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SEGA CHAN, SEGA’s Forgotten ’80s Robot

Every now and then we like to take a look back at some of the entertainment robots developed by video game companies (see also Taito’s Retro Promo Robots and Namco’s Lost Robot from the ’80s), and today we can add SEGA to the list.  SEGA (short for Service Games) had made $214 million dollars by 1982, which is probably why they geeked out and built SEGA CHAN. From the advertisement:

Here Comes SEGA CHAN – the fantastic, futuristic robot that’s sure to be a hit at arcades, shopping malls and other family locations.

SEGA CHAN delivers promotional impact where it’s desired. This walking, talking marvel can shake hands, play recorded messages on a built-in video screen, serve food and drinks, distribute literature and more! A special voice recognition programming device allows SEGA CHAN to answer specific questions, while touch sensors and danger prevention sensors make him completely safe to operate.

By using interchangeable attachments, SEGA CHAN can perform even more tasks and be adapted to so many functions that only your imagination limits his many uses!

Easy to operate, SEGA CHAN has shown in tests to be an extraordinary and functional promotional centerpiece, appealing to all age groups. Ideal for use in video arcades, malls and family restaurants, SEGA CHAN delivers your message and makes a favorable, lasting impression – Order Today!

It’s anyone’s guess what they mean exactly by “danger prevention sensor”, but the specifications list is fairly complete including: 2 speakers, 1 microphone; eyes that light up depending on sound level; a service tray that holds up to 9 paper cups; 10″ color TV monitor with video cassette player (and auto-rewind!). The head was able to move 20cm up and down and 15 degrees left and right, and the arms could open to 45 degrees. And SEGA CHAN wasn’t small; it stood 151cm (just shy of 5 feet) tall and weighed 190kg (419 lbs)!  Surprisingly this behemoth could actually move around on its front-wheel drive.   Unfortunately there’s no indication of the price, and what with the impending video game crash of ’83 and the resulting losses, SEGA CHAN’s career was probably doomed from the start.

The more things change, the more some things stay the same…

[source: GameSpot]

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