4 Weirdest Moments In 'Sonic The Hedgehog' History
When Sega set out to create an alternative to rival Nintendo's Super Mario, they probably intended to make an edgier counterpart to the family-friendly plumber, and not a character whose life parallels that of the saddest child star one can imagine. The Sonic the Hedgehog series started well enough, making millions of fans and dollars alike, but boy did the blue menace quickly fall into what he probably wishes was obscurity as his games seemingly have become a playground where its devs and writers compete over who can come up with a worse product.
The “Gotta go fast" motto has always been a lie
Actually, it's more like “gotta study hard”. Even though it's the name of the theme song for the Sonic X cartoon as well as the unofficial motto of the series, “gotta go fast” doesn't work at all. That's because Sonic games just don't reward players for going fast. They do, in fact, punish them for it. That's a pretty weird design choice for a game whose big selling point is the ability to run fast enough to make use of the Sega Genesis' blast processing, but that's the truth. Yeah, if we go back and play one of the titles in the Sonic The Hedgehog series that we don't remember perfectly – and dare run any faster than Mario would, chances are we'll run into a wall or a deadly spike. Old CRT TVs did a much better job of showing off Sonic's gorgeous design than LCD TVs ever could, but the only thing that the old school 4:3 aspect ratio ever did was prevent players from having enough time to react to obstacles. Sonic games only reward the speed of players who already know the game, hardly something we can expect from the people playing the game for the very first time.
It actually feels like a game made for speedrunners before speedrunning even was a thing.
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Michael Jackson's involvement in the series was a mystery for over 20 years
One of gaming's oldest rumors was that of Michael Jackson's involvement with the Sonic The Hedgehog series. A few sleuths and insiders have always claimed that Jackson had personally written songs for Sonic The Hedgehog 3 but Sega never really acknowledged it. Were they against the free publicity that they'd naturally get? Did they catch wind of any sort of allegations against the man? Well, the truth is that he really did do it – the music, specifically – and maybe other things as well. It was only in June of 2022, nearly 30 years after the release of Sonic 3 that Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic finally came clean about it. What's best is that he did it not in a celebratory manner (which is probably a bit late for anyway), but rather out of spite.
Yeah, Naka hasn't been on good terms with Sega ever since he left the company in 2017, and has seemingly twisted the knife by revealing that yeah, Michael Jackson's music was part of the game and that it had now been removed for the newer ports. That sucks for fans of the game and fans of the game alone, as we assume Jackson probably won't have much use for all of the royalties nowadays.
The series rewarded the bullying of its own makers
In case the people reading this haven't googled anything Sonic related during the past decade, we need to leave the reminder that Sonic fandom is horny, sure, but also incredibly toxic. When we first saw the trailer for the original Sonic The Hedgehog movie, many were appalled, nay, destroyed by the look of the iconic (though ever-changing) blue menace. It's almost as if he looked like this:
When in truth, he just looked like this:
The original version of movie-Sonic looked like this:
And sure, that's a departure from the classic design, but is it worth sending thousands of hate letters to the people responsible for it? Because that's what they did. Come on, the last mainline Sonic game to come out before that film was Sonic Boom, a game that boasts a 3.6 user score on Metacritic. Where are all these die-hard fans, and how can they still “love” this brand so much? Regardless, they directed so much abuse towards the design that the studio felt obliged to take a step back and redesign the character. That sucks because visual effects workers are some of the hardest-working and the most poorly compensated people in the movie business, and also because we already know that even giving fans exactly what they want still won't be enough to appease them.
The great Sonic legal battle (that Sega lost)
Sonic comics are a surprisingly huge deal, and no, we're not just talking about the “rule 34” ones we see on google. Sonic has had one hell of a run by Archie comics, and it has been responsible for one hell of a bizarre copyright infringement claim. Meet Ken Penders, the only Sonic villain who ever managed to completely change Sonic's timeline forever.
Penders is responsible for a bunch of Sonic comics and characters such as Scourge The Hedgehog, Julie-Su, Lara-Su, and many other fan-fic-sounding ones. Back in 2009, a couple of years after leaving Archie Comics, Penders heard from fans that a few of his designs and concepts were allegedly reused by Sega in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood and decided to send copyrights claims regarding every single one of his characters and designs. Archie then sued Penders claiming he was in violation of his contract, but Penders used the masterful defense of claiming Archie's only proof was a forged photocopy, which was
obviously not enough to destroy Archie's case and force the company to fire their entire legal team. The lawsuit concluded with Penders walking away with over 200 characters that Archie comics had to forever delete from their continuity. Penders has since gone on to announce the chronicles of Lara-Su, the daughter of Knuckles the Echyd’nya – yeah, we know it used to be Echidna, but he retconned that. Now that's power. Over 10 years later, that story is yet to get its first full volume.
Top Image: Sega, Lumpy Touch