Sonic may be one of the best video game characters around and here's why.
For thirty years now Sonic the Hedgehog has been running around stages, avoiding badniks, and foiling the plans of Doctor Robotnik/Eggman. Sonic has always advertised himself as the hip, cool, and edgy alternative to the likes of Mario. This made Sonic look like a wannabe cool dude with attitude and made him insufferable to many gamers. However, underneath the sass and catchphrases beats the heart of one of the truest heroes in all of video games.
Sonic may have a cool dude attitude that he puts on for the people around him, but beneath the surface he really cares about his friends and wants to protect people. Most of the Sonic games focus on Sonic fighting Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, a villainous scientist who constantly attempts to take over the world and kidnaps small animals to use as batteries for his robotic henchmen. When Sonic fights these robots he's freeing his animal friends and when he defeats Robotnik at the end of each stage he frees an entire capsule of them. Sonic, a powerful hedgehog, can be seen as a protector of these small creatures and a defender of nature against Robotnik's mechanized slave army.
Sonic also has a great relationship with his best friend Tails. Tails is a two tailed fox who acts as a younger brother to Sonic. Despite Sonic always trying to act like a cool guy, he shows great affection and kindness toward his "little brother". Tails looks up to Sonic as a roll model and, in many ways, a guardian. Whenever Tails is in trouble, Sonic never hesitates to come to his rescue and vice a versa. They have a great sibling bond that grows stronger and stronger over the coarse of the games.
Sonic has also made a lot of friends over the coarse of his thirty year history. Interestingly, many of his friends started as antagonists and rivals who were trying to defeat Sonic, such as Knuckles, Shadow, Blaze, and Jet. Over time, however, Sonic ends up befriending them and they eventually have to work together against a bigger threat, usually Robotnik. Sonic's kind and forgiving attitude has a way of bringing out the best in people. Despite his outer appearance as an "edgy dude" Sonic has a caring heart under all of it. That's what makes him a hero.
Sonic's heroic attitude can ultimately be summed up by the story trailer for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. In the trailer a great power is attacking the games fighters and apparently zapping them from existence. As the heroes try to escape Sonic is zapped away as he reaches for Pikachu. Many wondered why Sonic couldn't just outrun the beams, but to many it was simple; he was trying to rescue Pikachu. Sonic gave up his own chance at escape to save another, which is very true to his character. Whatever you may think of the quality of his modern games or his try hard cool attitude, at the end of the day Sonic is a selfless hero who cares about the people around him. He would do anything to protect them and that's why he's one of the best video game heroes of all time.