For those who thought that Sega had come and gone, leaving behind a legacy of titles, think again. Sega is a mammoth company with a long list of titles that are about to release for a plethora of consoles, ranging from PS4 to the now popular and widespread mobile universe. This past weekend’s Sega Fes in Akihabara just confirmed just how much gas Sega has left in their tank, and how determined they are to reassure the world that they mean business. Sega Fes took place over the weekend, when Akihabara is known to be packed full of curious tourists, and passionate otaku, so we made sure to make our way in immediately to get a closer look at everything. This was the first ever Sega Fes that Sega had organized and boy was it a show packed full of excitement and surprises. The event looked at all of Sega’s upcoming releases and gave people a chance to play demos, buy merchandise, and watch live events of their favorite Sega titles. We most certainly feel like there’ll be another Sega Fes next year, but for now this year's event proved to be a spectacular one and we’re going to share all of the goodies as to what went down.
We recommend that if you plan to stay for a longer period of time, book a room ahead of time to avoid losing the best rooms.
Within 0.5km of Makuhari Messe:
Akihabara Washington Hotel
APA Hotel Akihabara Station
Akihabara Bay Hotel [Female Only]
What to Expect
Since this was the first ever Sega Fes that took place here in Japan, it was most definitely a surprise to many, especially us because we never really saw it coming. Sega Fes was more or less just an event that popped up out of the blue and allowed just about any passerby to come in and soak in all of the Sega fanboy/fangirl goodness. The minute you walk out of Akihabara station and make your way towards the event, you’re immediately greeted by a huge SEGA sign that lets you know exactly where you are. It was an official event so all of the famous producers were there as well as Toshihiro Nagoshi, the director and CCO of Sega Japan. The fact that we were able to get in as press and get close to touching Nagoshi was satisfying enough, but since the event is free, it pretty much sealed the deal. Expect there to be a lot of Sega material of course, with merchandise flying off the shelves, and live events that take place at different times throughout the day. There were tournaments for games such as Puyo Puyo Tetris, as well as Code of Joker which is an incredibly popular title here in Japan. Live demos allowed everyone to try out fresh titles like Yakuza 6, and a crazy live concert by Hatsune Miku herself was beyond incredible.
What to Bring in Order to Enjoy the Event
As we stated earlier, this is the first ever Sega Fes that’s taken place in Akihabara so we only managed to bring our passion and business cards so we could get access to photographs. If there’s anything that we suggest you bring if Sega does decide to revamp the event next year is money. Money is most definitely something you should bring not only for Sega Fes itself, but because you’re in Akihabara for crying out loud! Sega gave away really big (and blue of course) swag bags filled with Sega goodies to take home. One of the rules was you had to be wearing something blue in order to get one. So it wasn’t just for anyone to grab one, you either had to know ahead of time, or be lucky enough to wearing blue that day. Another thing that was suggested that you bring along with you are friends, because no experience can be without them. The Sega Fes was packed full of great activities which covered 3 floors and had just about everything for anyone. Unsurprisingly, because this was sort of like Sega’s public press event no photographs were allowed to be taken, especially during any live events. That still didn’t stop people from taking photos because Sonic the Hedgehog himself raced to the scene and everyone stood around waiting to grab a selfie with the blue hero. All we can recommend is just bring your excitement because you’ll walk away from it all with a huge smile.
What to do While There / What is Available
Sega Fes had plenty of things to do and if you managed to stay the entire day, you were rewarded with a live Hatsune Miku concert which was amazing. Now the event was split up into two days, Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday placing its focus on some of the more popular titles such as Persona 5, Valkyria: Azure Revolution, and the very popular Phantasy Star Online 2. The event began at 11 and ran until around 7PM and had numerous setups scattered all throughout for viewers to take part in. We did a lot of walking back and forth, keeping track of the time schedule so we wouldn’t miss out on any of the fun. Fortunately Sega did a wonderful job of streaming the event also, so even if you did miss a brief section of the event, you could always just relax inside the building and watch the live event from all of the TVs floating around.
Saturday felt more like a demonstration of upcoming titles and streaming the information out to the masses, but Sunday was most certainly the bigger of the two because there seemed to be a lot more happening. One of which was the highly anticipated Sega Auction, where anyone could take part and bid for their favorite Sega item. One of these items was an incredibly cool looking jacket that we would’ve loved to get our hands on, but the bidding was crazy high. The basement floor was where a lot of tournaments and press shows took place, along with a huge wall of Sega history spanning all the way back to the Game Gear and Megadrive. It was most certainly a nostalgic feeling to walk in and see a wall full of all the games we grew up with, such as the classic Virtua Fighter, the popular Initial D, and even Daytona USA. After savoring your childhood memories you could sit down and watch some pretty intense tournament action from Code of Joker, Puyo Puyo, as well as tuning into some great announcements for upcoming titles. We were wowed by the sheer quality Sega put into this event, because from looking at it from the outside, you’d think it was all a paid event because the female staff were dressed up in the usual Sega attire, while everything was organized exceptionally well.
The main floor was where the main stage was and so a lot of bigger announcements took place here, as well as the finals for the tournaments that happened earlier in the day. Once again, the stage setup was simply beautiful with all of the different blue hues and lighting. Everything truly felt professional and it really sold the show in many ways. Toshihiro Nagoshi, the director of the Yakuza series, and Masayoshi Yokoyama, the writer behind it all, were also in attendance to promote their title and to also announce a new live drama that’s solely based around the game’s story. The Puyo Puyo tournament was honestly was of our favorite highlights of the show because of how intense the feeling was. You could feel each player’s tension building as they had to constantly outplay their opponents, and drop the puyo bubbles down at rapid speed to avoid being overwhelmed. We were left amazed by their performance and applauded each player with the utmost respect.
The second floor was where you could find the merchandise lobby, capsule corner, motion capture section and the demo section, where you could try out various games such as Hatsune Miku, Yakuza 6. The motion capture section was quite funny because the audience could take part in it all, dressing up in a mocap outfit and the screen behind them had Yakuza protagonist Kazuma Kiryu mimicking their body actions. Of course sticking with the trends, most decided to copy Pikotaro’s now famous PPAP, and it was truly amusing to watch Kazuma move.
These were just some of the surprise announcements and events that took place, but what really took our breath away (literally) was the much anticipated Hatsune Miku live event which pretty much summed up our entire feeling of the show: Hype. The show wrapped up with an incredibly high tempo and heart pumping performance by the popular vocaloid artist, with otaku screaming their heads off and waving their famed glow sticks in unison with the music. If you truly want to bare witness to Japanese culture at its finest, going to a live concert will most certainly do that for you. We went home with our heads high, glow sticks in hand knowing that next year will roll around, and we’ll be more than happy to take part in the Sega Fes once again.
Honey's Final Thoughts
Overall, Sega Fes was most certainly an event that we were glad to come across because if we hadn’t, well this article wouldn’t exist but most importantly we’d have missed out on all of the awesome things that happened. Whether Sega does decide to bring this event back for another round is still in question, but we can be sure something will happen because the crowd was huge and the atmosphere felt positive. Not to mention we’re in Akihabara so there’s a handful of things to do anyway. We hope you found this article to be informative and be sure to look out for more game event articles in the near future!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!