Sonic may be one of the most famous video game characters on the face of the planet, but first appearance in a domestic video game is actually relatively unknown. Sonic's actual début occurred in the arcade racer Rad Mobile (later ported to the Sega Saturn under the title Gale Racer) where he appeared as a dangling ornament in your windscreen, and many people would understandably assume that he took his first home bow in the first Mega Drive / Genesis game, which launched in June 1991 in North America.
However, as popular UK YouTuber "Guru" Larry Bundy Jr. reveals, this isn't actually the case - and the story behind Sonic's first appearance on domestic television sets is almost stranger than fiction.
In the latest episode of his long-running series Games Yanks Can't Wank (apologies to our more sensitive readers for the rather crude naming), Larry digs up an obscure Amiga platformer that was given away free with a magazine of the period, and is the honest-to-God first real appearance of the blue hedgehog.
We won't go into too much detail as Larry does a superb job of spinning out the tale, but basically Factor 5 (of Turrican and later Star Wars: Rogue Squadron fame) found itself in a rather ropey position at the dawn of the '90s as the home computer games market was starting to dry up and gamers were flocking to consoles in droves. To balance the books the German developer decided to produce quick and easy "free" games which could be stuck to the front of gaming magazines of the period - in exchange for a handsome sum of cash from the publisher, of course.
One of those efforts was The Adventures of Quik & Silva, a 2D platformer which takes a lot of inspiration from the finest PC Engine and Mega Drive releases of the era. Remarkably this game was made in just two weeks, and even more remarkably it represents the first outing for Sonic - albeit it in a totally unofficial and unauthorised capacity.
Sega's mascot is shown in the game alongside Mario, Bub (Bubble Bobble), the R-9a Arrowhead (R-Type) and many other famous icons from the world of interactive entertainment. Permission was obviously not given for these to be in Quik & Silva, but the fact that the game was cover-mounted and not actually published in stores clearly allowed them to slip through the net. However, to be safe Factor 5 developed the game under the pseudonym New Bits On The RAM, ripping-off the logo of the Bitmap Brothers (Speedball, The Chaos Engine) in the process.
The video is well worth a look, so give it a watch and let us know if you came away wiser and perhaps a little more confused about this crazy industry we all love so much.