Sonic has made some weird appearances over the years, but a game that literally dispenses food has to be the weirdest of all. In 1993, SegaSonic Popcorn Shop did just that.
It’s basically just a fancy vending machine with a screen in it, and the “gameplay” consists of nothing more than choosing a flavour – salted, butter, or curry – and turning a crank. It’s not really possible to lose, considering that it surrenders the popcorn regardless of your performance. Which is good, because there’s little in this world sadder than wasted popcorn.
The most interesting part about it is of course the screen, which displays large, detailed animations of Sonic and Tails in a huge chequered popcorn factory full of gears, pipes, and conveyor belts. Robotnik even shows up to cause trouble.
Some of their frames of animation are clearly derived from the Sonic 2 title screen, but others are brand new. I sure wish there was a dump of the ROM so we could see them more clearly.
The characters also have some short spoken dialogue. I wonder who’s voicing them – Sonic doesn’t sound the same as he does in either Sonic CD or SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
Sega sure used to put a huge amount of effort into the weirdest things. Some lucky (?) kids in the ’90s got to eat popcorn cooked by Tails himself.