Released in 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was the ace up Sega’s sleeve in the U.S. video game market dominated by Nintendo at the time. Its cool blue hedgehog character, vibrant graphics, and high-speed action that was ahead of its time took the country by storm, and Sonic quickly became a social phenomenon. The 16-bit game console Mega Drive went toe-to-toe with Nintendo -- which had just introduced the Super Nintendo Entertainment System -- and ended up logging the top sales share in its era. This achievement can undoubtedly be attributed to Sonic’s breakthrough in the U.S. -- a real-life “SONIC GOT THROUGH" moment for the company.
However, the artist behind the game music, such as the memorable melody of the "stage clear" fanfare, is unfortunately not as well known as the franchise. The soundtrack was written by Masato Nakamura of DREAMS COME TRUE, one of the biggest bands in mainstream J-pop. More than 30 years after his debut, the composer and bassist of the massively popular duo continues to be a leading figure in the Japanese music scene. Masato wrote all the music for Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, released the following year. The numerous game music classics including the iconic melody of "Green Hill Zone" and the airy, fast-paced "Emerald Hill Zone" -- featured in the trailer for the recently announced live-action movie Sonic the Hedgehog 2 -- are all his compositions.
The Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 Soundtrack collection -- which had long been only available on Apple Music -- was recently released worldwide on all major streaming platforms, allowing fans to easily access some of Masato’s contributions to game music history. This soundtrack is a three-part set, with part one featuring the original recordings made with the equipment at the time, part two containing demos by Masato of most of the tracks, and part three including the songs DREAMS COME TRUE provided for the game series, such as “SWEET SWEET SWEET,” featured as the ending theme of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.