I was between 5-10 at the time. I was frequently visiting one of my mother's friends whom I affectionately called Lady Liz at the time. Her husband, a bit of a man child, had gotten a G1 Genesis and as many games for it as he could. This included the coveted SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 1.
God, I loved visiting and playing that game! I would play others when I got tired of it. I was young, and beating games was not my strong suit. I could maybe get past 3-5 levels of any one game at best.
I was saddened when I learned, some time later (I want to say a few years, but not too many), that she had sold the Genesis and its games in a garage sale. She felt sorry because she would have gladly given it to me for free had she known how much I loved that system. But my mother felt so bad that she got me a G2 Genesis around the next gift-giving holiday. God, I loved it so much! I had to get as many Sonic games for it as I could as well as all the other Sega games I enjoyed and any other extras I could get my hands on.
Keep in mind, at the time, I all ready had a NES. I had gotten one when I was younger. But by this particular moment in my life, I had a best friend who was getting me interested in more video games and helping me expand my collection.
That's right, Sonic was in my life BEFORE I had any actual friends.
And as soon as I had my hands on every Sonic game for the Genesis (minus Mean Bean Machine), I played them until my wrists gave out! I was beating levels just as good as the real Sonic, had all the motions down. I was so good, I could perfectly imitate those demos you see if you never press the START button, and I could even play better then that! My friends were all stupified when I knew all the secrets to max out the extra lives as soon as possible and even knew how to do some speed runs.
...But the best part of my story is how Sonic came back into my life.
Genesis was great, and over the years I explored a few other games, but I quickly grew tired of everything I had. I was in my high school years. All my friends were leaving to pursue their lives and had no time for me. All I had were the MP3s I could find on the internet, back when file-sharing programs were popular and no one was using bittorrents. I found myself with a void in my life, and by sheer coincidence, I found MP3s of songs from Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. No one I knew had even HEARD of the Dreamcast at the time!
As soon as I was able, I got a Dreamcast and rekindled my love for Sonic the Hedgehog. I've been a die-hard Sonic fan ever since. He's a good friend who will never leave my side, no matter how fast he may run. I might not play video games as often as I use to. I can't do speedruns, and sometimes I don't even beat the games. But as a Sonic fan, I'm here to stay.