Game music: Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog OST CoverEarly nineties. Sitting at my friend’s house in front of his TV. His Sega Mega Drive chuntering away beneath it. Sonic the Hedgehog on it. The speed. The sounds. The music. Along with Mario and Metroid, the music to Sonic was one of the early greats, echoing down the decades, recognisable even to people who weren’t born when it was released.

Let’s just quote Wikipedia for some background:

Sonic the Hedgehog’s music was composed by Masato Nakamura, a member of J-pop band Dreams Come True. The game uses the on-board Yamaha YM2612 synthesizer sound chip and the SN76489 programmable sound generator to produce a variety of stereo sound effects and music. The game was originally intended to feature a sound test menu, with animations of Sonic breakdancing to the music of a “Sonic Band” consisting of Sharps Chicken on guitar, Max Monkey on bass, Mach Rabbit on drums, and Vector the Crocodile on keyboard. The Vector character was later re-designed and featured in the games Knuckles’ Chaotix and Sonic Heroes. The development schedule meant that the feature had to be scrapped, and Yuji Naka decided to replace the test with the “Sega!” chant used in TV advertisements, which allegedly took up 1/8 of the 4-megabit cartridge.

Interesting piece of trivia – in 1988 Nakamura formed the band Dreams Come True along with Miwa Yoshida and Takahiro Nishikawa, and Sonic’s first reveal was a painting on the side of their tour bus in November 1990.

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