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SegaWorld is a name referring to one of a number of now defunct theme parks and arcades worldwide, including installations in the United Kingdom, China and Australia. The parks sought to promote Sega games while providing entertainment based on its licenses, while the Japanese Sonictown (sometimes otherwise known as 'SegaWorld') created an entire world based on Sonic the Hedgehog alone.
London's SEGA theme park kicked off at the height of its mascot Sonic the Hedgehog's popularity on September 7, 1996. Housed in the Piccadilly Trocadero, it featured a number of indoor rides, coin-op arcade machines and a SEGA merchandise shop. It was heavily promoted in the UK's Sonic the Comic, where competitions were run to win items from the SegaWorld shop, and out on the streets where tokens could often be found for discounted or free entry, and free t-shirts were distributed. The loss-making venture eventually closed and was taken over by a new management and renamed the whole establishment "Funland". Funland was originally the arcade in the basement floor next to the Pepsi Max drop, which shared the same building as SegaWorld.
After taking over SegaWorld, Funland shut their basement arcade and the top floors remained open, along with McDonalds on the 3rd floor until autumn 2002 when the main entrance known as the Rocket Escalator, was shut. At that time the dodgems were moved from the 3rd to the 1st floor and a new lower ground floor was re-opened. The arcade was arguably the largest and most popular in England with games in 2011 including DJMax Technika, Pump It Up Fiesta, Pump It Up Pro, Street Fighter IV, and Initial D Arcade Stage 4. As of 2010, the basement section leading from the London Underground is now an area for b-boys and streetdancers to practice.
The name SegaWorld later referred to the basement arcade in Hamleys' Regent Street branch, featuring none of the rides and entertainment of its Trocadero predecessor, as a SEGA-dedicated coin-op den, which then became the Game Zone arcade, and finally stripped and replaced with a franchised 'Game' outlet at the end of 2003. In May 2011, the Rocket Escalator was completely removed during building works for the hotel that will use the top 2 floors of the building.
On 3 July 2011, Funland was shut down. This was due to a long running dispute with the landlord over rent. This has been ongoing since 2004 and landlord may well open another arcade directly owned by himself, rather than a third party in the future. The manager of Funland confirmed the dancegame cabinets, including Pump Fiesta EX and Para Para Paradise 2nd Mix are moving to Las Vegas Arcade, in Soho. This was also announced on Coin-Op Community. More than just an arcade to many, a players testimonial was also published. A handful of arcade machines were kept and as of 2012 are scattered around the building, though the main Funland area remains locked and closed.
SegaWorld centres could also be found at the Yohan Plaza in Colindale and Wood Green Shopping City in north London.
Opened in 2002 and closed briefly in 2006, before reopening as Leisure Exchange. The arcade closed for good in 2007 where the building remains empty.
Sega Park Bournemouth
Originally opened in July 1993 as Sega World, it was the first arcade to be opened up by Sega's European department known as 'Sega Operations UK'. The original floor plan design failed a fire safety check (entrances and exits & layout of machines being main factors) and the site was closed for 2 weeks. During this time, the floor was lowered and the entrance adjusted.
In December 1993, it was split into various sections:
- Ground floor: Various arcade machines (most notably a pair of R360's), and a raised area to the right that housed the 'Sega Shop', which sold various video games, consoles, t-shirts and other merchandise (closed in 1995).
- Middle section: Reception area (taken out in 1997), more arcade machines and two karaoke rooms.
- Back section: Four half size bowling lanes (removed from site in 1994), and a Burger King restaurant (closed in 2001).
The Sega World name was changed to 'Sega Park' in 1998 due to Sega opening the substantially larger 'Sega World London' in the Trocadero in 1996 (it took two years to change the signs). Sega Operations UK sold most of the Sega arcades and the rights (for five years) to the Sega Park name to 'The Leisure Exchange' on the 31st of March 2000, marking the end for Sega Operations UK on the same date (Sega Europe handled the overseas arcades).
In early 2005, an attempt was made to relocate the arcade to a smaller premises nearby, however local police raised objections on the grounds of "potential high crime and disorder"
'Sega Park Bournemouth' was renamed 'The Leisure Exchange' in 2007 (changed to 'Amusements' in 2010) with more fruit machines than video games.
This arcade continues to be in operation to this day and includes various UFO catchers, penny pushers and fruit and ticket machines. 'Amusements' has a few notable arcade machines: Ferrari F355 Challenge (still with Sega Park sticker attached) and a 3 way link setup of Outrun 2 Special Tours (SP) DX. Newer additions as of February 2013, include a Daytona USA twin sit down and House of the Dead 4, which were both sourced from the recently closed 'Sega Park, Southampton'.
Arcade machines in operation as of February 2013:
- The Fast and the Furious Superbikes (twin)
- Racedriver GRID (twin)
- Daytona USA (twin)
- OutRun 2 SP DX (3 way link setup)
- Rambo (DLX)
- Time Crisis 4 (DLX)
- Let's Go Jungle! (DLX)
- Ferrari F355 Challenge (DLX - 3 screens)
- The House of the Dead 4 (DLX)
- Dancing Stage EuroMIX 2
- Guitar Hero Arcade
Sega World Sydney
Little is known of Shanghai's SEGA arcade. According to reports sent into Sonic cultist site UK Resistance, the basement arcade in Xu Jia Hui Shanghai still operated a series of UFO Catcher machines and SEGA arcade machines long after the demise of its Western equivalents. The arcade was adorned with artworks and fascias dating back to Sonic's heyday, on top of a largely Dreamcast-era look in meeting with some of the newer machines. Games featured in the arcade, identified by photographic records, included OutRun, Time Crisis, House of the Dead and an installation of the cult oddity Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car for younger patrons. Most notably, it has Initial D Arcade Stage version 4. As of October 2009 it also has Taiko no Tatsujin 12 (Asia version), Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3, and Mario Kart Arcade GP despite those being Namco properties.
As of September 2007, there is another Sega arcade on the 9th floor of the New World shopping mall, despite the recent revamping of the adjacent food court. There are now multiple signs near and in the mall itself in an effort to promote the arcade, a marked contrast from the past where its presence was only known by the noise that emanated to adjacent floors. It is now known as Players Arena (though it retains images of Sonic and many Sega cabinets) and has expanded to two floors (due to the addition of large-scale rides and photo booths). Like the Xujiahui arcade, it also has multiple Namco games due to their popularity. Citing poor sales, it has shut down on February 2011.
Sega Park Southampton
This Sega Park opened in 1996 and was located on the first floor of the Bargate Shopping Centre in central Southampton. It closed on 30 January 2013 after all traders inside the shopping centre were given notice to leave due to the ongoing sale of the property.
During the late 1990s, SegaWorld was moved to a much smaller downstairs location and was renamed as Sega Park. The upstairs location was converted into an Arena Health and Fitness gym.
In 2001, Strykers Bowl was sold by then owners Leamore Leisure Ltd. to Namco Operations Europe Ltd. During the process of the sale, the Sega Park arcade was renamed as Namco Station, a name that it has since retained.
Blockbuster in Erdington, Birmingham had a SegaWorld arcade in the mid 90s, situated on the first floor.
Located in a former AMF bowling alley in Bushbury, called Strykers. During the 1990s, it was home to SEGA World arcade.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to SegaWorld (London).|
- An unrelated Sega World arcade was located in the Festivalgate amusement park in the Shinsekai neighbourhood in Tennōji, Osaka, which opened in 1997 and closed in 2004.
- Sega Republic
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- "Trocadero Games to go to Las Vegas. (In Wardour St)". Coin-Op Community. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Arcades Changed My Life: RIP London Funland". Coin-Op Community. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Sega Plans On Hold After Unfair Claim". Dorset Echo. NewsQuest Media Group. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "UK:RESISTANCE: ALL OF THE PHOTOS WE GOT SENT ON AUGUST 16 AND 17, 2006". Ukresistance.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "City Shopping Centre Faces Closure". Southern Daily Echo. 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2013-01-31.