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Thread: History of: Sega's UFO Catcher

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    arcade History of: Sega's UFO Catcher

    Western arcades are full of all types of games, but one type has managed to last longer than all others. The crane game has endured for almost a century, and Sega's UFO Catcher series has been a solid part of the publisher's business for more than three decades. Read on to learn all about the history of this arcade mainstay!

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    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    Cool article. Sorry to fact check, but this part...

    The UFO Catcher debuted in May 1985 and was targeted at a more casual audience than Sega’s video game releases. The new family-friendly look of Sega’s crane cabinet was particularly meant for Japanese tastes. U.S. arcades had spent much of the early ’80s in the crosshairs of lawmakers, who believed them to be hotbeds of juvenile delinquency and youth corruption. Sega sought to combat this issue by improving the design of its arcade centers to make them more family-friendly. Japanese arcades had taken this route decades before, possibly as part of a national effort to project a non-threatening image globally after World War II. It may also have evolved from the country’s “kawaii” or “cute” culture, which some sociologists believe is rooted in Japan’s cultural love of harmony.
    isn't quite accurate. I only bring it up because it is an incredibly important part of Sega history. It's documented in the 1993 book Sega: Game no Oukoku (Sega: Game Kingdom), but one of Hayao Nakayama's high points after becoming president of Sega was to clean up the image of Sega's arcades. At the time (early 80s), arcades in Japan were described as "3K", which meant kurai, kitanai, kowai (dark, dirty, scary). Nakayama implemented various changes to Sega's arcades to combat this image, and he turned Sega's arcades into bright "amusement centers" rather than dark game centers. The UFO Catcher was a big part of the strategy. Instead of placing them inside, they were placed outside, so that women and more casual people could access them without going near the games. This in turn actually led to more people going inside after playing the UFO Catchers. Other important changes were removing table-style games (where people always had their heads down) and replacing them with upright cabinets, and also moving the arcades into large spaces outside of the city center where people could move around more.

    Anyway, I agree with what you're saying about UFO Catchers, it's just that they were definitely part of cleaning up arcades in Japan too.

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