Here Are Five Strange Facts About Sonic The Hedgehog To Celebrate The Lil’ Guys’ 30th Birthday

Brace yourself because this one’s a doozy: Sonic the Hedgehog is officially 30 years old. Yes, after 30 years circling as fast as he can around the sun, the blue blur is saying sayonara to his tumultuous 20s and we here at UPROXX wish him the best of luck with the mysterious aches and pains all that running is sure to cause. However, despite being around for 30 years and being one of the most recognizable figures in gaming, there’s a lot about Sonic that’s a bit, well, weird. To celebrate his birthday, we’re shedding some light on Sonic’s mysterious past with five of the most unusual facts about the guy — and the Sonic the Hedgehog series — that we think you’ll love.

5. He was almost a rabbit named Mr. Needlemouse.

According to Blake J. Harris’ book Console Wars, before settling on making Sonic a hedgehog, the protagonist of Sega’s work-in-progress was a rabbit able to pick up items with his ears named, yes, Mr. Needlemouse. The concept proved too hard for Sega to program with the current hardware, so they eventually decided to move onto something that could curl up into a ball, and thus Sonic was born.

4. He was influenced by quite the cast of characters.

It might not come as a huge surprise that Sonic‘s artist, Naoto Ohshima, borrowed from Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat’s designs to create a character that would appeal to children, Western audiences, and have some serious mascot power — something Sega needed. You can pretty clearly see the influence in Sonic’s head, which resembles Felix’s, and in his Mickey Mouse-like body. However, the rest of Sonic’s influences are pretty absurd. According to an article published in Retro Gamer back in 2003, his “can-do attitude” was inspired by former-president Bill Clinton, while his style was pulled from Michael Jackson’s “Bad” music video. Lastly, Ohshima used Santa Claus’ red and white coloring for greater familiarity with youngsters.

3. Dr. Eggman was originally supposed to be a hero.

The earliest sketches of Dr. Robotnik aka Dr. Eggman depict him as a caricature of former-president Theodore Roosevelt in pajamas. In the Sonic Bible, an internal document created by Sega in 1991, it was revealed the studio intended to make him a hero and friend of Sonic’s named Dr. Kintobar who, through an unfortunate experiment with some Chaos Emeralds and an egg, turned into the notorious Dr. Eggman.

Sonic Fandom / Concept Art by Naoto Ohshima

2. Sonic’s scrapped backstory is WILD.

In the non-fiction novel Console Wars, Sega shared with author Harris their intention to create a “cool and edgy” character to help keep Sega popular. Keeping in line with that mission, Sonic’s original backstory was a bit intense. Sonic was originally intended to be the leader of a rock band featuring a parakeet, monkey, rabbit, crocodile, and… breakdancer? In addition, he also had a human, Jessica Rabbit-esque girlfriend named Madonna. In an article with Famitsu, Ohshima said some elements of Madonna were passed onto none other than Sonic character Amy Rose.

1. He’s a bigger deal than most folks realize.

While Mario might forever hold the title as the most iconic character in gaming, Sonic isn’t that far behind. According to an archived 1UP article, in 1992, more children ages 6 to 11 were able to recognize Sonic than Mickey Mouse. In 1993, Sonic became the first video game character to have a balloon float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.