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When a friend asks what happened to Sonic, I recommend Action Henk

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I get asked about Sonic a lot. Usually a friend or family member who hasn't played video games since the Sega Genesis will drunkenly corner me at a barbecue or holiday party, and ask, with their index finger at my chest, "Whatever happened to that chili dog-munching hedgehog, anyway?"

I used to hyperventilate through an emotional response, explaining Sega's misguided decision to release the Saturn too early, how digital piracy bloomed alongside the Dreamcast, and that the death of arcade culture debatably impacted the financial stability of the company's home software division.

In the past year, though, I've scrapped my Sega conspiracy theories, and begun to recommend Action Henk.

Developed by RageSquid, Action Henk takes the best bits of Sonic's design — lightning-fast straightaways and dizzying loop-the-loops — and expands it into a full-length game. When the original Sonic games were created, the fast levels were expensive to produce, featuring lots of custom animation and artwork. In short order, Sonic's adventure would slow down, becoming a frustrating platformer. Action Henk doesn't have the same problem, as its developers have used 3D tools to construct tons of fast, zany tracks. The game actually includes a level editor, so you can create your own, too.

For the past year, Action Henk has been exclusive to PC and Mac, but this week console owners will have the chance to give the game a try. A port from Curve Digital releases on Xbox One on March 4th and on PlayStation 4 on March 8th. The console version will include a local-multiplayer mode, which means you can invite that Sonic-loving friend in your life to recall what they loved about video games of the 1990s.