Legendary Japanese gaming company Sega is celebrating its 60th birthday by giving away games to fans.
Sega was founded in 1960 by American businessmen Martin Bromley and Richard Stewart, and has produced some of the most successful series of games in existence, including Sonic the Hedgehog and Yakuza.
Here is everything you need to know.
The history of Sega
Headquartered in Tokyo, Sega has been producing games since the late 1960s.
Its first was Periscope, a mechanical shooting gallery game in which players look through a periscope to direct and fire torpedoes, towards attacking warships.
Arcade games were the company’s bread and butter, but a downturn in the arcade business in the early 1980s saw Sega begin to develop its own video game consoles for use in the home.
Its first consoles like the SG-1000 and Master System struggled against competitors such as Nintendo’s iconic Entertainment System, but Sega’s fortunes changed with the release of the Mega Drive in 1988.
The console struggled to find its footing in its native Japan, but found success overseas after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991 – it even briefly outsold the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the US.
The company’s Dreamcast console – first released in 1998 – is remembered extremely fondly by gaming fans, but sales did not meet Sega’s expectations.
In 2002, Sega stopped manufacturing consoles to become a third-party developer for other platforms. It remains the world's most prolific arcade game producer, having developed more than 500 games since the early 1980s.
What free Sega games are available?
Sega is celebrating its 60th anniversary by sharing some "new” games with fans, completely free.
Rather than full blown titles, the company has delved deep into its archives to unearth some interesting internal experiments and homages.
The games will also be limited edition, and will only be available until 6pm on Monday 19 October.
We've rounded each one up below:
Armor of Heroes: A retro-inspired multiplayer tank romp for up to four players in versus combat and couch co-op (available from 15 October)Endless Zone: The Endless universe and Fantasy Zone collide in this side-scrolling shoot ‘em up (available from 16 October)Streets of Kamurocho: Kiryu and Majima from Sega’s critically acclaimed Yakuza series are raging on the Streets of Kamurocho in a new, but familiar challenge (available from 17 October)Golden Axed: A build of a never-before-seen glimpse at a canned project called Golden Axe: Reborn. (available from 18 October)
That final game is particularly interesting, and will only be available for one day, so move quick.
Sanatana Mishra, who was in charge of the original prototype's design, was surprised to see his work seeing the light of day, tweeting: “WTF sega is releasing the golden axe prototype."
Speaking to the game’s unfinished state, Mishra said: “Please be aware this was roughly two weeks work and our weird bosses wouldn’t let us spend more than a day on combat design.”
How do I get the free Sega games?
To claim your free games, all you need to do is head to this promotional product page on Steam and click ‘Play Game’.
This will add the game to your library, and it will be yours forever, but once each game is taken down from Steam, they’re gone forever.
Steam users who link their accounts to their email addresses at sega60th.com can also get their hands on Sega Saturn classic Nights Into Dreams for free.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Sunderland Echo