Sonic the Hedgehog is the protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series released by Sega, as well as numerous spin-off comics, animations, and other media. Sonic is a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. In most games, Sonic must race through levels, collecting power-up rings and avoiding obstacles and enemies.
Programmer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ohshima are generally credited with creating Sonic. Most of the games are developed by Sonic Team. The original Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) was released to provide Sega with a mascot to rival Nintendo's flagship character Mario. Sonic was redesigned by Yuji Uekawa for Sonic Adventure (1998), with a more mature look designed to appeal to older players.
Sonic is one of the world's best-known video game characters and a gaming icon. His series had sold more than 80 million copies by 2011. In 2005, Sonic was one of the first game character inductees into the Walk of Game alongside Mario and Link.
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. After 1997, 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 but wasn't used in the Parade's broadcast, during their performance. He was retired after 2013, and a new Sonic balloon has yet to be introduced to the Parade.
- 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, he was removed from the parade as a result. His spike and arm were also damaged during the route.
- In 1995, Sonic collided with a tree limb at Central Park West, causing the balloon's face to rip. By the time he reached Times Square, The balloon lost a lot of helium, and because of this, 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 he 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 by a tree but was released shortly after, causing no damage.
- In 1996, Sonic's left sock was partially deflated.
- For some reason, during all of the second balloon's appearances, Sonic's eye ridge was a bit deflated.
- In 2011, Sonic's muzzle was somewhat deflated.
Below, you will find a list of the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast.
- Spinball Theme (Sonic the Hedgehog Boom CD variation; 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 for easy access through archival footage of Eyewitness News ABC7NY in November 2019.
- Sonic is the first video game character to appear in the Parade.