Sonic boom: Sega designer tells the origin story of a gaming legend

In nature, the top speed of a hedgehog is 4mph. In video games, Sonic the Hedgehog’s velocity is estimated at anywhere between 767 and 3,840mph. The fact that such debates exist and continue to surround Sega’s pixelated whirling dervish confirms the creation of one of popular culture’s most distinctive icons. His is a tale of comic book invention, corporate scheming and the starting point in a revolution that would cement the biggest entertainment medium on Earth. This is the origin story of a gaming legend.

Sonic the Hedgehog hurriedly entered the lexicon of public consciousness 30 years ago, on June 23, 1991, when the original Sega Genesis title hit stores. Now, after multiple releases across eras, machines and platforms, alongside what would become North America’s highest-grossing video game film adaptation of all time, the “brand” actually feels stronger and, perhaps, more impervious to damage than ever before.

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