Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy 20th Anniversary to Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World

I was watching Sonic the Hedgehog gameplay videos on Youtube and I saw a comment that said they bought it the day it came out. June 23, 1991. Made me feel like an old man reading that but it also made me think about how far video games have come and how they owe a lot to that year.

If you were an 80's baby, you remember that 1991 brought us two games and systems that made the NES seem obsolete. Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Genesis) and Super Mario World (Super NES)

I'm saying for the record that both games are two of the most influential in gaming history simply for the fact they were 16-bit systems that had bolder colors and a lot more than side-scrolling action. The first time I saw a commercial for Sonic the Hedgehog, my mind was blown because it made Super Mario Bros. 3 (another of the greatest games ever) look like a relic.

Sonic was cool from his spiked hair look to his speed. All Mario had was cool costumes but Sonic had speed and cool enemies to fight besides Bowser's kids. Plus the secret levels of finding those Chaos Emeralds that I could never get until I played Sonic 3. Even the music sounded next level. Once you got started and heard this song, you felt like you were at the next level of gaming.

Without Sonic, video game music would be boring. Remember how you used to play games just to hear the music on certain levels? Some NES games had that but Sonic took it to the next level - Streets of Rage owes its killer soundtrack to it. Plus Sega was the cool kid on the block promoting the fact they weren't Nintendo.

The game dropped on June 23 and I remembered going to my godbrother's house and playing the mess out of it. I could never get past Level 2 but I just enjoyed watching something different from my basic NES system.

Everybody jumped on this like hotcakes so what did Nintendo do? Like any good company they responded with their own innovation in Super Mario World a couple months later on August 13. And just like Sonic, Mario blew me away with this game.

The cape, the cool worlds, and of course adding Yoshi as the coolest sidekick. I remember reading Nintendo Power and getting the magazine with SM World guide and just marveling at the graphics. It was as if they recreated Super Mario Bros. 3 with more characters, brighter colors and secret worlds.

But once again, I was stuck with my NES so I had to play this on my friend's systems. For the record, I at least had a Game Gear which, by the way, blew the Game Boy away because of - wait for it - graphics and brighter colors. I didn't get my Genesis until 1995 when Sonic 3 & Sonic and Knuckles were carrying Sega way past Nintendo's prime.

Sonic the Hedgehog singlehandedly changed the gaming world forever because it brought healthy competition to gaming systems, introduced slicker, brighter graphics and the need for games to stay cutting edge with storyline. All things that happen today as we battle between PS3's, XBOX 360's and Wii's. You were either a Nintendo or Sega kid growing up (NINTENDO ALL DAY)

Can't believe it's been 20 years. Games have come a long way from me reading Nintendo Power and Gamepro and Electronic Gaming Monthly. I might start doing some more gamer posts for my 80's babies to reflect over.


  1. Even though our games today are super high-quality graphics, nothing beats the look and feel of these great 2-D games and the memories that come with 'em. Even though it's on the Wii console, bokeen and I will play the old school games to this day! I can't believe it's been so long!

    The first time I played Dance Central on the Kinect, I felt like I was in a real-life Minority Report scenario or something. It's the coolest thing ever and I love the hot new games we have, but nothing beats the music and magic of our babyhood video games.

  2. Yes! I gotta fire up my old Genesis somewhere around here since my NES has been dead for years. But that feeling you got playing those games is way better than nowadays. I remember playing Sonic and waiting for each new cool accessory in each game. I'll take Sonic and Mario 3/World over a lot of games.