Amiibo Story: Sonic
It’s easy to make fun of Sonic the Hedgehog. For the last 15 or so years, the games he’s starred in have been mediocre at best to dumpster fires at worst. His glory days may be long behind him, but I’ll never forget the time when he was the king of video games.
Sega systematically designed Sonic to be a Mario killer. He was blue, fast, and full of 90s attitude. Backed by an aggressive marketing campaign that aimed to show how much cooler he and Sega were versus Mario and Nintendo, Sonic took the world by storm.
I couldn’t stand this new regime for multiple reasons. One, I was already a deeply-rooted Nintendo loyalist. I wasn’t ready to even validate, let alone acknowledge, any other home video games or consoles that didn’t come from the Big N. Two, having played a lot of the first Sonic the Hedgehog, I didn’t think that game was worthy of the hype. Sure, it was a good game overall, and the novelty of having a character run that fast was neat, but even my younger self felt that the game was shallow compared to Super Mario 3 or Super Mario World. If I could trace the origin of my video game snobbery, the first Sonic game had to be it.
Sonic games would improve over time. I actually really like Sonic 2 and Sonic and Knuckles. Both of those games added new characters, more variety in their level designs and more movement options besides just running really fast. After that, he fell off a cliff, especially with the jump to 3D. While Super Mario basically revolutionized 3D gaming, Sonic has floundered in the third dimension for as long as he’s been there.
With Amiibo release dates being as erratic as they are, I didn’t know when Sonic would be out until user posts on Amiibo Canada started saying that Futureshop stores had started releasing their Sonic and Mega Man figures. Though I was at work when the postings started to appear, my gut said I needed to act fast. With store inventory not updating on the website, I ducked out of work for a minute to check out the situation. No Mega Man figures in sight, but six Sonic figures were hanging on the display. I quickly purchased one and made my way back to work.
Funnily enough, I saw a post on Amiibo Canada about the availability of Sonic figures at that same store that was posted a few minutes after I bought mine. By the time the original poster got there, only three Sonics were left. Within five minutes of his posting, someone replied that they were there and all the Sonic figures were gone. Those Amiibos didn’t last any longer than 15 minutes on the shelf based on my best guess.
My desire for a Sonic Amiibo has little to do with my love for him as a character or the games he stars in. Rather, I wanted him for what he meant to video games to me in the 90s. Sonic vs. Mario was – and forever will be – the single greatest rivalry in all of video games. It was a time that cemented my love for Nintendo, even if the hype at the time was clearly in Sega’s favour. It was a great time for the entire medium, as both the Genesis and the Super Nintendo would delight gamers with some of the best video game libraries of all-time. Besides, how could a 90s kid like me own a Mario Amiibo and not have a complimentary Sonic?