Barry Evans (USA) loves Sonic the Hedgehog.
In fact, he loves it so much that he has turned a 1,650 square-foot room adjacent to his house into a treasure trove of Sonic the Hedgehog items.
His varied assortment totals a staggering 3,050 items, breaking the record for the largest collection of Sonic the Hedgehog memorabilia.
Barry, a Dayton, Texas, USA resident, had his assemblage verified by Guinness World Records on 1 March 2022, but he began collecting began decades earlier.
Also known as Sonic 1992, Barry has been collecting items from the franchise for over 30 years, procuring his first item in - you guessed it - 1992.
"Sonic The Hedgehog has been my passion for 30 years." – Barry Evans
Whatever Sonic item you can think of, Barry most likely has it stashed in his vintage gaming paradise – his assortment includes arcade machines, soft toys, figurines, commercial signs and posters, lapel pins and much more.
To achieve the record, each item have to be meticulously counted and catalogued.
"To get it was no easy feat, it was a lot of work. It took three weeks of 8-10 hour days to catalogue," Barry said.
But why Sonic the Hedgehog?
"He was cool, he’s edgy, he had that wow-ness factor… the hedgehog with attitude!"
"Faster than Mario… SEGA Genesis does what Nintendon’t," he joked.
In 1991, Barry played on a SEGA Genesis for the first time.
"I was 23 years old and my best friend just got a new apartment and he bought a SEGA Genesis."
"We started playing it for a little bit and we loved it so much that the next day I went out and bought my own."
Barry’s favourite ever game is Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and was the very first videogame he purchased.
"I started collecting Sonic the Hedgehog merchandise after Sonic the Hedgehog 2 came out, because it started to appear here and there."
His first item of merchandise was a Sonic bubble gum container in 1993.
"Later I saw a poster and more toys, and I just started decorating my room with it."
But Barry doesn't just buy items – he also creates them. He built an arcade machine in 1993 so he could play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the retro way.
The joystick and buttons are hooked to a SEGA Genesis console and it even requires a quarter to start up.
The most unusual item Barry owns is a mould machine part used to create plastic toys of the blue character, which were given out at UK Burger King restaurants.
As Barry’s collection grew, he started to think about how to house all his objects.
"I started thinking, it would be great to recreate my childhood arcade. I wanted to recapture that environment in this room."
The arcade was called Yesterdays and opened in Barry’s local new mall in 1981. And so, the name of Barry’s room of wonders, Yesterdays - Sonic 1992’s game room and museum, was born.
Barry’s passion for Sonic has taken him across the globe, both physically and virtually.
"Me and my wife Stacey had the wonderful opportunity to visit Japan in 2019, and it was the most amazing experience."
"The Japanese people are so friendly and nice, and they celebrate videogames there every day and everywhere!"
Barry also spends a lot of time browsing foreign online stores, trying to sniff out unique items.
"There is a lot of amazing Sonic the Hedgehog stuff that never sees the US shores. The internet opened up the world for collectors."
One of the most recent additions to the collection is a rare 1992 Sonic the hedgehog and Tails plush walkie talkie set, ordered from Japan.
The cost of such rare items are, as you would expect, not cheap. This piece of vintage tech set Barry back $1,700 USD.
Perseverance is key to curating such varied memorabilia.
The "crown jewels" of Barry’s collection - large Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails statues - were obtained after years of correspondence from Barry.
They were placed in the Toy ‘R’ Us flagship store in 1994 and remained there for seven years. All that time, Barry kept in touch with the store managers, regularly checking in on the plans for the statues.
"2001, they called and said 'hey, if you want these statues, please come get them now because we're remodelling'. I slipped out of work and went and picked them up before they changed their mind".
We also asked the question most likely on the minds of fellow Sonic fans – what did Barry make of the films?
“I love them very much,” he said. However, he did say that remaking the first movie was the right call, after the reaction to the CGI Sonic’s appearance when the trailer was released.
“It kind of looked like me if I was painted blue! I really believe if they didn’t do it over, the movie wouldn’t have been a success.”
Barry also collects items from other franchises, such as Super Mario Bros, but Sonic the Hedgehog is by far Barry’s favourite.
He said that having his decades-in-the-making collection verified by Guinness World Records has been “a life-fulfilling event”.
"It was just incredible to have Guinness World Records give me vindication for my collection. To have my collection recognized by Guinness World Records is a life-fulfilling event to me."