April 8 marks the release date of the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 movie. It’s hard to believe this hedgehog was created almost 30 years ago, especially because he’s the most popular classic video game character ever in the nation.
For years, video games have taken people out of reality and into a virtual world that’s hard to escape. From the early days of the Atari to the most recent iterations of the Xbox and Playstation, video games have been in living rooms across the globe for decades and the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Handhelds like the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck allow you to play high-quality video games on the go. The Xbox/Playstation wars are in full effect. Consoles like the Oculus and Valve Index are continuing to revolutionize virtual reality gaming as we know it. Whether playing locally or online with a fast internet connection, people can’t get enough of video games.
As incredible as the virtual environments are, it’s the classic video game characters that keep gamers coming back. You can’t have a castle without Bowser in it and Mario saving Princess Peaches. There is no Emerald City without Sonic the Hedgehog and his sidekick Tails speeding through the fields. The team at GetWindstream wanted to know which classic video game characters people in the United States searched for the most.
They mapped out your favorite classic video game characters by state by looking at characters from the 10 best selling home video games in the 1980s and the 1990s. After that, they used Google Trends to determine search volume for the past year for each character by state. Check out your state’s favorite below.
Some of the most interesting findings included:
- Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle were the most searched characters in a total of 11 states, which is not surprising since Pokemon is the highest grossing video game franchise of all time (topping $90 billion).
- Despite an estimated $44 million games sold, Pac-Man was only two states’ most-searched classic video game character (Washington and Virginia).
- The characters from the Super Mario universe were also searched most in 11 states. But surprisingly, the namesake of the classic video game, Mario, did not lead the charge. Instead, his nemesis, Bowser, stole the hearts—to go with the Princess—of the most states amongst the characters.
- A few characters were searched the most in only one state, so let’s highlight them for more to see! The Final Fantasy protagonist, Cloud Strife, was searched the most in Nevada. Louisiana looked for Street Fighter legend Ken Masters, while three states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey) searched for his rival Ryu the most. Princess Zelda, from the open-world classic Zelda games, was searched the most in only Utah, while Link, the sword and shield hero of the series, was searched the most in Alaska only.
What’s your favorite classic video game? Are you excited for Sonic the Hedgehog 2? Be sure to let us know in the comments and go see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 starring Ben Schwartz, Idris Elba, Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell in theaters April 8.