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Crowd Pullers

SEGA SAMMY CREATION’s debut products are attention-grabbers imbued with fun and excitement

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 15:52
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You ’d expect nothing short of seamless game play and graphics from a company with SEGA SAMMY CREATION’s heritage, and that’s exactly what the throngs of visitors to its stand at the recent G2E Asia expo in Macau were treated to.

On display were the company’s first three products, all of which come in an extra-large format. There’s a new spin on the classic bigwheel game, a sic bo game with floating dice and video baccarat featuring a bevy of sultry female dealer options.

SEGA SAMMY CREAT ION is headed by legendary video and arcade game developer Hisao Oguchi. His mission is to bring back fun and excitement to gaming machines, which have generally been failing to appeal to younger generations.

Mr Oguchi has a 30-year track record of creating various forms of successful entertainment products. His first job after graduation, in 1984, was with SEGA, where he led the development of some of the company’s most popular video and arcade games and rose up the ranks to the position of president. In 2003, Japan’s largest pachinko machine manufacturer, Sammy Corporation, bought a controlling interest in SEGA, leading to the formation of SEGA SAMMY HOLDINGS, which in addition to producing pachinko and pachislot machines and video games is also involved in creating animation and toys. Mr Oguchi held various posts within the new entity and was eventually appointed chief creative officer in 2008, charged with overseeing all the game development endeavors of the group. When SEGA SAMMY CREATION was established last June as a new division to make electronic gaming machines for casinos, he was the obvious choice to lead it.

At Mr Oguchi’s disposal are many of the talented game developers he worked with at SEGA, and he’s instructed them to throw out all the established concepts and come up with entirely new ones while incorporating his basic development principles: “Game rules should be simple. In the simplicity of the games there should be a dream of winning big and also fun and excitement in the anticipation of the outcomes.”

The massive big-wheel game demands attention on even the most crowded casino floor and encapsulates those development principles. It consists of three concentric rings with numbered positions around which a ball spins. The first and second rings feature black positions marked “Go” that allow the ball to progress to the next ring. As the ball moves to each successive ring the payouts at each numbered position get bigger, and on the third and outermost ring are four positions triggering a four-level progressive jackpot. The play is easy. Players simply place a wager on a single number. No side bet is necessary to chase a big win, but larger bets have a greater chance of hitting the higher-level progressives. 

“The game is full of anticipation as the ball moves around the rings. For us, that anticipation is entertainment,” states Mr Oguchi.

On Sic Bo Bonus Jackpot the dream of winning big is fueled by the four-level Cai Shen Progressive Jackpot, which all players are eligible to win without any side bet necessary. The crowd-pulling elements come in the form of floating dice and massive signage and results displays.

The dealers on the video baccarat game “combine video image with computer graphics,” explains Mr Oguchi. “From the hands up it’s actual video image, but from the hands down to the cards it’s computer graphics. And it’s seamless. It’s completely perfect. The texture, the skin color, everything is so perfectly blended that you can’t see the difference between computer graphic hands and video image body.” And the selection of dealers caters to all tastes, ranging from a girl-next-door type to an adult-movie actress popular throughout the region.

The video baccarat game offers an additional communal feature whereby “when everyone is placing a lot of bets on just one table, the screens come together. The mechanical Dragon’s arms push the screens together. So right now you’re looking at five different game screens, but if there’s a hot trend and everybody’s just betting on one table, it becomes just one big screen.

“Our goal is to create new, exciting and entertaining games that will capture the imagination of players everywhere,” says Mr Oguchi. “There are so many companies out there making games focused on the gambling element. Maybe we could use a company that’s more focused on the games themselves and making them fun for people. I’m hoping that’s what the regulators are looking for, what the market is looking for and, hopefully, what the countries are looking for. Because that’s one way to improve the perception of gambling and mitigate the issue of problem gambling. We believe that we can help the entire industry grow as a whole.”



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