It's pretty hard to believe that Sonic Mania is already five years old. It feels like only yesterday that we were getting excited about a return to the classic Sega Mega Drive / Genesis Sonic games of old, and Sega, Christian Whitehead, and everyone involved knocked it out of the park.
Sonic Mania was a huge hit, and it became the highest-rated Sonic game in fifteen years when it was first released. It also made household names of the people who worked on the game — many of whom originally worked on Sonic fangames and ROM hacks.
Whitehead had previously worked with Sega on porting many of the Genesis titles to mobile, and the Taxman ports are frequently cited as some of the best versions to this day, but he soon got the idea for a new Sonic game. After taking a few months to develop a prototype (Sonic Discovery), Whitehead showed this to Sonic series producer Takashi Iizuka, who liked the idea. Then the name Sonic Mania was suggested by Iizuka, along with the little phrase "by the mania, for the mania" — a nod to the idea that fans would be making a sonic game for the fans.
Fans have gathered on social media to celebrate Sonic Mania's fifth anniversary in style — and we're sure Sega and others will join in the party too — and there's a lovely show of celebration online for what many consider to be one of the Blue Blur's best.
@AStarShow, known also as Son of a Glitch, kicks things off with a rousing tribute to Sonic Mania — the very game that inspired him to take up pixel art and eventually lead to him working on the Sonic Origins version of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
Paul Veer, who worked as a pixel artist and animator on the game, shared his own tribute for the anniversary, along with a nod to an old joke prior to the game's release.
Sonic Stadium also shared its congratulations to the team who worked on the 2017 release — alongside its 2018 enhanced release / DLC expansion, Sonic Mania Plus, and asked fans to share their favourite memories from the game.
As with all gaming anniversaries, we've also seen some rather lovely fanart being shared online too.
There's also just been an awful lot of wholesome positivity surrounding this retro-style Sonic game.
And, while not strictly related to Sonic Mania, Tee Lopes — composer of the game — shared this unusual remix of Labyrinth Zone's music using Hill Top Zone's instrumentation.
We're amazed it's already been five years, and when we're not-so-secretly wishing for a Sonic Mania 2, we can always boot this up on our trusty Switch and give the game a good ol' spin.
Share your memories of Sonic Mania down below in the comments, and let us know what your dream new levels would be in a dream sequel! One day...
- Further reading - Best Sonic Games Of All Time