Secret playable Sonic game hidden in Nike YouTube advert is best 2D Sonic for years

Looks like the days of Sonic wearing Reebok DMX trainers are long gone. These days, he’s wearing Nike, appearing in a new playable game on the trainer company’s YouTube channel (opens in new tab). The game is called Sonic X Vapor and is a massive geek-out opportunity for any Sega fan, being about as fan-pleasing as you can get. For instance:

It’s based on an amalgamation of two games. The most obvious is the original Sonic The Hedgehog, from which the sprite art and level graphics have been borrowed, along with the title screen (which also has the flashes from Sonic 2).

Above: The game’s title screen has an obvious influence

But while it looks like Sonic 1, it actually plays like the Sonic the Sketchhog minigame from the 20th Anniversary iOS app, which uses the original ‘Mr Needlemouse drawing’ in a Canabalt-style auto-run, one-button dash game.

Above: Sonic The Sketchhog in the 20th Anniversary app is similar – and brilliant

More nostalgia-tickling features? It also has the famous ‘Sega’ soundbite at the start, followed by a new one in the same style for ‘Vapor’. Another nice touch.

Above: Vaaaaay-porrrrrrr

But the thing that makes this rather special and even teases something wonderful is the fact that there are new animation frames for the original Sonic sprite. Sure, he’s clearly wearing new trainers in every frame, but look at the ‘ready to dash’ animation frame here:

Above: Forget the low-res shoe – look at Sonic on the left

That’s a 100% authentic-looking new animation frame for classic Sonic. If someone, somewhere is still able to recreate that classic 2D Sonic sprite style, maybe one day we’ll get the new 2D Sonic game we’ve been craving all this time. Until then, there’s always Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II (opens in new tab). Which, although good, doesn’t quite recapture the feeling of those 16-bit classics.

It’s worth noting that the Nike video says at the end:

Above: But we’re nice and full from eating that ‘tunnel’, thank you

Have a go for yourself here (opens in new tab). Look for this frame (see the timeline at the bottom for where it is) and click on the big boot on the advertising hoarding.

Above: Click on that big red and white sneaker when you see it in the video to play

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