Sega Harmony findings megathread

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Ted618, Apr 27, 2022.

  1. Ted618

    Ted618

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    For some time, many have been fascinated with Harmony. It's attained somewhat of a mythical status in recent years thanks to the distinctive covers, the various places its art subsequently turned up in, and near total lack of info out there, besides the fact that it was distributed internally to Sega of Japan employees (it can even be glimpsed in this photo) + highly rare as a result. Also someone made a pretty popular video about it
    [​IMG]
    It has only ever came up for sale once in a blue moon, but @RyogaMasaki (who you can tip for a frankly insane but worthy purchase) has pulled a blinder and secured a joblot of issues, covering 1992/3/4. Some choice highlights from a July 94 edition already bought and scanned in from the seller include coverage of Tokyo Toy Show '94, words of wisdom from Hayao Nakayama, a look inside the Sega Digital Studio, and, of course, employee weddings.
    [​IMG]
    These are naturally just the tip of the iceberg. This run from Sega's prime era will be a huge boon in understanding the company and its activities - which Harmony covered in incredibly extensive detail - at its utmost heights. With everything in Japanese though, it's now up to those either familiar with the language or curious enough in a vague overview through machine translation to dig out and share the most important parts.

    (and while all of the issues currently acquired do cover a good chunk of the "golden years", it is also worth mentioning it's very likely that Harmony dates back to the 1960s, so good luck to anyone who wants to source the rest of these)
     
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  2. Starduster

    Starduster

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    Man, this stuff looks like a treasure trove as far as art is concerned. Hopefully we can get high quality scans and restorations where needed now.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    It's why I can't really stress this enough - the internet does not (currently) have all the answers. 12 years of Sega Retro researching all sorts of obscure Sega topics, and a 36-page booklet can still shed a light on tons of things we don't know (assuming it isn't covered in other Japanese magazines - the amount of articles to translate is immeasurable).


    I can't remember if I posted this before, but screw it, let's do it again:

    [​IMG]

    At the '94 Tokyo Toy Show, Sega had a wall of Game Gears in different colours, labeled A-P, and visitors could write down their favourites, the idea being that Sega would put the popular ones to market.

    The blue, yellow and "smoke" variants won and (after some tweaking) went on sale (followed by a red one later). The rest... didn't, meaning this is a wall of unreleased Game Gears.


    Just don't tell Sega of America:



    SoA ran attack ads against the Game Boy when Nintendo revealed extra colours. Problem: these variants were released in 1995 - coloured Game Gears came out in 1994, i.e. Sega did it first.
     
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  4. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    You did, and I remember thinking and even maybe saying that time that I've seen (as in, directly in front of me) a colour that wasn't among the ones you've mentioned they sold. My memories are really foggy, so I can't remember if it was that navy blue one, or an extra colour; I also think it was a model related to a famous anime of that time, but there were more retro consoles around so it could have been a Game Boy or something (the anime one, the extra colour was a GG for sure).
     
  5. Ted618

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    One thing that I've been meaning to get around to adding for a long time is "LIVE UFO '94" - previously mentioned in passing, but without much depth, in Hironao Takeda's writing. And sure enough, it appears here briefly in Harmony's news section:
    [​IMG]
    The background seems to be that for about three years, the Fuji Television side of Fujisankei Communications Group liked to hold an event called "LIVE UFO" during the Golden Week holiday period from late April to early May - basically an excuse to fill out Yoyogi National Stadium with food courts, company exhibitions, and live performances by headline J-Pop/Rock acts such as Kome Kome Club for family entertainment:

    Throughout 1994's, Sega held a space called "Virtual Stadium", which mainly consisted of their newest arcade produce from around that time. National tournaments were staged there for Virtua Racing, Daytona USA, and Virtua Fighter, the latter eventually receiving coverage in Virtua Fighter Maniax. This may well have been the first ever official national VF tourney in Japan too, might need to check on that one though.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    But most unique was "Kome Kome Music Ride", which, as the name suggests, was a ride provided by Sega and based on Kome Kome Club's likeness + music. Pictures are thin on the ground right now, but it used the 4-axis motion base originally engineered by AM5 for the AS-1, paired with a ride film co-produced by Fuji TV and AM3 (who at that time appear to have had a sub-division led by Tetsuya Mizuguchi + a young Mie Kumagai for 3DCG works).
    [​IMG]
    Lots of this is all very much buried, and there is unsurprisingly no English coverage in sight - I would be amazed if there isn't any JP footage of at least the VF tournament though.
     
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  6. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

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    Funny thing I ran into doing the "References to Sega" stuff: there was some product placement deal with the filming of Home Alone 3 where the movie's posters show the protagonist with a yellow Game Gear with black buttons. Apparently this exact color scheme was never released in the states, but the couple of sources I found mentioned a planned US release... regardless, its interesting to see this pop up in 1997.
     
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  7. RyogaMasaki

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  8. Ted618

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    Have only skimmed through this one so far, but can already tell that it has a wealth of new info and pics of Yokohama Joypolis - as much as it was a flagship location for the company, up until now there was much more documentation around for the Sega Worlds in London + Sydney and Tokyo Joypolis (which is still open today). Cannot thank your efforts enough :)
     
  9. Black Squirrel

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    Haha

    [​IMG]

    I think a few Joypolis venues had one of these - "SegaSonic & Tails", the name of... Sega merchandise shops. This is something you can't find evidence for through Google for hopefully obvious reasons, so good to see that yes, it absolutely existed*. Now all someone needs to do is document all the merchandise that has turned up over the years (good luck).


    I also notice there's a "New Penny Falls" machine on the back cover:
    [​IMG]
    I had read somewhere this was a Sega machine, but all the evidence I've seen is it was developed by Sigma. To see an official Sega publication draw attention to it is... curious.



    *btw I have no idea how to handle "retail chains within Sega indoor theme parks".
     
  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  11. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    The other one is quite fun too.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110712130023/http://location.sega.jp/loc_web/hls_mist2.html

    ハイテクランドセガ ミスト2

    When I came across this for the first time many years ago, I assumed the translation was "Hi-Tech Land Sega Mist 2". A combination of "there are other Hi-Tech Land Segas" and "the URL says 'mist2'". I don't know what a "Mist 2" is, but whatever - the answer seemed obvious.

    [​IMG]

    "Misto II".

    Of course the URL says "Misto" now but I genuinely wonder if Sega forgot what this place was called for a while. They removed the English sign years ago and all references have been in katakana.
     
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  12. Ted618

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    Based off the evidence I've seen so far, all Joypolis locations up to (and including) Shinjuku's had these SegaSonic & Tails stores. It's after that which the brand seems to fall off the face of the earth - this coincides with the period where Sega started to experiment with/bend the "Amusement Theme Park" concept after some of it hadn't done particularly well.
    [​IMG]
    Somewhere down the line these shops (more likely, just the one at Tokyo Joypolis) were rebranded to "JP Gear", then "JP Store", which is what they remain as today.

    Meanwhile:
    [​IMG]
    For a long time, I had assumed that Harmony #129's cover art posted upthread was meant to depict Yokohama Joypolis, however with very few pictures of its exterior I wasn't entirely sure. This confirms it:
    [​IMG]
    So in that piece, Sonic is evidently wishing for the park to materialise, apropos of pretty much nothing, in the middle of the desert. Or perhaps for it to blow up, depending on how you look at it.
     
  13. Ted618

    Ted618

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    Are we being watched?
    [​IMG]
    No, we're most likely not at the moment - it started at the beginning of April. But it's nonetheless amusing that Sega are doing this Instagram calendar campaign with unnamed allusions to their "in-house magazine" whilst full issues of it are finding their way out online.
     
  14. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    The versions in both Sonic Jam and Sonic the Screensaver are cropped on the right, so I guess this at least confirms Sega has better digitised version of the image somewhere.
     
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  15. Gryson

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  16. RyogaMasaki

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    Everything is okay so far, but the seller, who was quite friendly and expressed an interest in trying to find more Sega stuff in their storage, deleted there account suddenly. Which spooked me a bit too, I guess, as the twitter threads were getting lots (and lots) of attention. I'll keep the posts here.
     
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  17. RyogaMasaki

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  18. Black Squirrel

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    It's an internal newsletter so I guess some months will be a bit dull but this is the first photographic evidence of Hi-Tech Sega Prime.

    Except it isn't, because Harmony is just calling it "Sega Prime"... which means it either got re-branded or Sega was wrong at some point.

    Also
    [​IMG]
    Another publication to find. Made all the more awkward by the fact there was another one years later.
     
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  19. Black Squirrel

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    [​IMG]

    One for the younglings - Sega couldn't properly focus an overhead projector either - it wasn't just the teachers at your school!

    Also things you haven't thought about for 15+ years.
     
  20. Xiao Hayes

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    Dont' worry, teachers don't know how to properly focus a modern-day projector either, I've lived that on a course for unemployed people (and yes, those are supposed to be properly installed on the ceiling, yet...).