Arcade of Sonic Title Card
When you think of an arcade, you might not think of Sonic...but get ready to think again!
The word "Arcade" usually brings to mind big consoles where you can sit on bikes or play fighting games. The classics were things like Pac-Man and TMNT. However, Sonic had his fair share of arcade machines too, located all over the world. Sonic is lots of fun at home, so why not have fun in the arcade as well?
They aren't all video games, but everything is/was interactive. The machines here are from all over the world. The country/place they can be found in will be in the item's description. (so you can go play it, if it's still there)
Arcade Sonic 2 * Arcade Sonic 3 * Arcade Sonic 4 * Arcade 5 * Arcade 6 * Sonic Gear Main
Arcade Locations
Trackball Sonic Arcade Machine The section starts off with one of the most famous arcade machines Sonic ever had. It was famous despite it's very limited release to certain arcades. This could be seen/played in Japan, and also in Segaworld London. It was unique for two reasons, one being (as seen) it had to be controlled using the trackball, and the second it had it's own unique character. This game featured Sonic, Mighty (Armadillo) and Ray the Flying squirrel. Ray never appeared again, but Mighty was in Knuckles Chaotix. (Mighty is essentially a Sonic re-color without spikes)
It's called SegaSonic Arcade, and appeared in 1993. A LOT of people wanted to play this, but dissapointment reigned! It hasn't yet appeared on any compilation (IE Sonic Gems etc) due to the trackball control. Supposedly they can't make it work right for home consoles.
However...a board (the thing that makes it run) was supposedly leaked, and so there are videos of the actual gameplay on Youtube sometimes. It had a 3/4 overhead perspective (new at the time) so it's an interesting look. Screen shot at bottom of this page.
Sonic Canball Arcade Area This is "Sonic Canball" which...obviously involves balls and metal trash cans. You apparently compete with other people while at this game, for prizes. You can see the slightly raised (likely woodcuts) of Sonic, Tails and some stars for the background. This is likely a common carnival type game, just with a Sonic theme applied.
This game could be seen/played at Sega Joypolis in Japan. (note the sign) However, it is a bit oldschool, so it's unknown if this thing still exists there. Still, it is interesting to see.
Space Tours Keychain Dispensing Game Here's something that's really worth a play!
Too bad it was also quite rare. This is "Sonic Space Tours", and it is more than an arcade machine, it's a prize dispensing game! If you win it, it will give you a prize. The prizes were Sonic Keychains! (Specifally, the name-plate 3D Figural Sonic and old-style 3D figural Amy Rose) The keychains can be seen on Japan Keychains. You can see them in the top plastic parts of the machines. They come out of the dark area on the front.
These are both the same game, just the one on the right was updated in 1999, where it added some kind of interactive wheel. The game is of course Japanese, but it was so rare that no one knows what it does, or what you had to do to win it. Anyone play this thing? Write in with your experience!

The left photo is actually a screen shot, provided by the game Sonic Gems so that people could see obscure machines. The right is a real picture of the machine & you can clearly see who is inside & the SA1 artwork on it.

Sonic Space Tour SA1 Keychain Dispenser
Sega Mega Play Variety Cabinet
This is a Sega Mega-Play cabinet.
It could play many different kinds of games, unlike most other arcade machines at the time. On the little TV at the top, you could pick which game you wanted after you put in your quarter/yen or whatever coin. The game would then be played on the bottom screen. This particular one has Sonic 1 on it, but some machines also had Sonic 2 available.

The games (Sonic 1/2) are exactly like on the console systems, only you get to play them with arcade sticks and buttons. It may seem a little redundant to have a console game in an arcade...but really, this is a good way to try a game before you buy it or rent it. Who wouldn't spend a quarter to figure out if they liked Sonic?

It's laid out somewhat like a pinball machine, with a stand-up table and a LED text/graphic thing at the top that displays scores, art, etc.
During attract mode, you'll hear 2 songs: the original theme from the first Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive, and the theme music from Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
The object of the game was to roll a token through a mechanism, into the machine and try to get the token to roll over one of the descending flashing lights, and you would get that many 'rings' for whatever light it landed on. It would then give you tickets based on your rings.
Unlike many Sonic-themed arcade machines, this was released in the U.S. by Leisure America and distributed by Sting International under license from Sega. It has been found in several malls. Notice that the light appears blue in the MFR shot, but then is actually red when seen in the arcade to the right.
The only arcade machine to rival the trackball one is this: Sonic The Fighters. This caused quite a stir because it had a bit of a plot, yet no one could play it. Again, the machines were annoyingly scarce. Another contributor was that it didn't get on any compilation for quite a while.

This is most notable for it's VERY blocky graphics. The sprites all looked like they were made of odd cardboard. It was one of Sonic's first 3D things. The strip at the top explains the characters, and the one at the bottom tells you some of the moves.
This could be seen in Japan and the USA. There is still (as of 2008) a working one in Gameworks: Las Vegas & 2014 at Tomodachi in Mall of America in Bloomington MN. It is $0.25 per play per 2015 & owned by Battletoad. Info by Itcheeee

Sonic Fighters Arcade Front
Sonic Fighter Arcade Machine
Cosmo Ship Game Cosmo Fighter Screen
Cosmo Sonic Controls
When you play the game and pull the lever seen here "Speed up" the whole game tilts with you inside!
What's this little oddity? Sonic Cosmo Fighter Galaxy Patrol! It's more of a 'kiddie' game where you have to climb inside the colorful toy plastic space ship to play. It has Sonic stickers on the outside, and is made to look like a little space ship inside. It has a simple top-down visual interface. It's basically just a 2D shooter, where you are trying to save Flickies from Eggman while in outer space. You play as Sonic in a red spaceship chasing Eggman through the stars. A joystick on the left side of the board maneuvers your ship (up, down, left, or right), and two action buttons are used for toggling weapons and firing. As you chase Eggman down to save Flicky and the gang, you'll encounter said super villain in a giant boss spaceship. Defeat him, and you're rewarded with a ship upgrade (read: a new weapon).
Despite it's 'kiddie' status, with all the wear on the controls, you can see that this has had a lot of use. This was available for play in Japan.
Cosmo Fighter Screen Cap vs Eggman
Here is a screen cap from the actual game.
This was collected using an emulator, instead of just a camera pointed at the game. You can see the pixel style graphics, and that the sprites seem pretty big. Eggman looks like he's in some kind of bubble top ship (where's the rest of it? Is it a type of egg o matic?) & Sonic's red ship has just enough room for only him, and the 3 rockets in the back it seems.
Was the game beat-able? Was the game play actually fun? See for yourself in a video of the whole thing at Cosmo Fighter Video . (See bottom of page for more)
Sonic Patrol Car Ride-in Game Waku Waku Sonic Patrokaa Sonic Police Screen Shot Here is a screenshot from the game where Sonic is coming out of the police station, to go to one of the little cars so you can begin your game.
This is "Waku Waku Sonic Patroka" which when appropriatly translated, comes out to be "Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car". For some reason, Sonic is helping out the cops in this mini kiddie game. The controls likely make the whole thing light up and do actions. It is large enough for adults inside though! Anyone can play!
The game begins with Sonic providing an introductory speech, then pulling out of a police station and hops into his patrol car. At this point the ride begins to move and the player can control Sonic's car as they please, toggling the siren on or off, moving left and right with the steering wheel to avoid cars, or even make Sonic briefly jump out of the car (this feature serves a more useful purpose once the climax hits).
Along the way, the action pauses to let a group of flickies cross the road. As the ride resumes, things remain peaceful for another short period of time, then Eggman shows up and starts shoving cars aside. The player is expected to then activate the siren and pursue him, occasionally jumping out of the car briefly to injure Eggman. When he is damaged enough, Eggman gives up and leaves. If no action is taken long enough, however, Eggman will get away. Either way, Sonic will pull up in front of the police station and the ride/game ends after Sonic gives an ending speech in Japanese, making this the first game where Sonic speaks.
Obviously with a name like that, and everything in Japanese, this one was mostly JP only. However, Working copies of the game have been found in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There's reportedly one in English (used for high tourism areas and possibly as a note for export) but it is also very rare as the whole exporting thing didn't seem to happen.
Waku Waku Patrol Car Better Screen
This is an improved screen shot for the game, which shows that the palm trees are indeed Green Hill Zone & Sonic has on a police cap and appears to be saluting. That's a little wierd. Screen by:
Whole  Console Slot Type Fruit Machine Sonic Fruit Machine Gambling Device This interesting thing is a Fruit Machine.
A Fruit Machine is similar to a Slot Machine, but it is found only in the UK. You can put money in, and win it back too. They're found in arcades, and may or may not count as gambling devices. (Some countries, like the USA count certain things as 'gambling devices' which are only legal to be placed/played in certain areas, such as Las Vegas etc.)
As the photo is nice and large, you can see the various places on the machine which light up according to how you're winning along. The Sonic picture goes into a run, then a spin, followed by a trail of numbers, words and little pictures which likely light up when the machine is played. You can see "15 Pounds", "Loop Loop", "nudge spinner" a ring bonus, a ring chart, and the three wheels in the center for play.
The buttons let you do things like spin, bank, collect and bet various amounts on the wheels. It plays the Green Hill Zone, and Sonic 1 & 2 opening songs, also it has the sound effects from those games. While obviously not as high-tech as current slot machines this one is still a great display of classic Sonic styled action and art.
Because machines of this nature are not for home use, but rather as "appliances" in gameing areas there likely were not that many produced, add to that the complexity and size, and you really have a rare and exclusive item.
Photo by Rhia.
Popcorn Shop Sonic Game 3D Sonic Figure Machine Game Screen Capture Popcorn Factory Pop Cup Detail
This screen cap of the game shows nice, big sprites. They put real work into this machine.
This image is a cute detail on the cup.
Sonic Popcorn Machine Dispenser Game Vending Possibly the most curious item yet!
This is the "Segasonic Popcorn Shop". It is a type of strange vending machine found in Japan. It looks complex for a reason. First, you put in your coins (see slot), then you use the menu to choose a type of pop corn. (Salt, Butter, Curry) but then...instead of just getting it, you need to play a Sonic game! The game is in the screen to the right. In it, Sonic has to deliver popcorn, while running on Eggman's treadmill and avoiding traps. You turn the crank wheel (below) and push the buttons to make him run and jump. If you can win the game, it will dispense popcorn into the small door.
With big slightly 3D characters, a colorful presentation, and an actual game in it, this machine is surprisingly high tech and interactive for it's time. Unfortunately, if it isn't used often the product is likely quite stale
Popcorn Cup Graphic Flat Further Facts: It is one of 3 Sonic Arcade-type games released only in Japan. This is the only one that dispenses food. It does not matter if you win or lose the mini-game, you always get the pop corn. If you don't win the game, Tails is sad. Info provided by MetalMandible. There USED to be a Youtube video of this item in action, but it has since dissappeared. In it, you could watch the game and see a demo. If you want to read more about it, SegaNerds posted an article, complete with a quote from someone who got to play it at a zoo. Be sure to Read The Sega Nerds Article.
This is a flattened cardboard cup that the popcorn came in. It's actually rather cute with Sonic and Tails holding their own cups of popcorn.
Popcorn Shop Better Screen Cap This is a better screen cap from the popcorn shop game. It's taken directly from the game, instead of using a camera to photograph the machine. Here, you can see the actual texture of the popcorn in Tails' bucket. The busy background and checkered-everything is also pretty typical. Screen cap by:
Isometric SegaSonic Arcade Screen This is a good quality screen cap from the arcade machine all the way at the top of this page.
It's seldom-seen because there were few machines made, and it was never ported to anything. This game was the first with Mighty & Ray, of which Mighty only ever appeared again in Chaotix. The gameplay often (or maybe always) was 'chase' style, where some hazard (in this case lava) was rapidly going after the characters, pushing them to run faster through the level. Look where the character is on the screen: about mid-way, and that's on purpose so that any obstacle coming ahead would be difficult to miss. So you're rushed down a set path making snap decisions ahead of an insta-kill hazard.
Having to spin a trackball at an odd angle plus buttons to control the character/s would likely make it difficult. Of course...this was probably specifically geared to mess you up and make you waste more coins trying to see what was next. Screen cap by:
Unusual Sonic Games Youtube Compilation Video:
See this video for footage of & learn facts about some of the games on this page.
More Arcade Fun is on Page 2!
Cosmo Fighter:
It's pretty wierd. There's grainy voice acting which mixes mostly-Japanese with random English words like 'speedo upp' and the use of the word 'hero'. The video helpfully provides translation for it all. It also reveals that the game is pretty short, apparently, if you are at least ok at it. You choose the ship's weapon, and Eggman dispenses abstract-shapes robots which turn into stars with smily faces on them when they get hit. If you can hit enough of these, he'll get out his boss robot which is a green horned 'oger looking' thing that tries to punch your ship.
The whole video includes weapon descriptions and weapon picking, plus the intro & outro and is still under 5 minutes. But, to keep in mind it's a kiddie game ride-on. However, if you watch the dialogue, you can see Eggman call to the badniks (I guess? Shapes like triangles?) to "Skin Him", which is a little...well it doesn't fit in. The little animals make a cameo inside a space station at the end. It is still interesting to watch.