the ten years since his heroic game debut. He's had his ups, his downs, and various movements in-between. We're here to celebrate all of the blue blur's history up until this point, in honour of the character's tenth anniversary. May you keep on running for another ten years - and beyond! We'll be right behind you, covering your every step!


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