Ex-SEGA European Product Manager Tony Takoushi has recently created an account on instagram, and has shared an array of incredible images from early 90s Sonic merchandise, to original and development artwork from Sonic the Hedgehog designers.
Just over a month ago, I set myself a little personal project, I decided to research the various official Sonic Mascot costumes which have been used over the years, I wanted to see how they changed, if there was any relation in design to the games, as well as how other regions created their mascots.
It was supposed to be a short project, I thought ‘there can’t be ‘that many, this will probably be just a 5 min video at best’, I was very wrong. Not only did this project take a full month to complete, it ended up being one of the strangest research trips I have ever undertaken. You can view the full end result video at the end of the article.
For now, enjoy these highlights.
If you’ve ever attend any video game convention or event, chances are you’ll see at least one official mascot, every big publisher tries to have one near their stand. They’re like people magnets, you put a mascot at your stand, people go over to it, it’s a great way to get people to look at your game who may have otherwise past it by.
Sega knows this well, and with nearly 30 years of Sonic games, there has been nearly 30 years of these official Sonic Mascot costumes… And some of them are wild…
The Classic Era (1990 – 1995)
During the madness which was Sonic 2’s release, Sega created a Sonic & Tails mascot in the UK. The costumes appeared numerous times in the pages of Sonic the Comic but also appeared in video form on Bad Influence’s 1992 Christmas Special. The Mascots also entertained visitors to the Future Entertainment show in 1992 as well as the 1992 Sega Championship Finals.
The United states also had their own Sonic & Tails mascots at this time, whilst the Sonic was similar in design, their Tails took a different approach, it was still huge but was much less furry and and was a different colour tone.
Japan had a few costumes around this time, but this is the most infamous of the lot, because it hung out with Michael Jackson during the promotion of Sonic 3.
The costume has a very friendly look to it and a “Nice smile” but what you might not realise, the smile is actually a vital part of the design… it’s where the performer looks out of.
Adventure Era (1999 – 2005)
At the 1999 E3 expo, Sega debuted an entire cast of new costumes, Sonic, Tails, Amy and Knuckles all got the mascot treatment. Whilst this was a major E3 for Sega, there exists very little media of the costumes at the event.
However, the costumes were so good and popular that they also appeared at several events in Japan and were even brought back into service when Sega were promoting both Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic X and even Sonic Battle!
Over time, Sega increased the number of characters to go along with this line, such as Rouge, Shadow, Eggman and even Cream! Cream made her only appearance at the 2002 Worlds Hobby Fair in Japan and from all accounts has never appeared at any other event since.
Shadow and Sonic’s costume was brought back temporarily to help promote Shadow the Hedgehog, but the other cast would remain dormant until eventually re-designed for later events.
Joypolis (? – Present Day)
This is probably the longest running Sonic costume in history, probably because it’s so good! Tokyo Joypolis has had this guy entertaining guests for at least 10 years, he’s normally available daily for photos at the park and during special occasions like Halloween and Christmas, Sonic will often dress up to get into the spirit of things.
Sega Republic was Dubai’s answer to Tokyo Joypolis, a huge indoor theme park with Sega themed rides and attractions. To help promote the park, they had three mascots based on Sonic, Tails and Amy.
Whilst Tails and Amy were reserved for media events, Sonic was a daily sight in the park, guests could get a photo with him and he would even attend birthday parties which you could book at the park itself!
Sonic Boom (2014 – Present Day)
Regardless as to what you may think of Boom, a lot of effort went into these creations, Tails and Amy especially since they’re completely original. Whilst the Sonic was based off the main Sega Sonic costume used at the time, they still went to the effort to give him new shoes and accessories.
Modern Era (2010 – Present Day)
Chances are you are more than familiar with these two costumes, they have been used at almost every video-game event since 2010, the above one has been a regular feature of Summer of Sonic.
The modern design has slimmed down the costume from the more bulky ones seen in the 90’s and in Japan, this means the performer is able to make more energetic motions, at Summer of Sonic this costume was even seen dancing with Crush 40 on stage and even attended the Alton Towers Sonic Spinball launch event and entertained guests with a number of recognisable poses.
It was used worldwide up until very recently… until this costume replaced it…
This costume uses much higher grade materials which means it still looks really good after a long days use. The shoes are much higher quality and it has a ‘nice smile’ instead of the creepy Sonic Heroes grin that the other costume has.
It was only ever used for one Tokyo Game Show, yet… look at it! They made a Werehog costume to help promote the launch of Sonic Unleashed, despite the size of the costume the performer is able to move very easily in it.
What little video exists shows the costume jumping, waving their arms in the air, walking quickly with confidence and even pulling some of the Werehog poses from the game
And from what I can tell… it was used for less than a week at one event, despite being one of the best costumes Sega have ever made!
…And The Rest
This was just a little look at some of the better and most iconic costumes which span the 27 years (technically 28) in which Sega have been promoting Sonic. There are many more and some of them….
…Are certainly unique…
Check out the video below if you’re interested and want to see the full history since it’s quite in depth.
SEGA have announced the details for the Sonic Forces promotional campaign with Hooters Japan. This collaboration was announced at TGS near the end of September, and was met by Western fans with some confusion. The promotion overall seems similar to the Sonic Cafe promotion that was done at the end of last year in Japan. Continue reading Sonic x Hooters Collaboration Deal Includes Cool Sonic Forces Coasters
There’s not much time before the launch of Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice for the Nintendo 3DS. Come the end of September, Sonic fans in the West can get their hands on the third playable instalment of the Sonic Boom series, helmed by Shattered Crystal developer Sanzaru Games as the studio aims to improve where the previous game went wrong – with SEGA going so far as to delay it by a whole year as part of their pledge to aim for a higher standard of quality for all of their games from here on out.
SEGA of Japan recently hosted a near-two hour long livestream showing off several of their upcoming games, including the latest Yakuza, the recently revealed Puyo Chronicle, and Atlus’ highly anticipated Persona 5, but not without kicking things off with a sneak peek at the localized Sonic Toon: Fire & Ice. Gameplay featuring Sonic, Knuckles, and Sticks was shown off in the segment, as well as another look at the Sonic Rivals-esque Bot-Racing. You can check out the interview in full, or watch just the gameplay with footage spliced together by BlueParadox, after the cut!
SEGA of Japan have put up a mysterious website for a new game produced by Takao Miyoshi, the person from Sonic Team behind Phatasy Star Universe. The site says Coming Soon and has a mushroom on it similar to the mushroom from Super Mario Bros 1 except for the different colours. When you run your mouse over the mushroom it shakes. The web adress has the word ‘pole’ and at the bottom of the page there is a timer which is counting down to the games official unveiling I’m guessing. It currently states 10 days, 6 hours and 17 minutes. No platforms for the game are mentioned.
Wonder what this could be…
Source: SEGA Nerds
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