Pristine Sonic the Hedgehog Video Game May Shatter Auction Records

It has been proven that upcoming films and televised shows can drive interest in comic books and sports memorabilia. But what about video games? Collectors Dashboard has followed prices of key comic book issues and the boost they’ve received from a blockbuster movie companion — and the April 6th, 2022 release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 appears to allow for a timely auction of a nearly perfect 1991 example of the Sonic video game.

For a reference, the 2020 release of Sonic the Hedgehog film grossed $319 million at the box office worldwide. The film set the record for the highest opening weekend for a video game film, and the total theater sales would have likely been even higher had the pandemic not shut down the U.S. and elsewhere in March of 2020.

Currently leading a Heritage Auctions April 22-23 Video Games Signature Auction is a very rare Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis Sega 1991 video game. This is the highest graded early production example ever offered by Heritage as it is graded a Wata 9.8 A+ with a current bid of $77,500.00. (Image below by Heritage Auctions)

Here are the last three sales of other Sonic video games in grades just below:

  • Wata 9.6 B+ Sealed [Printed in Japan, Early Production], Genesis Sega 1991 sold on January 29, 2022 for $240,000.00.
  • Wata 9.6 A Sealed [Made in Japan, Early Production], Genesis Sega 1991 sold on October 31, 2021 for $312,000.00.
  • Wata 8.5 B Sealed [K-A Rating, Later Production], Genesis Sega 1991 sold on October 31, 2021 for $45,600.00.

This is Heritage’s highest graded copy of any production run that it has ever offered. Here is Heritage’s buildup of the story:

When Sonic the Hedgehog hit store shelves in 1991, it quickly became the Sega Genesis’ much needed “killer app”. The game’s instant popularity helped move tons of systems. Its inclusion with the system helped capture the attention of new players who weren’t won over by the previous pack-in, Altered Beast. The game also created a mascot for the company as Sonic himself was a huge hit with fans. Prior to Sonic, the closest thing Sega had to a mascot was Alex Kidd, who was likeable enough but hardly a household name.

So, why was Sonic such a hit with gamers, both casual and hardcore, and why does he continue to resonate with fans and collectors? For starters, he’s got a bit of an edge to him, especially for a cartoonish hero. There’s a mischievous twinkle in his eye on the box illustration, and he’s holding up #1 to indicate, perhaps, that Sega outranks its competition. When the game is paused for too long, he gets impatient with the gamer, scowling at you and tapping his foot–something Mario would never do!

Sonic’s debut game features dazzling graphics, dynamic gameplay, and lightning fast action which helped one Sega marketer coin the term “blast processing,”. This was a tool in Sega’s arsenal to make the company seem superior to Nintendo. Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequels were the games to own and seemed ultra cool next to Mario’s “slower” adventures. (Mario would quickly rebound in gamer’s eyes as the excellence of Super Mario World for the SNES took hold, but for a time Sonic was the king of platforming protagonists.)

Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. This means the highest graded examples of popular video game titles are attracting the same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds. Many video games in this caliber now cost tens of thousands of dollars (or much more). Collectors now frequently have to compete directly against investors whose only desire is to make a profit in the future.

Also included in the auction is The Legend of Zelda – Wata 9.2 A+ Sealed [Rev-A Round SOQ, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1987 with a current bid of $62,500.00 and John Madden Football – Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Clamshell, Promotional Copy], Genesis Electronic Arts 1990 with a current bid of $55,000.00.