1. There were Sonic boards on AOL communities with posts dating back to 1994. I remember browsing those, likely tied to the alt fandom boards of the day. 2. The Sonic fangame community grew pretty quickly out of the year 1998 when a lot more US citizens got widespread internet access at home via dialup and clicktool engine piracy became widespread. 3. Furry fandoms did indeed have some crossover with the comic/SATAM side of things. There were entire text based MUCK (Multi User Chat Kingdom) communities dedicated to Sonic text based roleplaying back then, and they generated sizable communities of people creating their OC characters. It turns out that it was largely furry communities who hosted these servers, but they attracted a lot of normal young internet users who just happened to be Sonic fans too. 4. The Games fandom was still quite robust, but with Sega system sales already in major decline, there just wasn't much to actually talk about. The 1996 OVA was gaining some traction as well through very early video/filesharing methods, but it was never even subtitled until the official home video release in 1999 (2 days before the Dreamcast hit US shores). AOSTH and SATAM were in syndication at this point, and there was a big push to continue them, but we got Underground instead (which aired early in France, meaning early video files leaked online in french only). 4. There was a lot of hype for Sonic Adventure 1 leaks and previews across the entire fandom, however. 5. Genesis games were getting harder to find in the late 90s, and were often already out of print or were being clearanced out. Saturn games were also harder to obtain due to many big retailers outright refusing to carry them. Game Gear sales flatlined quickly by 1994-95, so no one owned or played it anymore. This meant that all the early internet fandom had to talk about was Sonic 1, 2 and maybe 3&Knuckles, but both games sold much less than S1 and 2 did. Almost all other titles were games that a much smaller audience played. After 1993, Sonic games as a whole sold very poorly compared to Mario. Sonic's peak American popularity of the 90s was 1992-early 1994. All of this mess is a result of Sega of Japan slowly overtaking the brand and kicking the USA influence back out over time. Unfortunately, it was precisely Sega USA's marketing campaigns that made the brand so big in the USA during the early 90s at all. Otherwise, it never would've truly been considered Nintendo's rival (and even then, it only competed with Nintendo on equal terms for 1-3 years at best).