Game Development:Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball

From Sonic Retro

Sonic Spinball had gone through several changes over its development process. There are several rejected ideas, levels, and other things that were left on the cutting room floor. The following details several of these things.

Development Process

Development of the game came about partially due to delays in the production of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sega's desire to have a Sonic game in stores by Christmas of 1993. To finish the game in the span of nine months Lee Actor and Dennis Koble were hired as programmers. Polygames handled around 90% of the programming, while Sega Technical Institute members handled the graphics, design, and music. Sonic Team was not involved, but did show up just before the game was ready for manufacturing. The familiar Sonic theme song on the title screen then had to be changed at the last minute as Hirokazu Yasuhara had pointed out Sega did not own the rights to the music. Thus multiple versions of Spinball wound up being released in the US.[1]

Music and Versions

There are two versions that were released in the US. The first version was accidentally released in limited quantities. This version has the classic Sonic title screen music and a different game over and chaos emerald collect song. The more common version has original music. The reason the music was changed was due to Dreams Come True owning the rights to the Title music and Sega was required to pay royalties to use it. Thus, the music composer Howard Drossin quickly composed new music as the game manufacturing process had just started. However, a small amount of carts containing the Dreams Come True music had already been manufactured.

The Japanese version was the same as the final US version but replaced the hee-haw sound when dying with a proper jingle.

The European version was also the same as the final US version, with some music changes. The Options screen music was sped up, the intro tune was extended, and the music of Lava Powerhouse was sped up and bug fixed to prevent the PSG from dying off after the music looped once. The Boss music was bug fixed to prevent the instruments from the stage's music playing before it looped. The hee-haw sound is slower.

Concept Art

Character Art

Sonic Pinball Demo

A concept video was put together by Peter Morawiec, Kurt Peterson, and J. Chin in the span of 2-3 days for the CES show which was coming up soon. It featured Toxic Caves, but with a lighter palette which had a yellowish hue. The layout was very different but Rexxon could be seen at the bottom of the level. The video was released on but it has been uploaded on YouTube as well, you can find the video here.

Early Game Design


Bonus Round

Toxic Caves

Lava Powerhouse

The Machine



Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball (16-bit)

Spinball title.png

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