Sonic Spinball, also known as Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, is a pinball video game developed by the Sega Technical Institute and published by Sega. It was originally released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in North America and Europe in November 1993 and in Japan the following month. It was later ported to the Game Gear and Master System in 1994 and 1995 respectively. The game has been re-released on a total of eleven different consoles since, with many of them being Genesis-related compilations. The game’s plot revolves around series antagonist Doctor Robotnik’s desire to enslave the population of planet Mobius via a machine powered by pinball-like mechanisms.
The game is set in a series of pinball machine-like environments in which the player controls Sonic the Hedgehog, who acts as a pinball for the majority of the game. Sonic Spinball was commissioned by Sega when it became clear that a new Sonic the Hedgehog game could not be completed in time for the 1993 holiday season, as the majority of their staff were occupied with developing Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The game was hastily developed, with most of the work taking place over two months. It received mixed reviews upon release, with most critics praising the game’s novelty and graphics, although its control scheme was considered a negative factor. A second pinball game, Sonic Pinball Party, was released in 2003, and a spinning rollercoaster of the same name opened in Alton Towers theme park in 2010