The Beginnings of Sega

My Dad was in Hawaii when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He ran the slot machines on the bases. When they bombed Pearl Harbor, there was a note on one of the slot machines that said, “In case of another attack, jump under this machine. It’s never been hit yet.” —Lauran Bromley, president, Bromley Incorporated (daughter of Marty Bromley) Service Games began in May 1952, shortly after laws were passed restricting the use of slot machines in the United States.

Prior to those laws, a man named Marty Bromley managed game rooms with slot machines, pinball tables, and other coinoperated amusement devices on several military bases in the U.S. Territory of Hawaii. In 1951, after the laws changed and the government confiscated the slot machines, Bromley and his father purchased them from the government, then shipped them to Japan, where they set up game rooms for servicemen stationed there.

By most accounts, Japan of the early 1950s was practically a Third World nation. The country’s industries were greatly depleted during the war years, many of its factories had been destroyed, and a large portion of the workforce had died. Though the United States was a generous victor, Japan’s recovery was slow. Bromley set up a lucrative trade.

He branched out into jukeboxes and opened a manufacturing plant called Nippon Kikai Seizo. By 1960, Service Games, also known as Nippon Koraku Bussan, was one of the three largest coin-operated entertainment companies in Japan, along with Taito and Rosen Enterprises Ltd. By this time, Bromley had two partners, Dick Stewart and Ray LaMaire, who stayed in Japan and managed the business. In 1964, they took on a new partner, a man named David Rosen.

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