Sonic The Hedgehog Turns 20 (VIDEO)

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Sega's beloved blue hedgehog turns 20 years old on Thursday.

Since speed-rolling his way into the hearts of gamers in 1991, Sonic has gone on to star in 65 titles, which have sold an estimated 70 million copies worldwide, according to AFP.

Originally developed by Sega as a competitor for Nintendo's Mario, Sonic eventually joined Nintendo' cast of characters when the two companies joined forces in 2001.

"Nintendo v Sega got big articles in things like the Mail on Sunday. It was as big as Coca-Cola vs Pepsi, Levi vs Wrangler, the Rolling Stones vs the Beatles," Sega Europe's chief executive Mike Hayes told the Guardian. "At Nintendo we were more family friendly, the Beatles and Coca-Cola to Sega's Stones and Pepsi. They were more cutting edge, Oasis to our Blur, and we played it up. There was nobody else in the business and at that point, and we thought that nobody else would join. And then, of course, along came Sony and changed the game."

Sonic went through several different looks over the years, transitioning from 2D into 3D, acquiring friends like Tails, Knuckles and dozens more along the way, and starring in various television series, movies and comic books.

What's next for Sonic?

"What we want to do in coming years is push Sonic further," said David Corless, Sonic brand director, according to the Guardian. "How do we make Sonic even more relevant for 12-, 13-year-olds but still deliver the nostalgia to the older market? It's a challenge but quite a luxury: there are very few gaming IPs where that applies."

According to the BBC, Sega is releasing a 20th anniversary title, Sonic Generations, which combines modern (3D) Sonic with an option to play in classic 2D mode.

For an in-depth look at Sonic's history, visit Retro News @ Nintendo Life.

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