Feature: Staff Memories of Sonic the Hedgehog

We reminisce about the blue guy

Zach Kaplan

My earliest video game experiences were with the NES, so when my parents caved in and got me and my sister a newer console, the choice was obvious: Super Nintendo. Everyone seemed to agree, it was the best. But moments before heading off to the store, a voice spoke to me. Not god, not the devil, but the dulcimer tones of a commercial break speaking two words that changed my childhood: "Blast Processing."

"So what's Blast Processing do?" the man in the advert asked. Before I could reply, "I don't know but it sounds AWESOME," he showed me: very fast games with very fast rock music playing over them. That Sega Genesis was on a formula one race car! And look at that SNES — on a broken down milk truck thing. Super Nintendo was for slowpokes and chumps, clearly — just listen to that rock music! "SEGA!" yelled the race car driver, a look in his eye of bewilderment at just how fast blast processing was. With dreams of playing fast games on the back of a speeding vehicle, I went to the store with my dad and picked it up.

Of course, my sister had never heard of blast processing; heck, she'd never even listened to rock music played during video games. How could she understand? It was worse than the time I was sent to the store for Super Mario Bros. and got Super Mario Bros. 2 instead. She never fully came round to Sonic, but that just meant that I got more time with that sleek, dark console. I had all the Sonics, even the spin-off Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which is still one of my favorites to this day.

I was hooked. I ate Sonic macaroni, watched the Sonic cartoon show and hummed the Sonic 2 casino theme when I walked. I still regret snubbing the SNES until its final days, I never played video games on the back of a race car and I'm still not completely sure what blast processing is, but I had a great time with that little machine. Sega brought us some great games and set the standard for video game advertising — saying "Sega!" in just the right way can still give a generation of gamers the warm and fuzzies. God bless you, Sega, Sonic, your advertising firm and anyone who's ever opened a pair of formula one racing goggles (or their equivalent) with a look in their eye that says "blast processing."

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