When I was a kid Sonic the hedgehog was my hero. I first got into Sonic on my 8th birthday, I got a Genesis 2, with Sonic 2, and Aladdin. I loved his games, I loved his cartoons, I even played Sonic the hedgehog in the school yard. I don't know why I liked him so much I just did. I learned his history and now I share it with you.

Sonic the hedgehog was Super Mario's greatest rival but now just a pretender. But he had his share of fame, and now he is making a comeback though slowly and ironically thanks to his former rival. But this isn't about today, it's about yesterday. And how Sega created a hero a and a worldwide phenomenon.

In 1990 Super Mario World debuted for the SNES game system coming packaged with the unit. And of course it was awesome! Mario and Luigi never looked better, they had new powers, new friends, and new enemies. Still considered today one of the best games ever created. The game consisted of nearly 80 levels, and had 96 exits for the player to find and was one of the first platformers to feature the 100% completion "feature"

Now that all sounds pretty good right? How do you compete with that, well Sega was up to the challenge. Sega gave its Sega AM8 (now known as Sonic Team) a task, that task was to create a hero who could go toe to toe with Super Mario. Headed by Yugi Naka, the team wanted to create someone to compete but not be similar to Mario so they went the route of high speed platforming.

Sonic The hedgehog for the Sega Genesis debuted in June of 1991, and it turned its console into a hit. But how was the game? Well coming from the video game snob himself it was great. It was bright and colorful, the music was ahead of its time, and Sonic was fast. So fast Sega made up a feature for the Genesis called "Blase Processing" to explain Sonic's super speed. While the game had more then its own fair share of greatness Mario had it beat. Better gameplay, more characters, multiplayer, and though both could be beaten in a matter of hours to do so in Mario World is up to the player.

But Sonic's appearance alone was enough to rattle a few cages. Sega had become a major player in the game world thanks to the blue blur. But his fame could only grow. Just over a year later, Sonic the hedgehog 2 arrived on the scene, along with my least favorite Sonic character Miles "Tails" Prower. The game showed up on both the Sega Genesis and the Sega Game Gear. But the games were very different! Now few people know that both of these game along with Sonic CD were all intended to be the same game. But over time they split into 3 separate titles.

So lets talk about the Genesis version shall we? The game is one of the fan favorites for good reason. It took everything about the original Sonic and built on it. Sonic was faster then ever so fast that sometimes the game would lose him! The stages were bigger to boot featuring some fair amount of puzzle solving, and the story was expanded to give details about the Chaos Emeralds.

Best of all Tails added multiplayer to the game giving players a chance to run though levels in a race to the finish. The multiplayer was one of the best features of the game. To this day I play the game either with a friend on a big screen TV or over Xbox live with Sonic fans around the world. The game also introduced us to the Dragon Ball Z inspired Super Sonic, the players reward for finding all the Emeralds. An even faster and nearly invincible gold Sonic. With a cheat you can whip him out in Emerald hill and fly though the game.

This game would later become the backdrop to 2 of Sonic's cartoon series. But more on that in the second part of this article.

To close part one, its time to talk about Sonic CD. The only Sonic game I play though on nearly a weekly basis. Not to mention the only Sonic game any Sonic fan should try. The game started as another version of Sonic 2 to appear on Sega's new unit the Sega CD. But the game broke off to become a game all its own. It is one of the few video games ever released to use time travel as a main feature and use it well. By traveling in time the player can alter the level designs, and create a good future leading to easier levels and even a different ending. This game was the first to feature one of Sonic's greatest adversaries Hyper Metal Sonic. Beating him in Stardust Speedway is almost considered a right of passage among serious Sonic fans. The game is easy enough to find these days if you own either a Wii or Gamecube you can get the game on the Sonic Gems Collection. Which most people will say is worth the $15 just for Sonic CD. That along should tell you just how incredible this game is.

That is the end of part 1. I hope you enjoyed the early years of Sonic. In the next part I will jump into Sonic 3, Knuckles and Sonic first stumbles er steps into 3-D.