26 Years Later, Footage Surfaces Of Sonic The Hedgehog's Infamous Macy's Parade Disaster

Total RecallTotal RecallTotal Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Anyone who’s a serious fan of Sonic, or of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is probably aware of the 1993 event, in which a Sonic the Hedgehog float became caught in high winds, struck a lamppost and injured two people. The thing is, despite knowing this happened, we didn’t have any surviving video of the incident.

For over two decades, any report of the crash would show either photographs of the deflated Sonic float lying on the ground, or file footage of it during testing. If you actually wanted to see Sonic hit a snag and come down, the footage was mysteriously missing from the internet.


No longer! Earlier this week, ABC7NY shared some archive footage of the 1997 Macy’s Parade, in which a Cat in the Hat float injured four onlookers. And as part of that segment (spotted by @RenandStimpySon), there was file footage of the 1993 parade, clearly showing Sonic hitting a lamppost, splitting his face open then coming down on top of the crowd.

(If it doesn’t autoplay correctly, skip to 1:38)

While nobody was seriously hurt, both a child and an off-duty police officer were “slightly injured”. Sonic, meanwhile, was patched up and returned in 1994 to be the lead float.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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The thing is, despite knowing this happened, we didn’t have any surviving video of the incident.

In 1993 video recording equipment was the size of a toaster, shitty, and uncommon. One of the craziest things about today is how we take it for granted that literally everyone carries a poptart-sized high-def video recorder constantly uploading to secure servers in a discrete data center offshore. It’s so striking a difference that a lot of fiction set before 2007 doesn’t translate well to the modern era.