In MTV’s ‘Rock the Rock’, Sonic & Knuckles Gets You Sent to Jail


Back in the 1990s, if you were any good at Sonic the Hedgehog, chances are you’d go straight to jail. To win $25,000, that is. MTV produced a special segment called “Rock the Rock,” in association with SEGA and Blockbuster, to promote the release of Sonic & Knuckles in 1994. In it, 25 kids from around the world were pitted against each other in San Francisco’s Alcatraz prison island to be crowned the planet’s best gamer. And to win a tonne of cash.

Once believed to be lost in the mists of time, YouTube user WaffleKogen has uploaded this rare video for everyone to see. Check out the hip-hop 1990s music that rocked during each link. If you like your history, there’s some nice segments involving the jail’s past, and there’s even a set of interviews with members of Sega Technical Institute and Sonic Team.

There are surely worse ways to spend your Thursday. If you were born in the 1990s, this will be a pleasant reminder of how much cooler things were ‘back in the day’. If you weren’t, it’s a fascinating window into 20-year-old music and embarrassing haircuts.

Special thanks to QuadTails on the SEGA Forums for sharing the video, and to Anthony San Juan on Twitter for bringing it to our attention!

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.


  1. Am I the only one that finds it funny that SEGA Technical Institute is STI? And that they kept saying it…and then that one guy from STI was talking about thrusting with Knuckles? No? Alright, I’ll go away now…

  2. I knew of this event due to some mention of it being made in an old issue of EGM and then a blurb about it in Sonic Jam’s museum.

  3. …..How in the world do you make a tournament on a Sonic game? And then stick them in Alkatraz?! What the Super Turbo guys couldn’t get out of the arcades to do this?

    Ahh..Marketing in the 90’s…a lost art…

  4. I love how the worst part is to win you need the most rings. Still why put them in Alcatraz!? There is plenty of other cool places but they picked ALCATRAZ! Then they make 25 kids dress in jail clothing. The 90s were something weren’t they.

  5. Ah the good ole days…When MTV was M FRIGGING TV and old faces I barely remember plus I thought the hair style back then looked fairly good…nowadays its all BIEBER FRICKIN FEVER…AHHHH!!!! Sometimes I wish I could just hit a reset button and everything could be redone to be better but argh no such luck lolz

  6. Wow! I remember this. I miss the 90’s… Can anyone give me a full break down of all the music they used in this? I recognize some songs, like Keep Em Separated by The Offspring, Enter Sandman by Metallica, and Burn by Nine Inch Nails thanks to The Entity. But what are all the other songs?

  7. LOL. I saw this about 4 years ago. Funny it’s being brought up now. 😛

    Can’t believe how long ago this was. I was only 3 years old. Crazy.

  8. Finally!!! I’ve been searching for this video for AGES. I certainly hope somebody has it ripped and saved on their hard drive for archival purposes.

  9. oh my god, i love how i was born in the 90’s yet oblivious to most of this stuff guess cause i was only 5 when sonic and knuckles came out. man this take me back and i love how they showed concept art for sonic xtreme, seeing this though made me realize sega and i guess a lot of companies had some strange marketing back then it’s is no wonder sega started failing financially doing weird marketing like this a tournament in Alcatraz off rings no less in mushroom hill only, give it to the 90’s kinda make me miss this type of stuff lol

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