SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog from 1991.
Never owning a SEGA gaming console until the late 1990's (my first systems were the Atari 7800 and original NES), the Sonic the Hedgehog character never had much of an impact on my gaming. He and his games, though, did have an effect on me as a gamer as I matured from a gaming youth of the 80's and 90's into a gaming adult of today.
Sonic the Hedgehog, more specifically Sonic the Hedgehog 2, was always that cool game that a number of my friends had that I never did. It was always the game I played when I went over to my friend's houses much like Mario 3 was the game they typically wanted to play at mine. That would be my only exposure to the blue hedgehog until he and his newly-expanded cast of friends appeared during my Saturday morning cartoons.
I finally got a true appreciation for Sonic the Hedgehog as a character through the cartoon 'Sonic the Hedgehog: the Animate Series'. The show only lasted two seasons with a grand total of 26 episodes, but that representation of Sonic as well as his friends Tails and non-gaming canon acquaintances like Sally Acorn and Bunnie Rabbot (both who I'm still waiting to have appear in a Sonic game). For as much as I liked the Sonic property, 'Sonic the Hedgehog: the Animate Series' was the last bit of Sonic that would catch my eye until I purchased a SEGA Dreamcast in 2001.
The SEGA Dreamcast went on clearance at K-Mart during my freshmen year at the University of Nevada, Reno. The console's price drop and my collegiate sense of fiscal responsibility found me purchasing a Dreamcast literally overnight. I can't recall if I purchased the game along with it or if it came bundled with the console, but I spent much of the next day (and a lot of time I should probably had been studying) playing Sonic Adventure. Having only played the 2D side-scrolling SEGA Genesis Sonic games, Adventure was a mind-blowing experience. Alas, the charm faded quickly once I rented (and later bought) a copy of the Nintendo 64 title Conker's Bad Fur Day and Sonic yet again became an afterthought.
Many new Sonic games have come and gone in the decade since my love affair with Sonic Adventure, and the one game in the franchise that I did pick up (Sonic and the Black Knight) failed to impress to say the least. Ignoring Sonic the Hedgehog 4, a hands-on experience with Sonic Generations during the 2011 E3 Expo reminded me of the Sonic I've been missing. Seeming like a perfect mash-up of classic 2D Sonic and the Sonic that blew my mind ten years ago, I played through the demo of Generations three or four times before I realized just how much time I had spent standing at the Xbox 360 demo unit.
So it is with happy nostalgia that I say that I am looking forward to the release of a new Sonic game for the first time in my life with Sonic Generations coming out this November.
- Game Guy Barry White firstname.lastname@example.org