20 things you might not know about Sonic the Hedgehog

Features Ben Griffin 13:01, 23 Jun 2011

As it's Sonic's twentieth birthday today, we decided to find twenty of the more interesting facts on Sega's legendary mascot

He may have been around for twenty years exactly, but besides knowing Sonic's the only hedgehog that won't get stuck in a cattlegrid and has an unlikely penchant for red training shoes, he's fairly mysterious - at least to anyone who isn't a diehard fan.

So we what better way to celebrate his anniversary than with twenty facts on the subject you probably didn't know.

1) Sonic's creation came about when Sega asked for a game capable of hitting more than one million sales. Sega also wanted a character to replace its mascot of the time, Alex Kidd, and create a rival to Nintendo's Mario. The team that won the bid and developed the game became known as Sonic Team.

2) Sonic is 15 years old (although some sources suggest he is 16 or 18 - take your pick), 35 kilograms in weight (77lbs) and 3ft and 3 inches in height. His favourite food is chilli dogs and he was originally known as Mr Needlemouse.

3) Oddly, Sonic actually first debuted in a game called Rad Mobile, not Sonic the Hedgehog, much like how Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong.

4) His hobbies include DJing and break-dancing. Running fast probably also figures highly in his 'things I like to do a lot' list.

5) He isn't one for fancy titles. Although referred to as Master, Mr Sonic and 'legendary' in his life, Sonic insists he is known as just that, Sonic.

6) You probably know Sonic is blue to match Sega's branding, but it's also because the colour represents peace, something Yuji Naka (his creator) felt was perfect for his character.

7) In the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, Sonic was voiced by Jaleel White, an American actor and screenwriter who played Steve Urkel in the US show Family Matters. White also starred in a famous Atari Lynx advert.

8) Sonic was the first video game character to have a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The second was Pokemon's yellow gerbil-thing, Pikachu. Sadly, his balloon was one of two to pop during the celebration.

9) It would seem Sonic's speed has real-world benefits. Sega sponsored the Williams Grand Prix team in 1993. That year, Alan Proist, one of the drivers for Williams that year, won the Drivers' Championship. Williams also won the Constructors Championship.

10) According to a telegraph poll taken in 2008, Sonic is the most popular video game character of all time in the UK, with 24 per cent of votes. His rival Mario came second with 21 per cent.

11) Unfortunately, the 2011 Guinness World Records Gamers Edition put him in tenth, with Mario in first.

12) Sonic's had his share of movie appearances. He can be found in Wayne's World, Journey to the End of the World, Jingle all the Way and Hitch, to name some of them.

13) He also made his way into The Simpsons Game, Super Smash Bros and sequels, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island and the Sega Saturn classic, Nights into Dreams, where he is a playable character.

14) We all know Sonic's fast, but just how fast? It ranges from at least 768mph to many times the speed of sound. In one game, it's quoted as 3,840mph - nearly as quick as that concept Airbus plane that was recently unveiled.

15) Sonic can run just as fast backwards as he can forwards.

16) As many deaths on early Sonic games will prove, he is unable to swim. Fortunately, the ability to run on the substance more than makes up for it.

17) Amy Rose - a pink hedgehog that is forever chasing Sonic's affection - scares him when she is angry. It seems hell hath no fury like a female hedgehog's sccorn.

18) Yuji Naka says Sonic needs 8 hours sleep or else his running ability is affected. He probably also gets grumpy like we do, but there's no proof of this.

19) The full name of Dr Robotnik, aka Eggman - Sonic's nemesis in many of the games - is Ivo Robotnik. Yuji Naka says Sonic refers to him as Eggman 'affectionately'.

20) Sonic was originally going to have visible fangs, but he was softened up for the US market. In some games you can still see he has them when his mouth is open.

Sources: Sonic Wiki, Wikipedia

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