If there has been one game that was truly inspiring to me, it has to be Sonic Mania. The game went back to what many people have loved about Sega’s mascot. It brought the blue blur back to his 16-bit glory. Sonic Mania was a fan project that became a dream come true for not just fans of the Sonic franchise, but also for the developers of the game.
Promotional image for Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania was developed by Christian Whitehead (Taxman), Simon Thomley (Stealth), and Pagodawest Games. Image of Whitehead, Thomley, and developers from Pagaodawest Games at the Sonic 25th Anniversary Party
Both Whitehead and Thomley have grown up playing the Sonic games on the Genesis and have been inspired by them. They both have made Sonic fangames before they worked with Sega. Christian got his start at Sega with the port of Sonic CD for mobile phones and consoles. He made it run better than the original game with his Retro Engine and he added new features, such as the inclusion of Sonic’s sidekick, Tails, as a playable character.
Thomley would later come in to help Whitehead create ports of Sonic 1 and 2 for mobile. Before they started developing Mania, they wanted to port Sonic 3 and Knuckles to mobile as well. Unfortunately, the idea only came as far as a concept video and a Change.org petition.
Whitehead and Thomley then started to work on a prototype for Mania. The first zone they created was Studiopolis Zone Act 1. They met with Takashi Iizuka, the current leader of Sonic Team to show off the prototype. Iizuka-san was astonished by the amazing prototype that was created. It was enough to start the development.Studiopolis Zone Act 1 from Sonic Mania
The game was revealed to the public during the Sonic 25th Anniversary Party in San Diego. It gained praise for being one of the best Sonic games in years. The development team was made up of Sonic fans who are known in the community. The game would come out to much critical acclaim on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch.
Sonic Mania was a love letter to the entire Sonic franchise. It was an amazing game from start to finish. I do not think I will be excited for a video game like I was for Sonic Mania. I was glad to know that it lived up to more than my expectations. I would have paid more than $20 for a copy of Sonic Mania. I never played a game that had so much love put into it. I am a huge Sonic fan myself and to see a game in the style of the Sega Genesis games was more than a childhood dream come true. The story behind the history of Sonic Mania has taught me that anything is possible and dreams do come true when you work hard to achieve them. It truly was “by the Mania, for the Mania.”