Sonic The Hedgehog was the idol of my formative years. But, as it turns out, he’s just a very common criminal. Tsk tsk tsk.
In the 16-bit dot matrix dawn of my childhood, I made a choice. There was a war on, you see. You were required to pick a side, and that side is what you’d be judged on. No-one asked why, they asked what side you chose. There were only two choices: Nintendo or Sega; the plumber or the hedgehog with the fancy shoes.
I chose the latter. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was his propensity for chilli dogs, perhaps it was because he could run really fast and never get tired—being a kid of generous proportions, I could do neither. I could be a plumber chasing an extremely toxic relationship whenever I like. I couldn’t be a blue hedgehog with undiagnosed ADHD.
So I played it to death, and I still keep my hand in, despite it being the morning of my thirties. What keeps dragging me back is the amphetamine pace and the music. Perhaps it was an early precursor for what happened later, but that Sonic dude can bang a good choon. Which, of course, brings me to the point of this article. Don’t ever admire anyone, don’t revisit the heroes of your youth, and don’t ever choose YouTube over sleep. You see, I’ve discovered something galling about Mr Sonic T. Hedgehog; he just might be the greatest emerald-clutching music plagiarist that ever ran a loop.
His first journey, the one he named after himself, is particularly galling, with four entire levels cribbed wholesale from established artists. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’ve not had enough sleep, but check these out:
Sonic version: Bridge Zone Theme
Sounds like: Everywhere You Look (aka “the theme from Full House”)
Sonic version: Star Light Zone Theme
Sounds like: Bobby Caldwell—Love Won’t Wait
Sonic version: Spring Yard Zone Theme
Sounds like: Bobby Brown—Every Little Step
Sonic version: Marble Zone Theme
Sounds like: Andy Williams—Music To Watch Girls By
Sonic version: Ice Cap Zone Theme
Sounds like: The Jetzons–Hard Times
So, fairly definitive there.
But to those who follow the plumber, just know that your god is not beyond some galling music thievery: