Sonic the Hedgehog is a media franchise created and produced by Sega. It is primarily a video game franchise, centering on a series of speed-based platform games. Sonic, the protagonist, is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog with supersonic speed, capable of reaching the speed of sound. Typically, Sonic—usually along with some of his friends, such as Tails, Amy, and Knuckles—must stop antagonist Doctor Eggman’s plans for world domination.
The first game in the series, released in 1991, was conceived by Sega’s Sonic Team division after Sega requested a mascot character. Its success spawned many sequels and helped Sega become one of the leading video game companies during the 16-bit era of the early 1990s.
While the first Sonic games were side-scrolling platform games, later games expanded into other genres, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. The series and its spin-offs had sold over 89 million physical copies by March 2011,[n 1] and grossed over $5 billion by 2014. As of 2018, the series has shifted 800 million units, including free-to-play mobile game downloads. The franchise has also been spun out into other media, including cartoons, anime, and a comic book series recognized as the longest running based on a video game by Guinness World Records
The first Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog, is a platform game released in 1991. Players control the anthropomorphic blue hedgehog Sonic, who can run and jump at high speeds using springs, ramps, and loops. Sonic must stop Dr. Robotnik from taking over the world using the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) increased the overall size and speed of the series’ gameplay and was the second best-selling Genesis game. It introduced Sonic’s sidekick and best friend, Miles “Tails” Prower, who followed Sonic throughout the game, and allowed a second player to control him in a limited fashion. This game also introduced Sonic’s “spin dash” maneuver, an ability which allows Sonic to burst forwards quickly from a complete standstill, unlike the previous game, where Sonic could only gain speed with momentum. Sonic 2 was followed in 1993 by an arcade game, SegaSonic the Hedgehog, featuring new characters Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel