Character: Sonic, The Hedgehog
Alex Kid had fallen far short of making the desired impact, and in 1990, Hayao Nakayama decided that SEGA I needed a signature game and a mascot to compete with Nintendo Y Super Mario, which with its third installment had become the best-selling game in history. The strategy was based on taking his successful arcades to Mega drive, but Nakayama I knew it was not enough. It was then that he claimed the Mickey Mouse by SEGA. And I wanted it to make the power of hardware from the console. An internal contest was held to find the mascot, which had to star in a game that was an absolute bulwark of the machine and had to be specifically focused on the American public.
Looking for candidates they found the artist Naoto oshima and the programmer Yuji naka. The gameplay of Sonic was conceived before the character, and had its origin in a technological demo created by Naka, which had developed an algorithm that allowed a Sprite, which determined its position with a dot matrix, moved smoothly within a curve. The prototype was a platformer that involved a fast-moving character while rolling like a ball through a long, winding tube. SEGA had it clear, and the level designer Hirokazu Yasuhara he joined to Naka Y Oshima.
During the contest, many entries were related to animals. Like an armadillo, you didn't design Oshima and in 1993 it would become Mighty the Armadillo in the arcade Sega Sonic the Hedehog, or a dog in pajamas that looks similar to Theodore Roosevelt, and whose face would end up being used in the body of another of the designs of Oshima to make the antagonist. SEGA chose a rabbit, and it would use its ears to grab objects. Naoto oshima, during a vacation in New York, showed some of his sketches in Central park to passersby, seeking the reactions, preferences and comments of the North American public. A teal hedgehog, then codenamed Mr. Needlemouse, led the polls, followed by who would later be the antagonist Eggman / Robotnik and the design of the dog. Oshima he understood that people had mostly opted for the hedgehog because it transcended race and gender.
From the beginning it was clear that the development of the game was going to be based on speed, so designs not associated with fast animals, such as squirrels and kangaroos, were discarded. Work began with the idea of the prehensile eared rabbit, but it ended up being abandoned as it was considered too complex for him. hardware at that time. However, the concept ended up being implemented in the 1995 game Ristar. The team limited the options to animals capable of turning into a ball, as this was intended to be the basis of their attacks. Sega was looking for some aggressiveness in the character, and they focused on two animals with spikes: the hedgehog and the armadillo, and after the holidays of Oshima in the United States, the former was chosen. According Oshima, based its basic design by combining the body of Mickey Mouse with the head of Felix the Cat. The spikes were emphasized to make it more elegant, and the enclave name Mr. Needlemouse was replaced by one that represented speed: SONIC.
It was then that the Sonic team. And with its core formed, the focus was on the protagonist. For the antagonist, Eggman or Dr. Robotnik, it was chosen another of the characters that were presented in the contest by Oshima, reluctant to discard it for having had numerous support and being excellent.
Sega of America she was not entirely sure that the hedgehog would find its way into young Americans. The concept ended up being respected, but slight modifications were made to the final design. A team of Sega of America headed by Madeleine schroeder, who calls herself Sonic's mother, softened the character's design to make it more attractive to an American audience. This caused conflicts and tensions with the Sonic team, but Naka He ended up admitting that the changes were successful. The antagonist was christened Dr. Eggman in Japan and Dr. Robotkin in the rest of the regions, as consensus was not reached between the two parties in this regard.
The detailed design of Sonic was intended for children to be able to draw without too much fuss and to make it look familiar, as well as to exhibit an attitude cool, representative of the United States at that time. Sonic's pigmentation was chosen to match the cobalt blue color of the Sega logo, and his shoes evolved from a design that was inspired by the buckle boots of Michael jackson in his album Bad 1987. The color red was chosen for them by Santa Claus, whom Oshima considered the most famous character in the world, and to emphasize the contrast with the blue of the character. His personality was based on the America represented by the then presidential candidate of the United States. Bill clinton and its slogan “Get it done”.
SEGA wanted Sonic to have strong Western appeal, so the Sonic team drew up a backstory similar to that of the characters in Disney, Marvel Y Hanna-barbera, creating a tale of enormous American influence to envelop the character. In it, during the 40s, a fighter pilot, who always wanted to fly at unknown speeds and whom his companions called the hedgehog because of his hairstyle, ended up wearing an emblem of these animals on the fuselage of his plane and his jacket. Years after his exploits, he married a children's book writer, who wrote a story about the hedgehog of her husband's emblem.
According Oshima, this story is the story of Sonic the hedgehog, the game's home screen illustrates the emblem, and Sonic's signature mischievous and rebellious smile was based on art from World War II American fighter jets. In the character's original approach, the Sonic team proposed several ideas that were abandoned or discarded by Sega of America: Sonic's fangs, who will be part of a group of rock and that he had a human girlfriend named Madonna. Sonic was a speed demon, but the fangs were too aggressive. It was considered that Madonna was not suitable for younger players and there was no time or space in the cartridge for group of players. rock some, but one of its members, a crocodile that played the keyboard, debuted as Vector the Crocodile on Knuckles chaotix in 1995.
A 13-page internal SEGA document colloquially called “ sonic bible ”Contained the localized history and general philosophy of the play and character. It went through several drafts, from Japan to the United States. Despite having interesting ideas, it was never canonical. In the document, options such as Sonic being a member of a Nebraska hedgehog family and an athletic team were considered. But it was ultimately determined that Sonic had been raised among the animals of the forest and had learned his skills from them. It was also tried and ruled out that Sonic's shoes were the work of Eggan / Robotnik, before turning villain in a strange experiment he carried out with a rotten egg.
When the character was defined, and according to official Sega sources, Sonic is like the wind. A homeless man who lives as he wants and who makes his life a compendium of events and adventures. Sonic hates repression and is a staunch defender of freedom. Although resourceful and easygoing, he is not without a temper, and is often impatient with things that go slowly. Sonic is reckless. Sonic is honest, loyal to his friends, keeps his promises and doesn't like tears. In times of need or crisis, your personality undergoes a surprising change and focuses your efforts intensely on challenge and danger.
Sonic's greatest strength lies in his running speed. He is known in the gaming universe as the fastest hedgehog in the world. Much of their abilities lie in the hedgehogs' ability to ball and roll. Sonic's offensive maneuver is his spin attack.
Sonic the hedgehog follow the character's efforts to stop the mad scientist Eggman / Robotnik, who plans to collect the Chaos Emeralds to take over the world, creating nuclear weapons, trapping animals, and turning them into stationary metal capsules and aggressive robots. As a child of his time, the strong influence of the environmental movement of the 90s is deeply rooted in Sonic the hedgehog. The hedgehog represents nature versus machinery and the development of Robotnik, showing the bitter debate between environmentalists and advocates of progress.
An erroneous assumption of Yuji naka made Sonic not have the ability to swim, as he believed that hedgehogs could not. Sonic's appearance was changing over time. In the original design, Sonic was short and compact, with slightly elongated spikes, a round body, and no visible irises. But for the sequel release, Sonic's proportions were already altered. His first appearance was in the arcade racing game Rad Mobile in 1991, as a decorative ornament hanging from a rear view mirror. A short time later, he would make himself known to the whole world with his own game.
The Game: Sonic the Hedgehog
Yuki Naka he never hid the enormous influence they had exerted on him Shigeru Miyamoto and his Super Mario. Naka admired the simplicity of the mechanics he had created Miyamoto to function in complex environments. But while playing Super Mario, he kept wondering why the levels couldn't be cleared faster, and he thought of a game that could be handled simply with the directional pad and a jump button. Sega valued his work in the role-playing game Phantasy star and in the port from the arcade of Capcom Ghouls & Ghosts, sequel to Ghost & goblins. The slowness of its protagonist, Sir Arthur, so frustrated Naka He vowed that he would focus all of his efforts on the speed of his next game. Sega was looking for a pet and game to match, and the young programmer developed an algorithm that allowed a Sprite, which determined its position with a matrix of points, moved fluidly on a curve. The prototype was a platformer with a character rolling like a ball through a tube. Sega was clear that if it wanted to make the most important game in its history, it had to lift it on the prototype of Naka. To create it, he had a team of six other members: the Sonic team. Two programmers, two sound engineers and three designers. When at its dawn there were only two, Yuji naka and the artist Naoto oshima, the project had the code name "defeat Mario." The next to join was the seasoned designer Hirokazu Yasuhara, with the function of supervising everything and developing the levels.
The protagonist was a rabbit with prehensile ears that he had designed OshimaBut they soon found problems: it was difficult to program, and his ability to grab and throw objects made the pace of the game slow too much. Naka He refused to use it, and wanted it to be playable with a single button, unlike Super Mario, in which a second action was necessary to make the protagonist run. However, the rabbit concept was used a few years later in the Ristar game.
After what Yasuhara entered the team, in addition to creating the levels, he found the formula so that the wishes of Naka using a single button were viable: causing the character to cause damage when jumping by multidirectional contact, unlike Mario, who could only fall on top of enemies to avoid taking damage. It was determined that the protagonist should be able to turn into a ball as in the prototype. Once Sonic was selected, many characters from the game were remade. The Sonic team sought to create a work more focused on action than Super Mario, making Sonic less vulnerable with his attacks to make him more aggressive. It was agreed that the environments had to be visually complex and that the color palette had to be worked with care. And it was decided that another of the designs he had created Oshima for the contest he sent Nakayama was the antagonist: Robotnik/Eggman, which according to Oshima himself, based on the English character of children's rhymes Humpty dumpty.
Once all this was done, four more members joined the team to accelerate the development, which from the first moment to the last was carried out while Super Mario Bros was played in parallel. The objective was to mark the speed of Sonic, that had to be much faster than the plumber even running. It didn't take long for the first complications to emerge, pressing down as the speed increased: shaky animations, slow frame sequences and flickering. Naka He ended up developing an algorithm that gradually solved all the problems, allowing the animations to remain fluid at the highest speeds. Efforts were then focused on defining the speed of the game. After repeated tests, the team determined that it was too fast and decided to slow it down.
Yasuhara He thought the project would take three months and it ended up being almost a year. The design of its levels was intended to satisfy both experienced and casual gamers, incorporating challenging parts from time to time into mostly accessible phases. The color scheme was based on the work of the pop artist Eizin suzuki, and the aesthetics of Green Hill Zone, the first phase, was inspired by the geography of California.
Naka, Oshima Y Yasuhara they worked 19 hours a day for months. The ultimate goal was always clear: to create the fastest game in the world. Due to the need to show the full power of the console, it was subjected to constant testing and redesign. According NakaNo video game had ever featured such a fast character, and level design was a constant challenge for him. He made much larger maps than usual and tried to make sure players didn't get lost. It took him 8 months to develop Green Hill Zone, which restarted several times from the beginning. However, the process was enormously interesting to him. It was intended that the environments were not very abrupt, and the loops and loops were always difficult to carry out, since it was difficult to get Sonic not to go through them and move as he wanted through them. The backgrounds were another challenge, as the speed of the game caused the sensation of moving them in the opposite direction.
The Sonic team He always wanted the first level to define his character, to be iconic, as was the 1-1 phase of Super Mario. It was the reason why it was remade so many times. The game was being created to have a deep impact among American players, but the Japanese were not wanted to be sidelined. The pictures of Green hill They were inspired by a 3D rendering of images made by computer. An idea that Naka got from the cool developer Yu Suzuki, author of Out run Y Hang on, and that he had used that technique in another of his hits: Space harrier. While making Sonic, the team never stopped reading Famitsu. The objective was to know what the magazine considered defects in the games that the competition, especially Nintendo, was taking out.
Sonic's gameplay is based on the canons that Super Mario Bros defined for a side-scrolling platformer, but based on Sonic's ability to run at high speed through the levels. Traps, platforms, springs, slopes, loops, loops, bottomless pits, spikes, and enemies in the form of small robots abound in them. By destroying them, a forest animal locked inside is released. Sonic's attack move is the spin attack. When performed, it curls itself into a ball and quickly rotates its body, and it can be done in two ways: jumping and rolling on the ground.
During the course of the game, Sonic collects rings that work as protection. When suffering damage, Sonic loses them, being scattered around him. If he suffers an attack without a ring, he loses a life. Although there are dangers that kill it, we have the rings that we have. Each level has checkpoints in the form of posts and a time limit to overcome. Sonic can collect various types of items: limited invincibility, speed shoes that make Sonic even much faster, a protective sphere that absorbs an attack without losing rings, extra life, which can also be achieved if we achieve 100 rings, or boxes with 10 rings.
In the first two acts of any zone, if we keep at least 50 rings we can access the bonus phases. In them, and with Sonic always turned into a ball, we bounce off walls and bumpers in a rotating maze. In these phases the chaos emeralds are hidden, which are the key to the plot of the game and collecting all of them leads to the true end of Sonic the hedgehog. The rotating effect of these screens was considered impossible to achieve with the hardware from the console until then.
The music had to become a hymn. In something as hummed as Mario's song. And Sega did not leave this matter up in the air. Fuijo Minegishi, a director of Sega, had connections to the music industry. Suggested to his friend Yuzo kayama to compose the score for Sonic. The result did not like the Sonic team and commissioned Masato Nakamura, songwriter and bassist of the emerging pop group Dreams come true, to write it. Despite being surprised by the proposal, he accepted because of the strong inspiration that came from the desire to surpass Nintendo.
His lack of knowledge to create music on consoles made him consider that he could not do it. And the biggest difficulty he encountered was in the small number of sounds that could be played simultaneously, only four. Nakamura He ended up signing one of the most memorable works in history and that has transcended. 20 years after the game was released, compilations of albums with songs from Sonic and its first sequel were still being released.
The cover of the game was the work of Akira watanabe, which used clear lines and degradation and made the characters colorful. According Watanabe, the guidelines were to create an original and elegant pop art-like design that would stand out from the conventional works for other boxes.
SEGA wanted to generate the greatest possible impact and Sonic the hedgehog was presented at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in January 1991. The objective was to take the Show street ... and he did. Sonic won the CES Innovation Award and there was consensus: it was the most impressive game ever seen at the event.
Tom kalinske, CEO of Sega of America, he had no intention of Sonic failing on his land. And the head of marketing Al Nilsen traveled all over the United States testing the game with Super Mario fans. First they played with the plumber and then they played with the hedgehog. The survey results were overwhelming: the 80% preferred the SEGA game. Shortly after it was shown in the Summer Electronics Show 1991, and Sonic the hedgehog It was released in North America on June 23, 1991. A month later, it was released in Europe and Japan. Kalinske made each Genesis include a copy of Sonic, even sending the game to whoever already had the console and requested it by mail. Sega sold 15 million Genesis in the United States. He relegated Nintendo to second place, and promoted Sonic as his mascot with a monstrous campaign around the world.
The game was praised by critics. It was chosen Game of the Year in the Golden Joystick Awards 1992 and by the North American magazine EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly). It was considered a response from Sega on the same level as Nintendo and its Super Mario. When comparing Sonic with Super mario world shortly after, for Computer & Videogames magazine, Nintendo's game was deeper, but Sega's was faster, with brighter colors, more direct and more aggressive. Generation 4 considered that Sonic was the first of a generation of games for the console, that had demonstrated that it was capable of doing really beautiful things in the technical section. The graphics, detailed and colorful, were highlighted and the color palette, which was considered lively but not flashy, was praised, praising the interplay of color in sprites, backgrounds and animations. The scroll it was the fastest and smoothest ever. Mind-blowing and beautiful, for Mean machine. Great, awesome, catchy, or absolutely brilliant are some of the widespread verdicts that music cuts and sound effects received. The praises were frequent for its proposal, original and characteristic. Sonic moved away from the classic axioms of design and forced players to advance by repetition and skill and not by observation. With levels that were not made to be seen and with an unprecedented game speed on a platform. With ratings on its difficulty between impossible and average, it was surprising to be able to play something so addictive just by running and jumping. The first level was emphasized, Green Hill Zone, it was said that Sonic would trap players for hours, and that it was frustrating to lose all the rings ... he had achieved absolutely everything that Sega set out to do.
Today, Sonic the hedgehog continues to enjoy enormous popularity and is often reviewed by specialized media around the world as one of the best video games of all time.
Sonic featured a version for 8-bit consoles of Sega Master System Y Game gear, which developed Ancient and it was also praised by critics. It is often found at the top of any list of the best games on both machines. The game as a whole is simplified, with level designs that are shallower and where exploration gains weight. The soundtrack was composed by the highly reputed Yuzo koshiro, elevated to the altars for his work on other Mega Drive games such as Streets of Rage or The Revenge of Shinobi. This version was released in 2008 for Wii and in 2013 for Nintendo 3DS, and was included in different compilations for Game Cube, Playstation 2, Xbox Y Windows.
To commemorate the game's 15th anniversary, SEGA released in 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for Game Boy Advance. The game was practically identical to the original, but the changes it made were not well received. In 2013, a port for IOS was created that included several improvements. That same year a version was made for Nintendo 3DS, with the code restructured to take advantage of the 3D graphics of the console and that also added slight changes.
Sonic the hedgehog it has been brought to a large number of home consoles and computers in multiple collections and compilations. Sonic Compilation for Mega Drive, Sonic Jam for Sega Saturn, Sonic Mega Collection for Nintendo Game Cube, Sonic Mega Collection Plus for PS2 and PSP, Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PS3, Sonic Classic Collection for Nintendo DS, Oculus Arcade for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality system, and Sega Genesis Classics for PS4, Xbox One, Windows and Nintendo switch.
Sonic the hedgehog It was available as a downloadable game for Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3. It was released for Ipod in 2007, and for Apple's IOS in 2009. That same year it released its version for Game Tapen. In 2010, it was released for Windows via Steam, and for Android in 2012. It was one of the unlockable rewards from the console versions of Sonic Generations. It was also available in the service Sega Forever on IOS and Android in 2017. In 2018 a port for Nintendo switch as part of the line of re-releases of Sega Ages. US Gold acquired the rights to make versions for Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Amstrad CPC computers, but they never made it out.