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Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character and the protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog series released by Sega, as well as in numerous spin-off comics, cartoons, and a feature film. The first game was released on June 23, 1991, to provide Sega with a mascot to rival Nintendo's flagship character Mario (see 1991 in video gaming). Since then, Sonic has become one of the world's best-known video game characters, with his series having sold more than 80 million copies. In 2005, Sonic was one of the first game character inductees into the Walk of Game, alongside Mario and Link.
While many individuals at Sega had a hand in Sonic's creation, programmer Yuji Naka and artist Naoto Ōshima are generally credited with the creation of the character, a blue 15-year-old anthropomorphic hedgehog, who has the ability to run at supersonic speeds and the ability to curl into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. This is a major part of the gameplay of the series.