Happy 23rd Birthday, Sonic

Happy 23rd Birthday, Sonic

by June 23, 2014

Before Boom, there was Blast Processing

June 23, 1991 would be the day much of gaming changed.

It was the first day Mario would be challenged as king of the video game mascots. It was the first day toward building a brand and community worth billions–be it dollars, or reaction, or overreaction. It was the first day speed could cross with pure platforming to deliver what, for many, is a challenge still unrivaled in gaming’s past or present.

On that day, Sonic the Hedgehog would blast through the Green Hill Zone for the first time.

In the years that have followed, there have been triumphs and tribulations, evolution and emotion, angst and armistices. Today, Sonic and Mario have settled their differences, Sega is no longer in the console business, and for the first time since the 90s, the company is taking an enormous risk in effect rebooting the Sonic brand with the Sonic Boom universe and an upcoming Sonic film. We are in a period of significant change, and how that change shakes out in the next year or so could determine whether Sonic has 23 more years left in the tank.

But for now, many will live and celebrate in the moment.  On Saturday, the Tokyo Joypolis venue hosted its annual Sonic birthday party.  Takashi Iizuka, Yuji Uekawa, a newly greyed Jun Senoue and the blue dude himself were in attendance, as those in the audience saw Sonic Boom in action for the first time in the region. There was cake, music, and a lot of merchandise for fans to purchase.