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Are You There Sonic? It’s Me, Chloe

Chloe Pierce

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Everyone knows Sonic the Hedgehog.  Blue. Fast. The source of several memes.  However, most are not aware of the backstory that he was given by Sega of America.  This backstory is one that can make even the toughest of gamers shed a tear.

 

This backstory was distributed internally by Sega of America because Sega’s Japanese headquarters did not supply them with any information on the backstory of Sonic.  So – as one does – they invented a backstory for this ethereal blue being.

 

There were several drafts of Sonic’s backstory.  I will be summarizing the original Sonic lore and the culture that stemmed from it.  Hopefully, someone benefits from the rabbit-hole of Sonic lore I fell down in order to write this.  Strap in readers, because it’s going to get rough.

 

The first edition was dubbed The Sonic Bible.  It states that Sonic was born in Nebraska and, unlike his famous portrayal, was a normal brown hedgehog named Sonny.  He lived with his siblings and parents behind a local burger joint, feasting on food scraps and the occasional bug. Despite being poor, they were a happy family.

 

The happiness ends when Sonny’s father dies after falling into a polluted pond.  Sonny’s mother keeps his memory alive by telling stories about how he was the fastest hedgehog the town has ever seen.  Saying this, she looks at Sonny. Sonny looks at a framed picture of his father and the picture winks at him, his father communing with him from the dead.

 

Sonny loved people.  He would donate quills to the quilting circle members and let kids draw with them in the sandbox.  He noticed the kids writing his name in the sand and pointing at him. This is how he learned to read and write.

 

He would also run the hedges at night.  While everyone was asleep, he ran as fast as he could along the hedges, trying to be half as fast as his father was.  He even ran so fast that the world would rush by, dream-like and blurry.

 

Despite his dream of joining the track team, his mother made him hibernate with the rest of his family.  He feigned sleep, digging a hole in the ground to get out of the hedge. However, filled with drowsiness, he drifted off into hibernation in the hole.

 

He was woken up by the sound of Dr. Ovi Kintobor’s machinery.  He asked what was going on and Kintobor said he was looking for emeralds.  This is what started Sonny’s apprenticeship with him. He had agreed to help him find the emeralds in order to save the world from destruction, later becoming his assistant.

 

Sonny learned computer science and physics alongside Kintobor.  Kintobor had built him a treadmill to run on and Sonny only became faster.  He had surpassed the speed of sound until he had broken all limits of acceleration and ran at the speed of light.  When Kintobor had finally slowed down the treadmill, he saw that Sonny had turned a bright shade of cobalt blue and his quills stood in a mohawk.  Kintobor suggested they call him Sonic, even SuperSonic, and Sonny became the Sonic we all know and love.

 

Kintobor and Sonic had found six Chaos emeralds.  The only one left was the Gray Emerald. These emeralds contained all of the evil in the world and if they were disturbed, would double the amount in the existing world.  Kintobor took them out to show Sonic why he had been so secretive, but a wave of radiation began to head toward the lab.  Scrambling to put the emeralds back into the lead closet where they were protected, Kintobor fell and dropped the emeralds onto the ground.  Sonic tried to pull Kintobor into the closet with him, but it was too late.

 

Kintobor had absorbed the evil of the Chaos emeralds, as well as the shape of the hard-boiled egg he was going to have for lunch.  He was now a round, hideous man whose name tag now read Dr. Ivo Robotnik. He would now become the most evil man on the planet, out to destroy anything in his way.  He threatened to turn Sonic into a armadillo-bot and Sonic ran from him at the speed of light.

 

So ends the tale of Sonic’s origin, as told by Sega of America.  This canonical piece of lore was used to create Sonic the Comic, which ran from 1993 to 2002 and had 223 issues.  This used the Sonic Bible as a baseline and built onto it via a comic series.

 

This canon was also used for a series of books published by Virgin Books.  Virgin Books only published four of these: Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik’s Laboratory; Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension; Sonic the Hedgehog and the Silicon Warriors; and Sonic the Hedgehog in Castle Robotnik.  These explored the origin of Dr. Kintobor/Dr. Robotnik and one book, Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension, had Sonic going back in time to stop Kintobor from becoming Robotnik.

 

The early Sonic lore that originated from the Sonic Bible has since been eradicated from recent editions of the game.  In 2001, Sonic Adventure 2 was released, introducing Dr. Robotnik’s grandfather, Gerald Robotnik.  This completely desecrated any remaining elements that had previously been instilled in the plot of the games.  It revealed Robotnik was a family name and that the Kintobor/Sonic father-son relationship had never existed.

 

Overall, I think that Sega of America definitely didn’t know what they were in for when they suggested Sonic the Hedgehog was originally an anthropomorphic hedgehog that ate trash behind a burger joint.  I like the Sonic Bible. The painful fact that Sonic thought of Kintobor as a mentor – father-figure, even – and then had to spend dozens of video games trying to defeat the evil person he had turned into absolutely breaks my heart.

 

Dr. Ovi Kintobor had helped him become Sonic; the transcendent, blue being whose power is beyond our comprehension.  He can run at the speed of light, commune with the dead, and will not have his gospel blasphemed by Sega. The original Sonic lore was a staple in the Sonic franchise and if we forget about that then that is the end of Sonic as we know it.

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Are You There Sonic? It’s Me, Chloe