The History of Sonic the Hedgehog


In the early 1990’s, Sega was at war with Nintendo to see who could outsell the other. One thing Sega lacked was a mascot that could go toe-to-toe with Nintendo’s Mario. They wanted something that would be representative of the company, something iconic, and something that could be easily recognized. After a few other considerations, they settled on a hedgehog. In a video game, the hedgehog could curl up and roll around, and deal damage to enemies with its spikes. Early concepts of Sonic were much simpler than they are today. He started off as a simple pencil drawing, made of simple shapes. 

The team drew inspiration from environmental awareness of the early 90’s. The game features a furry mascot and friendly woodland creatures battling against robots. In early concept sketches, Sonic would move though the game’s environment of hills, loops, and twisting tunnels, much like he does in the final product. 

The team’s efforts paid off. In the holiday sales war between the new Super Nintendo and the two-year-old Sega Genesis, Sega’s console won out in the US. Sonic the Hedgehog, which was packed in with the $149 Genesis, played an important role in the war.