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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

More than 20 years have passed since Sonic made its first appearance in 1991. I still remember fondly how much I enjoyed playing the first three series of the game.

The History of Sonic Hedgehog is a befitting book that celebrates Sonic's 20th anniversary. It was originally published by Pix'N Love Editions in French and this English edition is published by Udon. It's a handsome 300-page hardcover with a nice cover. I really like the cute 2D art of Sonic on the cover as compared to the 3D version on the back cover.

The book covers roughly three main parts. The first looks at the history, the second on the games and the last part on characters and extras.

The history of Sonic is intermingled with the story of SEGA, before it was even known as SEGA (it was called "Service Games"). It's an interesting flashback to the creation of the Sonic through the accounts of the developers, and to the rise and fall of SEGA as a console maker, and the transformation into a multi-platform publisher.

The pages are beautifully laid out with wonderful photos and screenshots. There are photos of consoles I never knew existed. Three lengthy interviews included are with the creators Yuji Naka the programmer, graphic designer Naoto Oshima and producer Takashi Iizuka of Sonic Generations (2011).

The second part focuses on the games. There are eight 2D games, ten 3D games, sixteen handheld ones and 23 spin-offs over the span of two decades. I only played the first three games so I'm reading about the rest for the first time. Each game has a short but informative writeup. The screenshots are a bit small though. I wished there were more and bigger. Stage designs for the games are gorgeous.

The last section has all the main characters and their profiles. The interesting bits are the Sonic cameos in other games.

This book is a nostalgic trip into the history of Sonic and SEGA.

Highly recommended for fans of the game.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on 29 April 2017
Let's start with the good thing. The design of the book is really nice, it's very interesting and stylish.
But that also ties into problems of the book. Sometimes the design is too stylish for it's own good, there's several bits where screenshots of the games are distorted or rotated in ways that make them just kind of unclear and messy. And at few bits the fade effect they use for different pieces of art makes them look unclear.
All the good design in the world can not save the lackluster content of the book. For all the talk about creation and design of Sonic and other parts of games/series, there's hardly any concept art. Most pieces in the book are clip-art, sprites or models that most people have already seen several times.
Writing is also a mess. Typos are a concern, but minor one when timeline of Sonic's history jumps around haphazardly, which really doesn't give you a good image of what was actually happening, who was part of which teams, what was being developed where and when. Plenty of things... no actually everything could have also benefited from writers going into more detail about this. Yes, the book has multiple writers, which probably explains the disjointed feel.
I do understand that the book is supposed to be celebration of Sonic, but more neutral view would have definitely helped. There's plenty of bits where they talk about games that were generally disliked by the audience, but play the problems down, such as with Sonic Shuffle or 2006. And some games like Knuckles Chaotix, Shadow the Hedgehog and Tails' Skypatrol are not mentioned in the history segment at all. Then again, some of the mainline games get barely page of content, so I'm not surprised. Most pages are filled with huge promo graphics from different games, leaving very little room for actual text.
You also have to wonder who this was meant for. It talks about elements of series and characters expecting reader to be familiar with everything, but doesn't really bring up anything interesting that more dedicated fan wouldn't already know, there's no mention of Sonic's art being changed for the Western releases and spin-offs like comics and animations are either glossed over or not mentioned at all. And actual history of Sonic only takes 1/3 of the book. Another 1/3 is for listing all the games in the series, and last part is for character profiles.

I imagine the content would have benefited tremendously if other two parts were scrapped, and entirity of the book was actual history of the series. But then again, the tone of book is so annoying that reading any more of it would be just extended annoyance.
Shortly put, very disappointing.
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on 5 January 2013
This really is a MUST own for every sonic fan out there, if you can only ever own one piece of Sonic memorabilia in your life make sure it's this book because honestly, this really is one of those things that sets apart the hardcore from the casual Sonic fan.
Every single page in the book looks stunning and both the book and the cover is printed with extremely high quality material.
The book really goes into fine detail about Sega's history and has tons of great interviews with the team behind Sonic as well as plenty of interesting trivia. (Did you know Sega actually stands for Service Games or that Knuckles the Echidna was originally designed to be green?)

One pet peeve I really do have with the book though, or at least one flaw in particular that bothers me is that the book really doesn't go into much detail about Sonic's history outside of the video game realm. It briefly touches on the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV series from the early 90's and a few Matdonalds Happy Meal contracts but that's honestly it. No mention anywhere of SatAM, Sonic Underground, The Sonic OVA Movie, Sonic X (Unless I skipped a page or two by accident...) and definitely no mention at all of the UK or US Comic book publications which are still going strong today, or some of the rare and interesting collectable figurines or even any talk about any of Sega's past various Amusement parks.
C'mon you can dedicate the last 20 pages of the book for main character bio's but not one mention of the giant silver Sonic statue that once stood proud in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, London? Come to think of it, there wasn't any mention of any of Sonic's well remembered cameo's on The Simpsons either. Shame.
If there is and I skipped past it by accident then I apologize for my brash criticism, but I honestly didn't notice any of them mentioned throughout the book.
This book covers all of Sonic's History from Sonic the Hedgehog 1 to Sonic Generations so don't expect any interesting trivia behind his Wreck it Ralph cameo's either.

My pet peeves aside though, it's definitely a must own if you can grab a copy. From what I understand this is a limited edition print so get it while you can!
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on 8 April 2014
I stumbled across this book accidentally and had a proper 'oh wow' moment and had to order!

The reason being,I have a severely autistic teenage son who is obsessed with Sonic,Sega and the whole history of games consoles and arcade machines.He will be getting this book for his birthday this month and I cannot wait to see his face!

It has surpassed my expectations.It is a beautiful book full of great illustrations and starts right back with the creation of Sega and the three friends who had an idea.

Yes,I have read it myself,well part.I just could not resist having a look!Who knew Sonic was nearly an armadilo?!!

This book may be pricey (!!) but for the true fan out there I'd say it's worth its weight in gold and will be much loved.

If you are reading this review you must be interested.All I can say then is BUY ONE! You won't regret it (unless you are buying it for an autistic and know you'll have to suffer being repeatedly told every detail of the book...oops,what have I done?!???)
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on 13 January 2013
The first thing that grabs you about the book is the size. It isn't particularly large from looking at cover, but it sure is thick!
The second thing that grabs you is the design. It screams quality from cover to cover. It is extensively researched and well written, and every single Sonic game is represented; even the obscure and cancelled ones.
The book begins with a brief history of Sega and continues all the way through up to the present. Every page has high quality artwork (some of which I'd never seen before. Quite an achievement given how reproduced Sonic art has become)
It features exclusive interviews with the game's creators and no stone is left unturned to get the bottom of the story behind Sonic's creation and every subsequent game, from the sublime to the (admitted) less than stellar (Sonic '06).
Much has been said about the hedgehogs history of late. His creation has seen a lot of attention recently due to the recent 20th anniversary (for example, Gamesmaster recently published a wonderful special anniversary issue) but depsite all of this, this book still justifies the rather high price tag by being so extensive and so finely made.

Great purchase for Sonic and video game history fans
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on 23 October 2013
Made for his 20th anniversary it was only natural to look back at Sonic The Hedgehog and how far he's come over the years...
Some people might be sceptical in buying a book filled with infomation that can easily found online, but that's not what makes it different.

If you actually look inside the book you can see it's worth the amount of time and dedication put into it. It covers the entire 20 years, from the concept Mr. Needlemouse to the coloured power of the Wisps and contains never-before seen Concept art, open and diverse interviews with the three men responsible for the iconic Blue Hedgehog and his memorable series, along with unique little bit that covers every-single cameo Sonic has made, all packed in an awesome hardcover.
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on 1 December 2014
I found this book to be very high quality and very nice to look at. For those Sonic fans looking to learn more about the blue hedgehog's origins, there is a lot of detail here, including chapters covering how Sonic was created, concept art, information on the characters and the Sonic games that were released between his debut in 1991 and 2012 (even including Japanese exclusive games). The only downside I found was the lack of coverage regarding the cartoons and comic book series' based on the titular hedgehog. That aside, I find this book to be a pretty good read for Sonic fans.
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on 6 March 2014
What can I say, this book was a fantastic read. The story of the early days of the Nintendo vs sega is told wonderfully and the development of the little blue hedgehog is very fun to read. There are two page spreads in the book containing information about almost every game and character and how they were developed. My only complaint is that there wasn't more to read!
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on 16 August 2013
it was given as a birthday present and they loved it!
they are a massive fan of sonic the hedgehog
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on 10 December 2015
Story of sonic and the games he was in. Expected more artwork though.
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