Ah, Sonic the Hedgehog. The memories come flooding back for me, of someone who’d be delighted to head for my local after-school club (held in a cosy church hall), get armed with lemon fizzy bombs, cola bottle gums (sugar-coated and non-sugar coated) and bootlace candy (the really stretchy stringy red kind) from the tuck shop (spending about a total of 37p), before eagerly gathering around the always-active Sega Megadrive console in the corner. I might’ve also had a copy of the latest Beano, depending on what day of the week it was.

The TV it was connected to would belch bright, flickering static into everyone’s eyes as it had been chosen not to be tuned into something really *boring* – y’know, like the news – but to be wired to the latest console on the market. This, the Sega Megadrive (or ‘Genesis’ as it was more widely known) had become *the* thing to have in those days. I’d stuck with my trusty Commodore Amiga 500+, but I still had the chance to play this platformer which left a lasting impression on me.

And suddenly, with a swift *clunk* of the cartridge into the console, the annoying static was replaced with the booming ‘Segaaaaa!’ sound and its bold blue look.

Then there’d be the intro, with a theme tune that was pretty twee even then, and not too much to get excited about, as Sonic would waggle his finger in an almost admonishing way. Perhaps he was telling off those who entered cheat codes at the title screen (up, down, left, right, A+ Start!)…

Sonic the Hedgehog title screen

You aren't going to skip to Scrap Brain Zone, are you? Tsk tsk...

No, what was most impressive was when you pressed start…

Ah, this looks familiar...

The swelling of the unmistakeable Green Hill Zone music, the vibrant, cartoony graphics, and the way the first level flows so well and draws you in to a really addictive style of gameplay. Ahhh…

Back then, in my after-school days, I was only allowed to play for a couple of levels before- tch- someone else could have a go. At that point, I’d have to go elsewhere, and make use of one of the old-fashioned toys like, I dunno, a football, and might even have had to go outside into a sunny evening. That was kinda an alien concept to me by that point though. Still is, to an extent.

Thankfully, 20 years have passed, and technology has been kind to my plight. Not only can I download a Sega Genesis from here and search for the Sonic the Hedgehog ‘ROM’ file by typing exactly that into Google, I can even showcase a few little screenshots of mine, taken from a half-hour glorious nostalgia-piefest.

"Would sir like iced hedgehog with his courgette and cheesy spaghetti?"

Sonic the Hedgehog special stage

Spinning around in a super psychedelic special stage gave Sonic a terrible migraine.

"Believe it or not, some ignorant kid takes a ride in a clothes dryer just like this one."

Alert viewers will notice how low my score is. Well, I've used the level selector cheat. Hey, I'm not as patient as I used to be.

I don't know why he's so happy, he missed me by a mile.

There have been umpteen sequels to the game, some great, some alright, some humungously flawed, but none have had the impact the original one had.

Hated the Labyrinth Zone though.