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Gaming History You Should Know – Sonic the Hedgehog’s Theme Park Legacy March 3, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday, and that means the time is right for an all new look at Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content about gaming history. Today, we will be looking at the work of video creator Badnik Mechanic, and his videos about the blue streak that comes seeking through, Sonic The Hedgehog!

In the early to mid-90s, SEGA dominated the gaming landscape. The SEGA Genesis console was the first commercially successful 16-Bit game console in the United States, and a big reason for the console’s success came from the console’s hit game, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic quickly became the Genesis console’s official mascot and a slew of new games starring the blue hedgehog would get released on a regular basis. The launch of new Sonic games quickly became major events, and SEGA held special events to celebrate their release featuring the characters they created. Over the years there have been dozens of official Sonic costumes that have been used at press events and theme parks. Badnik Mechanic painstakingly documented each and every one of those costumes, where they were used, and talked about how accurate they are.

Anyone who lived in the mid-90s knows the rest of the story. Following the success of his games, Sonic’s popularity exploded into other mediums. At least two different Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon shows were broadcasted, tons of Sonic comic books hit shelves, and I even remember some young adult Sonic novels were sold in bookstores. However, that’s not where Sonic‘s popularity stopped. A big component of Theme Parks are the attractions and shows and there have been Sonic the Hedgehog themed stage shows at various venues all over the world. This is a rare honor for a video game, as I can only think of two other game properties, Pokémon and Mortal Kombat, which had a live-action stage show. Once again, Badnik did a meticulous history of all the shows he could find, enjoy.

Sonic‘s theme park history is not limited to mere stage shows and character meet and greets. Alton Towers is one of the most popular theme parks in the U.K. and it has been the subject of many in-depth documentaries. What I didn’t know was that at one point it actually had a Sonic The Hedgehog roller coaster based on Sonic Spinball. Where I’m from, we typically name roller coasters after superheroes, so naming a coaster after the Blue Blur seems like a no-brainer. Let’s see how it happened and what it was like!

If you’d like a closer look at the Sonic The Hedgehog themed suite you could book at the Alton Towers hotel, Badnik Mechanic got a closer look at it when he stayed at the hotel a few years ago. Take a look!

Outside of the US, Sonic’s popularity branched out even further. SEGA opened a series of popular arcades in the U.K. called SEGA WORLD. The places were gaming utopias filled with SEGA arcade machines and tons of decorations featuring SEGA’s most popular characters. People from the states who grew up in the 90s would have a better time equating them to the more recent Dave & Busters arcade chain. Sadly, many of these arcades are no longer in operation, or have lost their license with SEGA. With all this hard work and high quality crafting going into creating Sonic the Hedgehog decor for these venues, do any of them still exist? Yes, at least one or two of them have been found. Here’s a video detailing the history of a rare statue found somewhere in the mountain roads of Japan.

So that is our look at the history of Sonic’s Theme Park Legacy! I want to thank Badnik Mechanic for letting me feature his work on this site. You should totally check out his videos, they’re well written, well researched, and well edited. If you ever were a fan of Sonic The Hedgehog his videos are a great trip through memory lane.

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