W E L C O
M E T O T
H E N E X
T L E V E L
—US Slogan, 1992-1995
Once upon a time, Sega, a big arcade video game company, was part of the "big three
" console developers, its main competition being Nintendo
, and later Sony Computer Entertainment (with the introduction of the PlayStation
in 1994/1995). The company was founded in the 1940s in Hawaii
mes," before relocating to Japan
in the 1950s
, when it became a creator and distributor of redemption games designed for overseas markets. As a result of these origins, many of their games are often designed for an international market (and as a side result, this is also why many of their games contain a lot of Engrish and spotty English voice work across different versions.) Sega moved into arcade game development in the 1960s, as U.S. governmental crackdowns on gambling machines and pinball
, along with increased competition worldwide, made it difficult to turn a profit solely from redemption and slot games.
In Japan, Sega Enterprises produced arcade pinball games
from 1971-1973 and 1976-1979. Previously, most pinballs in Japan were made in the United States; these came with high prices due to import and shipping costs, and cost 50 yen per game. In response, Sega Japan produced their own pinballs locally, lowering the price and appealing to Japanese gamers as a result. Unfortunately, Sega's poor field support eventually led to dissatisfaction from arcade operators, and they closed the pinball division in 1979.
At around the same time, Sega S.A. Sonic (a.k.a.
"Segasa"), the Spanish subsidiary, was introducing arcade games to Europe. Although they imported games from Williams Electronics
and Sega Enterprises, Segasa also made their own pinball tables, becoming the only coin-op equipment legally produced in Spain at the time. Their pinball division lasted from 1974 through 1986.
Sega also began developing arcade video games in The Seventies
, but did not find success until The Eighties
with worldwide hits like Space Harrier
. Sega also entered the console market in the 80's, with the Sega Master System
. While it had little success in Japan and North America, the Master System became the console market leader in Europe and South America during the 8-bit era.
Sega eventually found some of its greatest success with the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
during the 16-bit era
, and a marketable mascot in Sonic the Hedgehog
provided a perfect rival for Nintendo's Mario
. By the early '90s, Sega was the worldwide console market leader, everywhere except for Japan. However, internal conflicts with Sega's Japanese (who apparently could not stand being shown up by their foreign subsidaries) and American branches which led a string of questionable marketing decisions with subsequent consoles eroded its star power. While the Sega Saturn
was Sega's biggest success in Japan, it was its biggest failure in the Western world. Sega eventually pulled out of the console business entirely, after the too good to last Dreamcast
sold below expectations.
Still, Sega has remained a major player in the game development world (though not quite what it once was) by shifting to third-party game development for all of the current-generation consoles, handhelds, and arcades. Ironically, Sega now publishes Sonic the Hedgehog
games for play
) hardware. The only downside to this however is that since they no longer work on their own console, it's gives them less time to work on their other properties.
Sega briefly returned to the world of arcade pinball
in 1994 when they took over Data East
's pinball division. They produced machines under the Sega Pinball name before leaving the market again in 1999, selling their pinball assets to Gary Stern, president of the division, who then founded Stern Pinball
They are also the owners of animation studio TMS Entertainment
(and by extension, Koko Enterprises
/Dong Yang Animation, Seoul Movie
and Mizo Planning
) since 1995. In January 2013, they purchased Relic Entertainment
from the THQ
liquidation auction, and as of the end of that month it is confirmed
that with it came an exclusive license to produce titles based on Games Workshop
IPs. For instance, their internal studio Creative Assembly (Total War
) has is working on an RTS title
based on the other Warhammer
As of September 2013, Sega has purchased Atlus
from Atlus's former parent company Index Corporation.
See also Sonic Team
, one of their best-known subsidiaries.
Pinball machines produced by Sega Enterprises of Japan (1971-1979) include:
- Ali Baba/Arabian Night
- Big Together
- Crazy Clock
- Monte Rosa
- Sky Lover
Original pinball machines produced by Sega S.A. of Europe (1974-1986) include:
- Odin Deluxe
- Pole Position
- Star Wars
- Triple Action
Notable video games and franchises released by Sega:
Pinball machines produced by Sega Pinball (1995-1999) include:
Tropes associated with Sega:
- Always Second Best:
- Since the time of SG-1000, SEGA seems to always struck in second place behind Nintendo, with occasional third or worse place in some situation (PlayStation and PlayStation 2 era, as well as the classical Console War in Japan, where the PC Engine actually outsold the Genesis.)
- Averted in some markets, such as Europe (especially the UK) and South America, where Sega's dominance was unquestioned. In the 8-bit era, the NES (thanks to bad marketing decisions by Nintendo) was practically mythical in the UK but the Sega Master System was pretty popular.
- Console Wars: The Sega Mega Drive vs. SNES war is possibly the most famous one of them all.
- Frivolous Lawsuit / Disney Owns This Trope: In December 2012, they filed a lawsuit against Level-5 demanding 900 million yen (US $11 million) for allegedly infringing two patents they got in 2009 and 2011 on using drag-and-drop and tap commands on a touchscreen to control characters (i.e. using a touchscreen as a freaking touchscreen). Over a game that Level-5 released in 2008. Level-5 called them out on their patent trolling and tore them a new one in quite possibly the most epic pwning ever to happen via corporate public statement.
- Iconic Logo: In fact, Sonic was originally going to be a lighter shade of blue, but he was given a darker shade in order to match him up with the logo's.
- Logo Joke: Before the arrival of the Sega Saturn, nearly every single game booted up with the Iconic Logo appearing onto the screen, with elements of the game the system's playing usually interacting with the logo or the screen it appears on in some way. Here's a list of them all.
- Mascot: Formally Alex Kidd. Now, it's Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Never Accepted In His Home Town: Sega saw great success in markets such as Europe, South America and eventually North America, but never did well in Japan. Part of the company's downfall is due to obsessing over trying to capture the Japanese market while casually throwing away the loyal fanbase they had built up abroad, by designing the Saturn and Dreamcast largely around things that tried to appeal to Japanese rather than western gamers (painfully obvious when they rebooted the Sonic continuity outside of Japan with Sonic Adventure).
- Screwed By The Game Company: The Dreamcast was too good to last.
- Title Scream: Read the caption below the image. First heard in Japanese Sega commercials, it was most famously used internationally at the start of all the major 2D Sonic games. Variations on the scream can also be heard on start-up of Panic, all the Project Diva games and K-On! Houkago Live!.
- Enforced because the reason for the scream being there in the first place is because it's actually filler to replace an early Sound Test idea that never came to be in Sonic The Hedgehog 1. In fact, this one sound byte takes up more memory than entire levels do.
- US commercials that reveled in the X-treme 90's image they were portraying at the time also often ended with a different voice quickly screaming "SEGA!"
- Take That: Their entire advertising campaign throughout their console years famously consisted of lobbing Take Thats at competing consoles.