Some little boys are fascinated with trains, others dinosaurs. My seven-year-old son Logan is obsessed with something smaller, faster, and way snarkier. Though Sonic the Hedgehog was already of U.S. drinking age by the time Logan was born, the quick-witted, chili dog-loving hedgehog never seemed outdated to him. In fact, the 8-bit and 16-bit versions of the character are some of his favorites.
Logan is on the Autism Spectrum, so he tends to latch on to things and stick with them for a while, and want to find out everything about them (he did this with Mickey Mouse, then Super Mario, and now Sonic). He first found out about Sonic from the video game Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and he's been hooked ever since. He thinks Sonic's hilarious.
Logan just can't get enough of Sonic's super-speed (often described as fast — or even faster — than the speed of light. That's 299,792,458 miles per second!). He likes to run down the street as fast as he can with his hands behind him, like Sonic, and as he passes us he'll say Sonic's "You're too slow" catchphrase. My second-grader literally dreams about collecting gold rings and Chaos Emeralds — and has even been known to talk about them in his sleep. Rather than worshipping a football player or musician, programmer Yuji Naka and artists Naoto Ohshima and Yuji Uekawa (who are responsible for the original 1991 Sonic design and the 1998 Sonic Adventure redesign, respectively) are his heroes.
This is how Logan shows his devotion to his favorite video game character of all time.
LEARNING RANDOM TRIVIA
Did you know that the Blue Blur first appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1993, measuring in at 64' x 26' at a volume of 18,900 cubic feet? And that in his debut parade, due to high winds, the Sonic balloon crashed into a lamppost, injuring a kid and an off-duty police officer? My son knows all of this and more — and if you spent one day with him, you would too. He basically has a degree in Sonic from the University of YouTube. He watches videos over and over (and then over again!) until he can recite these facts, like a sports-lover might rattle off RBI stats.
The funny thing is, as much as Logan loves playing Sonic Mania, Team Sonic Racing, Sonic Forces, and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on his Nintendo Switch or Sonic Chaos and Sonic Drift II on his Sega Genesis Flashback, he is just as excited to learn about Sonic and his creators, and the songs that go along with the games and movie trailers. Thanks to Sonic, while his contemporaries are still requesting Kidz Bop covers, our road trips include The Ramones, Bad Religion, JJ Fad, and Coolio. Not bad!
FINDING ANY EXCUSE TO COSPLAY
Yes, we are that annoying family (or awesome family, depending on your point of view) who do group Halloween costumes. Logan decides what the costumes will be for any given year in January — nine months out. Two years running, he has been Sonic, while I've been Tails, and my husband, Ivan, Knuckles. But if I'm being honest, his Sonic costume doesn't need a special occasion to come out: any random Tuesday or a trip around the block will do.
That said, we did throw Sonic a birthday bash on June 23 last year, complete with Sonic balloons and cookies in the shape of Sonic, gold rings, and Sega Genesis controllers. The costume was worn all day until it came time to run through the sprinklers at the park with his friends (because Sonic drowns in water, duh!).
We also wore our assigned costumes to Logan's first New York Comic Con last October, a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and overpriced merchandise. So, of course, Logan loved it. His only complaint: Not. Enough. Sonic! That goes for costumes and merch, NYCC.
SCOURING THE WORLD FOR SONIC COLLECTIBLES
Logan's collection started out innocently (and cheaply) enough. He'd ask for a Sonic plush, or bendy figures, then Pop! figures and Monopoly Gamer. Soon, he was having me troll eBay for Sonic's 1993 Happy Meal toys and a sought-after Enesco Christmas ornament from 1995; we were making our own Perler Bead Sonics and ordering more intricate beaded items, including a 3D bank from Etsy; and he was begging for a numbered animated cell from The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (which he got for his birthday).
He's found bootleg Sonic items from websites in China, like a stress-relieving squishy that he's planning on taking to show-and-tell at school, and couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted a homemade stuffed Sonic in Mexico that looked like a shiny hedgehog-luchador hybrid. We've promised him a trip to Tokyo in 2021, so he can go to "the land of Sonic," as he calls it. His plan is to bring an empty suitcase to fill up "with every Sonic item I can get my hands on."
DRAWING SONIC EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
By far, Logan's most productive Sonic obsession is his artwork. On April 1, 2019, Logan decided he was going to draw a picture of Sonic every day until the Sonic the Hedgehog movie came out (which was then November 8, 2019), and he would post his sketches on Instagram as @sonicaday. He had already been drawing Sonic incessantly, but this declaration gave him purpose.
You name it he's drawn it: Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic, Metal Sonic, Boom Sonic, Movie Sonic, Redesigned Movie Sonic, Baby Sonic, and we can't forget Tails, Knuckles, Amy, S.N.T., Shadow, and Dr. Robotnik, with the occasional Super Mario, Pac-Man, Banjo and Kazooie, Pikachu, or Undertale crossover. There were holiday-themed drawings of Sonic as the Easter Bunny, Santa, a vampire for Halloween, holding an American flag for Veteran's Day, or on the beach for Memorial Day. He even got a chance to spray paint Sonic as the Statue of Liberty on a graffiti wall in Mexico City.
When the movie was pushed back to February 14, 2020, while he was inconsolable on one hand, on the other he was excited that it meant an extra 98 days of drawing Sonic.
Each morning, Logan woke up and says to me, "Mom, you know what I'm excited about?" The answer for the past year has always been the same: "The Sonic movie!" As the movie got closer to release, I worried that he wouldn't love it as much as he expected to love it. But he got to see it this past Saturday, and my fears proved unnecessary. He actually cried at the end of the movie, telling us, not to worry that "they are tears of joy!" I have never seen anyone that happy in my life. It actually made me tear up too!