On June 23rd 1991 Sonic made his first appearance on the Sega Genesis console. Fans not only fell in love with the fast paced gameplay unlike anything they had played before, but also in the charm and character of the blue hedgehog.
20 Years later Sonic has had his image plastered on anything from cans of Spaghetti-O’s to Adult Underwear. Needless to say, Sega is celebrating this momentous occasion by offering up some more practical merchandise for Sonic’s fans in the form of Figures, Statues, Plushes, Games, and so much more. To check out some of the awesome stuff thats on the way to collectors hands, read on.
Lets start this article off with SEGA’s official press release they sent out on January 4th 2011 to let fans know they have big plans coming for Sonic’s Birthday:
“SEGA® Corporation is proud to announce their company mascot will celebrate his 20th anniversary on June 23, 2011.
From the first day of the release of Sonic The Hedgehog™ back in 1991 on the SEGA Genesis™ console, Sonic the Hedgehog quickly became a popular gaming icon due to his super fast speed and his cool, edgy character. In the twenty years that the video games have been available, Sonic the Hedgehog has notched up over 70 million units sold worldwide.
As well as videogames, SEGA’s iconic blue hedgehog has enjoyed huge success in areas such as comics, apparel and toys and even starred in his own animated series.
SEGA Corporation will be celebrating this special year in style with events around the world, details of which will be released throughout the 20th anniversary year of 2011.”
Lets have a look at some of the cool collectibles that have been shown thus far!
Back at the end of 2010, Mad Catz introduced the first official product to make use of the newly unveiled 20th Anniversary logo which was this 20th Anniversary Wii Inductive Controller Charger base. Fans were excited because from the photos it appeared to be a very well sculpted and well made figurine that resembled a display statue. Not only that, but it was branded as “limited quantities” with each charger being individually numbered, however reports are from early adopters that they have serial numbers in the thousands.
The big problem with this charger was when fans received theirs in the mail, many were plagued with figures which came broken inside the packaging. Retailing for $49.99 it is a risk to take, but it seems that the only way to order one of these delicate items is from Mad Catz’s website here, and I am pretty sure they only ship to the US.
Mad Catz did not stop there however, as they also announced this (seemingly much less popular with fans) lenticular inductive charger, also branded for Sonic’s 20th Anniversary. For those unfamiliar with what “lenticular” means, think of large movie posters or trading cards that have a changing image as you view it from different angels. This inductive charger features a Modern Sonic stock artwork on a inductive charger base that has a 3D effect when you move it around. Priced at just $10 cheaper than the figure stand above, it was a no brainer for most fans to pass this one up and favor the much more dynamic figure display charger stand.
This is priced at $39.99 and is also available at the Mad Catz Website.
In early February it was announced that the popular toy company Jazwares had revealed its plans for a series of 20th Anniversary branded Sonic figures and plushes. Fans are clamoring for a chance to own a classic style poseable Sonic figure, which will be from the line of figures entitled “Sonic Through Time”, which will presumably have figures depicting the variations of Sonic’s design over the 20 year period. Exactly how many figures and what the final designs will look like is not yet known. The photos on the left depict the prototype for the 1991 Classic Sonic and if you ask me, it looks pretty dead on the be one of the most proportionately accurate classic Sonic figures ever made.
On the bottom right you can see some new plushes branded with the 20th Anniversary logo on the rather large tags, most notable is the large Sonic on the left who has a very rounded and clean design to him, though it must be noted that prototype’s often undergo some design changes before being mass produced. There is also a new Shadow plush on the right, which Shadow fans are sure to be happy about because of the few types of Shadow plushes available, only a couple look decently accurate (the most sought after being the SA2 Shadow, though extremely rare and expensive).
The last thing that fans caught a glimpse of were these prototype placeholder boxes (using artwork, not actual figures) depicting that we will also be seeing the return of Badnicks in figure form as a modern “sandworm” is shown in the figure bundle with modern tails as well as figure bundles of classic style Eggman and modern style Eggman, both with the respective style “Egg Robo” figures. Not long after these photos were discovered, German Sonic fansite Spindash.de uncovered some amazing photos from the Nuremburg Toy Fair, lets have a look at some of the stuff shown off!
Take note in the bottom right of this photo in the display case, those are “battle figures” where it appears to be the cast of characters standing on top of some sort of launcher so they can duke it out in combat. However these line of toys do not seem to be branded for the 20th anniversary.
This toy line is shaping up to be pretty awesome, we get a glimpse of some of the figure pairings such as classic 1992 Tails with a Badnik to go along with modern Tails, but we also see that we will be getting Classic Knuckles (though represented through Modern design stock art), and even Silver & Shadow with Badniks as well!
Jazwares sure likes their comic book bundles, but this one is hopefully going to include what appears to be both classic Sonic and Classic Amy. The question is, will Amy be available separately? or only as part of this bundle? Chances are she will make a solo appearance later on as Jazwares is guilty of doing this in the past with other figures.
Buying and collecting Sonic music CD’s is risky business as they are often mass produced as bootlegs on eBay and often look very convincing to the real deal. Official Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 soundtracks can be quite rare and expensive, so lucky for us two single disc special edition 20th Anniversary soundtracks are being released. The first one for Sonic Adventure 1 contains 30 of the games most popular tracks, and is available right now for ~@29.00 at CDJapan. Sonic fans not familiar with the Sonic Adventure series should note that a large amount of tracks include vocals by Crush 40, who are iconic in the eyes of Sonic fans for creating some of the series most edgy, catchy, and popular songs.
Also being released on June 22nd is another 1 disc soundtrack for Sonic Adventure 2, containing another 30 of the games most popular tracks. The soundtrack can be ordered here.
Fans looking for some excellent reading material were recently treated to the (UK only!) video game magazine “Game Masters” very own 20th Anniversary blowout special which includes a plethora of information for every game in the sonic series. Not only that, but it has images such as beta screen shots, early concept artwork for many characters, a section for rare Sonic collectibles, interviews, and in depth looks and characters and enemies!
Wait, it does not stop there! Also included are various pin/buttons, a sticker sheet, foldout poster depicting all kinds of Sonic character iterations from all of his games, and even a nice SonicGenerations poster.
This is surely not one to miss… (credit for the photos goes to fellow collector Hogfather of the SSMB).
The US and UK won’t be the only ones making out like bandits in terms of 20th edition merch, Japan’s own Joypolis theme park in Odaiba, Tokyo is hosting a Sonic birthday celebration from June 11th – July 10th 2011 and is letting attendees play gameplay demo’s of the upcoming game “Sonic Generations” and of course letting people get their hands on some new merchandise for the occasion.
This June is also the start of a 4 issue long mini series titled “Genesis” for the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series in celebration of the anniversary. Fans originally thought this was going to be a reboot of the long and very complex Archie Sonic universe, but it was stated that after the mini series wraps up, the comics will continue where the last issue #225 left off. These 4 comics are going back to a simpler time when it was just Sonic and Tails against the evil deeds of Dr. Eggman and his Badnik army.
This next piece is going to make fans weep for joy and sadness at the same time. What is shown here on the left is the recently announced 20th Anniversary statue being made by First 4 Figures. It is without a doubt the best Modern Sonic figure/statue ever created, standing next to his classic TV with classic Sonic artwork inside. It looks to stand about 12-14″ tall and is made out of resin, hand painted. Limited to just 1,000 pieces worldwide (with a US edition and Worldwide edition each depicting different respective TV artwork images for authenticity for that country). Fans would pay loads for one of these, right? Well apparently First 4 Figures and SEGA think otherwise because their plan is to NOT SELL this amazing statue, but instead give it away in (currently unspecified) ways. What does this mean for collectors? Prepare for a mad scramble to buy these when they pop up on eBay, because it seems the only way of legitimately getting your hands on one will include random drawings, competitions, prizes, or whatever else F4F and SEGA have in mind.
So there you have it, this was just but a taste of the upcoming and current 20th Anniversary Collectibles coming our way courtesy of SEGA and companies with distribution rights to Sonic the Hedgehog. Leave a comment below and let us know what kind of stuff YOU would like to see come out of the 20th anniversary!