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The Lost Sega Worlds

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. Ted909

    Ted909

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    Yeah I can kind of see that happening too, especially if all of the "Super Game" noise goes by like a fart in the video game industry wind and nobody has any new ideas.

    It's weird knowing that Sega technically established the GiGO brand in the first place though, which Genda then actually used as leverage to claim "we're not really changing anything, lads" - even when they did change the specific meaning of it from 'Gimmick God' to 'Go into the Gaming Oasis' or whatever, and had the whole concept generally far removed from just massive flagship locations in urban areas.


    Joypolis' fate in the middle of all of this is odd too. Sega effectively still have some interests in it like they did with Genda for a year or so through their small share percentage, whilst that company has got involved some diversified sports amusement things, and seemingly closed the original Chinese location in Qingdao recently too. And yet, there have been Sega-ran official events happening at the Tokyo one as recent as the present few months.

    God knows what their game is with it anymore, however it does feel like every few years there's been more rumours that they're threatening international expansion again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2023
  2. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Going through the old TODO page to see what's been TODONE.

    I found a thing:
    https://www.google.com/maps/@35.731...e0!5s20200301T000000!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

    A leftover sign from Il Palio Sega (イルパリオセガ). The arcade hasn't existed for years, but the sign was still up in June 2022.


    But of course it has to be more complicated than that.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20010410213947/http://www.sega-tokyo.com/

    Apparently in October 2000, Sega set up a subsidiary, "Sega Amusement Tokyo" to deal with venues in Tokyo. Looks like they might have had companies for other cities too, though only the Tokyo one had a website(?). The wayback machine has a fair bit archived (though very few images).
     
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  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  4. Black Squirrel

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    SITREP: Sega Retro:Todo/Venues

    The rebranding to GiGO inspired people to go out and take photos before all traces of Sega's location business was removed, which is why I went down this road. The good news is this list used to be a lot bigger - pretty much everything from 2009-onwards is represented on Sega Retro - it's the pre-internet stuff that is still a mystery.

    The only reasons some of these don't have pages is because I don't trust the translations, or I can't completely verify the addresses (which spoilers: are sometimes wrong). There's also a bunch that Sega listed on their websites, but don't look like Sega arcades - I think this is more of the "part-ownership" thing, where Sega might not have owned the business, but supplied hardware? It's very difficult to tell.

    Ideally we need scans of promotional things. Of the few photos I could find, this is the level of quality we're dealing with:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Many of the smaller arcades were also part of shopping malls, so just like the old Sega Centers in the US, you really have to dig deep to find any trace of their existence. The Wayback machine often stretches back to 1996 for English websites, but for Japanese ones the cut-off is usually after 2000.


    Still, we're just shy of 300 Sega World locations so we must be pretty good by now.
     
  5. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    See there's some real oddities in Sega's lists:

    https://web.archive.org/web/19981205112951/http://www.sega.co.jp/sega/AM-space/area.html
    Here's all Sega's arcades, circa December 1998, and right there is two "Amuseum" venues:

    "Game Factory Amuseum" ゲームファクトリー アミュージアム

    "The Mall Shuunan Amuseum" ザ・モール周南アミュージアム

    That second one can be found on Google maps - here it is in 2013, but it's not a Sega venue. Here's its website in 2003, because Amuseum is a chain run by a company called AmLead. And the chain still exists.


    I'm guessing Sega and AmLead must have had a limited relationship in the late-90s. In 2002 AmLead absorbed Konami Amusement Operations, and became pretty chunky in its own right:

    [​IMG] -> [​IMG]
    This happened at the opposite side of the world 20 years ago, and I only learnt of this fact today... and yet it still feels wrong.

    There's a misplaced list somewhere that has "Kawabe Amuseum" (河辺アミュージアム) listed among Sega's in 2002 with the same address as Sega World Kawabe. The remnants of that are on Google maps.


    It almost makes me wonder if Sega were offering web space. Making a website is a faff - let's get Sega to do it.
     
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  6. Ted909

    Ted909

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    From what I can tell, Tokyo was the only city to specifically receive one, presumably as there were so many locations concentrated in that place - there were four others alongside it, but only for wider areas and regions. Of them, I count just one that also had a site... but who knows by this point:

    Sega Amusement East Japan
    Sega Amusement Tokai
    Sega Amusement Kansai
    Sega Amusement West Japan

    The story seems to be that in the midst of its early 2000s restructurings, Sega made its amusement operations divisions these proper subsidiaries. I don't know which executive was pushing for this management style, but connecting these operations segments up with the more well-known R&D department reforms from around the same time, they were clearly going for it.

    And apparently Joypolis was implicated as well - during the 1990s, those locations were controlled by their own division that we already have documented, but from here they appear to come under the management of all the other facilities. Until they don't again.


    Sega being Sega, of course, this didn't last long. All of the regional subsidiaries were merged into the one "Sega Amusement" in April 2002, which had renamed itself from Sega Amusement Tokyo a few months prior... until that went for a burton somewhere down the line too. What happens after this seems less clear, but I think they reverted back to the old division-based management (?).

    And then Sega throw their hands in the air and go back to it being under a subsidiary again by establishing Sega Entertainment (i.e. the one that got sold) in 2012. There's some noise going around about it deriving from B-Link, though, and I believe our recently-made page on that may be wrong in some way, considering all of the above. Answers might not be forthcoming either.
     
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  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I missed a thing - apparently Japanese magazine Arcadia showcased various game centers over its run.

    https://archive.org/details/@japanesemagazinesscans

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've spent a while in the last few days checking addresses more thoroughly - all of these are gone, as are most of the others we've not got pages for (yet).


    [​IMG]

    Hi-Tech Land Sega Koriyama had King Kong scale a wall next to it.

    I just want to remind people of the excesses humans used to go to in the name of gaming, while you're pondering news that the next Xbox won't have a disc drive.
     
  8. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

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    EDIT: Oops. I'm dumb and left Sega Entertainment in there by accident. Thanks for picking up on this.

    I'll go get the dunce cap.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2023
  9. Black Squirrel

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    https://archive.org/details/arcadia0002/page/135/mode/1up
    "ハイテクランドセガ ミューギア", which I've written as "Hi-Tech Land Sega Mugia" (I've no idea if the translation is correct). That's as close as we've got to a photo of the place, but there is some talk online about its existence.

    My current working theory is that the Hi-Tech (Land) Sega branding came into existence around 1987 and was being used for inner-city venues. If any rennovation occurred in the late-90s, there's a high chance the location would have become a Club Sega, I guess just to give it a cleaner, more modern look.


    But there's records of Sega owning property in the 1960s, so it stands to reason that "something" existed prior to 1987. And thanks to the "Mugia" location's history, I have a good idea of what came before:

    "Video Inn Sega" (ビデオインセガ)

    Between old issues of Gamest and talk online, there are traces of at least four Video Inn Segas:

    Video Inn Sega Bandai ビデオインセガ万代
    Video Inn Sega Funabashi ビデオインセガ船橋
    Video Inn Sega Machida ビデオインセガ町田
    Video Inn Sega Kashiwa ビデオインセガ柏

    all Video Inn Segas became Hi-Tech Segas before the end of the 1980s. Given Sega didn't make video games prior to 1973, they're unlikely to have existed before then. I'd probably vote mid-80s, when the company became more Japanese-centric.
     
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  10. Black Squirrel

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    RE: before 1987

    it's a good job I held back on Sega Royal - we had a "Sega Center Royal" listed and was expecting them to be the same thing. Not quite!

    https://archive.org/details/amusement-life-magazine-21/page/n45/mode/2up

    I think this 1984 edition of Amusement Life is where I first spotted Sega Center Royal - I didn't make the connection that, oh, there's a map telling you were it was. Turns out it's part of Osaka Station Building #3 and... it still exists!

    [​IMG]

    https://royalgamecenter.com/

    It's "Royal Game Center" now and has nothing to do with Sega, but yep, it's here. It's even had the same telephone number since 1984. Maybe even some of the same games - it's a "retro arcade".


    I'm not sure I can do anything with this information yet, but hey.
     
  11. Ted909

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    It's cool - I do remember reading about this part of the corporate history some time ago and being very confused, to the extent that I think I've only just grasped the relationship between the two subsidiaries myself.

    So if what I'm reading is correct... B-Link absorbed both AG Square and the amusement operations division - sans Umeda and Tokyo Joypolis, which were then directly operated until going under Sega Live Creation circa 2014 - to become Sega Entertainment in 2012. Besides all the Bee stuff going independent, I don't think there were any other changes until 2020.

    And that just leaves one other bit of weirdness. Okayama Joypolis appears to have been ran by Sega Entertainment during its final decade, despite the other two Joypolis locations not being their responsibility. It was on their website and all. However by this point, it had already effectively became little more than an oversized arcade - all the attractions were long gone.

    As for B-Link itself; from what I understand it's to do with the Dartslive side of things, which has been consciously left out of Retro's remit due to it not strictly being a Sega thing. Yet various Sega people have been involved - Hitmaker had a big role in its establishment, Mechatro engineers moved there, Ninja Trainer Arcade was made by both of them - and in recent years of restructurings, I believe it has kind of came directly under their umbrella alongside TMS and Marza?


    Anyway Sega Worlds/catching up on things besides sleep


    A second look at that has reminded me the place pops up in this episode of Game Catalog II, at just before the 17:00 mark:

    This channel may well have filmed in it as well. So some footage, but seemingly no decent photos of the exterior when it was still around (in fairness it was in Ikebukuro, where the big flagship one also was since 1993 - I imagine that's also why it closed).

    Those features always reminded me of a similar one I seem to remember, though now can't find, in issues of Sega Maga. Really this goes to show how more of those should have full scans... although owing to them being handouts, they are otherwise slightly light on content despite being rare as hens teeth, and it's good that there's uploads of others in the meantime.

    Speaking of which: I haven't ever identified this location, featured unnamed among several others in Sega Maga's more expansive predecessor, Sega Magazine. Which seems odd as it's clearly massive. Any pointers?
    [​IMG]
    I'm thinking we might have a page for it already, but it doesn't have an image or the one on there is of a different entrance.

    I'd seen stuff about the 'Video Inn' locations in the past, but had come under the impression it was a smaller brand from the same late 80s period like Hi Tech Zone and not a predecessor of sorts - that's interesting. Hi Tech Lands were definitely around towards the end of 1986, but these and other old mysteries like Game Carnival seem to have predated them by a few years?

    I had never made the connection between Sega Royal Center and Royal Game Center either, despite being dimly aware of both's existence beforehand. Great stuff.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
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  12. Black Squirrel

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    All I could decipher is that the sign says "<something> TRAIN".

    I haven't been keeping track of inside shots - ideally any photograph from inside a venue should be mirrored on Sega Retro, but it's a lot of work and harder to verify. A good chunk of what's left are arcades which were housed in shopping malls and the like.
     
  13. Asagoth

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  14. Black Squirrel

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    Apparently I never posted this one.


    Many years ago I had a fling with abandoned theme parks. I couldn't imagine someone willingly abandoning a theme park... until then you learn Disney has all sorts of abandoned stuff in plain view for all to see. Have they added dragons to Animal Kingdom yet.

    [​IMG]
    It happens in Japan too. This is the only shot of Sega's presence at "Amazing Square" (アメージングスクエア), aka RE: the Japanese don't document things.



    Amazing Square existed between 1987 and 2000 and had... a big maze. Also bungee jumping. Also other things, like sweet views of the local scrapyard. It was built on an old steelworks, and was managed by a subsidiary of Tokyo Steel, back when Japanese heavy industry went into the entertainment business.

    [​IMG]
    I don't think Sega was there in 1987, but when half a low resolution leaflet is the best documentation online, it's had to work out the timeline. In its launch state, it doesn't look that "amazing" (although apparently mazes were a thing in Japan back in the day - there was even supposedly a magazine dedicated to them), but this later leaflet shows more promise:

    [​IMG]
    (Sega World? With Sega Super Circuit?)

    The mascot is Amett-kun (Ametto-kun?) (アメットくん) - he still haunts the place to this day.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A good chunk of Amazing Square survives, because the site never fully closed. It became half-skate park, half-go kart track, and parts were left in situe (though not the Sega bits). Supposedly it's all set to be flattened in favour of apartments.


    I think this is the only Sega locations where we know where it was, but we don't know its exact name. There's no Google street view, but there's a 360 shot where you can see the building, as it stood in 2017.


    Anyway it's odd to forget a theme park existed, but it did, and here it is.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Once upon a time the Sega Game Card existed - a means to pay for arcade games without using real money. Many of these were showing up in ebay searches, so a few years ago I made a list of all the cards I could find, expecting that one day, once the stars had aligned, we'd have a full set.

    It's been a while since I last looked, so I went to see what the internet had acquired any more.

    [​IMG]
    https://picclick.com/Super-Hang-On-Hang-On-Sega-Arcade-Original-304085887042.html

    really lads?

    Apparently some of Sega's game centers had their own variants of Game Cards, which means we now know "Hi-Tech Sega Omiya" (ハイテクセガ 大宮) existed. And this isn't a sticker - it's baked into the print, so minor variants galore. Thankfully most of these look like they're from Hi-Tech Sega Omiya, so maybe the task isn't massive... but:

    [​IMG]

    This presents a problem. What's a "Topo Gigio" - I've not seen that one mentioned before.




    [​IMG]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topo_Gigio

    It's a puppet mouse from Italy. He had a few appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960s, but is probably an unknown quantity in the English speaking world (I didn't know about it at least):


    (it's quite clever for the time)


    This had a following in Japan though, getting a couple of movies and an anime. What does this have to do with Sega?
    [​IMG]
    Something.


    [​IMG]

    A 1950s Italian puppet mouse was turned into a 1980s Japanese game center using technology provided by Sega.
     
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  16. Asagoth

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    Yep... Topo Gigio (topo=mouse) was quite popular (he's also part of my childhood) ... he also had a few appearances on Portuguese television in the 80s...
     
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  17. Ted909

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    I've been kind of amazed (sorry) that there isn't more documentation of the Sega side of things for this one. It's the exact type of place they and publications like Game Machine would've got excited about back then, and there's at least some coverage of other obscure examples of these, like Joy Square in Hamamatsu (where Sega Super Circuit was effectively first tested).

    People do seem to remember that it existed, so it's not as if it's been completely memory holed. There's this Twitter exchange between Yosuke Okunari and someone who was involved with the Softbank magazines, where they talk about a similarly long-lost press tournament event Sega held in the maze to get some fun promotional use out of their Lock-On stuff.

    And Sega themselves have even retrospectively acknowledged they were there once - the official Sega ID account once went on a bit about how they had Super Circuit and notably called it "Sega World Amazing Square". But it's not great when the one real life image that proves it actually happened is an admittedly quite artful-looking black and white one from after it closed down.

    I knew Topo Gigio, but only because my family somehow acquired one of those bargain bin DVDs with cheap old licenced clips of it in the 2000s - possibly even the exact one that appears at the end of that video - which got played to death for a younger sibling.

    1980s game center brands were definitely something else though. This isn't even one of the best examples. I recall seeing others called names like "Country Boy" and even "Mary Poppins" from reading stuff in Gamest and such.

    Namco genuinely made "Play City Carrot" their entire first chain brand in 1980, because to them, the vegetable symbolised 'freshness'. Sega really should've hit back at that with... I dunno, "Game Town Blueberry" or something.
     
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  18. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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  19. Black Squirrel

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    Something that may provide clues:

    [​IMG]

    Zenkoku High Score Gesen Map (全国ハイスコアゲーセンMAP) - I think it was a Gamest supplement in 1995. Often when you put old addresses into Google maps, you get a vague area because the street no longer exists - this could provide answers.

    That being said, Japanese Magazines Scans has been scanning Gamest over the last few years and is up to May 1995. I think the issue that included this supplement was released in late August, so maybe this isn't too far away.


    Curious to know how many other similar books are out there. There must be more than this.
     
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  20. Black Squirrel

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