I’ve been on the “outs” with the hedgehog of late.

It’s hard to believe that Sonic is turning 20 this year. Good Lord. It just messes with you when you realize that much time has passed from that lazy Summer in 1991 when I alternated between the first Sonic game, and Sega’s equally fun Spider-Man title for the Genesis. But here we are.

And a lot of things have changed since then. The little blue guy has seen how many sequels and spin-offs now, strolling well into Mega Man territory with the sheer amount of games, but unlike Mario, which (back then, anyway) seemed a little more reserved in spin-off titles, Sonic was everywhere. Perhaps too much so at some points.

Outside of the 16-bit sequels, the Sega CD game, and perhaps Sonic’s first 3D Adventure outing, most sequels lost their way, either promoting stupid gimmicks, a never-ending expanding cast of quickly forgettable side characters, and the loss of that “’90’s attitude” he was so well known for. Even Sonic the Hedgehog 4 just missed… something (I attribute that to those goofy physics they slapped in the game).

Heck, the most fun I’ve had with Sonic anything is last year’s kart racer, him punching Link and Samus in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and a Genesis compilation that he supposedly endorses according to the title’s name. I didn’t try Sonic Colors, but I’ve heard it was on the right track.

And with any “anniversary” route, Sonic gets a new game that goes back to its roots. Not in the same cheap cash-in route that Nintendo did with Mario’s 25th anniversary package, but an interesting return to the beginning.

And therein lies another issue: I’ve missed “original” Sonic. I never could put my finger on what I wasn’t liking, but cute, chubby Sonic just looks more mischievous and fun, someone who is simply out to have more of a good time.

But looks are looks. This could just as easily be a skin to cash in on nostalgia, and not mean much of anything past that. But then I saw this video comparing “old” Sonic to “new” Sonic:

It just kind of hit me, that old wave of nostalgia. The same way Mega Man 9 did, or the updated Punch-Out!! or Mortal Kombat. It’s a return to those “fun” old times of bright colors, simple stories, and just run, run, run.

Whether or not Sega will be able to pull it all off for the final product remains to be seen, but the video looks to be on the right track. I’m actually growing fond of the hedgehog again. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that.

And then of course, Sega announces this out of the blue:

Is Sega suddenly trying to recapture their glory days? For our sake, let’s hope so.

(Space Harrier 3DS please, while you’re at it….)

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Filed under: sega gamingsonic the hedgehog