I suppose it's inevitable that companies come and go over time, much like people, cultures, and everything else really I suppose. Even behemoths like Microsoft and (shudder) Apple will be distant memories one day. Most of the time it doesn't really matter too much when a company goes down. I mean, it's sad that people might've lost their jobs and all that stuff, but it rarely makes much actual difference to our everyday lives - there's almost always another waiting to rise in its place after all.
Something that might surprise you about Sega is that the company wasn't actually founded in Japan. Their roots can be traced back as far as 1940 when they began life as Standard Games, formed by Martin Bromely, Irving Bromberg, and James Humpert in Hawaaii. They weren't based there for long though, having moved across the Pacific to Tokyo in 1951 where their name was changed to Service Games, so called as they catered mainly to American servicemen and women. From here they began to develop and distribute jukeboxes, slot machines, and... even a few games.
Before this success could be enjoyed for too long, however, there was more change on the horizon. In 1969, David Rosen sold Sega to Gulf+Western while staying on as CEO, and in 1976 the company logo/typeface was changed to the one that would adorn all their most popular arcade machines and consoles. Indeed, this was around the time of the first arcade boom and Sega were flourishing. They released more than twenty electro-mechanical games in total and in the mid-70's moved on to the increasingly affordable, fully electronic 'video games'.
Their first of these was unsurprisingly a Pong variant but new titles came thick and fast. Some of the most popular games developed by Sega and/or running on their hardware included Monaco GP, Carnival, Moon Cresta, Frogger, Zaxxon, Turbo, and even the world's first 3D game, SubRoc 3D, which made use of a special eyepiece to provide the player with an amazing three-dimensional image!
Fortunately, in that arena Sega were going from strength to strength. They had already wowed gamers with the realistic visuals in their laser-disc titles such as Astron Belt and GP World but the appeal of these rather limited games was short-lived for many players. The reaction when they unveiled their amazing 'Super Scaler' technology was different. One of the first games to use it was of course the mighty Space Harrier which featured quite remarkable colourful pseudo-3D graphics and it was quite justifiably a smash hit. It was so popular, in fact, that it went some way to restoring Sega's former prosperity all by itself, and it would be the first of many.
By the mid-80's this included some cracking titles too. Space Harrier was an eye-catching and memorable game to be sure but it was just as famous for the huge hydraulic 'simulator' it was built into, and this rather extensive 'cabinet' design was unsurprisingly incorporated into many of the subsequent Super Scaler games. Released at around the same time as the psychedelic blaster was Hang-On which featured a life-size representation of a motorcycle which you had to sit on and lean left and right to steer your bike! It worked well and was an appealing novelty but it was nothing compared to what was to come. One of the next Sega games to grace the arcades of the world would not only prove to be one of the most popular and successful such games of all-time, but it was also the game that was responsible for my getting into gaming to begin with. The immortal Out Run had arrived.