Welcome to the World of is an idea Ive had for the longest. I wanted to make it a YouTube series, and still do someday. Id select a series of something I like and know well about in pop culture and celebrate it with a slew of related stuff on said series. From its history, music, main releases, side releases, canon to non-canon, best of fan made stuff, ect. So I figured Id make a thread based version for now, and start off with what is to those who know me is obviously my favorite game series of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog. And its a good time too. This year marked Sonics 20th anniversary, as it comes to a close I think celebrations in order. So lets get this started with a brief origin of the character and series.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT AND POST. THIS THREAD IS ALSO A DISCUSSION THREAD ON ALL THINGS SONIC, AND FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED.
CHAPTER 1: BIRTH OF A LEGENDSpoiler Alert!The tale begins not with a hedgehog, but with a kid, horribliy loosing a popularity contest against a mustachioed Italian plumber.
Alex Kidd, Segas former mascot, predating Sonic.
Before there ever was Sonic the Hedgehog, there was Alex Kidd. In the mid to late 80s, Alex Kidd peaked in his popularity. A character with roots of inspiration from Bruce Lee (Chinese martial arts movie star legend) and Sun Wukong (Monkey King from the old Chinese tale Journey to the West) Alex was Segas top selling series and the flagship mascot for the gaming company, but the sucess of the series could never seem to hold a candle to Nintendos highly successful Super Mario Bros. series. At the turn of the decade, Sega dared to do something nobody had yet to dare, they challenged the Nintendo power-house in dead on competition. Their secret weapon? A revolutionary new 16 bit console capable of processing data 10 times faster than the NES, making for faster and smoother gameplay and better quality graphics than Nintendos' NES, the Sega Genesis.
Shown above: Blast Processing
But even if the DVD is supperior to the VHS, youre going to watch the movie with the better actor and story, right? Sega knew that in order for the Genesis to be as successful as they knew it could be, itd need a new character, a new mascot, to lead the way. They got to thinking. And the ones in charge of thinking ordered the fellas working for them to get to thinkin too. Everyone working for Sega at the time was ordered to be creative and come up with the most suitable mascot for this new attitude they were going to show, and a character with attitude is what they got, but it didnt happen right away. There was some trial and error to be had that would eventually lead to other game ideas in the near future.
Mascot idea: Theodore Roosevelt in PJs. Look familiar?
Mascot idea: A rabbit that uses his ears to grab and throw things. Later this concept is worked on to create the Sega character Ristar.
Mascot idea: A werewolf wearing a patriotic American flag shirt. How tacky.
None of the character designs seemed to click with what they were hoping for, then one fatefull day, after all the failed attempts, a Mr. Naoto Ohshima was in a local resturaunt, probably eating something really freakin awesome being as he is equally as freakin awesome, made this little doodle on his napkin while waiting for his sweet ass meal.
Pictured: Kickass napkin
Oshimawesome showed this little guy he named "Mr. Needlemouse" around to the guys at work and apperantly he was on to something. A rename and art touch up later and we eventually got
Sonic the Hedgehog
Wasnt that simple though. Some crazy ideas were made that were so over the top and tacky for the blue dude that it might have been the nails in the coffin in the early grave for Sonic. Thankfully, the good ole' US of A was there to set things straight when the original Japanese ideas got a little too out there. When Sega of Japan sent the concept over to the western marketing department of their yankee counterparts, Sonic was named Mr. Hedgehog, he was in a rock band of crazy animals, the villians name was Dr. Badvibes, the goal of the game was to save the band groupie Madonna from ol Badvibes, so on and so forth. Sega of America saw potential, but told Sega of Japan to change said ideas. A big arguement that almost kept Sonic from being fleshed out in a game insued but eventually SoJ gave in, in which theyd later be glad they did.
So sega now had the mascot they wanted. He was a cool blue dude with an attitude that showcased the speed of the Genesis with his abilities and had a highly memorable look about him. They handed the project over to Sega legend Yuji Naka to start work on the game and start work he did. As he slaved away over a hot computer all day, a rock star tended to the beats and sounds of Sonic.
If you activated the video above, you are listening to the music of Green Hill Zone, the first stage in Sonic the Hedgehog. The soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura, a member of the Japanese rock band Dreams Come True.
With the game near complete and ready for release, Sega began to advertise the crap out of it. Counting chickens before they hatch? Maybe. But hell, if youre that confident, you cant be wrong... right? Well apperantly they were right. June 1991 came around and anybody who was anybody has heard an earfull of how freakin awesome Sonic is going to be. In advertisements, Sega focused on some key things that would help them overthrow Nintendo from their perch. They made sure people knew that the Genesis was many times faster than the NES and playing Sonic the Hedgehog will let you truely experiance that. They advertised Sonic's cool dude attitude, making it clear that Sonic was edgey while Mario was a plump dopey boyscout.
Things like these made Sonics debut a huge success. The day of Sonics release was the best day Sega had seen buisness-wise up to that point. Needless to say, the demand for a sequel was very soon to follow, and seeing how loved their new series had become in such a short time, that was something Sega was more than happy to get to work on.
Up next, two is a big word. Game number two, the big sequel challenge for Sega, a game trying to be twice as big, and a deformation resulting in two tails. I'll continue Welcome to the World of: Sonic the Hedgehog with the story of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shortly.
CHAPTER 2: ANOTHER RUNSpoiler Alert!
Now, the group from Sega that worked on the Sonic the Hedgehog game is the famous Sonic Team. (Originally named Sega AM8 before the release of Sonic the Hedgehog) It would only make sense to have them get to work on the sequel right? Well that doesnt seem to be the case for Sonic 2. The higher ups at Sega felt like letting someone else work on the sequel title will help keep the series to stay "fresh" and not keep it from feeling too much like the same game as the first. The Sega Technical Institute of America was tasked out to make Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shortly after the success of Sonic the Hedgehog in June 1991. Yeah, big friggen shoes to fill. But all was well, as they had Sonic Team to oversee their progress and advise them if they needed so the whole way.
Actually, believe it or not, Sega Tech Institute of America was growing quite a bit from Sonic Team at the time. Rumor has it, legend Yuji Naka got sick of some of Sega of Japans policies and moved over to STI of America shortly before Sonic 2s development began.
Screw you guys. Im leaving, Im taking him with me.
After that a few others left and did the same aswell.
Work began on Sonic 2, but shortly in an idea was had. People love sidekicks. What was a huge appeal to Nintendos Mario Bros is that they were, well two brothers. Its no surprise that back then, and still today, Luigi of the Mario franchise had his own little fanbase. It didnt take much to decide that Sonic 2 should introduce a new character and loyal buddy to the blue blur. Another Sega-wide competition was held to decide who would be fitting for Sonic to race around levels with. For a while it was pretty much decided to be a rocket-powered turtle named Boomer, but then Yasushi Yamaguchi drew this up and turned it over to his boss.
Pictured: landslide vote
He thought up an orange two-tailed fox by the name of Miles Prower, a pun on the term "miles per hour" which he rightfully felt fitting for the series. The idea was loved by all he showed it to, but the higher ups decided to go with a name more simple and memorable. Thus the character would come to be known as Tails, much to the disliking of Mr. Yamaguchi. Yasushi still snuck his original name into the game here and there and a comprimise was made. Miles Prower would be the characters actual name, while Tails would be his more widely known nickname.
Now Im going to briefly skip over a few years for the next little bit of information regarding Sonic 2. Something nobody outside of Sonic Team and STI knew about until years later. Apperantly, a few years later the game was hacked to find some interesting discoveries about Sonic 2s original concept that didnt fully make it to the game, but would sound familiar to those who has played other, later games in the series.
The reason I bring this up in the middle of Sonic 2s little story, is because this shines a little light on how the story was originally shaped. Now if you know anything about Sonic you would recognize what is in that picture above but find it increadibly odd to see it in a section about Sonic 2. What you see up there is the Master Emerald in a stage that was cut out in the final product named Hidden Palace Zone. Get this, in the original concept idea for Sonic 2, Tails was to be the guardian of a powerful gem that Dr. Robotnik so wanted to get his hands on.
"Back the f**k off mah emaruldz!"
Ofcoarse, the idea was scraped, what we did get though is the first chapter in what we fans like to call the "Death Egg Saga."
The ability to destroy entire planets is insignificant next to the power of the hedghog.
As for the finished story, being as nice a guy as he is, Dr. Robotnik creates his most powerful creation he has ever created, the Death Egg. (Star Wars!!!!!1!0ne!!) With a weapon capable of destroying the world in a single blow its up to Sonic and his new pal Tails to save the world. The game featured more levels, new abilities like the spin-dash which besides his speed has become Sonics claim to fame. And a certain Masato Nakamura returned from touring with Dreams Come True, and groupies that undoubtedly came with the territory, to get to work on some of the most memoriable pieces in Sonics history.
That there is the music behind Emerald Hill Zone, the first stage of Sonic 2. With the game complete, the release on the way... they made a pretty fricken huge deal about it. A whoping $10 million advertising campaign was initiated for the highly awaited sequel. The name of the release date was dubbed "Sonic 2sday." (Hows that for your everyday holiday thread?) See for yourself.
Sonic 2 released on November 21, 1992 in Japan and on November 24, 1992 everywhere else. As already mentioned, fans called the release days "Sonic 2sdays" and the game totaled up to selling more copies than any other video game for the next three years. I shit you not.
Up next, a gaming mascot becomes an icon symbolizing the times. How a little blue hedgehog became a pop culture phenomenon considered to be the embodiment of the 90's itslef.
CHAPTER 3: SEGA CREATED A MONSTER - post #7
CHAPTER 4: A SPINJUMP IN TECHNOLOGY - post #8
CHAPTER 5: A GAME WAY PAST COOL - post #9