Sonic the Hedgehog is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog. He is the protagonist of a video game franchise created by Yuji Naka, and is developed and owned by Sega. The franchise centers on a series of speed-based platform games, but several are spin-offs in different genres. Sonic’s peaceful life is often interrupted by mad scientist Doctor “Eggman” Robotnik. Typically, Sonic—usually along with some of his friends, such as Tails, Amy Rose and Knuckles—must stop Eggman and foil any plans of world domination. The first game in the series, published in 1991, was conceived after Sega requested a mascot character; the title was a success and and transformed Sega into a leading video game company during the 16-bit era in the early to mid-1990s. The series has sold 150 million units as of November 2014, making it one of the best-selling franchises of all time.
Since I had a Sega Genesis instead of a Super Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog was a relevant part of my junior high school experience. The decision to choose Sega Genesis over SNES was easy at the time because violent arcade games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, plus EA Sports titles, were important to adolescent me. Oh yeah, and NBA Jam was the best (as covered in my Mike Iuzzolino post).