IntroductionExactly what makes Sonic the Hedgehog so popular? How has he endured for nearly twenty years as a platform video game mascot, while most of his peers and rivals have faded away into obscurity? The answer with this is quite simple: his fans and his creators. Sonic was created as Sega's rival to Nintendo's Mario, and his creators built a rock-solid game that he debuted in. This instantly solidified his status as video game hero, and would even inspire many knock-offs and imitators, such as Bubsy the Bobcat or Sparkster the Rocket Knight oppossum, and while he would be repeatedly imitated, he would never be duplicated. His creators are responsible for much of his fame at the time, as his games were extremely fun to play from their music, their easy layouts, the colourful levels, and the interesting bad guys to fight. After the internal turmoil between regional divisons began within Sega in 1995, many of the original talent behind Sonic the Hedgehog left for other companies (such as Naughty Dog and Artoon), or was disbanded (as Sega Technical Institute was) and the decline began.
As the 1990s progressed, Sonic the Hedgehog saw a few sequels on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, which further increased his popularity. From 1993 to roughly 1996, Sonic was at the absolute peak of his popularity, in what could be considered "Sonicmania", with *five* video games being released on the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive alone (Sonic CD, Sonic Spinball, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic 3D), two cartoon shows (SatAM Sonic, and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog), and a comic book series by Archie Comics to top it off.
After the internal power struggles and turmoil of 1996-1998, Sonic would be forever changed, with the Japanese divison of Sega replacing Sega of America as the dominant wing of the company. Almost immediately, Sonic's past would be completely ignored, forgotten, and rewritten to suit the "new" generation of Sonic fans, as if Sega of Japan was trying to turn Sonic into something else entirely than what he started out as. Because of this, the Sonic fandom has seen a long and painful slide in quality, and a comparable decline in popularity. The fandom has always contained different groups that like certain aspects of Sonic the Hedgehog, but those divisions became far more pronounced after 1998. A further change resulting from this time period is the switch from catering to Sonic fans of all ages, as in the classic Sega Genesis / Mega Drive days, to catering largely to the 6-14 crowd.
This "infantilizing" of the Sonic fandom has lead to mostly children being fans of Sonic, with the older ones either being shoved to the sidelines, becoming so embarassed to even BE Sonic fans that they revert to being "closet fans", or leaving the fandom entirely. The older, more mature Sonic fans are becoming harder to find, becuase they tend to keep to themselves, while the younger fans tend to make the most noise and yell about how cool Shadow is, or how hot Rouge is, while giving blank stares if you ask them about anything related to Sonic before 1998. The games have become overrun by shallow, undeveloped, one-dimensional characters, and the fandom has suffered accordingly, having become overrun by their shallow, undeveloped, one-dimensional fans. It could also be considered that the games lately have become little more than shovelware from Sega to help keep the nearly-bankrupt company afloat as it tries to become a poorman's EA or Ubisoft (and fails miserably, as those two are still in business), with Sonic being reduced to little more than a one-dimensional catchphrase-talking money machine.
Because of all the splintering of the Sonic fandom's groups, it's somewhat hard to track all of them and understand them. That's what this page is for, to categorize and explain each and every sub-group in the Sonic fandom, like an encyclopedia. The groups will be sorted by region they tend to be found in most often, such as North America, Japan, England/Europe/Australia, and Brazil. So, without any further delay, we shall move on to our first group and subgroups, starting with North America.
North AmericaNorth America has the strongest fanbase of any region by far, and is the primary reason that Sonic became as popular as he did in the first place. These fans tend to be categorized into a few groups, subgroups, and breeds.
Classic Sonic (America) FansClassic Sonic (America) fans are the oldest fans of the entire fandom, since their fandom is the second-oldest (having started around 1992 or so). However, due to the large period of time since their debut, they are also among the rarest of fans, because few of them remain as Sonic fans (either being driven out of the fandom by newcomers, "growing out of it" and moving on to other things, or moving to other groups within the fandom.
These fans are fans of anything that Sega of America created or licensed, such as Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993), SatAM (1993-1995), Sonic Underground (1995-1997), and the Archie Comics (1993-Present). Most fans are average, and tend to keep to themselves in small groups. There are two main groups of Classic Sonic fans, the Average Fans, and the Extremists. The average fans simply grew up with the Sega of America material, and prefer it over the other games, while the Extremist tends to go overboard.