At the naive age of 7, I was introduced into the world of video games.
My aunt gifted me with a slightly used Sega Genesis system and a small collection of games. Most of the games were only slightly interesting. They included games like Aladdin, The Jungle Book, Earthworm Jim (which I never actually played because I thought playing as a worm was gross); but the one game that usually commanded all my limited attention span was Sonic the Hedgehog.
In my childish mind, Sonic was the ideal hero. He only cared about running fast, breaking through things in his way, hitting bad guys on the head, and saving cute, little animals. He was just like me; he was someone I could relate to. How I remember always wishing I could run as fast as Sonic. I tried often to run that fast. The things I could have done with that speed, the places I could have gone. If only I didn’t have something as silly as friction stopping me.
Growing up, I still treasured Sonic in a special place in my heart. He had given my young self hope for a bright future. Despite being someone who loves taking life incredibly fast, I could still be of some use to this world.
Interestingly enough, Sonic the Hedgehog is what inspired me to start drawing. While my parents would try to persuade me to draw a realistic looking flower or a cat, I found that too boring and tedious. Who had time to waste over drawing something realistically when you could just take a photograph of it.
But cartoons! Those were fast to draw; those were fun.
I recall the first picture I ever drew “seriously” was Sonic the Hedgehog. I sat myself down (a challenging feat) and resolved to draw Sonic and make it look good. I was 14 years old then; still a child in many ways, yet my resolve was strong enough to see the 10 minute drawing to the end.
For a while, I was obsessed with drawing Sonic. I tend to go on drawing trends; once I learn how to draw something, I’d draw it over and over and over again until I got it as good as I could (I did this with winking anime style faces and stylized roses later in my artistic pursuits).
But after growing tired of drawing Sonic and Sonic style characters, I decided I need to up my game. I moved onto drawing “human” cartoons, mainly anime style characters. I found this a much more interesting use of my time. And even later on, I decided to tackle the previously fear “realism” and I actually didn’t mind sitting down for hours on end drawing a group of vases to look photo perfect.
Though, while I was away from drawing and showering adoration on my childhood hero, Sonic changed. He was no longer a simple minded hedgehog who loved only running, breaking through things, and saving small animals. He had developed a stuck up personality and an annoying voice. He never had a voice in the original video games; he didn’t need one. You knew what his purpose was in life by just looking at him. His smirk and thumbs up spoke enough.
Sega even gave him weird new weapons that don’t match him at all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_and_the_Black_Knight His sonic spin attack was enough to take out any enemy, what does he need a sword for? And for some reason, Sega also deemed it appropriate to involve Sonic in their rip off of Lord of the Rings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_and_the_Secret_Rings and why is fire coming out of your chest, Sonic?
And along with this newly developed personality, Sonic also gained a fan base determined to recolor him in every possible color possible on MS Paint and “create” a new character every time they did. (even Sega decided to contribute to this crazy idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonic_Colors Also known as “Sonic IN SPACE”)
Alas, my childhood hero had changed while I had pursued other interests. Why, Sonic? Why?
All things considered, though. Sonic does have a spiffy new design. He still has that smirk too. You will always be my hero, Sonic, even though you’re a stuck up jerk now.
Credit to Sega/Sonic Team for the first and third pictures. The second picture is mine….sadly.