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The quest to unlock the secrets of 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2'

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Secret levels were myth in the game, until emulators made them reality

In 1992, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released for the Sega Genesis, one step in the furry blue animal's decades-long cultural ascent. Fans wouldn't let the game go: promotional materials had shown off a level that never made it to the final version, and Sonic aficionados salivated at the idea of uncovering it. Seven years later, someone on the web uploaded an early development version of the game, and its secrets were finally revealed. Gaming journalist Heidi Kemps told Sonic creator Yuji Naka about the internet's obsession with the level. In an article for The Atlantic, she relates his surprise at learning how much of a stir it caused.