My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: Wow, that was a much quicker read than I anticipated. In the line of reviewing some non-fiction titles, I came across “The History of Sonic the Hedgehog” and out of it with a far more informed view of the history of Sega, the creation of the rather cool blue hedgehog that’s existed for years (particularly if you’re of my generation and remember quite a few of the early releases), and the boom that Sonic’s impact caused in the gaming and entertainment industries. True, Sonic’s undergone many transformations since I remember growing up with him as a child, but I found this book was not only a trip down memory lane, but it also gave me insights on where the character has progressed today, and I found that enlightening, alongside the reflections of Sonic’s creators and respective teams. This is a rather good guide for anyone who wants to see the timeline of Sonic’s journey and evolution, and it’s a fascinating look into Sega’s role in the gaming industry as well.
I received “The History of Sonic the Hedgehog” as an ARC from NetGalley with the full admission of having played Sonic for quite some time, among other games, during my youth and even into my adult life. Yes I remember the Sonic toys, the ENG theme song for the Sonic CD (which was pretty epic), even remember the two animated series that premiered on TV (one of which actually had the voice of Jaleel White playing Sonic. Many may recognize White for his role as Steve Urkel in the series “Family Matters.”)
It’s interesting to consider just how much gaming has evolved since the 1980s and 90s, and even before that time with the invention of arcade games and their respective impact on the entertainment industry. The admission in one part of this book mentions that Sonic’s creation was in the making (or at least in the light of paving the way) since the 1940s! But even looking through the sketches of a character that Sega wanted to represent their company by, looking at the way the character has evolved over time, and taking a trip down memory lane with summaries of the respective released games over the years, this book was a wonderful journey into the life and impact of one of the most endearing, cool gaming icons.
I really enjoyed this book and see it as a definite gamer’s collector item, particularly for those who remember and loved Sega’s respective history. It’s a good compilation and chronicling of Sega’s creation, and the push to shape and define Sonic’s characters, adventures, environment, among other intriguing details. For me, I was very familiar with the older stuff (not that I mind my age, mind you – I still think many people who haven’t been exposed to Sonic’s early history are missing out!), but I definitely appreciated looking into how Sonic’s evolved with the advance of 3D and across multiple gaming platforms. Though it still makes me sad to remember what happened with Sega, the Dreamcast and how the company had to change during that time.
This book has full color illustrations, game shots, character art and rendering, and a very easy to read format. It really took me about an hour to comb through this and I enjoyed the interviews, the game timeline, the attention to the environments and character design, among other dimensions. It’s certainly worth taking the time to read, and I would recommend it for any Sonic fan, any Sega fan, and in general any gaming fan who wants to see the evolution of one of gaming’s most iconic characters.
Overall score: 4/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher Udon Entertainment/Diamond Book Distributors.