The following is a translation of an article in Sega’s staff newsletter, published in March 1997, about Michael Jackson’s visit to Sega’s headquarters in Tokyo as well as Tokyo Joypolis in December 1996.
Michael Jackson’s Sega Tour ’96
On December 18 and 19, during the busy end-of-year period, the world-famous superstar Michael Jackson paid a visit to Sega.
There were many media reports of Michael’s concerts and events in Japan, but he was able to come to Sega in complete secrecy.
The purpose of Michael’s visit this time was to get a tour of Sega’s latest technology and to experience some of the rides at Tokyo Joypolis. Of course, Michael has been involved in the development of Sega arcade and Mega Drive games before, and he is a big Sega fan.
A lot of you are probably saying, “What? No way! He was here? I didn’t realize!” So, let’s take a peek at what Michael did on his Sega tour this time.
Wednesday, December 18, 1996
4:00pm. Michael arrived at Sega’s headquarters in a convoy of three vans followed by six taxis. He immediately went to director Hisashi Suzuki’s office on the 8th floor of Sega’s No. 2 building, where they had a short chat. Director Yu Suzuki was also present, and Michael was introduced to Sega’s VR technology, learned about Virtua Fighter 3, and watched a video about Tokyo Joypolis.
5:00pm. Michael left for a tour of the arcade research and development division in Sega’s No. 2 building. He tested out Virtual On at AM3’s office on the 7th floor. He ended up losing every match to the boy next to him and got quite fired up.
Michael played Virtua Fighter 3 at AM2’s office on the 5th floor. He was praised for his skilled use of the controls. He enjoyed the sound of the floorboards in the office, so he showed off some of his dance moves (could everyone hear?).
In director Yu Suzuki’s office, Michael received an explanation of a voice-recognition chip and learned about some possible future development projects.
Michael tried out a gun game currently in development.
They received an introduction to Sega’s latest skateboard game.
Michael tried out some Print Club at the AM1 office. I got one of the 16 photos. It’s a rare treasure.
Thursday, December 19, 1996
10:30am. Michael arrived at Tokyo Joypolis. The V-Stage screen displayed “Welcome Michael Jackson” as he entered.
Director Akira Nagai, Michael, and director Hisashi Suzuki.
Being guided by directors Hisashi Suzuki and Akira Nagai, Michael first took a ride on Time Fall.
After Michael got off of Aqua Nova, a panic erupted when the Joypolis crowd realized Michael was present. As more and more people crowded around to get a glimpse of him, Michael calmly waved back, and we could see how kindly he treats his fans.
Michael next went to the 4th floor, where he experienced Power Sled.
Michael highly praised director Yu Suzuki when he came from behind to take the lead. Throughout, he had a giant smile on his face and could not conceal his excitement.
While being led to the 5th floor by the Joypolis staff, Michael’s eyes came across an air hockey table.
Michael tried out The Crypt on the 6th floor. He praised it, saying “It’s a very fun attraction that tricks your eyes and ears.”
At the medal game corner, Michael called Castle Coaster “beautiful.”
Michael and director Yu Suzuki.
Finally, some big presents from Michael! Michael signed t-shirts and programs for Tokyo Joypolis that will be gifted to seven lucky customers during this year’s Virtual Countdown Festival on New Year’s Eve.