A quarter of a century ago, the big gaming battle wasn't PlayStation vs Xbox but rather Nintendo vs Sega. And it was a battle that Nintendo was winning.
Despite Sega's Master System being technically more advanced than the rival Nintendo Entertainment System, Mario-power had led the NES to a crushing victory. How could Sega hit back?
With a blue-and-white hedgehog, of course.
Or rather that's what a cursory glance at history might suggest. And indeed Sonic did help: it gave Sega a proper mascot to rival Nintendo's portly plumber, and the game itself was superb - super-fast, packed with neat touches and properly nailing that balance between so-hard-that-you-hurl-the-controller-across-the-room and so-easy-that-there's-really-no-point.
But really there was much more to the Mega Drive's success than a spiky mammal.
The Mega Drive - confusingly renamed the Sega Genesis in the States - also benefitted from that classic marketing strategy of creating an 'Us' and 'Them'. The 'them' was obviously Nintendo gamers, with one memorable ad campaign closing with the punchline of "Genesis does what Nintendon't".
It was all part of a strategy to pitch the Mega Drive as the cooler, more adult option compared to Nintendo's SNES, and the games helped here too - it had the uncensored version of Mortal Combat, for instance, plus a heap of top sports games including the first must-play Madden titles and the first entries in the NBA Live and NHL series.
And for a time it worked - the Genesis/Mega Drive outsold the SNES for much of its lifespan, and remains a favourite of ours to this day.