Happy Birthday, Sonic the Hedgehog: An open letter to celebrate Sonic's 26th anniversary

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Everyone's favorite blue hedgehog Sonic turns 26 on Friday and we thought it would be as good a time as any to celebrate the birth of the Blue Blur with a retrospective on some of his best — and weirdest — moments.

Sonic the Hedgehog 26th Anniversary: an open letter to the Sonic series

Dear Sonic,

It's been a wild 26 years, hasn't it? It seems like just yesterday you were a twinkle in series creator Yuji Naka's eye, a blue hedgehog equally inspired by Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton. Although Sega of America made you ditch your fangs and your human girlfriend Madonna (no relation to the pop star), you still ran your way into our hearts when Sonic the Hedgehog debuted on the Sega Genesis in 1991.

And for a time, things were good — we watched you sprint your way to victory against Dr. Robotnik, accruing Chaos Emeralds and friends such as Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna and Amy Rose in the process. But 2D wasn't meant to hold you forever, and so in 1998 you broke into the true 3D scene with Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast. It seemed so pretty at the time it didn't even matter that Mario had made the switch two years earlier than you.

But the good times didn't last, did they Sonic? You got a little confused there for a while. Sure, there was Sonic Adventure 2 in 2001, but then you lost your way. Shadow the Hedgehog got a spinoff where he shot a bunch of guns, and then you tried the whole "human girlfriend" thing again in Sonic '06. This didn't work out so great, and Zolani Stewart called it "absolutely the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in a video game," but you soldiered on. After that, you tried to be a knight and a werewolf. We get it. It seemed like a good move.

So you walked it back, giving 2D another shot, perhaps most successfully with Sonic Generations. But don't sell yourself short — people are excited for Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces too.

Sonic the Hedgehog 26th Anniversary: Sonic's place

But just calling you a video game character would be an insult, Sonic. You're a cultural touchstone. Don't try to be humble — It's not every console mascot that gets to lay claim to being America's longest running comic book, in addition to having multiple television shows. The most recent of these is Sonic Boom, which maintains a shocking amount of good humor about your place in gaming and the fact that they changed the color of your arms.

You've inspired your fair share of online media as well — from KC Green's comic "Ring" to Tyson Hesse's parody comics which actually got him gigs working for the official Archie comics. Heck, even the Chaos Emeralds are such a touchstone that they've been used in one of Twitter's best jokes about President Obama:

So Sonic, take it easy. Your legacy is more than secured. You've had 26 great years of pop culture personhood, so let's raise our chili dogs and toast to 26 more.

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