Sonic the Hedgehog is 25 years old, with the original game coming out on SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive in North America on 23rd June 1991, kicking off one of gaming's most iconic early rivalries. The 'Bit Wars' between SEGA and Nintendo, Sonic and Mario, were integral to many childhoods of gamers that are now typically over 30 years old; more importantly, it was just a bloomin' great game.
Though the industry's evolved a great deal, Sonic is still alive and kicking, from the brilliant and witty Twitter account in his name to a mixed bag of games across consoles and mobile. Forgetting the Wii U exclusive that shall not be named, the blue blur has had some solid releases in recent times - Sonic Generations had some high points on consoles and PC, Sonic Colours was an enjoyable Wii exclusive, and positive things can also be said for Sonic Lost World. By all accounts the animated spin-off TV series related to the Wii U exclusive that shall not be named is a success, spawning another 3DS game this year in Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice.
The Sonic Team has also reiterated that it's working on a new game in the series, while a movie is in the works. A special announcement is also coming on 22nd July from an anniversary celebration in San Diego, so we're hopeful that the next major Sonic console game will be revealed.
It's easy to pick on Sonic and tease the franchise, even its own Twitter account joins in, but we should also celebrate its impact on the gaming scene. The original core Mega Drive / Genesis games have a special place in this writer's heart, and when assessed objectively the franchise has delivered some solid games in the past decade, too. For many fans, the hope is that this anniversary year will see the unveiling of the next major Sonic game; if it takes the groundwork of titles like Generations and Colours while improving on key areas it could be fantastic.
In any case, we doff our cap to Sonic the Hedgehog. It was the blue blur's debut on Mega Drive that first made this writer fall in love with console gaming - true story. The impact and the sheer giddy joy of its gameplay sowed the seed for a lifetime for gaming, and we suspect plenty of Sonic fans can relate to that.
If you'll excuse this writer, it's time to go and play 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, right after I've got something out of my eye...