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A brazilian documentary on Tec Toy
Post Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:07 pm
Unfortunately, portuguese only T_T



Looks really interesting, maybe some of our fellow brasilian members could work on a translation ?
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:47 am
Well, here goes an attempt at the first video.


Part 1 - Why Sega instead of Ni****do?

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
That's an easy one. See, I was hired by Sharp in 1983 because I was already working with videogames by then -- at the time, with the Atari [2600]. Before that, I had been to Ni****do, in Kyoto, at some point between 1979 and 1981 -- I can't quite recall it at the moment -- when they were not making videogames yet, but Game & Watch. I took a lot of interest in it; at the time, I thought it was the future. I went there to talk with them about bringing it to Brazil so it could be assembled here. At that time, saying "import" was like cursing here in Brazil. Very hard to accomplish... importing a finished product was almost prohibitive -- you had to make a deposit equivalent to the FOB price for 365 days, which would be returned to you afterwards with no indexation; a series of items were listed on Appendix C, so they were not allowed to be imported -- even if you had the resources to make the necessary deposit, they wouldn't give you import licenses... those were other times around here. Brazil didn't have a strong currency at all, so the country had a very strict control over import. Anyway, so the plan was to have these products [Game & Watch] assembled in Manaus. I had already explained to Ni****do what our strategy was, and although it took the japanese a little while, they agreed with the business structure. By then I was still working with my uncle at a photographic material company. We ended up not closing the deal [with Ni****do] due to a detail -- they demanded the opening of a letter of credit. Our company was a very traditional one, in the sense that it had been importing from Japan for over 40 years. The MITI, Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry at the time, had a list of companies with whom the japanese could have business (called "List A"), and my uncle had been listed there for who knows how many years... so he told me "well, if they still don't trust me, I'm not gonna do business with them". I was very upset... "come on, can't you open up an exception?!", I told him...

But anyway, after that, I went on to work with Sharp, which was interested in developing their videogames front -- at the time, with the Atari [2600]. Eventually, Sharp ended up closing a deal with Mattel's Intellivision. So I ultimately got in touch with both Mattel and Atari around there. In 1987, my boss at Sharp was Daniel Dazcal. He was Sharp's Division superintendent, and for some reason he left the company that year. He then founded Tec Toy in september; I wasn't around at the time. Later on, he asked me to come work with him. Tec Toy's main interest was obviously the videogames, and the two biggest videogame companies at the time were Ni****do and Sega.

Interviewer: [The main interest] was already videogames...?

Yes, the goal already was videogames... but we started out with toys. Curiously enough, the first toy we ever released was from Sega -- the Zillion Pistol. At the time, we couldn't quite compare Sega to Ni****do. In the United States, Sega had penetrated something like 1.8 million households, while Ni****do was already at 33 million households. Back then, being at 33 million north american households was a considerable penetration rate, although maybe nowadays it isn't that significant. Anyway, the difference between Sega and Ni****do was very strong within the United States.

Sega had made a deal with Tonka, which was a toy company, to distribute the Master System in the United States. They already had Sega of America, but they didn't distribute; they simply coordinated Tonka's distribution. And Tonka... I don't quite remember if it was United States' fifth biggest toy company, or something like that, but they bought Parker Bros., which was bigger than them -- the third ones, I guess. I believe this absorption of a bigger company was very demanding on Tonka; so much that both companies were absorbed by Hasbro later on. Nowadays you'll even find cardboard games from Parker Bros. which are a reminiscence from that time... Anyway, so Tonka probably couldn't manage to pay a good deal of attention to the Master System, not to mention that it wasn't easy at all to sell the system in the United States with Ni****do all over there. And from a production perspective, the Master System had higher costs than the NES; we could say that it was better hardware-wise but it costed more to produce. You would have to employ a significant amount of money to level it at the same price range as the NES. So after that, Sega was kind of left with the idea that a toy company wasn't good enough to distribute videogames, and they saw us at the time as a toy company...

Interviewer: ...due to [all] that then came the name, "Tec Toy"...?

...we started out making toys, then tried making videogames, but they weren't all that convinced yet to let us [distribute]... because here in Brazil you would have to fully manufacture it. Once there was a time in Manaus that not even plastic was allowed to be imported; you'd have to use local plastic and so on... and they were very reluctant to authorize production outside of Japan, not to mention that we were an unknown company to them... so there was a lot of barriers to all that. But our success with the Zillion [Pistol] left them scratching their heads, since we sold many more Zillion [Pistols] compared to them, and the japanese market was much bigger than ours. They had a lot of difficulty in airing the Zillion anime at a proper time, but here we managed to do it with TV Globo (their numbers were [are] impressive). So when we reported back to them the number of children watching Zillion [anime], the number of units sold, all the effort that was made, the market percentages and all that, they started wondering "well... maybe they've really got something going on". Also, Gradiente was constantly after them, trying to take the videogames away from us. Why is that? Because they used to work with a NES clone, the Phantom [System], and Ni****do couldn't even hear about it. They only managed to properly talk to Ni****do through Estrela much later on when they formed Playtronic. You see, the market was very small at the beginning. You basically had Atari, Philips and Intellivision. So whenever you went to an event or to a company related to videogames (especially outside of Japan) you would find executives coming from these three companies -- or maybe even from Activision, which at the time was one of Atari's best third party companies. So these guys all knew me, I knew all of these guys and these guys all knew Gradiente very well. They knew very well how Gradiente left Warner high and dry while on the process of bringing the Atari [7800] to Brazil and also about the matter at hand [NES clones]. Anyway, the market was very small and people all knew each other. They [Gradiente] were really after Sega, and they did a pretty good job. They really caught their attention, delivering very well made presentations. They were indeed a very successful, charming company, that knew their market well. It was very hard to convince them [Sega], but they ended up choosing us. At the time, our associates at Evadin provided us with the necessary support. They had a huge structure here in Brazil working with Mitsubishi, which helped to make an impression on the japanese. So, although Tec Toy was actually really small, we had Evadin to back us up. Nevertheless, we were thoroughly questioned by Evadin as to why we chose Sega instead of Ni****do...

Interviewer: ...because up until then, the focus was at Ni****do, as you said, but the japanese were reluctant.

...no, not really, because when I went to Ni****do it was about Game & Watch, and it was another time...

Interviewer: ...so it wasn't the NES you were aiming at, it was Game & Watch.

...no, at that time the NES didn't even exist. What really happened is that Daniel [Dazcal] went to Sega and ended up having an interesting relationship with them, releasing the Zillion Pistol, so we kind of favored them from then on. After that, Gradiente came after them.

So as I was saying, then came the question [from Evadin]: why are you choosing Sega instead of Ni****do? The main differential at the time was this: at Sega, the brazilian territory, due to its local industrialization, was managed by Japan. With Ni****do, the brazilian territory would be managed by Ni****do of America, and they struggled a lot at the industrial front, since they actually didn't do it themselves. The offices that managed the industrial processes were back at Japan and they had everything manufactured at China or Hong Kong -- I guess that at the time it was only Hong Kong, indeed. So we noticed that this difference was very significant; considering the easiness we had by manufacturing the products in here, we can tell that Gradiente really took a beating. They did a really good job, since they struggled a lot due to being managed by Ni****do of America and not by the japanese. So this was one thing that really weighed them down but helped us a lot.

Well, so that was a little about "why Sega" and "how it all started".
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:58 am
That's great, I'm looking forward to part 2 :)
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:31 am
This is great. Confused about something though:

Quote
considering the easiness we had by manufacturing the products in here, we can tell that Gradiente really took a beating. They did a really good job, since they struggled a lot due to being managed by Ni****do of America and not by the japanese. So this was one thing that really weighed them down but helped us a lot.


Gradiente being "managed by NoA," when he says Gradiente is actually talking about Playtronic? Was Playtronic a "legitimized" Gradiente operation?
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:16 am
TheRedEye wrote
Gradiente being "managed by NoA," when he says Gradiente is actually talking about Playtronic?

That's what I assumed, yes. There were various bits where he wasn't all that clear (e.g. lots of "they"/"them" left to guess, unfinished sentences etc.), but that part he's said it pretty much as I phrased it.

TheRedEye wrote
Was Playtronic a "legitimized" Gradiente operation?

Gradiente selling Phantom System was not, but Playtronic selling NES/SNES was:
snes_playtronic.jpg (172.3 KB)
snes_playtronic.jpg
nes_playtronic.jpg (106.09 KB)
nes_playtronic.jpg

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:55 pm
Playtronic started as a joint venture between Gradiente and Estrela (another brazilian toy company), but Estrela sold their shares to Gradiente after about 3 years (iirc).

But yeah, Playtronic was always owned by Gradiente in one way or another.


Gradiente was a big player in the MSX market in Brazil, before that, but i guess you all know that. :)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:14 am
Very good stuff.
Thanks to the people organizing this and Melanogaster for translating the first part. Totally looking forward to read the remaining parts :)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:41 pm
Last edited by Melanogaster on Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:11 am; edited 1 time in total
Here's an attempt at the second video.


Part 2 - How was Tec Toy formed?

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Tec Toy derived from another company called Elsys, that still exists to this day. Daniel [Dazcal] was working [with me] at Sharp, but he left the company in 1987, around March or April. He then went on to study what he would like to work with. And he found out something interesting: at that time, a lot of companies (even the big ones) had difficulties in the electronics department. For example, Whirlpool is [was] a huge, spectacular company, but the electronics department wasn't their favorite one. So a company, called Elsys, was created in order to help these companies develop electronics. The first product they ever did was a washing machine motor reversing control unit. So Brastemp used to make a washing machine here in Brazil with a motor reversing control unit that was... well, I can't quite remember the details, but it was super heavy (maybe 10 kilograms or more), it was like this big inside the washing machine and the set of molds used to make all these gears and such, which needed constant renewal, costed a fortune. So Elsys developed a little circuit board -- an ASIC, which is a dedicated IC -- to control the unit. The results were excellent, since you had taken 10-15 kilograms off of the weight, you had reduced [the washing machine dimensions by] 20 centimeters or so... the amount of money you would save with transportation only was already very significant, and then you also wouldn't have to spend so much money with the molds anymore... anyway, just an example of what Elsys did at the time.

Daniel [Dazcal] then started considering in which economic sectors Elsys could operate. Upon looking at the brazilian toys market, he realized, to his surprise, that it had very few electronics related products. Estrela, at that time, had a 55% market share. When we entered that market, they were exactly 50 years old and had an exact 55% market share. And they didn't like electronics very much; they not only weren't very good at it but they didn't like the electronics department either. And then Daniel [Dazcal] thought: why would I help them with electronics if they don't like it? That's when he called Leo [Kryss], at Evadin, and suggested creating an electronic toys company. Leo [Kryss] really liked the idea, and then Tec Toy was created. So Tec Toy was formed out of an association between Evadin and Daniel [Dazcal], and as I've said [in Part 1], I came in "some 15 minutes later", since I wasn't really here at the time of foundation.

Interviewer: Did the name have any specific origins?

...yeah, well, "Technical [Technological] Toys", "Tec Toy", so... that's where the name came from... already thinking towards videogames.
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:31 pm
This is great, thank you so much for translating this.
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:24 pm
Last edited by Melanogaster on Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:49 am; edited 1 time in total
Here's an attempt at the third video.


Part 3 - A questionable bet on the 32X

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
[At the time] You had a large installed base of 16-bit systems. The numbers today are not that big, but they were at the time -- they [Sega] were getting close to 20 million units installed worldwide, which was already a nice number. So, a platform change demanded significant investments, and it [the 32X] was a way of doing it through an add-on. If you remember the first games, the 32X processing power was very good, but they ended up doing very bad games.

Interviewer: They prioritized the Saturn, as well... so there was also this problem.

...yeah, they were already making the Saturn. You had a large developing group in the United States; that time was perhaps the pinnacle in terms of developing capacity, with a great number of developers over there. And they also had a large group working with the 32X. But when it got to the most important part... if you get Virtua Racing, for example, it made good use of the available features such as generating polygons, coloring, texturing -- which nothing from the 16-bit realm was capable of doing. Okay, the Saturn later had other capabilities as well, but... as I see it, they could have [done better with the 32X]. And I discussed this with the head of the department over there, some guy that... I don't recall his name, but he had sort of a noble name, like "[something] III"... but I went to San Francisco just to talk with him about the matter at hand: whether or not we were going to bet on the 32X.

Interviewer: So there was indeed this possibility for you to analyze if you were going to bet or not...

Yeah, sure...

Interviewer: ...it was no obligation, then.

...no, not at all. Here we had always defined what was good for our market. For us, for example, the Master System was good for our market, so they had no -- well, it still is, in fact... and the Mega Drive was around until not so long ago.

But anyway, I was very frustrated with this meeting. He showed me a lot of things over there with very beautiful introduction videos, since the 32X's video capacity was good. So you started the game with nice videos, leaving the consumer with very high expectations, but when you really got to the game, it would all go downhill... a very hard blow [to the player]. And he was like "no no, this is gonna get better" and such, but... I thought it wouldn't. There was this person that I knew very well, who used to work in the commercial department in Japan but then moved to development, and he told me "look, here in Japan we're not developing heavily for the 32X... so, basically, you're gonna have to rely on what they're doing in the United States, because that's the [main developing] group. If you went over there, saw it and didn't like it... well, that's all there is to it".

We ended up bringing the 32X to the market, but we took it slowly... we didn't go all guns blazing right at the start. I think Sega could have sold a lot of 32Xs before the Saturn, given the [industrial] park they had, if they had done a good job.

Interviewer: They actually divided their own market... since a Mega Drive owner could choose the 32X to get to the "32-bit" [generation], but there was also the Saturn release right afterwards...

...yeah, but there was a certain time frame [between the 32X and Saturn releases]. They would have made a fortune if they had done a good job, but I think they did something that was below the consumer's expectations. I think those videos... they did more harm than good. If you consider the 16-bit era, you didn't have enough graphics power to play videos, but the 32X had... the CGs of the time. So you did such an intro that was short in time, but... I remember a helicopter game, although I can't recall its name, in which you had images of a landing helicopter that were actually real... in video. So you would lead the consumer to expect something... different. But when you got into the game...

Interviewer: The expectations were up high, but after hitting "Start"...

...it was a Sega CD game, at most.

Interviewer: It was still a 16-bit game but maybe a little bit better...

...yeah, a little bit. Maybe inferior to the Virtua Fighter, inferior to the Virtua Racing... which were the first they did to the 32X, and they used things that came from the Arcades. But anyway, just a few words about the interest people had in it.
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:33 am
I don't want to sound repetitive, but thanks for these translations. This is all very interesting!
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:36 am
Here's an attempt at the fourth video.


Part 4 - Zillion airing on prime time TV

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Interviewer: Did Tec Toy take any part on the process of putting the anime [Zillion] on TV?

Yes, sure. We did everything. We did the voice acting in portuguese... everything.

Interviewer: ...because we know that the marketing it had at the time was... very strong, and that surely yielded positive results if compared to the japanese market, since they didn't manage to air it at a proper time...

We wouldn't even settle down about it, actually, since Globo wouldn't buy it [Zillion anime]. At the time, the really strong one in this department [animes] was Record, I guess... they had Jaspion, and...

Interviewer: Wasn't it Manchete?

Manchete! Manchete, that's right... not Record, but Manchete. But we ended up signing a deal with Globo in which they wouldn't buy it [Zillion anime] and we still had to pay them to air it at a certain time on Saturday mornings...

Interviewer: Like some sort of sponsoring...

...almost as if we were sponsoring it, and even so we had a few problems, since some [of Globo's] affiliated TV networks could sometimes air local programs at that time. So, for example, RBS, from Porto Alegre, had their own show about gaucho traditions which aired at this time [Saturday mornings]... and our clients were furious, saying "here [southern Brazil] we don't have it!"... but it was the way their programming schedule was set up.

But then something interesting happened. Globo signed a contract with TV Gazeta here in São Paulo and sublicensed Zillion to them, since, by contract, they had the right to do so. And then TV Gazeta aired it here at 20:30... which was prime time. So we quickly wrote to the japanese "hey, [we got] prime time TV in Brazil", and then they were all like [*laughs*]... but then again, we didn't exactly tell them the coverage wasn't that wide... anyway, the anime then aired at 20:00/20:30 here at TV Gazeta.

Interviewer: And it was a landmark, wasn't it...? Because in such a short time you already had comic books, sticker albums... and the kids all going crazy about it... JJ, Apple... longing for a Zillion [Pistol]... it was all a very nice work.

...yeah, it was, but then again, we only had one product, hadn't we... it was a whole company to look after a single product... so that was an advantage. And then Estrela did us the favor of manufacturing a machine gun... I mean, they helped us a lot, because they made a product that... they had a large product line, right? So maybe they didn't pay the necessary attention to it. But they chose the product very poorly... it was a machine gun, which had who knows how many batteries in it... anyway, it was everything that shouldn't [be done]. And we also did a very nice TV commercial, while they did a very traditional one... so it couldn't have been better for us. After that, our relationship with Sega kept getting ever warmer. For example, we started the manufacturing process here, and I know that in South Korea they also needed to send the kits to be assembled there, instead of the finished product... I guess they licensed it to Samsung, at the time... it wasn't even Master System there, it was Mark III... don't know if you recall the Mark III. But they sold the Mark III to Samsung in great quantities using the technology they had developed to distribute it to us... so in the end they were like "Nice... the work we did with you guys was of good use, since we sold lots of units to South Korea".

Interviewer: The japanese Sega was always known for being overly complicated in terms of relationship... we have some publications saying that there were problems between the american and japanese offices, that they often didn't speak the same language. But you, representing Tec Toy from Brazil, managed to penetrate this...

...we did [manage]. So much that sometimes, the americans would come and ask us about things they couldn't squeeze out of the japanese...
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:59 pm
Here's an attempt at the fifth video.


Part 5 - Tec Toy's Monochrome Handheld

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
They had released the Game Gear. It had a lot of qualities, but also a lot of flaws -- the battery draining was a joke, it was expensive...

Interviewer 1: It was way better than the Game Boy...
Interviewer 2: ...colored...
Interviewer 1: ...but it had this cost...

...it had a huge cost. So we found a guy over at Taiwan that made a black and white product... it was quite cool. It had a lot of problems, but then Fábio, who was the engineering manager at the time and is currently our director, took a good look at it and did a great job fixing the main problems he had found -- the audio wasn't very nice, and so on... we set up quite a cool project. And then... I don't know if you recall it, but there was a company called Tiger that used to make these handhelds... and it was a company that had very good distribution capabilities in the United States. Randy Rissman, the company owner's name... I went to visit him once in Hong Kong, it wasn't even [at their headquarters]... they were from Chicago... or quite close to Chicago. So I went to visit him, showed him the product and asked "what do you think? If we were to take this product, with these modifications, and make it with Sega -- developing games from Sega's lineup to this product... would you distribute it in the United States?" He didn't even think twice. "Easily. If you [can] reach this cost level..." I can't quite recall the numbers right now, but they were significant. Their numbers would make it viable, but ours wouldn't. Then I said "well, this is going to be a total success", because: it would be able to compete with the Game Boy; Sega's games were very well inserted at the time, with Sonic and whatnot; by doing a non-colored product it would be placed at another cost level... okay.

So we went to Japan, presented them the idea... thinking we were in for a treat. "Look at the quantities over here... we will be responsible for the project, we will be responsible for porting the games... we guarantee these numbers, we will be responsible for the production..." and so on. [quoting the president over at Sega] "Sega-does-not-make-monochrome-products". And then we were like "you see... we understand that the Game Gear has its market share but if you take a look at the market as a whole, you'll find a great number of buyers in [at the base of] a pyramid, it's obvious..." Anyway, explaining the whole strategy and so on... but the response was monochromatic: "Sega-does-not-make-monochrome-products". There was no way of changing their mind.

Interviewer 1: It was in Sega's essence, this thing with innovation... the Sega CD was an innovation compared to the SNES. The SNES also had a project to have the CD, but Sega went ahead and did it first. The Saturn... after they saw Sony with the PlayStation, they tried recovering lost ground, but they also anticipated it. So they had this in them, right...? To not release a product that was theoretically inferior [technologically speaking]... they didn't visualize that audience, as you said, from the pyramid...
Interviewer 2: ...maybe they didn't feel like they were innovating...

...hmm... I don't know... my reading of it is a bit different. First, they had some beliefs that were very hard to circumvent; I'll give you an example in a bit. Second, they didn't accept things that came from elsewhere (I can also give you another example afterwards), and maybe this is the main problem. I made a mistake; I was so excited with the idea that I went to talk with the president. If I had convinced everyone that I knew well from the development department, including Sato, who was the head of the department... maybe if I made it look like it was his idea and had him present it... maybe then there was a chance. But this work would probably take a year... maybe more. But I was very anxious to make the deal, and I thought it was very good and that it would work. My mistake.
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:56 pm
Here's an attempt at the sixth video.


Part 6 - Ideas used by Sega

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
I can give you a number of examples concerning things we did that they wouldn't agree with but used later on. For example, we took... [some console's external] power supply and placed it inside the... uhm...

Interviewer: ...Mega Drive III?

Yes, inside the Mega Drive. By doing so we saved a lot on plastic, reduced costs and all that. So first they said we couldn't do it because it was going to overheat and whatnot. But then we thoroughly proved it to them that the heatsink we were using was highly oversized, so... there was no way for it to overheat. That went back and forth for a few months... but in the meantime, we were already selling the "non-approved" product, according to them. In the end, their final report was that the product was unbalanced in terms of weight, and if it were to fall to the ground from a height of over a meter and something, it would more likely break because it would touch the ground with the power supply side first. So we kept dropping who knows how many Mega Drives, but we couldn't break a single one. Besides, the height they had calculated was absurd, because tables have a standard height of around 80 centimeters... so you would have to drop it from a height at which people probably wouldn't put it. Anyway, at least officially, they never approved this change, but with the Saturn they used the internal power supply.

Another example: we made the Master System Super Compact... remember? So we used a certain component... I don't recall it exactly which component it was, but when you'd get its specifications, as it was sold by the manufacturer, you'd see that our level of use was beyond the stipulated tolerance range. We would stress it a little bit more, so we'd exceed the recommended temperature, voltage, amperage... anyway, our use was beyond the manufacturer's technical specifications. So they said we couldn't use it, and that we would have to build an auxiliary circuit to replace it that costed who knows how much... we told them we wouldn't do it. After 200,000 units manufactured without a single fault on that specific item, we went back to them and said "see, we produced 200,000 units but our tech support hasn't registered a single fault concerning that components' operation... so now you can approve the project, right?". But they didn't... why? Because its use was noncompliant according to the manufacturer's technical specifications. So they had a lot of that... if you come to them bringing an idea that they didn't have it themselves...

Interviewer: But how did this work... with Sega not approving something and Tec Toy still selling it?

Well... in the end, the product had no formal approval...

Interviewer: ...but you could still put it there [at the box]: "SEGA" and...

...it [the formal approval] would be just for show, since we already had 200,000 units out there in the market... the commercial department wouldn't want to [take it away]...

Interviewer: ...so let it roll, then...

...of course.
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:43 pm
Thank you so much for these translations. This is fascinating.

It's also a little frustrating to read about, as it is further confirmation of how difficult Sega's Japanese leadership was/is when dealing with their partners in other parts of the world. Even though at various times, Sega of America, Sega of Europe, and obviously TecToy have all had greater sales successes than Sega of Japan - with the Saturn being the exception that was most successful in Japan. Sega would have been unstoppable if they had leadership that recognized that they were a global company, and great ideas could come from any region. But, of course, it's not unheard of... many of us have worked in situations with weird interpersonal dynamics, office politics, and the scenario of having to make it look like an innovative idea is coming from one person when really it's coming from someone else. It's unfortunate.

In any event, hats off to TecToy because they are still successfully selling the Master System. It's incredible what they've achieved. I'm very glad to learn more about them.
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Post Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:52 am
You are all welcome. There's a lot of interesting information going on in this interview (especially in the parts yet to come), so it would indeed be a pity if it couldn't reach most SMS/Sega fans.

Sorry if the post rate is not very exciting; currently I can only process one video per week or so. I hope the translation attempts are not particularly annoying to read. They are not exact subtitles of the videos but they are not articles in written discourse, either -- a bit of both, instead, so it could be understandable with or without the videos (in case anyone ever feels like cognate hunting in brazilian portuguese).
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:24 pm
Here's an attempt at the seventh video.


Part 7 - Crash Bandicoot on Sega Saturn

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Universal [Studios]... can't remember the name, now... well, I don't know if it was Spyro the Dragon or Crash Bandicoot, but one of these two was developed by Universal, in Los Angeles. Paul Rioux, ex-financial director and a strong man over at Sega of America, went to work with Universal. So then he took it [Crash Bandicoot] and went to show it to Nakayama, Sega's president, back in the PS1 versus Saturn days. He showed him the product when it was still in development phase. He [Nakayama] looked at it and said "pff, we've got Sonic, so we have no interest in this product/character". Then Paul Rioux was like "...". After that, it [Crash Bandicoot] ended up at Sony.

Interviewer: Even though it's forgotten nowadays, it was really important to Sony back in the day... and it could have been Sega's...

...he went there, he took it there. Paul Rioux was a man with... I don't know how many years of Sega. Rioux worked for over a decade at Sega of America... he was even one of the first executives there, perhaps among the ones who stayed the most over there. And he went directly to Nakayama... People talk about Microsoft, as well... this I don't know, but that one story [about Crash] I know well because Paul told it to me in detail when I went to visit him over at Universal Studios and he was still furious... lathered with rage. But it was good, because he was so angry with all that story that he gave me the license for [making a game featuring] Woody Woodpecker within the whole Latin America in less than 10 minutes... [Rioux] "what was it that you wanted...?" [Arnhold] "well, we're developing a Woody Woodpecker game, and..." [Rioux] "nah, go for it"... and so I did. So for me it was all great, since I got the Woody Woodpecker's license...

Interviewer 1: ...so we almost had Crash on Sega Saturn...
Interviewer 2: I don't know if you're aware of that, Stefano, but Silicon Graphics, who helped Ni****do with Ni****do 64, went to Sega to offer their technology so it could be used on the Saturn but the president said "No"...

...yeah, so... why's that? Because the president of CSK, who was Sega's major shareholder, had a concept that the Saturn was a product that shouldn't be sold in consumer products stores; he wanted it to be sold in computer stores only. That was his concept. So Sega suffered a lot, because... if you remember the Sega Saturn's specifications, they were absurd... the interfaces, the amount of things it would read, everything related to Windows CE [?]... so it was a lot closer to a computer. Back at that time, LANs were starting to grow, so he believed it was a lot more like a network manager than a videogame. So this belief... it took them [Sega] a long time to -- Shenmue, for example... they wanted to make Shenmue for the Saturn at all costs. I don't know how much money or how many years they spent to make Shenmue for the Saturn, but it was only released on the Dreamcast many years later. So they had these beliefs concerning some things... they believed that videogames were going down and so people would get more interested in multimedia, computers... it [Saturn] read CDs -- speaking of which, malicious gossip has it that they made a fortune selling erotic discs over in Japan... which would be why it [Saturn] sold so well. And it's true -- if you went to Akihabara, they had all that stuff in front of the stores, but hidden away in the back were all those CD+Graphics... it was Philips, right, who had invested in CDs, if I'm not mistaken? The patents were theirs, at the time... anyway, so I guess these beliefs disturbed them [Sega] a lot.
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:32 am
wow that is super cool. I wonder how many Sega exclusives they have.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:59 pm
Here's an attempt at the eighth video.


Part 8 - Michael Jackson, Sega and Microsoft

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Interviewer: Ni****do also made a lot of mistakes at the time, right...?

[They] also had their beliefs. Didn't Michael Jackson go there...? And they kicked him out? Didn't he look for Sega because he was furious with Ni****do?

Interviewer: ...is it [true]? I didn't know that...

...yep. One day he knocked at Sega's door... furious with Ni****do, because... I don't know that the hell kind of a project he had presented there that Ni****do [looked down their nose at his project]. So he kind of begged Sega to do it because he wanted to get back at Ni****do. And Sega, obviously, [received him with] open arms, made arcades, did everything you could imagine... [had his game released for] the Mega Drive... They [Sega] said they sold 550.000 Mega Drives for women within Tokyo only due to... what was it called? Moonwalker. For women. Because at that time... up until the 16-bit [generation], the female public participation was very small. So this was, like... a resounding success.

Interviewer: ...I didn't know all that...

...yeah, try and search for the story. Legend says that it was him [Michael Jackson] that gave all the tips as to how he wanted the game to be, and... well, it was the blast that we know.

Interviewer 1: And the marketing was free for him... he was at the peak, at the time...
Interviewer 2: So he came up with the game over there [at Sega], partly because he was very angry with Ni****do, and partly because he wanted to see that project become a reality as well, of course... and the rest is history. And it's an icon, today, when we talk about Sega...

...Moonwalker, yes. So, Sega got one right, there... but generally speaking, they were very difficult [to deal with]... very difficult. And I think that if you were to pick a single motive for which they didn't have as much success as the others, I'd say it was that. Of course, the financial side also counts...

Interviewer: There was an union, there... between the american part and the japanese part...

...although they were an american company... you know that Sega was an american company, right?

Interviewer: SErvice GAmes, right...?

Exactly... exactly. Speaking of which, if you come to my room later, there are pictures of Sega's founder over there, I'll show you... it's uhm... David Rosen. That was Sega's founder. He was the one that sold Sega to the japanese. He stayed at Sega of America for a while. He came to Brazil once -- this story is great. He came on a cruise holiday, and the ship would stop at the Port of Santos. For some reason we became aware of this... Daniel [Dazcal] heard about it. So Daniel sent his chauffeur to Santos to pick him up. So he came visit us... and Tec Toy was still a house over at Catalão Street. We hadn't released the Master System yet... we were still planning things. And then he came... and it was super cool... because he knew a lot about the subject at hand. So he sketched for us our initial game distribution plan, regarding the amount of Light Phaser games, 3-D games... action, adventure, racing, sports games... He sat with us and said "well, here I suggest you put..." [Tec Toy:] "no, but football [soccer] is strong in Brazil, volleyball is also strong... let's get those numbers up a bit..." [David Rosen:] "alright, have some more. Don't put all that in 3-D games, because... you know... even less on Light Phaser with 3-D... put a small amount just so you have it, but that's not gonna sell..." So it was very cool, because we were starting off and Mr. Rosen sat with us... he almost lost his ship due to staying there with us helping with our strategy [plans].

Interviewer: ...that's cool!

Interesting, isn't it... it was an american company.

Interviewer: ...an american company, but with a very japanese essence...

Now, imagine if they had teamed up with Microsoft... It seems that there was a moment when this was considered, but the japanese ended up backing off. And Sega really needed Microsoft's publishing [capabilities], because... well, Ni****do was a company that used to sit on top of a huge amount of money. There is a famous Christmas speech from Mr. Yamauchi, although I don't recall which year's Christmas that was, where all the employees were worried because Sony had soared and [there was also the] 3DO and whatnot... and that was a moment when Ni****do was indeed -- I think it was GameCube ['s generation]...

Interviewer: [Or maybe] the Ni****do 64...

...yeah, the Ni****do 64... and on a notorious Christmas speech he said they had enough cash in hand to pay the wages of every single employee for the rest of their lives. And indeed, they have always sat on a lot of cash. But Sega didn't have this cash reserve... and it [the gaming industry] was a very big money game. Sony, for instance, had put a significant amount of money in it... if you remember well, after the success of the PlayStation's first year, all of the top executives outside of Japan were laid off... there were few people left over at Sony. A few japanese, yes, but the rest... in the United States, you can ask whomever you want, everybody was laid off, due to the amount of money they spent and all the cost they had. The investment was very high...

Interviewer: They sold it below the Saturn ['s price]... that was their rate: $399 for the Saturn, $299 for the PlayStation...

They had heavy subsidies, which was the strategy back at the time. It worked, but it costed them... so much that, afterwards, they entered in a -- anyway... it was a very big money game. And maybe if Sega had teamed up with Microsoft, they would have this... financial support, not to mention the technological support, so that they could have -- because if you were to look at Microsoft's first years... or first many years, the investments made in the videogames department were very significant...

Interviewer: [They] subsidized...

...and Sega never had this reserve. So much that, in the end, they were bought by Sammy... which, nowadays, belong to Sega. Anyway... it's something people could speculate about -- what would have happened with Sega in the consoles department if they had teamed up... because a company with Microsoft's power, and all that software department... along with the americans' much more objective mindset...

Interviewer: But it would conflict with the japanese essence, I think...

...yeah, but ultimately, the ones paying the bills end up making the decisions. So, for example, if you look at the guys over at AB InBev... you have brazilian management capabilities; so, although it's a belgian company in its majority, the brazilian management prevailed. Budweiser is also like that... So, I imagine that on such a joint venture, the [management] capabilities are what end up prevailing. And Sega, although very stubborn, had very important competencies... they were creative and really special. All those divisions... one of them was called MD2, right? AMD2 or AM2, "Amusement Machines 2"... you had such a core over there -- Sonic itself, afterwards... So, not licensing Sonic to other platforms, even after [Sega had left the market], was already a weird thing.

Interviewer: Yes. It was released on a Ni****do console, right? When it was released on...

...ah, but that was much later on. So, they were already a software only company, but they wouldn't license Sonic to Sony.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:21 am
Here's an attempt at the ninth video.


Part 9 - Pense Bem and women with videogames

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
...but then we got in touch with VTech, with whom we made the Pense Bem; it had a lot of success. We did a very nice work with it; it was very cool. So I think our main differentiation back at the time was that we knew nothing about toys. Zero. We used to make the most stupid questions one could ever ask... "who decides on the purchases?", "who executes the purchases?"... so it was a whole lot of stuff we knew nothing about. We came from televisions... televisions, VCRs, copy machines, calculators, microwave ovens. Those were the things we knew about, but toys... we knew nothing. So we went and researched a lot. For example, I remember we went to... there was a buyer at Mappin... Mappin was an important buyer of toys at the time. There was this lady there, who was considered the most knowledgeable person on the market... so you went over there to ask her things, and whatnot. So we showed her the Pense Bem. She said that there was no way it was going to sell. I remember it well to this day... she said that brazilians wouldn't want their kids to have "[external] help", as if they were "unable" of some sort so they would need help to study. We got out of there thinking "we really don't know anything about this"... but, since we had done some research on the end consumer, and it was a product that everyone loved... Later on we discovered a whole value chain in which a lot of parents -- for that you must go back to a much different time than today... but a lot of parents from a certain social class didn't believe they could ascend the social ladder. Instead, they transferred that possibility to their children... "my kid is able to go to school", and such. And they associated technology, especially computers, to that possibility, judging they didn't have the ability anymore to comprehend the whole computer process -- today this may seem a bit ridiculous, but it was completely different at the time -- but their children could have. So they saw Pense Bem as an entry point for their kids to this wonderful world of computers, which was already beyond them, but could mean social promotion and a lot of other things, which they transferred to their children. So the kids wanted Pense Bem because they saw it on the TV commercial, and the parents found it awesome... the possibility of their children -- anyway, it was easy to buy and easy to sell; one wanted to have and the other one wanted to give.

Few people know about it, but the advertisement volume the Pense Bem had was huge. Cigarette brands... of course, it is much more expensive to advertise to an adult audience, but looking at the GRP points... at the time it [cigarettes] was allowed to be advertised, so there were cigarette brands that wouldn't reach the advertisement level the Pense Bem had. Sure, it costed less because the audience was targeted at kids, but considering the volume we had measured by GRP points... we managed to reach a very significant volume. So, a huge part of Pense Bem's success, apart from all the strategy, the little books and whatnot, was due to a very strong advertisement effort.

Interviewer: I think that Tec Toy had great success in knowing how to sell this product, making the kids want it... because the parents, as you said it, had the wish to give their children what they couldn't have, but if the kids didn't want it themselves... they wouldn't give it to them. So the kids were all like "I want it I want it I want it"... I still remember it to this day, the Pense Bem's advertisements... it was something that really sticked with me. A curiosity: do you keep it...? Do you have it here at Tec Toy all these...

Yeah, yeah... we do...

Interviewer: ...you do? Pense Bem, Master System...

Yeah, yeah... we do. Master Systems we've got to have, since it's still selling...

Interviewer: ...but what about the old ones?

...we've got a museum. We've got a museum, with one of each product, sometimes more... the [Pense Bem's] little books... we made an important work with the little books. We studied a lot about the whole process of -- for example, there were 150 questions there. If you'd get a 7/8/9 years old kid and have them endure 150 questions... in the best case scenario, they'll end up exhausted... not to mention hating it. But we had tryouts with children that, upon ending one of the little books, wanted to go for another one right away.

Interviewer: The way the work was done there stimulated the kids... instead of tiring them.

So there was a whole study behind it... you had 4 questions [answers, actually]: one was always... impossible; one was, usually, fun; and the correct answer was between the other two, offering a certain learning relationship [experience] while determining which one was right and which one was wrong. But it had to be fun, it had to have a series of things so it could... keep [the kids' attention]. So thank God we didn't pay attention to that lady, who certainly knew about toys...

Interviewer: ...but had a more traditional mindset...

...yeah, well, she didn't know yet about the new things [back in the day]... electronics, mainly.

Interviewer: The Master System Super Compact featuring Mônica, that you did... you said it yourself that the market was very male-oriented... I don't know the exact share, but...

...in Brazil it was 9%... the amount of girls which had our videogames.

Interviewer: Nine...?

9%, yes.

Interviewer: My wife was one of them... which makes me proud. She had a Mega Drive...

...it was very small.

Interviewer: ...but with the Master System Super Compact featuring Mônica, all pinky and pretty, you managed to...

...we managed to increase the ownership... the girls did play. The amount of girls who played videogames was much higher, but the amount of girls who owned the consoles themselves was very small. About a third of the girls used to play videogames, but on consoles belonging to brothers, cousins or somebody else; they didn't have their own console. So that's why we had this idea... and Mauricio [de Sousa] loved the idea, back at the time, so we did it and managed to indeed succeed, because suddenly you had increasing [console] ownership by girls. Sega, for example, thought it was going to be a complete failure. They said "nobody managed to do it, so you won't manage to do it". We said "OK, just let us try".

Interviewer: ...and nowadays it's a collection item that is reaaally expensive...

...is it?

Interviewer: ...very, very expensive.

It was a very cool project.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:06 pm
Melanogaster wrote
Here's an attempt at the eighth video.


Part 8 - Michael Jackson, Sega and Microsoft

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Interviewer: Ni****do also made a lot of mistakes at the time, right...?

[They] also had their beliefs. Didn't Michael Jackson go there...? And they kicked him out? Didn't he look for Sega because he was furious with Ni****do?

Interviewer: ...is it [true]? I didn't know that...

...yep. One day he knocked at Sega's door... furious with Ni****do, because... I don't know that the hell kind of a project he had presented there that Ni****do [looked down their nose at his project]. So he kind of begged Sega to do it because he wanted to get back at Ni****do. And Sega, obviously, [received him with] open arms, made arcades, did everything you could imagine... [had his game released for] the Mega Drive... They [Sega] said they sold 550.000 Mega Drives for women within Tokyo only due to... what was it called? Moonwalker. For women. Because at that time... up until the 16-bit [generation], the female public participation was very small. So this was, like... a resounding success.

Interviewer: ...I didn't know all that...

...yeah, try and search for the story. Legend says that it was him [Michael Jackson] that gave all the tips as to how he wanted the game to be, and... well, it was the blast that we know.

Interviewer 1: And the marketing was free for him... he was at the peak, at the time...
Interviewer 2: So he came up with the game over there [at Sega], partly because he was very angry with Ni****do, and partly because he wanted to see that project become a reality as well, of course... and the rest is history. And it's an icon, today, when we talk about Sega...

...Moonwalker, yes. So, Sega got one right, there... but generally speaking, they were very difficult [to deal with]... very difficult. And I think that if you were to pick a single motive for which they didn't have as much success as the others, I'd say it was that. Of course, the financial side also counts...

Interviewer: There was an union, there... between the american part and the japanese part...

...although they were an american company... you know that Sega was an american company, right?

Interviewer: SErvice GAmes, right...?

Exactly... exactly. Speaking of which, if you come to my room later, there are pictures of Sega's founder over there, I'll show you... it's uhm... David Rosen. That was Sega's founder. He was the one that sold Sega to the japanese. He stayed at Sega of America for a while. He came to Brazil once -- this story is great. He came on a cruise holiday, and the ship would stop at the Port of Santos. For some reason we became aware of this... Daniel [Dazcal] heard about it. So Daniel sent his chauffeur to Santos to pick him up. So he came visit us... and Tec Toy was still a house over at Catalão Street. We hadn't released the Master System yet... we were still planning things. And then he came... and it was super cool... because he knew a lot about the subject at hand. So he sketched for us our initial game distribution plan, regarding the amount of Light Phaser games, 3-D games... action, adventure, racing, sports games... He sat with us and said "well, here I suggest you put..." [Tec Toy:] "no, but football [soccer] is strong in Brazil, volleyball is also strong... let's get those numbers up a bit..." [David Rosen:] "alright, have some more. Don't put all that in 3-D games, because... you know... even less on Light Phaser with 3-D... put a small amount just so you have it, but that's not gonna sell..." So it was very cool, because we were starting off and Mr. Rosen sat with us... he almost lost his ship due to staying there with us helping with our strategy [plans].

Interviewer: ...that's cool!

Interesting, isn't it... it was an american company.

Interviewer: ...an american company, but with a very japanese essence...

Now, imagine if they had teamed up with Microsoft... It seems that there was a moment when this was considered, but the japanese ended up backing off. And Sega really needed Microsoft's publishing [capabilities], because... well, Ni****do was a company that used to sit on top of a huge amount of money. There is a famous Christmas speech from Mr. Yamauchi, although I don't recall which year's Christmas that was, where all the employees were worried because Sony had soared and [there was also the] 3DO and whatnot... and that was a moment when Ni****do was indeed -- I think it was GameCube ['s generation]...

Interviewer: [Or maybe] the Ni****do 64...

...yeah, the Ni****do 64... and on a notorious Christmas speech he said they had enough cash in hand to pay the wages of every single employee for the rest of their lives. And indeed, they have always sat on a lot of cash. But Sega didn't have this cash reserve... and it [the gaming industry] was a very big money game. Sony, for instance, had put a significant amount of money in it... if you remember well, after the success of the PlayStation's first year, all of the top executives outside of Japan were laid off... there were few people left over at Sony. A few japanese, yes, but the rest... in the United States, you can ask whomever you want, everybody was laid off, due to the amount of money they spent and all the cost they had. The investment was very high...

Interviewer: They sold it below the Saturn ['s price]... that was their rate: $399 for the Saturn, $299 for the PlayStation...

They had heavy subsidies, which was the strategy back at the time. It worked, but it costed them... so much that, afterwards, they entered in a -- anyway... it was a very big money game. And maybe if Sega had teamed up with Microsoft, they would have this... financial support, not to mention the technological support, so that they could have -- because if you were to look at Microsoft's first years... or first many years, the investments made in the videogames department were very significant...

Interviewer: [They] subsidized...

...and Sega never had this reserve. So much that, in the end, they were bought by Sammy... which, nowadays, belong to Sega. Anyway... it's something people could speculate about -- what would have happened with Sega in the consoles department if they had teamed up... because a company with Microsoft's power, and all that software department... along with the americans' much more objective mindset...

Interviewer: But it would conflict with the japanese essence, I think...

...yeah, but ultimately, the ones paying the bills end up making the decisions. So, for example, if you look at the guys over at AB InBev... you have brazilian management capabilities; so, although it's a belgian company in its majority, the brazilian management prevailed. Budweiser is also like that... So, I imagine that on such a joint venture, the [management] capabilities are what end up prevailing. And Sega, although very stubborn, had very important competencies... they were creative and really special. All those divisions... one of them was called MD2, right? AMD2 or AM2, "Amusement Machines 2"... you had such a core over there -- Sonic itself, afterwards... So, not licensing Sonic to other platforms, even after [Sega had left the market], was already a weird thing.

Interviewer: Yes. It was released on a Ni****do console, right? When it was released on...

...ah, but that was much later on. So, they were already a software only company, but they wouldn't license Sonic to Sony.


My guess (one reason?) why Michael got turned down is because I think Ni****do really likes to own the IP of games they develop. Popeye, one of their earliest, is the only game I think of that they internally developed based on a license.
(though it seems they co-own several franchises. Not sure how such a licensing system works.)
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:41 pm
In hindsight though - or maybe based on suspicions at the time - it was a wise decision to avoid him as a child-oriented brand.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:07 pm
Kenneth wrote
Unfortunately, portuguese only T_T



Looks really interesting, maybe some of our fellow brasilian members could work on a translation ?


we can collaboratively transcribe and translate it on Amara - http://amara.org/en/videos/cJKagNvMygE2/info/tectoy-parte-01-por-que-a-sega-e-na...
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:47 am
Here's an attempt at the tenth video.


Part 10 - Mônica, Senna and new games

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
...with Mauricio [de Sousa], right? I recall it... we made the first Turma da Mônica game...

Interviewer: ...no Castelo do Dragão?

Mônica no Castelo do Dragão... I think so. The first one... which came from Wonder Boy... and Wonder Boy wielded a little sword. Anyway, so Mônica also wielded a little sword, at first... no big deal. Then someday -- Mauricio [de Sousa]'s studios were across the street from us, in Lapa [de Baixo, São Paulo]... so he called me over there someday and said: "we can't release it". So I said "Mauricio, how come we can't release it?! We've been working on this project for... who knows how long!". Back at the time you had to cover each pixel... so it wasn't an easy project. So he said "no, we can't; Mônica cannot have a violent attitude... with swords and whatnot... we can't, we can't". Then I said "but Mônica is an angry person... someone who reacts, and everything". So he said "but when she reacts, she grabs Sansão [Samson, her blue stuffed rabbit] and hit the --", so I was like "...exactly". So then he said "well, if you manage to swap the sword for Sansão... it's all good"... Phew! Now we had to tell the guys working on the project that we were going to have to swap the sword... first you tell them the bad news, that it couldn't [be released]... and then 2 or 3 days later, that we would need to swap it...

Interviewer: You said that when you presented something to Sega -- of course, it was coming from outside of Japan, so they would look a bit down upon you, wouldn't approve it... So, how did you manage to have their approval for so many cool development projects? Street Fighter, these very games with Mauricio [de Sousa], Chapolim... among others. How did you do it?

Well, that was something interesting. I would say that the only project that we presented them and that they embraced it right away was Ayrton Senna's. Because they knew who Ayrton Senna was, and Irimajiri-san, vice-president at the time, had come from Honda. They say that when he entered Honda, it only had two-wheeled vehicles, and that he was responsible [for changing this scenario]. And he loved Ayrton Senna, because the competition department was under his supervision back at Honda... I don't know exactly what it was that he did there. He was the vice-president, but he was very underused over there at Sega... he was a genius at Honda but contributed very discreetly at Sega. Anyway, we made three Senninha action figures and put them in acrylic boxes... and then I gave them to Irimajiri. Man... he [loved it]... So, when we presented them the project over in Japan, we didn't need to explain who he [Senna] was; this was a project that [flowed naturally]...

But the others were much more complicated, because you had to [explain it] -- well, Chapolim... how were we going to explain to a japanese person who Chapolim Colorado was? "Well, he's mexican --", and they were like "he's mexican? Not brazilian?"... and so on. Anyway, so basically, the thing that really prevailed was the commercial aspect of it all. For example, it was getting harder to sell software at the time, due to piracy and other problems, so its percentage [of units sold], when compared to hardware, was going down. So we were coming with projects to improve this performance. So you had to present it like "this is our project of the year; our goal is to improve the ratio/keep it stable", and so on. And then you would add "one very important aspect is the use of local characters". Then it would fit the context of a greater project, with goals and whatnot. And then they would say "well, you do know the market... so it's OK". We had a lot of credibility with them, regarding this aspect... they really trusted that we knew our market well.

Interviewer: And you already had a whole history [with them], right? It wasn't like back at the [monochrome] handheld days...

Yeah, well, [back at the] handheld days we were already respected... so much that we thought it was going to work in the end.

Interviewer: ...but the "monochrome" [aspect of it] was...

...yeah... but then we lacked skill and patience. You had to have such a patience... We had a technology department vice-president... a brilliant person, Mr. Victor Blatt, who later bought both our family's and the Dazcal family's shares at Elsys. A brilliant person. He once went with me to Japan... but he couldn't manage to tolerate them. And they, in turn, didn't like him either... Anyway, sometimes there were issues that took months to solve... which could be over in a matter of minutes. So yeah, regarding that, Sega was very hard [to deal with].
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:21 am
I've been reading all of these ... really interesting. I don't have too much to add, just want to let you know that your translations are appreciated, even if you don't get a response to each one!

Well, from this translation I learnt that there was an ex-Honda man at Sega who understood the worldwide appeal of Senna. I'm not too surprised at that, back in the 90s F1 was huge in Japan ... it was the only country where demand was so big for tickets that they had to hold a lottery for the tickets for race day. It's a shame that the situation is not the same nowadays ... maybe it would be different if there was a Japanese driver. There were so many F1 games featuring Aguri Suzuki back in the 90s.

I remember watching the race the day that Senna lost his life (and let's not forget Roland Ratzenberger who also lost his life in qualifying that weekend) ... a devastating loss to the world of F1 in general, and to all F1 fans ... it must have been a big loss to the guys at Tec Toy, and also the people at SoJ who had built a relationship with him. Like Michael Jackson, he seemed to be a celebrity that not only gave his name to a game, but also cared enough to give input to the product.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:34 am
Is a bit funny when he told them about chapulin and they said "hes mexican not brazilian?" Chespirito was popular in all of latin america and spain even here in the us univision still showing reruns.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:55 am
I think it's news that the Senna game was proposed by Tec Toy (I think that's what he is saying, it's a bit unclear). A shame he didn't tell us the story behind Street Fighter II.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:54 pm
BKK wrote
Like Michael Jackson, he seemed to be a celebrity that not only gave his name to a game, but also cared enough to give input to the product.

Indeed; they apparently had a lot of feedback from him while developing the Mega Drive version.

Chicho wrote
Is a bit funny when he told them about chapulin and they said "hes mexican not brazilian?" Chespirito was popular in all of latin america and spain even here in the us univision still showing reruns.

They're still airing it down here...

Maxim wrote
I think it's news that the Senna game was proposed by Tec Toy (I think that's what he is saying, it's a bit unclear). A shame he didn't tell us the story behind Street Fighter II.

Yes, that is indeed what he's saying. He will talk a bit about Street Fighter II' in the next video; stay tuned.
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:17 am
I'd take some of the information in these videos with a grain of salt. In addition to Street Fighter II, the next video also deals with Duke Nukem, and supposedly the "secret" is that the technique for the 3D view came from a "brilliant" solution used in the Master System version of Phantasy Star. I haven't personally debugged (or even played much of) either game, but I seriously doubt that the pre-rendered corridors of Phantasy Star had ANYTHING to do with the real-time raycaster used in Duke Nukem 3D.

I guess it's possible that they went to the guys who made Phantasy Star when they wanted to develop Duke Nukem, because they were the reference in 3D, and that the same guys came up with a completely different technique based on raycasting for the new game, but implying that there's anything in common between those 2 3D engines is absurd!
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:36 am
Sounds a lot like my management's understanding of what we actually do...
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:40 pm
Here's an attempt at the eleventh video.


Part 11 - Street Fighter & the Secret of Duke Nukem

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
Interviewer: Street Fighter, for the Master System... was it difficult to get approval for this one?

No, it wasn't. Actually, in that case, we dealed with Capcom. We dealed more with Capcom than with [Sega]... and we played a nice little prank [on them]. Back in the day there was Romstar, which represented Capcom on the arcade front. And they brought to Brazil -- I don't recall it right now what was this person's exact job, but it was someone involved with the development of Street Fighter. So we played a little prank on him. We presented him Street Fighter for the Master System, hid the console beneath the table, [showed him] the TV and gave him two Mega Drive controllers. So we presented it to him as a Mega Drive game. He played it a bit and was like "well... you could improve it a lot, here..." and so on... he kept on trashing the game. Then we finally took the console from underneath the table. He stood there and said "I've never seen a Master System game take that much advantage of the processors as you did". So I think all this convinced him, because he then said "we're going to authorize this"... they weren't very keen on authorizing it for the Master System, at first.

Interviewer: ...it's the only official release for an 8-bit console... and outside Brazil it is an extremely rare item. The development was all local...

...it was all done here, yeah.

Interviewer: ...is that team still working on Tec Toy, as of today?

No, I don't think so... there are very few people here. The software guys aren't here anymore. But it was cool, developing it [Street Fighter]. I think it was that little prank we played on him with the Mega console [controller] that convinced him, because... well, indeed, we had so much experience with Master that we were already talking to -- just so you can have an idea, it was a Z80... its processing power was... really complicated. Compared to the 68000... which, today, is nothing, but back in the day, the difference was huge... between the 68000 and the Zilog. But it was cool... this was a project that had -- also, something that really helped was the relationship between Romstar and them [Sega]. They had very good relationship regarding the arcades... it was something different, as well... so it came out.

For example, we made Duke Nukem for the Mega Drive... and it was a killer. We were only able to do it thanks to Phantasy Star. Because Master System's Phantasy Star had a solution for that first person camera that was brilliant. The algorithms that they used there were brilliant. Imagine having to do that... on the Master System... on an 8-bit. So, we couldn't manage to do it on the Mega Drive... until someone here who participated on the Phantasy Star [translation] recalled it and said "I guess I'll try and search around for it"... that's how they came up with the solution.

Interviewer: Impressive...

...because it was a first person view, and if you remember Phantasy Star's labyrinths, it was exactly [like that]... very crazy, because we couldn't manage to do it.

Interviewer: Interesting. Do you have this person's name? Do you recall it?

I don't know if it was Claudio... it might have been Claudio Yamaguchi...

Interviewer: ...because this -- of course, there was a team involved... but a single person practically defined a release...

...made it possible... made it possible. And there was a company in the United States that distributed Duke Nukem... they had its rights for Latin America, I guess. And this company, when they looked at the contract, they saw that they had the distribution rights but it wasn't specified for which platforms... so they got in. Of course, they [Sega] also had to approve it up there, but it was thanks to this contract that it was made possible. Because when they [Sega] heard that we were going to make [the game] for the Mega Drive, they weren't very happy...

Interviewer: ...because the Mega Drive was already -- the end of '97, '98...

...yeah, it was one of the last ones, if not the last one that we made... maybe it was the last one. So they weren't very happy... but this company, which acted as intermediary and held the distribution rights -- it was very cool, because once again it was made possible.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 9:35 am
That 20th century Street Fighter prank just made my 21st century day! Thanks, Melanogaster! :)
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Post Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 12:53 am
Here's an attempt at the twelfth video.


Part 12 - Carmen Sandiego & Woody Woodpecker

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
...for example, we had another cool story, which is Carmen Sandiego for the Master System. It was another killer. Brøderbund used to make Carmen Sandiego, but the ones who released it for the Master System were Parker Bros. We wanted to release it here on all platforms -- Mega Drive, Master System and [Game Gear]. Brøderbund had no idea it was released for the Master System, and didn't even want to hear about it. They said "well, if you're saying it was released for the Master System, then prove it". We went to Sega and asked for the [source] code, but they didn't have it. By the way, they got a lot of source codes from us; we used to have a much better library compared to them. Anyway, they didn't have it. Then I found somewhere among my things an instructions manual; so I brought this Parker Bros.' manual with me. I also had a great deal of luck. There was a guy at Hasbro, an older gentleman, that came from Parker Bros. He used to work on the international department over at Estrela, which used to distribute Hasbro in Brazil at the time. He was always "flirting" with us, trying to figure out something about us... but then I asked him "you came from Parker Bros.; do you remember Carmen Sandiego that you made for the Master System?", and he said "of course... I was the one who approved the project". So I said "could you help me convince Brøderbund that you actually did make it?". Then I guess he made a call that solved it. With that settled, we did the project and sent it for them to approve. Editora Abril here loved the idea, we did a very cool project. But there was no sign of approval for the Master System. We had sent the cartridge and everything, but there was no word whatsoever... so one day I went there. They were located at a beautiful place, on a mountain... very nice. So I asked them "what problem do you have to approve it? Basically, all we did was the localization to portuguese; the rest is essentially the same project from Parker Bros.". And they said "well, you know what... we haven't got a Master System here"... [Arnhold] "oh come on, why didn't you just say it...". They had no way to test it. It delayed the whole project, but eventually we sent them one and settled it. So this was another difficult project to deliver, as well, since no one remembered who had the [source code]... but, eventually, it was released. And it was a national disaster... we had TV ads, we worked together with Editora Abril, who made a little encyclopedia, we released it simultaneously on PC, 16-bit and 8-bit... we did a very cool job... but it was a sales disaster... it didn't work at all.

Interviewer: But a game that did work that you guys localized was Yu Yu Hakusho. Do you remember it?

That one I don't remember...

Interviewer: You don't...? It was a fighting game... the anime used to air on Manchete. Tec Toy released it for the Mega Drive; you took the japanese version and localized it...

...that one I don't remember...

Interviewer: What a pity... anyway, it was part of that local research that you talked about...

Well, I don't recall that one... I do recall that we made Chaves [Chapolim], we made that one from Folha de S.Paulo...

Interviewer: Geraldinho...?

...Geraldinho... that one was funny...

Interviewer: Yeah, well, Yu Yu Hakusho was [released] for the Mega Drive...

For the Mega Drive we made Woody Woodpecker, right...? [Concerning] Woody Woodpecker, we did an interesting research. We found out that, in Latin America, the cheapest cartoon [to air] available that also had the most episodes was Woody Woodpecker. So, for the TV stations -- it was one of the most aired cartoons among the various countries in Latin America. We went to Colombia, Venezuela... we did a cool research. The rights were very cheap, and there was a large number of episodes... and then there was also that story regarding Paul Rioux's approval that took 10 minutes. But this project gave us a hard time...

Interviewer: But this one was a success.

...yeah, this one was. But selling it outside Brazil -- only for the Game Gear, because you wouldn't find Master or Mega anymore; the only product that you would find outside Brazil was the Game Gear. We managed to sell just a little bit in the United States, for the Game Gear... but very few.

Interviewer: And nowadays it is a collector's item...

"Férias Frustradas do Pica-Pau", wasn't it...?

Interviewer 1: "Férias Frustradas", exactly.
Interviewer 2: Well, all Tec Toy games... games released here in Brazil... they're very sought-after.
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:18 pm
Here's an attempt at the thirteenth video.


Part 13 - Sega Club News and the TV show

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
I went to visit Sega of America before we released the Master System. At the time, Sega of America was in South San Francisco, and they were taking over distribution from Tonka. So then I went to talk to the girl in charge of customer's service there... we talked about gaming tips. And the girl terrorized me with the amount of phone calls they had just to hand out gaming tips. Her numbers were [impressive]... So when I got back I told Daniel [Dazcal]: "we've got a problem...". The numbers were... I don't recall it anymore. But in the United States, you could get a phone line for free, you could close deals on 0800 [toll-free] lines paying a fixed amount per line every month to AT&T... it didn't matter if the guy was calling from Alaska, or... Here in Brazil, a phone line costed US$5,000, at the time. It was impossible to get... you had to have an Expansion Plan, and whatnot... it was ridiculous. Our telephone exchanges were analog; so IVR, and things that today are ridiculously easy [to have], at that time... We were one of the first companies in Brazil to have an IVR on analog telephone exchanges. [So when you had that] "dial 1... dial 2... dial 3... dial 4..." [message], you had to wait [for] all [of the options to be read], and then you could dial [the option you wanted], because it wouldn't accept [the input]. It was a software that few companies had; we were one of the first in Brazil to make it work... it was complicated. So I said: "Daniel [Dazcal], this is not going to work... it's not going to work. Because the costs will be impossible... we won't be able to handle it". He then said: "well, you've got to find a way... it's your problem, so deal with it". So afterwards I came back to him and said: "what if we did it the other way round? What if we were to present the gaming tips on TV? So instead of having the guy calling us, we make our way to him. We will then advertise our product, the cartridges, the new releases and so on". So then we came up with "Master Dicas" [Master Tips], which later on became "Sega Dicas" [Sega Tips]. We went to Globo and told them that we would like to buy one minute -- I guess it was one minute at first but then it dropped to 30 seconds -- per day every day. "Can you come up with a special price for us...?" [and they said] "of course..." and of course they came up with a much higher price... it was a tough negotiation. But anyway, we eventually closed a deal with them. Malhação... it still exists, right...? So on the last [commercial] break before Malhação and after some cartoons or whatever we would have the [Master Dicas]...

Interviewer: A very strategic spot.

Yeah. It had to be on that break, at that time... they also demanded that it showed on that break -- it couldn't be on a break within Malhação; it had to be before it or the price would go up... anyway, we came to an agreement, and that was when the story began. We went to TV and... how could you say it... we started a work to try and communicate with the kid. When I went visiting [Sega of America] that one time, a guy from Research, I guess, told me something that I never forgot. He said: "schoolyard gossip". So he told me that the kids' schoolyard gossip on recess time was the most important thing we should conquer. He said: "if you manage to get the kids on recess time talking about your product, your gaming tips, Alex Kidd's Jankenpon, you won't need anything else; that's what you've got to have". So I came back from the United States and wondered "how am I going to get to these kids?". So everything we went on doing was indeed in order to win over them, to offer them [something]. Because Ni****do had an awareness level that was much higher... but we worked these things out. The value of the tips for them [kids] was vital, so we encouraged them to record it, even. You've mentioned Mortal Kombat; we released a commercial about Mortal Kombat -- can't remember if it was II or 3 -- that the kids would record it and then watch it in slow motion afterwards, on the VCR, to try and find out what was going on... it went viral. So that's when it started... the Master Dicas, that became Sega Dicas, and the Master Club, which later became the Sega Club. And the Meganet is nothing more than the desire to get together with the final consumer. You had those newsletters... but until you managed to send the newsletters, the news had already become history. It demanded a lot of work... We managed to have 230,000 active Sega Club subscribers, out of a million and something in total. 230,000 active subscribers... at that time...

Interviewer: That was around... which year?

Right now I won't be able to give you the year, I'd have to go and look for it. But it must have been in '94, '93...

Interviewer: ...impressive, anyway.

Now imagine enveloping all that... there were times at Tec Toy that we'd have to gather everyone around and [licks air]... and it wouldn't quite work, people would change address and... it was a distress. It costed a fortune and was also a distress.
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:52 pm
Thanks for continuing this series of translations, Melanogaster!
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:01 am
Here's an attempt at the fourteenth and last video.


Part 14 - Meganet and the Last Client

Stefano Arnhold, Chairman at Tec Toy, wrote
...so the Meganet... let's say, if you were to ask me what my objective with the Meganet was, I'd say it was to get close to the final consumer but without resorting to all that [newsletters and whatnot, from the end of Part 13]. So then comes home banking, home shopping, all that information... all with that goal in mind. But we came too early... we came at a moment where the final consumer couldn't grasp yet what the Internet was... they didn't know, they couldn't understand it.

Interviewer: Yeah... yeah.

1996, [the year of the] Atlanta Olympic Games. We made that advertisement... we got that Leandro & Leonardo song, Pense em Mim ["Think About Me". The chorus ends like "Think about me / cry for me / call me / no, don't call him / (don't) call him / don't cry for him"]... so [we made a parody singing] "don't send them an e-mail, send it to me" or whatever [the advertisement shows five well-known brazilian athletes, each trying to persuade the spectator to send them (instead of the other four) a supportive e-mail through Meganet]. The five athletes we chose won medals. The volleyball player Ana Paula; Robson Caetano, who got his medal on the very last day, competing on the 4x100m relay; from Sailing we had Torben Grael, I think...

Interviewer: Lars [Grael], maybe...?

...I don't know, I think it was Torben; who else from the five... ahh, Gustavo Borges, the swimmer; [the fifth] I guess it was a girl from the basketball team [actually it was the judoka Aurélio Miguel]. Anyway, it was very cool, because you had to send them an e-mail... supporting and such. It was a disaster... holy shit... so we did a research to try and find what went wrong. Then we found out that the average citizen didn't know what an e-mail was... they didn't know, they had no idea. And we... we didn't expect it. So the Meganet was a product that was way ahead of its time.

Interviewer: [You could] check your account balance, and all that...

...that one worked quite well; it was the TeleBradesco. "TeleBradesco Residência Jovem", what a name we gave it...

Interviewer 1: This one I have at home.
Interviewer 2: You do?
Interviewer 1: Boxed, with instructions...
Interviewer 2: That's nice...

We had a whole system with servers... they answered [requests] from Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro... and São Paulo... I guess those were the six [state] capitals that had the project going on. It would go to one of our servers, then it would get here... and we needed to shut this network down, since people weren't using the Meganet all that much anymore. The negotiation phase was difficult... we had people saying "no way. I check my account balance through that, I get in touch with the bank... there's NO WAY you're gonna shut that down". "And what if I gave you one [Mega Drive] cartridge? Or two? Or three? Or four? Or TEN cartridges?". And there still was some people saying "no way". There was this one guy from [the state of] Rio Grande do Sul that I've got no idea what we did to... he didn't even want to hear it. He said "are you kidding me? This is the best thing ever, I don't want to [cancel it]". It was a nightmare. We came to a point where he was the only customer left on the network. From [the city of] Porto Alegre... the costs to keep the line were very high.

Interviewer: For one person...

Anyway, the desire to get together with the final consumer started with the Master Dicas and went all the way to the Meganet, Meganet 2. For example, Microsoft launched a service similar to the Meganet, but for the TV -- a little set-top box. I'm trying to recall the name it had on the United States, but I can't... can't recall the amount of money they spent on the project, either, but they sold 125,000 units. I wanted to bring it to Brazil, but I couldn't... because there was something related to National Security. Apparently you could redirect missiles with the thing or whatever, so we couldn't bring it from the United States. A Microsoft related search [on the Internet] would show it... I don't know if it was "Microsoft TV"... something like that. It would basically bring Internet to the TV through that little set-top box. And why I'm telling this story? It was a national failure as well, given it sold about 125,000 units. They invested greatly to promote it -- and so did we, in due proportion. But I think we sold around 60,000 units... almost half the amount they sold, with just a fraction of what they invested. Of course, [we have to consider that] we were companies with completely distinct sizes. But the reason I'm mentioning these numbers is that, proportionally, we did very well, since the north-american market is... but we were both absolutely wrong regarding timing. Having Internet on videogames still took a long time after that.

Interviewer: The Dreamcast started to improve that area...

...yeah, it started...

Interviewer: ...and the Xbox...

...yeah, the Xbox was more like it. But for example, the PS2 tried and it didn't work... already on the PS2 era...

[Final Message]

"I've received today a lovely visit from the guys from WarpZone... we had a very interesting chat about the videogames evolution here in Brazil, the development of the Sega trademark and the interesting stories about Tec Toy's pioneering regarding the development of videogame elements both at national and international levels."


Well, that was it. Sorry it took so long to get it all done.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:26 am
Great read. Thank you very much :)
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:31 am
Thank you, Melanogaster! I really enjoyed having the opportunity to read this and learn more about the mighty TecToy.

Hail TecToy and hail the gamers of Brazil! Thanks to you, the Master System is the longest-lived console in the history of video games. I don't expect it will ever be surpassed, as contemporary consoles probably won't even work in 30 years time... even if the box can power on, the online infrastructure will be long gone.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:05 am
Yeah, thanks for these translations, it's a great interview to have in English.
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:58 am
Hi guys, my name is Cleber and I am the owner for WarpZone channel, I was there in Tectoy during this interview and I can say, this was awesome.

Too bad we had very simple recording stuff on this time, but I guess the real intention here was register all these new points and facts about Sega and Tectoy history in Brazil, this is what WarpZone wants to do.

Thank you for all effort to localize the interview.
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