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DAR Gaming Roundtable: The Legacy of Sonic

You know him well. The blue hedgehog faster than just about anything who accumulates those gold rings. Now, the Sonic franchise is one of the most successful, selling 330 million units since the inception in the early 1990s, but in recent years, the brand hasn't been as relevant. Regardless, the brand is forever etched in gaming history, so we decided to take a look at the best Sonic games and some of his best moments during the franchise's heyday.

I remember thinking Super Mario Bros. was the best thing to happen to video games. I was young at the time and that was the only game I would play because it was fun, plus it had a cute star, flowers and it was easy. I didn't think it would get any better and then I discovered Sonic the Hedgehog. It is because of this game that I spent the majority of my childhood playing video games, but never really went back to Nintendo after that.

In my opinion, Sonic was perfect. He was the coolest character, he was cute and the game had color and vibrancy that really wasn't present in other games. It was fast paced and I loved that: everything Sonic did was speedy. I loved that you collected rings instead of coins AND that if you weren't careful you would make him lose the rings he collected and they would spill everywhere. It didn't stop there, as the Sonic version of the "star" was more exciting and the robotic wasps (or whatever they were) were better than the turtle and beetle equivalent in Super Mario Bros. I also think little details like Sonic spinning and breaking through barriers was great and posed somewhat of a challenge because you had to make him make it all the way through to the other side. Also, the loops that he would run through to collect rings throughout the levels were great AND the secret ring boxes that were hidden on top of the palm trees were exciting. The bouncy springs also added to the variation and fun.

I think my absolute favorite part of the entire game was the giant ring you jumped into at the end which took you to the bonus round...the land of rings. That was unlike anything else, it rotated and you had to maneuver Sonic through the entire round before the time ran out and you had to avoid those red light bulb things. And of course the "boss" at the end that you had to beat, the infamous Doctor Robotnik and his absurd contraptions. I remember having to pass the controller to my brother so he could beat the wrecking ball until I finally learned how to do it on my own.

Needless to say, first generation Sonic from 1991 is and will forever be my favorite video game. I think Sega did an absolutely brilliant job creating this game and the entire franchise, the characters, the details, the concept, everything about it was appealing and it is one of the few games that appealed to both genders equally.

Sonic. Legendary series that fell way off over the last ten years. While the comics and the animated series have been greatness (RIP SatAM), the games haven't exactly been blessed with a similar fate. I'm not sure why, though, to be honest. I guess it's because Sonic, unlike Mario, tried to reinvent the wheel too many times. I mean, Werewolf Sonic was fine. Sonic 06 was garbage with its interspecies relationship between Sonic and the Princess. Seriously, what the hell?! And let's not even get started on the Boom series of games.

Sonic works best when there's the following:

1. Sonic is chasing Dr. Eggman/Robotnik because Sonic is trying to save the day.
2. Sonic beats Eggman by jumping on him three times. 
3. Sonic doesn't have a million co-stars to flood the screen.
4. The end.

While the large cast of characters thing works for the comics and the shows (kinda), Sega doesn't seem able to make it work fully in the games. But, they won't stop trying...thus dragging a once-legendary series from the back of a Blue Blur-tinged truck...

Sega, please stop killing the series through reinventing the wheel every damn time you release a game.

I loved Sonic as a kid. I used to play the game on SEGA so often and it was my favorite for a long time. Mario and Sonic were really all we had growing up. Sure, there were the sports games and the adventure games, but Mario and Sonic gave us characters and brands to cling to and look forward to. The first 3 editions of "Sonic The Hedgehog" were so infectious and tough to put down. I would play them for hours upon hours, and I was even a fan of the "Sonic and Knuckles" game.

Sonic is the game that truly built the SEGA Genesis popularity in the US, much like Mario did for Nintendo. The legacy that Sonic holds is groundbreaking in many ways, as the game and its impact helped push the sales of SEGA beyond Nintendo for a holiday season, and Sonic ended up selling 21 million copies between the first two editions. The sequel of the game might be slightly better than the first to me, with the inclusion of your own sidekick, Miles.

With the 3rd edition and the following "Sonic and Knuckles", the game was praised for utilizing "lock-on technology" allowing the games to access data from each other. However, after the release of Sonic and Knuckles, the franchise never quite recovered. It picked up new life after Mario debuted on the Wii and they combined forces for a few Olympic related games, but that was mostly it. Regardless, Sonic is one of the most iconic characters in gaming history and should always be remembered for the impact.

Have thoughts or comments on Sonic? Post them below in the comments section.



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