Sonic The Hedgehog - Born out of a "war" that raged between Nintendo and Sega during the 80s and 90s to sell the most game consoles. 

Sega had a huge problem, namely Nintendo's mustachioed plumber Mario who helped Nintendo win a dominant share of the home game console market.
In response to Nintendo's success with Super Mario, Sega wanted to find its own mascot and announced a competition to create a figure that could match Mario.
Sega's mascot in its current form was not obvious, however, but there were suggestions for belts, rabbits, dogs and more that were rated in Sonic's favor. The hedgehog was created by a programmer at Sega - Yuji Naka, who wanted to create a character that was faster than Mario.

The very speed appealed to the management at Sega who decided to use the blue hedgehog as a mascot even though the character needed some polishing. For one, they removed a human girlfriend named Madonna and a pair of large fangs before finding the current character's appearance and backstory.

Sonic the Hedgehog as a game was released in 1991 and came with every newly sold Megadrive for free. Arguably, Sonic greatly increased the popularity of the Sega Megadrive and is credited with helping Sega gain market share over Nintendo in the 90s. They went from obvious second in the console war during the 8-bit era to market leader in the 16-bit era.

The first Sonic game was at the time a mega-success for Sega, selling over 15 million copies. If you owned a Megadrive or a Nintendo in the 90s, you probably had a conversation with your friends at school about which console was really the best? That Sega was the best was no doubt to Megadrive owners as Sonic was de-facto much faster than Mario!

The sequel, Sonic 2 (1992) was also the success that sold more than 6 million copies and is, after the original, the best-selling game for Sega's 16-bit console. The character Tails is added to the game and has since lived on as Sonic's sidekick and trademark.

Sonic 3 (1994) Never reached the 1 or 2 sales numbers but is still one of the best selling games for the Sega Megadrive.

Later titles never quite achieved the same popularity on Sega's new consoles despite being early adopters of 3D. Unfortunately, Sonic could not save Sega's Dreamcast console, which would compete with the Nintendo 64, as well as the new competitor Sony and their Playstation 1.

You could say Mario ultimately won the war for Nintendo because their 64-bit console sold far more copies than Sega's equivalent Dreamcast whose sales were so bad that the console division of Sega was shut down.
Despite Sega losing the console war, Sonic lives on as a brand and can be found in both new movies, games, and not least on Sonic t-shirts.

Why do you love Sonic?

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