Menu
header photo

The Penny Arcade

 The Coin Operated machine Information Site

.                                                     

 

.                                           

     

Made in the USA?  The machine, well not really but the company most definitely yes.  In 1940 three Americans ,Martin Bromley, Irving Bromberg and James Humpert, living in the US run territory of Hawaii sensing the coming of war and the American build up of armed forces ,particularly in the Pacific, formed Standard Games to supply coin operated machines (mostly slot machines) to military bases in the area

Within a year the war arrived (Bromley was actually at Pearl Harbour during the Japanese attack) During the war years the company became quite successful but because of the war was unable to expand. 

This changed in 1946 ,now called Service Games, referring to its military connections, they started to supply machines to American and Allied bases across the occupied Pacific region. By 1950 it was clear the main market was in US occupied Japan with its huge number of US military personnel with large amounts of both time and money on there hands.

                                                

So in 1951 the company moved everything to Tokyo and was renamed Service Games of Japan. In 1954 the most important person in the early development of SEGA appears on the scene , David Rosen, who was actually in the US forces based in Japan at the time and recognised the potential of coin ops in Japan and formed Rosen Enterprises in 1954 mostly to import coin operated photo booths (the entire population of Japan needed photo ID cards at this time) and later slot machines.

                                                        

                                                                                         David Rosen

Both companies grew steadily until realising the benefits of joining forces they merged in 1965 to form Service Games Enterprises, the name being a bit of a mouthful was shortened to SEGA at the same time. Although  Service Games had already used the new name well before 1965

Rosen became the driving force at SEGA and pushed the company forward, however looking for finance to developed electronic games Rosen sold SEGA to the American Giant Gulf+Western in 1969 but stayed on as CEO and this led to the development of SEGA's first home console unit the SG1000. In 1983 the video gaming market crashed almost bankrupting SEGA. Its US components were sold off to Bally while the Japanese side was sold to Japanese amusement arcade magnet Hayao Nakayama and David Rosen. In 1984 This new version of Sega was bought by Japanese IT company CSK and the resilient Rosen stayed on retiring as chairman in 1996.

                                                                          Game development

                                        

                                            Early Sega Bell                                                                          Later Model

Service Games bought the rights to distribute Mills Hi-tops  in what the contract described as "The Pacific Ocean Area" in 1956 and may have started re branding them as early as 1957 and making their own version  in 1958 along with their version of the Mills Vest Pocket machine under the name Mini Sega.

This was a bad deal for the already failing Mills company still reeling from the effects of the Johnson Act. It would seem to be  a desperate act of a failing company but it didn't work as it in effect gave away the Far east market at a time when foreign markets were the only option for US slot makers and didn't even protect their rights in that area allowing Sega to make their own machines by saying they were making custom machines for individual customers. Eventually Mills sold much of their spares and tooling to SEGA including one of their three sets of dies ,the best, almost unused, set!

                                  

                                                Copper Star                                                                        Mad Money

 The UK was the first SEGA market outside the Pacific area (1960) The company started to produce slots aimed directly at a particular country and produced the "Copper Sega" in 1963 for the UK market and the "Mad Money" for the US market but the Mad Money was never sold to the US due to copyright problems with  Mad magazine . Their small Windsor Series was offered to various distributers with the option to use their own art work and special features.The Sega market in the UK faded after 1965 and there are no records of slots arriving in the UK after that date, SEGA didn't really return to the UK until the video era around 1981.

                                                                            Windsors  

                                     

                                              Playboy                                                                        Mad Money            

                                  

                                Aztec(with wild symbol)                                     Adams Apple(with special feature)

 

                                                         

                   One of the most common Windsors was this Buckingham with visible hand filled jackpot

​One arm bandit style machines were actually only a small side of SEGA production after about 1963,when they based their production on large cabinet arcade machines with which they were already getting great success and were cheaper to make in Japan due to low labour costs

                                                                                                                 Soccer                                                                                Duck Hunt 2

                  

                       The very successful Helicopter Trainer                                              Multi Futbol (European model)

There are several views on what SEGA's first machine actually was depending on the company name at the time and just how much of the machine was a SEGA.

SOME of the options for SEGA's first game are

First SEGA branded game   SEGA Bell (1957)

                                                                  

First SEGA 100% built game  Punch Bag (1962) although this game is clearly an update of a  much earlier Mills punch bag and there is considerable evidence that the game actually came out in 1966

                

             Punching Bag (1962/66)                                                                                     the remarkably similar Mills(1909)

First SEGA arcade game fully SEGA designed and built   Periscope (1966)

             

                                                                                Single Unit Periscope   

                                                                            Multi Unit Periscope with design Specs  

 periscope was a huge success and set SEGA on their large arcade machine course.Midway Co would become a rival       

  Their Skill Digger Crane is dated 1965 but is thought to be a copy of another cabinet, the later Skill Digger with the interesting option to "stir" the prizes once for every coin didn't come out till late 1966

                                   

                                                                                          Skill Diga

 

                                                              

                                                                       Some more of Sega's machines  

                                                                                              Slots 

                               

                                     Mad Money                                                                 Early  Bonanza Star

                    

                                          Bonus Star                                                                                   Starlet

 

                               

           

                                              Continental                                                                 Diamond Star

                           

                                         Bonanza Star                                                                      Mini Sega

                                                      

                                        

                                      Progressive Star                                                              Bonaza Starline (30 payout)

                                                               

                                                              Monaco Star                                                       Multibell 35 Console 

 

                     

                                                   Blackjack                                                                                  Ascot

                                                                                      Arcade Cabinet Games

                                                 (perhaps more informative to view these through Flyers of the time)

       

                           Super Helicopter 1968                                                                    Attack(tank battle)1973

          

                                           Basketball                                                                                   Jet Rocket

 

        

                                                  Motopolo                                                                        Moto Champ

         

                   Rifleman(with target printout)                                                                            Duck Hunt

                    

                      Astrodata fortune teller 1973                                                              Skill Diga(mk1) 1966

 

                                                             

  The Sega Jumbo(1973) has to be one of the cleverest and most addictive "win a prize" games ever made. Watch the                                                             video top left of the page to truly appreciate  it

 

                                  

                                                                                      Sega Jumbo  1973