The original Sonic the Hedgehog title for the Sega Genesis introduced lots of elements that would go on to define the franchise's 16-bit years such as immense speed, crazy loops, and drowning, but one of Sonic's signature moves — the spin dash — didn't debut until the sequel. Whenever Sonic is ported to modern systems, it feels slightly incomplete without Sonic's quick burst of speed. The recent iPhone and Android ports include the move, as does the new 3D Sonic the Hedgehog for the Nintendo 3DS. How difficult is it to add the spin dash to a game that was not designed for it? Siliconera has an interview with the designers behind the 3D Remaster Project that has brought Sega classics like Sonic, Ecco the Dolphin, and Altered Beast to the 3DS in newly realized 3D which details the challenge of bringing the spin dash to Sonic's first outing. As it turns out, Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn solved many of the problems years ago and the team had to look back in time for their answers.
NH: First off, we wanted to find out if there was some data in Sonic Jam that resembled the MegaDrive version of Sonic The Hedgehog, and if there was, we could just do a comparison to the original game, note the differences, and analyze them. But as we got deep into the code, we realized “there’s nothing like that here at all”, and that’s where the story starts.
YO: M2 told me: “we looked over Sonic Jam’s source code, but we don’t get it.”
NH: Well, it wasn’t so much that we “didn’t get it” but rather that looking through a couple gigabytes of data and picking out what we need would be super exhausting. So I asked Okunari-san, “We need to know where to start looking, so please let us talk with the original development staff.”
Eventually the team had to reach out to Sonic's original designer, Yuji Naka, for the solution, and his tips revealed a collection of other unintended issues that nobody involved expected. It's a long, fascinating interview that details the effort that went into what could easily be seen as just another Sonic port in a market packed with them. I just know I'm going to have to spring for this version eventually despite owning the game in many other formats. As long as Sega keeps making a great game better, I'll continue to show up with my support.