Gremlin Industries

Gremlin Industries was an American arcade game manufacturer active from 1971 to 1983, based in San Diego, California. Following its acquisition by Sega in 1978, the company was known as Gremlin/Sega or Sega/Gremlin. Sega/Gremlin's notable franchise is Head On. The company's name was subsequently changed to Sega Electronics in 1982, before it closed in 1983. Sega later released emulated and playable version of some of Sega/Gremlin games as vault material for the Sega Ages and Sega Genesis Collection series.

Sega Electronics, Inc.
FormerlyGremlin Industries, Inc. (1971-1982)
IndustryVideo games
Founded1971; 52 years ago (1971)
  • Frank Fogleman
  • Carl Grindle
Defunct1983; 40 years ago (1983)
FateManufacturing division sold to Bally Manufacturing and merged into Bally/Midway, library absorbed into Sega
HeadquartersSan Diego, California
ProductsArcade game
ParentSega (1978-1983)


An arcade game of Star Trek made by Sega Electronics.

Gremlin was founded in 1970 as a contract engineering firm by Harry Frank Fogleman and Carl E. Grindle.[1] The duo had intended to name the company after themselves as "Grindleman Industries," but an employee of the Delaware Secretary of State's office misheard the name over the phone, so the company was incorporated as Gremlin instead.[2] In 1973, Gremlin became a manufacturer of coin-operated wall games with their first release Play Ball (1973).[3] Gremlin joined the video game industry in 1976 by releasing its first video arcade game entitled Blockade (1976).[4]

In 1978, Gremlin was acquired by Sega Enterprises Inc. and their games acquired the label of Gremlin/Sega or Sega/Gremlin.[5] Following the Sega purchase, Gremlin began to release games from both Sega and other Japanese companies. Among these video games were Namco's Gee Bee (1978), Nichibutsu's Moon Cresta and Super Moon Cresta (both 1980) Nintendo's Space Firebird (1980), and Konami's Frogger (1981).

Nineteen eighty-one saw Gremlin lease the first building in Rancho Bernardo Technology Park, a "long-term lease" with an estimated cost of US$10 million.[6][7]

In 1982, the name of the company was changed to Sega Electronics to better strengthen the Sega brand name in the United States.[8] However, they did not survive past the golden age of arcade video games. In August 1983, the arcade manufacturing division of the company were sold to Bally Manufacturing and through the purchase, Bally/Midway acquired Sega's technology for laserdisc video games, principally Astron Belt. They gained the right of first refusal to publish arcade games by the Japanese Sega Enterprises, Ltd. in the United States for two years, including games such as Up 'N Down, Future Spy, and Flicky.[9] The sale did not affect game development division, research and development division, Sega Center arcades, and home cartridge business which stayed with Sega.[10]

In 1984, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. itself was bought out in a management buyout by Sega executives David Rosen and Hayao Nakayama with backing from CSK Corporation, taking Gremlin games library with it.

After the sale of arcade manufacturing assets and management buyout of Sega, Sega Electronics became a shell company (holding only Gremlin brand trademarks in several countries, later divested to Warner Bros.). It was renamed to Ages Electronics in 1985 (later used as production company related to The Maury Povich Show and currently part of CBS Media Ventures).[1]

Trademarks for Gremlin brand in the United States are now expired.[11][12] In Japan, it is currently owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment (owner of Gremlins movie franchise and coincidentally, a successor to Bally/Midway after acquisition of most of Midway Games assets in 2009) while Sega retained the Sega/Gremlin trademark ownership.[13] In several countries, Warner Bros. obtained the rights to Gremlin brand from both Ages Electronics and unrelated British company Gremlin Interactive.[14][15][16]

Video gamesEdit


Title Released
Blockade 1976
Safari 1977
Comotion 1977
Depthcharge 1977
Hustle 1977
Blasto 1978
Frogs 1978
Deep Scan 1979
Fortress 1979
Head On 1979
Head On 2 1979
Invinco! 1979
Carnival 1980
Digger 1980
Astro Blaster 1981
Space Odyssey 1981
Eliminator 1981
Pulsar 1981
Space Fury 1981
Star Trek 1982
Tac/Scan 1982
Zaxxon 1982
Zektor 1982
Battle Star Canceled
Ixion Canceled
Pig Newton Canceled
Razzmatazz Canceled


Title Licensed from Released
Gee Bee Namco 1978
Moon Cresta Nichibutsu 1980
Space Firebird Nintendo 1980
Super Moon Cresta Nichibutsu 1980
Frogger Konami 1981


Sega released emulated and playable versions of some of the Sega/Gremlin arcade games as vault material in the Sega Ages compilation series for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 and Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.

Deep Scan was included as a bonus game in the Sega Saturn version of Die Hard Arcade.[17]

Explanatory notesEdit

  1. ^ Registered trademark in Japan owned by Sega Corporation as of February 2023


  1. ^ a b "AGES ELECTRONICS, INC. filling on California Secretary of State as of January 2023". California Secretary of State. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  2. ^ Smith, Alexander (2019). They Create Worlds: The Story of the People and Companies That Shaped the Video Game Industry, Volume I. CRC Press. p. 306. ISBN 9781138389908.
  3. ^ Smith, Keith (September 20, 2015). "The Golden Age Arcade Historian: The Ultimate (So-Far) History of Gremlin Industries Part 1". The Golden Age Arcade Historian. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  4. ^ Smith, Keith (September 25, 2015). "The Golden Age Arcade Historian: The Ultimate (So-Far) History of Gremlin Industries Part 2". The Golden Age Arcade Historian. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Keith (October 10, 2015). "The Golden Age Arcade Historian: The Ultimate (So-Far) History of Gremlin Industries Part 3". The Golden Age Arcade Historian. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  6. ^ "First building sold". Times-Advocate. August 16, 1981. p. E-3 – via
  7. ^ "Technology Park Building Leased to Gremlin Industries". Part VIII. Los Angeles Times (Sunday Final ed.). August 20, 1981. p. 38 – via
  8. ^ Horowitz, Ken (2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution : A History in 62 Games. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-4766-3196-7. OCLC 1041854216.
  9. ^ Adlum, Eddie (November 1985). "The Replay Years: Reflections from Eddie Adlum". RePlay. Vol. 11, no. 2. pp. 134-175 (168-70).
  10. ^ Horowitz, Ken (2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution : A History in 62 Games. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-4766-3196-7. OCLC 1041854216.
  11. ^ "GREMLIN 73123232 - Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  12. ^ "GREMLIN 73087925 -Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". Retrieved February 13, 2023.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Trade Mark 339613 | IP Australia | Trade Mark Search". Retrieved February 13, 2023. Amend: GREMLIN INDUSTRIES INC. 8401 Aero Drive SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA 92123 U.S.A. Transfer to : WARNER BROS. INC., of 4000 Warner Boulevard, Burbank, California, United States of America by change of name to SEGA ELECTRONICS, INC., by subsequent change of name to AGES ELECTRONICS, INC. and by subsequent Deed of Assignment dated 22 June 1988
  15. ^ "GREMLIN - UK00001122987" (PDF). Retrieved February 13, 2023. Effective Assignment date: 5 February 1990 - ASSIGNMENT FROM AGES ELECTRONICS,INC. TO WARNER BROS. INC.
  16. ^ "GREMLIN - UK00001313745" (PDF). Retrieved February 13, 2023. Effective Assignment date: 9 April 1992 - ASSIGNMENT FROM GREMLIN GRAPHICS SOFTWARE LIMITED. TO WARNER BROS. INC.
  17. ^ "Preview: Die Hard Arcade". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 16. Emap International Limited. February 1997. p. 24.