Sega are running a competition to design their new mascot, since in their own words, Sonic the Hedgehog as been ruined by fans. And, honestly, I can kind of see why.

The problem with crowd-sourcing your mascot is that you’re asking people to do work for free. There aren’t many professional-grade graphic designers who want to spend their time working on projects for no commission, or at least not in my particular circle of peers. Granted, some people might point out, it’s not some random individual on the internet asking you – it’s Sega asking you to do it. I’m not sure that’s a selling point at this particular juncture in history, though.

The upshot is that the overwhelming majority of results will probably be amateurish at best and downright terrible at the worst. This is especially true in Sega’s case; ironically, the people most likely to enter this contest are precisely the kind of people that Sega is trying to distance itself from. A quick search on DeviantArt for Sonic fan characters would prove my point, but I can’t bring myself to look.

Toshihito Nagoshi – who is heading the initiative to replace Sonic – seems to be aware of all this, and every word out of his mouth has the weary resignation of someone who… well, of someone in his exact position, really. There is no better analogy I can draw, here, than the actual reality of the situation.

I can’t describe the inevitable result of this contest better than him, so here are his own words: “Granted, I’m sure anything we choose will be better than Sonic the Hedgehog. I don’t know why so many horrible people latched onto him and not Mario.

I’ll hesitantly link to an explanation of who Chris-chan is, for anybody confused by the second panel. The Cliffs Notes version is that he is the very apex of crazy Sonic fans; thus making him the pinnacle of a group of people that an entire company is restructuring its image solely to avoid. You read the link at your own peril.

Also yes, I was forced to draw Rule 34 Sonic fan-art in MS Paint for this comic. This is a new low for things I’ve had to draw. Robert suggested I make it my desktop wallpaper.