What Is It With Autistic People and Sonic the Hedgehog?

Emily Alexandra
5 min readApr 28, 2023
Courtesy of Sega and Sonic Team

There are two things you should know about me:

01.) I’m autistic.

02.) I really love Sonic the Hedgehog.

I’ve been into the franchise ever since I could remember. From playing the Sonic Adventure games and Sonic Heroes on the Nintendo GameCube (or, more accurately, watching my sister play those games) to watching the TV shows and reading the comics, the blue blur will probably always stay in my life.

However, I’m not the only autistic person I know who’s really into Sonic the Hedgehog. In fact, there seems to be a stereotype about Sonic fans being autistic. And, when I do search for fan content, a good portion of those people creating said content are autistic. This led me to ask this question:

What is it with autistic people and Sonic the Hedgehog?

Why are so many people on the autism spectrum obsessed with this speedy blue hedgehog? What makes him so appealing to us autistic folks?

I think we should go all the way back to 2001… right in the very first level. If you’re a big Sonic fan, you know where I’m going with this.

Attention all units. Suspect seen heading south. Block all major roads and capture the suspect.

Right after this announcement ends, the best opening song to a level starts:

Rolling around at the speed of sound

Got places to go, gotta follow my rainbow!

Take a look at that second line. “Gotta follow my rainbow” — aka, what Sonic the Hedgehog is all about. No matter what adventure he’s on, he’s following his own rainbow, doing whatever he wants (within reason, of course). He doesn’t care what others think of him. He’s free like the wind.

I guess that’s how a lot of autistic people are. Most of us follow our own rainbows no matter what others may think. Like Sonic, we’re free like the wind.

This message can also be heard in the first stanza of Sonic’s theme song from the first Sonic Adventure game:

Well, I don’t show off, don’t criticize

I’m just livin’ by my own feelings

And I won’t give in, won’t compromise

I just only have a steadfast heart of gold

Many of us just want to live our own lives, or as the song phrases it, live by our own feelings. And we don’t want to give in or compromise. This is especially the case for us autistic folks. That’s probably one reason why some autistic people like Sonic so much. Much like a lot of autistic people, Sonic himself plays by his own rules. Remember that.

It doesn’t matter which version of Sonic we’re talking about. Whether we’re talking about the one in the games or the one where he’s a long-lost prince with two siblings, and his queen’s a mother. There’s so many versions of him where he’s a free spirit, inspiring many others to be themselves. For me, this is why I love Sonic so much.

I personally love the fact that there are many versions of Sonic the Hedgehog and that I can mix and match whatever I like from each universe and make it my own as long as the characters are in character. In fact, I do just that in my head.

This is going to sound pretty stupid to many people, but I have a universe where Sonic’s story starts out much like Sonic Underground (minus the royalty part and the power of music). Then, Sonic finds Tails kind of like he did in Sonic X, and they go on their own adventures like in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Oh yeah, and the Freedom Fighters from Sonic SatAM and the Archie comics are in this, and both the Sonic Adventure games play a huge role in this.

…What? I bet plenty of others combine different universes together. Why do you think fanfiction is popular among us autistic fans? Sonic doesn’t always have to be just a video game character. As a matter of fact, he isn’t just a video game character.

The blue blur’s been in movies, TV shows, comics, and so much more. And that’s great news for people who suck at video games like me because I don’t know where else I would be without him.

Because Sonic is in so many things, there are so many characters fans can connect with — each with their unique personalities, designs, and abilities. So many characters we can relate to that aren’t just Sonic. For example, I really like Sally Acorn. She’s a headstrong character who’s a meticulous planner, but she’s gone through so much in her life. Some of the pain she goes through… I can relate.

Then there’s Shadow the Hedgehog. Oh, dear… Shadow the Hedgehog. I’ve already written a whole piece about him, so I’ll just explain why so many autistic characters love him in a nutshell. Shadow is an aloof character who does some terrible things because he thought it was what his former friend, Maria, would’ve wanted. But it wasn’t what Maria wanted. Maria wanted Shadow to save humans, not kill them.

I can list so many more characters here, but that would take all day, and I don’t have time for all that. So, if you’re an autistic Sonic fan, you can list the characters you resonate with the most here.

What a lot of these characters have in common is their consistent morals. As an autistic person, I hate inconsistency and hypocrisy more than anything in the world, and there’s so much of those things in the real world. In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, however, (almost) all the characters have consistent morals.

For example, Sonic is always the good guy, and Dr. Eggman is always the bad guy. Sonic is always the free-spirited adventurer who acts first and thinks later, while Sally Acorn is the diplomatic princess who meticulously plans everything. I can clearly see their characteristics by their body languages and facial expressions.

Oftentimes, with real people (especially politicians), it’s hard to tell what kind of people they are because they tend to hide their true personalities with their body languages and facial expressions. That’s not the case with the Sonic characters, though. You take one good look at them, and you instantly know what they’re like. And I guess that’s another reason why so many autistic people resonate with Sonic, including me.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why a lot of autistic people like me are into Sonic the Hedgehog. For starters, it’s easy to see what the characters are like based on their body languages and facial expressions. Their characteristics are (for the most part) consistent, and there’s plenty of characters and in so many universes fans can resonate with.

But the biggest reason, I think, why many autistic people like me like Sonic the Hedgehog so much is because Sonic himself is a free spirit, accepting of so many others for who they are. Much like the blue blur himself, we also follow our own rainbows and play by our own rules. Remember that.



Emily Alexandra

Just some autistic person wanting to write and write. I also like to draw and have a cat and dog that are my life. I publish on 8th, 18th, and 28th every month.