Sonic the Hedgehog is the title character and protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series produced by Sega. He is a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog who has the ability to run at supersonic speeds and attacks many of his enemies by curling into a ball. He most commonly achieves his goals by racing through levels, collecting power-up rings, and surviving against enemies and obstacles.
The character was created by programmer Yuji Naka and designer Naoto Ōshima, and his franchise debuted with the launch of its first game for Sega's Genesis console in 1991. Sonic became the official mascot of the company and one of the biggest power players of the 16-bit generation, establishing himself as a formidable rival to Nintendo's mascot, Super Mario. He is one of the most famous video game characters in the world, and his games have sold more than 80 million units worldwide. He has also appeared in spin-off comics and animated TV shows.
History with the Macy's Parade
Sonic's first appearance in a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was in the 67th parade, in 1993. This gave him the distinction of being the first video game character to have a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
However, during its parade debut that year, the Sonic balloon crashed into a lamppost at Columbus Circle due to strong winds; in the process, it injured a child and an off-duty police officer. The balloon was almost completely damaged during this accident, and his spike and arm were also damaged before his demise. Despite this, Sonic returned to the parade the following year, with repairs and became the lead balloon that year. His return appearance at the 1994 parade was preceded by an appearance in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania at a launch event for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. In 1998, he was retired, but he made a slight comeback in 2001 on the Toon Balloon-Abration float, celebrating the parade's 75th anniversary, on which he appeared with Kermit the Frog, Garfield, Betty Boop, and other characters whose balloons in the parade had been retired.
In 2011, after being absent for 13 years, Sonic returned to the Macy's parade with a new balloon, in celebration of his 20th anniversary. The updated balloon was based on the modern design of the character, introduced in 1998, which has longer limbs and quills, green eyes, and a slimmer body, and also has a different pose from the "classic" Sonic balloon. He was retired in 2013 for unknown reasons. But there was a Sonic reference in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014, In the middle of the parade, there was a performance to a video game medley, where at one part, everyone danced to the original Sonic 1 theme.
- In 1993, Sonic crashed into a lamppost, sending it flying down to the ground below, injuring both a child and an off-duty police officer. His spike and arm were also damaged during the route.
- In 1995, Sonic collided with a tree limb, causing the balloon's face to rip. By the time he reached Times Square, he was removed from the parade.
- In 1997, the balloon's head got ripped at Central Park West, The balloon was quickly deflated after this. Because of this, he was removed and had to be retired. However, it's a common misconception that the balloon was severely damaged due to the winds overnight and had to be removed, similar to that of Flying Fish.
- In 2013, Sonic's arm was snagged in a tree but was released shortly after, causing no damage.
- In 1996, Sonic's left sock was partially deflated.
- Spinball Theme (Virtual Sonic) (1993-1997)
- Splash Hill Zone (Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Remix) (2011-2013)
- Before his appearance in 1996, he appeared at the Macy's Balloon-A-Thon in 1996, along with many classic balloons such as Woody Woodpecker, Garfield, Betty Boop, The Pink Panther, Woodstock, Bugs Bunny, Paddington Bear, Babar the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Barney, and more.
- The first Sonic the Hedgehog has been removed the most times of any Macy's Parade big balloon, a total of 3 times, meaning only 2 of his flights were successes.
- Footage of the 1993 incident was uncovered through archival footage of Eyewitness News ABC7NY in November 2019.