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How Sonic 2 Helped Create The Concept Of Video Game Release Dates

"Sonic" is one of the most iconic gaming franchises to exist, and as such, it's had time to impact the industry as a whole. Over the decades, it's made millions of fans around the globe, and the iconic blue hedgehog has even made his way to the big screen in some of the most successful video game adaptations ever seen. There have been some messed up things in the "Sonic" games, but it's never been enough to take away from the series as a whole. Beyond affecting its fans, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" specifically influenced the gaming industry in a major way.

The second "Sonic the Hedgehog" title is popular for a plethora of reasons, including the infamous level that was lost for 30 years. However, it also set an industry standard that gamers today may hardly be able to imagine life without: release dates. Prior to "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," video games didn't have actual release dates. The concept wasn't completely new to the entertainment industry — as movies had set release dates — but video games were still released based on when shops got stock until Sega changed the game.  

Sonic 2sday

According to The Game Crater, prior to the release of "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" in 1992, video games didn't have actual release dates. Instead, they had release windows, like months or seasons, and gamers would have to go up to their local game store to figure out if the retailer had the game yet or not. Jeremy Parish from Retronauts explained that this was because most retailers saw video games as toys, which would be put out for sale as employees had time to stock them. This could be weeks after the game was shipped out, depending on how big of a priority the retailer saw the game. 

"Sonic the Hedgehog 2" changed this with its Sonic 2sday marketing tactic. Instead of having a release window like everything else, marketers Al Nilsen and Diane Fornasier had the idea to give the game a release date just like movies had. It was wildly successful, and people were excited for Sonic 2sday. Business Insider pointed out that many games still release on Tuesdays because of Sonic 2sday and its success.

While release dates sound like obvious ways to get fans excited today, it wasn't that apparent back in the '90s. However, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" opened up the eyes of gaming companies, and the industry was forever changed. Now, you'll probably never see a video game release without a set release date.