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General Questions and Information Thread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Andlabs, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Before I decide it's wrong, does anyone want to confirm or deny the fate of Sega Enterprises, Inc.? (SEI) I don't know where this Simon & Schuster story comes from.

    I think the actual history is a bit tedious - it gets partially absorbed into Bally Midway in 1983/1984, and then a year later, a "Sega Enterprises, Inc. (USA)" (SEU) comes along.


    This is the arcade side... except the arcade side was briefly the home consumer side, until it wasn't.
     
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Also, magazine page of the day:

    https://archive.org/details/play-meter-volume-6-number-23-december-15th-1980/page/47/mode/1up

    A warning from Gremlin Industries (owned by Sega, soon to become Sega) not to attempt to copy Space Firebird... a Nintendo game. If you copy Nintendo's Space Firebird, we, Sega Gremlin, will sue you.


    Special exemption for "Far East Video, Inc.". Who were Nintendo's official distributor in the US... and would become the basis for Nintendo of America, a company we would soon hate.
     
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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I've been on a quest this week, after coming across this ebay auction:
    https://picclick.com/Sega-Strategy-Magazine-Jurassic-Park-Star-Wars-Retro-404412807455.html

    specifically this page
    [​IMG]
    Sega Strategy was a Sega newsletter for people in the arcade business. On the left here, a piece from "Alan D. Stone" talking about changes I haven't looked into properly yet.

    It bothers me. Alan Stone was a president and COO... but he wasn't on our wiki. He was one of the top dawgs - how did we miss this?


    The answer is simple - here he's running "Sega Enterprises, Inc. (USA)" (SEU), the former North American arcade arm, as opposed to "Sega of America" (SoA) that did the consumer stuff (although technically SEU owned SoA at the time - try not to think about it). As a load of Play Meter scans have been uploaded to archive.org recently (yes we want mirrors), it's easier to cross reference details and firmly establish some horrible truths.

    namely that since 1974, it looks like there has been two "Sega of America"s, two "Sega Enterprises, Inc."s, two "Sega Europe"s and probably two "Sega Amusement Europe"s. I think we were covering about half?


    I mean it was always obvious there was a problem with Europe - the well trodden story is that Virgin Mastertronic became "Sega Europe" in 1991... but if you take any arcade flyers of the 1980s, you'll see a "Sega Europe Ltd." printed in the contact details:

    [​IMG]

    Guess what? There was a Sega Europe before Sega Europe, and that Sega Europe became Sega Amusements Europe... before a different branch became a different Sega Amusements Europe... but they all co-existed in the same building and oh my god I hate this

    (genuinely, even Companies House seems to be wrong(?) about this - try working out Deith Leisure's history some day)


    oh yes also, the "Sega Enterprises, Inc." on that Pengo flyer is a different one to what Al Stone was running - that one was "SEI", his was "SEU"!...


    anyway all of thise noise was enough to put me off further questing in this area, but there is one other story about Alan Stone that's worthy of note:

    He died in 2017, and while reported on by the media, I'm going to guess few of them really understood the history. Alan Stone ran Sega's North American arcade business for much of the 1990s - not Saturns or Dreamcasts, but manufacturing and distribution of arcade equipment. His team meant you could play Daytona USA stateside - incredibly important for Sega, but not the side the internet usually associates itself with.


    The other point... is that Alan Stone is half the reason Nintendo of America exists.

    That post above mentioning a "Far East Video, Inc."? Well he co-founded that (along with his business partner Ron Judy), and it became Nintendo's official US distributor. They did so well, that when Nintendo decided to set up an American branch in 1980, he was hired as one of the top marketers. One of Far East Video's lawyers? A man called Howard Lincoln, who would go on to do business with Nintendo instead. Stone was there until 1992 cultivating third-party relationships for the NES, so yeah, impactful.

    but

    if you search "Alan Stone Nintendo" on Google you get the same misleading news story that he co-founded Nintendo of America. And that's not strictly true - he co-founded the company that inspired Nintendo to set up shop stateside, but this was very much a Nintendo family-led decision. Hiroshi Yamauchi put his son-in law, Minoru Arakawa in charge, and the highest Alan Stone got at Nintendo was VP of marketing. He was a president at Sega.
     
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  4. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I looked into it.

    This isn't really "news" but Sega Retro wasn't covering it - for whatever reason, responsibility for North American arcade sales went to... Sega GameWorks. This joint venture that you'd think just managed the big GameWorks arcades was also in charge of selling Sega games between March 1996 and August 1998. Better yet, it was probably the only side of the GameWorks business that was successful and making money

    [​IMG]

    It's why loads of arcade flyers at the time credit GameWorks. A few years ago I would have said this was an advert for playing House of the Dead at a physical GameWorks venue, but no, it was sold through GameWorks.

    Sega brought the arcade sales back in-house in August 1998, which is probably why GameWorks lost backers and declared bankruptcy and was sold on.
     
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  5. I've been to SEGA Amusements in the UK at their Cardiff dept.
    Lovely staff and was amazed to learn the issues they had with SEGA Japan over passwords for the Arcade boards Ect.

    I also was gutted that Dirt Devils never had a Dreamcast port, the game was brilliant fun and featured some of the best puddle splash effects, I had ever seen at the time.
     
  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Sega of America went through a lot of presidents in the 1980s. Michael Stroll was apparently one of them.

    There's not a huge amount about him online but apparently dead sex offender Jeffrey Epstein owed him money:
    https://archive.org/details/jeffrey... 08/page/n27/mode/2up?q="Michael+Stroll"+sega

    Still, could be worse:
     
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  7. Ted909

    Ted909

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    This is one of those things I've put off from sorting out on the wiki for a while as it's so bloody confusing. America at least has some people elsewhere looking into it and creating timelines - but I get the distinct impression there is still less understanding of the Europe side, which is a problem as it seems to be even more convoluted.

    What is somewhat commonly known about the European coin-op segment is that it was apparently founded by Victor Leslie in 1984, who is said to have got the job by rocking up to Japan's offices and telling them to create an official arcade presence for the continent as one did not exist yet. Courtesy of one of those recent Play Meter scans, here he is at ATE with a Super Locomotive and Ernest Schrenzel - another exec from that era who has been largely missing from Retro, and one of the surviving old coin-op men of that generation.
    [​IMG]
    But... that photo was taken over a year before at the 1983 edition of that event. And although one of the Sega Europes on Companies House was indeed founded the following year, another is documented as coming into existence earlier. We can't ask Leslie himself anything about this, of course, as he later died from a wasp sting to his tongue whilst eating ice cream at a family barbecue. This also complicates what was happening in the early 1990s, as he stuck around until just after Deith Leisure got involved as a distributor as well...
    [​IMG]
    ...which is a problem to boot, since its own founder has also passed on, and as noted before there's some more Companies House shenanigans with what appears to be the Sega Europe that Leslie set up in 1984 before Deith started running things. According to that site, it became "Sega ATP Europe" in 1996. This was the subsidiary that was largely responsible for the operations of SegaWorld London during its three-year existence, and even links things right up to present day as Paul Williams got his start there as a general manager.

    However, why Sega Amusements Europe apparently became it seems to be a mystery - now that it's been mentioned I'm starting to consider it being a similar situation to the GameWorks one, which I had briefly noted on the history page for the venture before. Outside of that though I genuinely lose track a bit, until Sega starts consolidating their European coin-op presence in 2000. And the "West End Amusements" that Sega ATP Europe became? All down to Family Leisure - one of Martin Bromley's post-Sega ventures - buying the company out.

    ("Sega Operations UK" comes into the equation here somewhere too. I am too tired to lay out exactly how right now)
     
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  8. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I was getting the impression that at some point, "Deith Leisure" and "Sega Amusements Europe" co-existed in the same building, but the former only dealt with the UK. SAE covered the other bits of Europe... despite being headquarted in the UK.

    I would assume it was due to brand recognition for Deith... but there's some confusion over which one was higher up the food chain, and it reads as if Bob Deith didn't run the Deith-side which makes no sense at all. But who knows.


    Also... I think "Deith Leisure Spares" was a vaguely different business to "Deith Leisure (the distributor)". Sega doesn't seem to treat it as two separate businesses, but... it might have been anyway?



    I'd still vote for America having the most convoluted history though. The 1985 "Sega Enterprises Inc. (USA)" (SEU) was the parent company of "Sega of America Inc." for most of its life, but it looks like that relationship was briefly reversed when Sega got Tonka to handle the Master System (i.e. SoA owned SEU). Then it flipped back, and SEU was the parent for about two decades.

    SEU continued to exist years after the Japanese switch to "Sega Corporation" in 2000 (i.e. Sega Corp owned a Sega Enterprises), but at this point you have Sega Amusements USA as well. And that raises the obvious question, what did SEU actually do?
     
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  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Dead Sega executive time!

    Kitco, later Kitkorp, was co-founded by Joe Robbins, who would go on to work at Sega years later as "chairman". As far as Sega goes, his contributions aren't super interesting - he headded Sega Gaming Technology which was a gambling subsidiary that nobody talks about (it took Japanese medal machines and put them in casinos, with real money). Then again, he had been in the business for 40 years at that point.


    Genuine claims to fame? He got Atari the license for Pac-Man (against orders), leading to the strong selling but horrible looking Atari 2600 port.

    Kitkorp was also bought up by Sun Corporation in 1986, and became the imaginitively titled "Sun Corporation of America". You'll know this group for publishing games under the Sunsoft brand in the US, aka it's the reason Blaster Master exists.


    His son, Richard Robbins has a history too. He was top dawg of Sega Midwest Studio for a bit, and had a hand in Blaster Master, Fester’s Quest, Batman on the NES and Desert Strike for EA. Among other things.
     
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  10. Ted909

    Ted909

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    Ok let's try:

    Sega Operations UK appears to be the part of the company that ran places like Metropolis and Sega World Bournemouth (but not SegaWorld London - hooray for Sega consistency) during the 1990s. This should ostensibly date it back to around 1991, when Deith Leisure became a part of the family and Sega first said they would be expanding arcade operations into Europe. As ever though, it's not so simple as that.

    Companies House suggests that it was established in March 1996 as "Wallwood Ltd", and then proceeded to become yet another Sega Amusements Europe for just under a year. But why? It actually fits perfectly between the original Sega Amusements Europe becoming Sega ATP Europe in July 1996 - and then Deith effectively becoming the Sega Amusements Europe that technically still exists today in March 1997. This is the missing link that I didn't catch when I brought this issue up before on here.

    After that, it assumed its longest standing name. This just leaves even more questions though. Nevermind quite why the above happened, where's the original Sega Operations UK in all of this - was that segment only a division before? And was it ever even a thing to begin with, considering the fact that someone's Linkedin makes reference to a "Sega Operations Europe?".

    Most of all, however, why did it continue to exist right up to December 2015, years after all those Sega Parks, Worlds, Zones etc were long gone? Just like SEU - what did Sega Operations UK actually do?
     
  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Okay I think there's some truth here.

    "Sega Enterprises Inc." became "Ages Entertainment Software LLC", and "Sega Electronics Inc." became "Ages Electronics Inc.". This is probably the first case of the "Sega" and "Ages" thing. Apparently it was to mop up outstanding financial issues.

    They both became shell companies in the Gulf+Western empire. They've done nothing since the mid-1980s.


    And guess what



    they still exist:

    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/813828/000081382820000013/a2019viacex21-subsidia.htm

    Gulf+Western became part of Viacom, and now it's all part of Paramount Global. I'm sure you could find more up-to-date filings, but here they were in 2020.
     
  12. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Today on "things I don't know how to handle yet"


    [​IMG]

    Sega offered conversion kits, letting you non-Sega arcade games into Sega ones, so it was inevitable that someone would offer the reverse. Turn Sega's Turbo (1981) into Taito's Buggy Challenge (1984). A sensible decision? Probably not, unless you like driving vaguely in one direction through mud.

    [​IMG]

    Still, older games probably weren't appreciated much in the early 80s, so some took up the offer. There aren't many converted cabinet photos online, but they're all pretty shoddy - just cover up the Sega logos and call it a day. That includes the cockpit cabinet with all the formula one imagery.

    Note how the lights on the left are illuminating half the instructions and the top of a fake dial:

    [​IMG]

    Turbo uses those lights as part of the game. Buggy Challenge does not. Did I mention the conversion kits were shoddy.


    I don't know how common this was for Sega games. Everything I've read suggests that most of their games were very popular, so little reason to turn them into something else (unless you were "upgrading it", e.g. Zaxxon -> Super Zaxxon). Hell, the G80 games were specifically designed to be swappable, so half the games Sega were selling at the time were "kits" to begin with.

    (though there's very little "arcade knowledge" online so maybe the practise was widespread. I'd bet most were either scrapped or sold on though.)


    This is the only example of a "former Sega game" I've seen so far, but I'd expect companies that specialised in conversions were smaller operations that only advertised in trade magazines.
     
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  13. Ted909

    Ted909

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    Oh and "Amusements Investments" is relevant here as well, apparently, as it was once simply "Deith Limited", and there's some stuff in the documents about Sega Amusements Europe (plus France?). I'm not sure what it all means yet and my head already hurts.

    EDIT: Forgot that the annual reports dated back to just before they consolidated the coin-op side lol
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  14. doc eggfan

    doc eggfan

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    I've always wondered why Sega doesn't just sell this hardware and subscription access to the ALL.net ecosystem to private collectors. Surely the game centre business is shrinking, so why not expand the business worldwide to anyone who wants to turn their main cave into their own private arcade. I understand they'd not be getting a 50% cut of quarters in the slot, but you could just work out some kind of monthly access fee.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2023
  15. Black Squirrel

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    Hey have 16 undocumented Sega games:

    - New Faro ニューファロ (1980)
    - Faro III ファロIII (1983)
    - New Skill Diga ニュー・スキル・ディガ (1980)
    - Battlezone バトルゾーン (1981)??
    - Roulette ルーレット (1981)??
    - Grand Derby グランドダービー (1981)
    - Route 16 ルート16 (1981)??
    - Koushien 甲子園 (1981)??
    - Jungler ジャングラー (1982)??
    - Jan Ken Pon ジャンケンポン (1983)
    - Exciting Soccer エキサイティングサッカー (1983)??
    - Pasocon Mini Shop パソコンミニショップ (1984)
    - Digatron ディガトロン (1985)
    - Lucky Carnival ラッキーカーニバル (1985)
    - Tadaima Tokkun-chuu ただいま特酬中 (1985)
    - Faro King ファロキング (1985)

    Thanks to Game Machine. There's probably more.

    A couple seem a bit dubious - they were all advertised by Sega, but that doesn't guarantee they entered production, but yeah... loads. Crazy.
     
  16. biggestsonicfan

    biggestsonicfan

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    ALWAYS Sonic the Fighters
    I am fairly sure it has to do with reverse engineering lol
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I was a bit short on time when I posted this this morning. There was a brief period of history (1980-1985) when Sega advertised all of their wares in Game Machine. After 1985 it just becomes the big hitting arcade games we all know about, prior to 1980 they barely show up at all, probably because the Japanese business wasn't really making any "new" products at the time, just distributing other people's games (and some jukeboxes).

    I'm going to guess that even Sega themselves don't know what they were selling in the early 1980s. Anyway, the weird(er) ones that need more research:


    Battlezone バトルゾーン (1981): This is the Atari arcade game, but the internet says it was brought to Japan by Taito, not Sega.

    Roulette ルーレット (1981): Probably did exist but it's such a vague title that I'd want to make sure it didn't become something else first.

    Route 16 ルート16 (1981): This is a "Sunsoft before Sunsoft" game. Search for this and you usually get the Famicom version - no signs of Sega ever being involved.

    Koushien 甲子園 (1981): Not really sure what this is - just a blurry photo of a wall-type game.

    Jungler ジャングラー (1982): This is a Konami game. Sega is no stranger to distributing Konami games (see: Frogger) but there's not much about this one.

    Exciting Soccer エキサイティングサッカー (1983): This is an Alpha Denshi (ADK) game. Sega worked with these guys , but this particular game looks like it was brought to market by Alpha themselves. But maybe it wasn't.

    Pasocon Mini Shop パソコンミニショップ (1984): Less of an "arcade game" more of a glorified SC-3000 kiosk. The name is too vague to find, and I can't imagine these were being used for very long.

    Tadaima Tokkun-chuu ただいま特酬中 (1985): I think this involves a bike controller. Exceedingly rare, if it even existed.



    I've already had to dig a bit to prove some of the games I posted above existed:
    [​IMG]
    There's some remnants of New Faro.

    also super bonus points: there's a Faro King and a Faro Jack. Whoever finds a "Faro Queen" wins a house.
     
  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Remember this? Well after finding another batch of undocumented arcade games (in addition to those above), I now have answers:

    [​IMG]

    Kids Amuse (キッズ アミューズ) - Japanese arcade games from about 1993-1996 aimed to... amuse kids. We have 11 of these documented so far - literally nobody else does, including Sega.

    [​IMG]

    One of those is Sonic no Space Tours. A shared logo - do you see??

    Are there more? Probably! None of these games were known about in the Western world until recently, and photos are scarce. There may even be games buried on the Sega Retro wiki.
     
  19. Saw this flyer a while back on Yahoo Japan Auctions: It appears to be a janken game based off the anime Saint Tail. It prints magnetic cards of the characters for people to stick on refrigerators and what not.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Nicely done - that's an undocumented game.

    With a bit of digging this morning, I got the count up to 21. It's a neat collection of all the weird, barely understood, mid-90s Japanese arcade games that we've found over the years.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm going to guess that Sega's 1995 and 1996 amusement machine guides will fill in the blanks (we have the 1993 and 1994 ones). More bonus points for whoever produces scans.