Sonic The Hedgehog and Sega

Sonic the Hedgehog movie is out and so is his merchandise. Shoes, gifts, t shirts, glasses, books, CD’s and most importantly Plush.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created by Sonic Team and owned by Sega. The first Sonic game, released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis, was developed after Sega requested a new mascot character to replace Alex Kidd and compete with Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

More than 30 years have passed since Sonic made its first appearance in 1991. I still remember playing the first three series of the game.

The history of Sonic is intermingled with the story of SEGA, before it was even known as SEGA (it was called “Service Games”). It’s an interesting look back to the creation of the Sonic and to the rise and fall of SEGA as a console maker, and the transformation into a multi-platform publisher.

The history of Sega consoles is unknown to many. Sega was founded in 1940 and first called Service Games, based totally in Honolulu, Hawaii. In the beginning the company was created and made jukeboxes and slot machines for the American military. In 1951, Service Games moved to Japan and merged with Rosen Enterprises. From this merger ‘Sega Enterprises’ used to be created in 1963.

Rosen Enterprises at the time created Photo Booths to print out ID and work pictures. The company then entered the electro-mechanical niche of arcade games. From 1966 Sega Enterprises produced and launched its very own arcade machines. The first of these video games had been Rifle, Periscope and Helicopter. This was once just the beginning.

Home Console Market

In 1982, Sega created its first-ever home console – the SG-1000. It was launched in response to a downturn in arcades and under the recommendation of Hayao Nakayama. The SG-1000 was, however, only released in Japan. The newly created console was re-branded a couple of times then bought into Australia, Italy, Spain and New Zealand.

Unfortunately, Sega’s first domestic console was not as robust as the Nintendo Famicon which took 90% of the market share. The Nintendo had more functionality as a console and more games compared to the SG-1000. Because of this, Sega then released the SG-1000 II in 1984. It addressed the hardware issues and created detachable controllers.

Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive

Before long, Sega noticed the tough competition entering the market. Most of all, better than Nintendo’s entertainment gadget and all other consoles available. The answer to this dilemma? The Mega Drive, additionally regarded as Sega Genesis in America.

The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit home video console launched in Japan in 1988. All hardware was once adapted from the Sega’s System sixteen arcade board onto a Motorola 68000 processor. It supported a big library of more than 900 games and was once recognised as a powerhouse. With better quality sounds and pics than any different console, Sega instantly offered more than a million options when it arrived in America in 1989.

By the early ’90s in the United States, Nintendo held 94% of the country’s $3 billion gaming market. It would be foolish to challenge that dominance, but that’s where Sega enters the picture.

Sega had already made a name for itself in Japan by making arcade games, but its home console, the Sega Mega Drive, was struggling. That’s when Michael Katz, the president of Sega of America, decided that in order to challenge Nintendo, Sega had to focus its sights on the west. The Mega Drive was rebranded as the Genesis in America. Katz proposed going for the jugular by attacking Nintendo’s reputation with marketing.

In order to truly take the gaming crown from Nintendo, though, Sega had to come up with a mascot that could rival Mario, one that could easily appeal to American audiences. The company tasked artist Naoto Ohshima with the job, and he came up with a little guy named Sonic The Hedgehog. Sega’s Sonic games featured a much faster-paced, action-oriented experience that a lot of Americans favored over the slow-moving Mario platformers. The boom in sales came when Sega decided to drop the price of the Genesis and include a copy of Sonic with new purchases. This tactic led to an additional 15 million units sold.

By 1992, Sega had matched Nintendo in sales in the US. From 1989 to 1993, Sega went from $800 million in sales to $3.6 billion. Sega solidified itself as a top contender and a force to be reckoned with.

Sixth Generation

In 1999, Sega Dreamcast was created in America. Being highly successful, the games made Sega a leader in the gaming industry. This was once due to it having 18 launch titles to choose from. Sadly, this positivity did not last. The Dreamcast was the first of the sixth technology video game consoles. It came before Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox.

Unfortunately, when the PlayStation 2 came out simply a year later, the competition against the Dreamcast was too much. Because of this, there had been no extra Sega Consoles. They felt could no longer compete. In 2001, Sega announced it would no longer be creating consoles. Instead, it would only provide software program to the gaming industry.

Third-Party Software Development

In January 2001, Sega of America announced it will be a third-party software program publisher. After a few rocky years of net losses and organisation changes, Sega partnered with Sammy – one of the largest Japanese video games manufacturers. Sammy took on the role of marketing Sega and helped the organization grow again.

In 2005, Sega sold UK-based development division Creative Assembly – the employer at the back of the Total War Series. Then in 2006, Sega Europe bought Sports Interactive on the energy of its vastly famous Football Manager Series. More purchases and collaborations with western studios were to follow.

Sega: the current time

Sega has created and launched many well-loved consoles and video video games such as ‘Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games’. It centered on digital gaming in 2010 by means of releasing its first-ever app on the iTunes store. Continuing to upward push in 2016, Sega obtained Technosoft.

Sega recently introduced it would be re-releasing the Mega Mini Drive – a miniature version of the traditional Mega Drive/Genesis. While the controllers are authentic reproductions, the power comes with 40 Mega-drive classics and two bonus games.

The Mega Mini Drive launch launched September 19 2019 (US) and October 4 (UK), and is now accessible to purchase. The creators Yuji Naka the programmer, Naoto Oshima Graphic Designer and producer Takashi Iizuka of Sonic Generations (2011). There are eight 2D games, ten 3D games, sixteen handheld ones and 23 spin-offs over the span of two decades.

Sonic the Hedgehog

If you’re a fan of the speedy blue video game character that became Sega’s mascot in 1991 — and you love stuffing your own adorable plush toys — you’re in luck. Sonic the Hedgehog is now available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.

In conjunction, with last month’s successful “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie release (it earned a cool $70 million over the holiday weekend), Build-A-Bear has released a super-cute soft toy version of the character. It’s already out of stock online, but an announcement on Twitter last week indicates that you should now be able to find the product in stores around North America. Complete Sonic’s look with a gold ring and his signature red sneakers. You can also customize your new friend when you add a 5-in-1 sound chip with phrases from the movie.


Leave a comment