Being one of the most iconic mascots in gaming history, you probably know a lot about Sonic the Hedgehog already. But there’s still a ton of weird and wonderful facts about this hedgie that even super fans don’t know about. From bizarre inspiration and origin stories, to lovers that were scrapped before we ever laid eyes on them, there are golden nuggets from Sonic’s history just waiting to be uncovered. Check out the craziest facts that you haven’t heard about the blue blur.
10 He Should Be Able to Swim
It’s a well-known fact that Sonic the Hedgehog can’t swim, though in some games he is able to run across the surface of water. But do you know how his most famous weakness came to be? Programmer Yuji Naka, who was heavily involved in the creation of Sonic, thought that hedgehogs couldn’t swim. So, it was decided that this one couldn’t either. It turns out hedgehogs very much can swim, but it’s a trait that stuck with Sonic to this day. He even wears a life jacket in the swimming stages of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games!
9 His Speed Was Inspired by Speedrunning
Beside the initial plans to design a mascot to rival Mario, Sonic’s design was also inspired by Yuji Naka’s experiences of Super Mario Bros. When playing the game Naka took it upon himself to get through the first level, World 1-1, as quickly as possible, and this sparked the idea for our favorite speedster. Who would have thought Mario’s speed was the very reason that we have the fastest thing alive? Nothing like a bit of rivalry to create a successful company mascot.
8 He Can’t Run Without Sleep
Can we take a moment to appreciate a health icon? Sonic the Hedgehog needs eight hours of sleep, or his running ability will be affected. Maybe we can’t all run faster than the speed of sound, but we can all relate to that! Back in the days of the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, he was a voice of reason at the end of each episode, giving life advice to kids. Well it looks like he’s always had our back, reminding us that a good night’s sleep is the foundation of good health. Heard you loud and clear, Sonic.
7 He Had a Human Girlfriend
In the early development of Sonic the Hedgehog, Naoto Oshima (his original creator) designed him a girlfriend named Madonna. She was tall and blonde, with an exaggerated hourglass figure, a lot like Jessica Rabbit. There’s not much known about her other than her role as Sonic’s girlfriend, and that she would follow him around.
She was scrapped from the final game, reportedly for different reasons: the content had to be “softened” for children in foreign countries, and that rescuing the damsel in distress was too similar to the Mario Bros franchise. Why a human “girlfriend” made it into the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, we’ll never know.
6 His Middle Name is Maurice
This one comes from the canon of the Sonic the Hedgehog comics (which ran from 1993 to 2017), but it’s a fact worth mentioning anyway. In the comics, his full name is Sonic Maurice the Hedgehog. A former writer even claimed that his first name is actually Olgilvie. It’s pretty funny to imagine Sonic, the cool hero with an attitude, having the middle name Maurice. Maybe it’s a good thing that that never carried through to the games. Sonic the Hedgehog is definitely less of a mouthful.
5 He Used to Be Called Mr Needlemouse
When Naoto Ohshima first created Sonic, he gave him the codename, Mr Needlemouse. What kind of a name is that? It could be a literal title; hedgehogs are kind of like big mice with needles sticking out their backs… if you squint.
It hasn’t been explicitly stated how the creators got to choosing Sonic’s name, but you can imagine them in the drawing room, toying with the idea of his speed, tossing around some related words and coming to land on “Sonic”. Either way, it sure suits him better that Mr Needlemouse.
4 His Blue Fur Has Meaning
Some might assume that with the progression of the Console Wars in the 90’s, Sonic was made blue to directly counter Mario’s red color palette, but there’s actually more to it than that. The color of his fur is mean to represent peace, trust, and – of course – being cool, according to Yuji Naka.
That makes a lot of sense considering our spiky hero is passionate about keeping the peace, and has fought Eggman for years to do that. He also just happens to be the coolest ‘hog around, so blue is definitely his color.
3 Dr. Eggman was Destined to Be the Hero
When the mission came along to design a new company mascot, one of the proposed ideas was a caricature of Theodore Roosevelt in pajamas. While the little teal hedgehog was eventually chosen, this design evolved into an egg-shaped character, who eventually became Dr. Eggman. He was so close to being the hero, and now the poor guy lives with his plans being thwarted day in and day out.
Another interesting detail is that he was designed to be the opposite of our hero, symbolizing development and machinery versus Sonic’s free and outdoorsy spirit. This was also a reference to the ever-growing conflict between environmentalists and developers.
2 His Personality Was Inspired by Bill Clinton
When you take a look at Sonic’s initial design and development phase, he’s had a lot of different influences. With a presidential debate going on in 1992, eyes were on Bill Clinton, and this is where Sonic’s personality allegedly came from. Clinton adopted a “get it done” attitude, which Naoto Ohshima then attributed to Sonic, admiring the idea of getting things done straight away rather than letting them drag on. If nothing else, that trait has definitely stayed with Sonic through the years; to this day he’s impulsive and is sure to sort out Eggman as quickly as possible
1 He Was Partly Inspired by Santa Claus
So… first a mouse, then the President, and now this? Believe it or not, a part of Sonic was indeed inspired by Santa Claus, and that part is… his shoes. Yes, his bright red shoes were inspired by old Saint Nick himself. Combine that with his giant buckles being taken from Michael Jackson’s “Bad” music video, and Sonic’s beginnings are a crazy mishmash of different people. And somehow all of them ended up as a speedy blue hedgehog with an attitude. Still, with 28 years of video game history under his belt, we’re glad to have him around.