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The Spinball Whizzer rollercoaster at Alton Towers is to be re-themed around Sega's famous Sonic the Hedgehog character for the 2010 season.

Towers Times broke the news, which was revealed in information packs in hotels at the resort. Promotional pictures of the ride show a Spinball Whizzer car with a Sonic logo on the side - making it extremely likely that the re-theme will be complete in time for February's half-term opening.

Rumors have been circulating for some time that Spinball Whizzer was due for a re-theme. Sonic, the iconic computer character created in the 1980s, is potentially a good fit for the ride which is currently themed around pinball. Numerous "bonus games" within Sonic titles have been based on pinball, and an entire pinball game - Sonic Spinball - was released for the Sega Genesis (also known as the Mega Drive) in 1993. Subsequent releases followed on the Game Gear and Master System, and the game was re-issued in 2007 on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console.

The launch of the re-themed Spinball Whizzer will tie in well with the European release of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection on February 20. This features a selection of classic Sonic titles, including Sonic Spinball.

2010 promises to be a busy year for Alton Towers, with the park opening its major new rollercoaster, Thirteen, on March 20. The nearby Rita: Queen of Speed is also set to undergo a re-theme in order to fit in with the new attraction's "Dark Forest" setting.

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