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Gotta go fast: Sonic is coming to Tesla’s in-car system

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Tesla Arcade is getting the original Sonic the Hedgehog game

The Tesla Model 3 interior is displayed with a Sega Genesis game controller sitting under the infotainment screen with a window on the screen showing the game Sonic 1.
A screenshot of the Sonic 1 title screen opened in the Tesla web browser (the game is not available yet)
Image: The Verge (By Umar Shakir)

Sega is bringing back the original 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog game — this time for Tesla Arcade. A PR representative for the company told The Verge that Sonic the Hedgehog 1 will be available on all Tesla models but did not share a timeline.

Elon Musk tweeted about the new Sonic game by once again pestering senator Bernie Sanders. The Tesla CEO replied to his own November tweet of a Bernie Sanders “once again asking” meme where the senator is poorly photoshopped with Dr. Robotnik’s mustache and glasses... asking for Chaos Emeralds (the in-game secret power-ups scattered in each zone).

Sonic 1 is the crazy-fast side scroller where the titular blue hedgehog rushes to the finish while collecting golden rings. As a grim reminder: it’s the one where pressing Down and A does nothing — though some re-releases (and there are a lot of re-releases) did add the Sonic 2 “spin-dash” move that hurls Sonic forward from a stand-still.

On a table, there are four devices: an iPhone 13 mini, Genesis mini, Nintendo Switch with blue and red joy cons, and a rose gold MacBook Air. devices with screens are showing sonic the hedgehog 1 game. A sonic character image on a coaster is propped up in the genesis console slot.
It took me four minutes to arrange a picture of four platforms that have Sonic 1.
Image: The Verge (by Umar Shakir)

Speaking of re-releases, Sonic 1 is available on almost every platform — and is not regarded as the best of the main Sonic games (Verge writers agree Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles are all far superior games).

Sonic 1 is also a much more repetitive game since there are six “Zones” with three long acts each, compared to 10 zones with two acts each in Sonic 2 — giving players a lot more variety.

Tesla Arcade has become the cause of safety concerns because some games work while the vehicle is in motion. Recent games added to the Tesla Arcade such as Sky Force Reloaded will work while you’re driving, but it remains to be seen if Sonic will also work that way. “Passengers turn into players as they race at lightning speed across classic zones,” reads the statement The Verge received from Sega — a reminder that games are only for passengers.

It’s cool to see Tesla still releasing new games — and though the company has not yet delivered on promises of high-end games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 for the new Model S with an AMD chipset, it has teased and released platformers like Cuphead before.

Sega tells us that the game will support a USB-connected controller, so we expect that a USB Genesis controller will work for the full-speed nostalgic experience of zipping through Green Hill Zone... just keep your seat belt on.