I have vague memories of playing Sonic 1 on an in-store kiosk and not really paying much attention to it. It was only for a couple of minutes, anyway.
My first real memory was New Years Eve, 1991. My Mom had me pretty late in her life - my brother is 14 years older than I am, for instance, so by the time I was 6 or 7 in 1991, he was already an adult.
Some sort of "adult" movie was on TV that night; Citizen Kane, some horror movie about killer electronics and some cousins around my brother's age were over to sit down and watch it with my Mom and brother. The point is, it was the kind of movie that a 7 year old should not watch, so I was essentially told to go play with my toys in my room until it was over, but that didn't last long.
My brother, for Christmas that year, had gotten a piece of "stereo equipment" called a Sega Genesis. Or at least, I thought it was stereo equipment - it was electronic, with all kinds of weird buttons and headphone jacks and a volume slider. My brother's room was an off-limits zone for me, so once he took it in there, it essentially vanished and I never thought about it ever again.
As a family we had bought our first NES in 1989 or so, with Super Mario Bros. I knew what a videogame was and I enjoyed it immensely. So here we are, New Years Eve 1991, I'm a kid and clearly bored but they don't want me interrupting their movie or whatever. So I'm taken in to the forbidden zone of my brother's room, sat down infront of the Sega Genesis, and they turn on Sonic the Hedgehog.
And I'm blown away. Though I can't beat Marble Zone, the game captivates me. It's all I can talk about for hours after I stop playing.
And I never play it again. It was locked away in my brother's room, and that doesn't matter because a few weeks later, he moves out, and takes the Genesis with him. But I wanted more
. This may actually be what developed my intense interest in Sonic the Hedgehog - wanting to play the game more and being constantly denied. As a result, I dedicated a pretty large portion of my childhood to finding ways to play Sonic. A few minutes here and there on store kiosks or at a relative's house. I never felt like I had played enough to be satisfied, so I continued looking for a way to play more.
The Christmas after my brother moved out, my Mom got me a new game console. She got me a SNES. I tried not to look disappointed, but I couldn't help it. "I thought you liked Mario?" she told questioned. "I do," I said, "But I really want to play more Sonic."
By now Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hit store shelves, and the "Mascots with Attitude" fad was beginning to heat up, so I spent two years hunting out SNES games that filled the Sonic niche. Games like Bubsy, and Rocky Rodent. After a Gamepro article described the Twinbee SNES platformer
as "like Sonic the Hedgehog," I pined for a US release that never happened.
By the time I was memorizing a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 strategy guide despite not owning the game, my Mother obliged and bought me my own Sega Genesis for my Birthday with both Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. The rest is history!