A new Sonic the Hedgehog game quietly released this week... for the Commodore 64

Sonic Commodore 64
(Image credit: Future)
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While it may not be the open-world Sonic game, Sonic Frontiers, that has had fans of the blue blur spinning with anticipation since its reveal, Sega’s mascot will get one more outing before 2021 draws to a close.

Except, it's coming in an unlikely form. We may be approaching the 22nd year of the 21st century, but this week we’ve been treated to a new Sonic game on the Commodore 64.

Yep, you read that right – the speedy hedgehog is making his (unofficial) debut on the 8-bit console, first released in 1982, thanks to the intrepid work of a team of coders.

A developer known as Mr SID and their team (opens in new tab) has taken the Game Gear / Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog and has it running, from start to finish, on the aged Commodore 64 hardware. It’s an incredible feat and, as you can see in the video below, quite marvelous to look at:

Port masters

Though the game is rooted in a simpler time for both gaming software and hardware, the port would have been quite a challenge. The Commodore 64 makes use of a MOS 6510 CPU, which has little in common with the Sega consoles’ Zilog Z80 CPUs.

But the end result is excellent, especially the music which really has an all new charm when processed through the Commodore 64’s arcane sound chip.

For those that still have access to a Commodore 64, you’re able to even play the game on the original cassette-based hardware, though you’ll need a couple of extras to make it work. You’ll need the RAM Expansion Unit for the C64 with at least 256KB of memory, boosting the console’s ridiculously small 64KB standard. You’ll also have a better experience if your Commodore 64 has one of the faster SuperCPU Accelerator modules.

For everyone else? The game runs great on a standard Commodore 64 emulator. 

For more on the port, check out its CSDb page. Merry Christmas! 

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.