Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Retrospective

GTV 116 “Sonic the Hedgehog is 30!” The complete story of how the most famous hedgehog in the world came to be! (Chapter markers and more below…)

Did you like the artwork in the video? It was made by Dez! An amazing artist and great friend! Visit his webcomic Frivolesque here!

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0:00 Pre-emption
0:10 GTV ID: The Most Famous Channel in the World!
0:18 Introduction: A Cultural Touchstone of the 1990s
1:37 Act 1: Life Before Sonic
8:02 CM 1: Sonic’s Debut! (Japan, 1991) Sonic is Cool! (U.S., 1991)
9:16 Act 2: The Development and Design of Sonic
21:39 CM 2: Sega Sonic (Japan, 1991) More for Less (U.S., 1991)
22:51 Act 3: Run, Hedgehog, Run!
39:11 CM 3: Humans Against Genesis (U.S., 1991) Super Sonic Offer (Australia, 1991)
40:23 Act 4: The Legacy of Sonic
48:58 CM 4: Sonic +1 Set (Japan, 1992) Sonic is Here (Brazil, 1991) Sonic for Game Gear (U.S., 1991)
51:25 Act 5: Sonic’s Easter Eggs and Cameos
1:00:30 CM 5: Tiger Electronics Sonic (U.S., 1991) Sonic on Master System (Brazil, 1991)
1:01:38 Conclusion: Sonic is For Everyone

Other great SEGA videos by GTV!

45 For The Record: Altered Beast
48 Phantasy Star 30th Anniversary
58 Sega SG-1000 Story
68 Sega Mega Drive Perfect Guides
69 Meet Mr. Sega!
75 Phantasy Star II 30th Anniversary
84 Mega Drive Mini Unboxing
88 Segata Sanshiro
94 Phantasy Star III 30th Anniversary
115 Sega Solar System

On June 23rd, 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog debuted for the Sega Genesis in the United States of America. Followed by a release in the rest of the world in the following weeks.

On that day, those first customers experienced the culmination of 2 years of design, development and marketing with the goal of taking a genre Nintendo had already perfected to a new, unseen level.

Sonic the Hedgehog takes place on the mysterious South Island, not found on any map as the island floats across the South Pacific Ocean. South Island is a place where the all the animals there live in peace and harmony. The 6 regions of the island maintained harmony with a special jewel known as a Chaos Emerald, kept in each area. One day the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik, Eggman in Japanese, stole the Chaos Emeralds, kidnapped the animals of South Island, and imprisoned them in robotic casings, known as Badniks. It’s up to Sonic to free his friends, defeat Robotnik and retrieve the 6 Chaos Emeralds, to return harmony to South Island.

The secret to Sonic the Hedgehog lies in the clever way the game is presented. Many elements from the Super Mario series were used in Sonic, however those elements were changed in such a way that made the game familiar and enjoyable, yet stand apart from Super Mario. Sonic was a side scrolling action game, like most games at the time, but it was different. Sonic didn’t “try” to be Mario, and that made all the difference in separating it from the long list of also-rans.

Instead of rescuing a princess, Sonic rescues his friends. Instead of a far-off land, Sonic is fighting in his homeland. Instead of “worlds” Sonic has “Zones” and each one with 3 Acts. The third act is a battle with Dr. Robotnik. Instead of bland under worlds and over worlds, Sonic has varied diverse, colorful Zones. The lush valleys of Green Hill Zone, the lava of Marble Zone, the lights of Spring Yard Zone, The mazes of Labyrinth Zone, the calm night of Star Light Zone, and dystopia of Scrap Brain Zone, all create an amazing backdrop for South Island and Sonic’s Adventure.

This video would not be possible without the help of the following:

Artwork by: Dez! Please visit

Some info came form a great site! The rest came from various magazines from the time as well as a book called A Kingdom of Games, published in Japan in 1993 featuring interviews with Hayao Nakayama and David Rosen.

Other artwork by Liris-san, Ricky Earl, Moku Mikan, Aneevee, Nerkin and Cartoony. Other images come from the 25th Anniversary art book, or game magazines from 1991.
Vintage Clips by: Sving the video game, Steven Hertz, My Vintage Video, 13 NewsNow, Sweetness Gaming, Genkisan and Grooveraider.
Some scans by Chris Covell, the rest by me, including a lot of money spent tracKing down all those Famitsu issues!
CMs by RGTV and Ryu Nihon No, both excellect sources
Music by Tee Lopes, Official VGM, and some remixes that I can’t seem to connect to any source, sorry!
Background Animations by: Sanic-maniac
Gameplay by: Mathieu Pronovost, Retrogaming TV, Longplay Universe, Ricky C and of course I played some too.


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