It all began with Ralph Baer, the "Father of TV Games." His ideas ushered in a new era of electronic entertainment and sparked the home video game revolution. In the nearly four decades since the release of the Magnavox Odyssey, home video game consoles have become a significant part of American culture and the industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The gaming world was once populated primarily by pre-teen and teenage boys, often huddled around televisions in each other's living rooms. Today, players are boys and girls, men and women, both young and old. They still play in their home or dorm room with friends, but increasingly they play online as well. The games they play are a unique combination of technology and graphic art, and game developers have continually pushed the limits of design to create exciting new settings and cutting-edge graphics. The possibilities for the future seem limitless, and "gamers" eagerly await the release of advanced consoles and new game titles.
Sonic the Hedgehog was created by multiple Sega designers as a character to rival the popularity of Nintendo's Mario and to replace their current mascot, Alex Kidd. He is an anthropomorphic hedgehog who can run faster than the speed of sound and curl into a protective ball to attack enemies. He first appeared in the platform game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis in 1991. Sonic has been seen in games for nearly every Sega system created, and also boasts his own comic strip and animated series.