The bizarre (but entirely logical) origins of Sonic the Hedgehog revealed

Video games are weird. No two ways about it. And video games from the ’80s and ’90s are the weirdest of all. Tiny yellow circle-men eating pills in mazes full of ghosts. Global wars against alien invasion fleets, in which we wisely elect to send only one ship at a time. Fricking Q*Bert. What the hell, video games? Okay, so games back then had bigger technological restrictions than they do now, but surely there had to be a more logical way of doing things. Just what was the design process?

Well fortunately, we’ve stumbled upon new video archive material from Sega’s planning meetings for the original Sonic the Hedgehog. They shed a great deal of light upon the company’s ‘method’ back then. In fact it almost makes it all make sense.

Okay, obviously that isn’t actually original archive footage. It’s not even from 1990. It’s actually a new sketch from comedy group BEASTS (opens in new tab). After two years’ gigging and a couple of sold-out Edinburgh festival runs, they’ve decided to turn their comedic attentions to the bigger questions in life. Namely, just what the hell were Sega thinking in 1990?

Describing the group’s gaming credentials as “enthusiastic but rubbish” (they were nevertheless made to play SNES Mario Kart live during a gaming-themed gig last year), member James McNicholas goes on to explain. “there just seemed to be so much that was bizarre about the Sonic mythology that we couldn’t help but wonder how on earth the guys at SEGA ever came up with it”.

Yeah, and that’s before we even get into Shadow the Hedgehog and that kiss.

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