Read All About It!

You know, for a console that never really penetrated the 'mainstream' - i.e., Starbucks drinking cunts who read FHM and go to Tony & Guy for their RIDICULOUS "I've just got out of bed" haircuts - the Dreamcast had it's fair share of magazines. At least, here in the UK it did. Many a four quid of this gamer's scrounged money was spent on said periodicals, and here, for YOUR delectation, is a furiously over-zealous run down of each:

Dreamcast - The Official Dreamcast Magazine
Price: 4.99
Publisher: Dennis Publishing

The Official Dreamcast mag, sanctioned by SEGA and read by those with more money than sense, me (occasionally) included. The main attraction was the 'free' Dream On demo disk included with every issue, which, to be fair always had up to date games featured on it. The 4.99 price was a bit steep, but was justified by the demo - and the mag featured reasonably high production value and every issue was bound with a proper spine and consisted of over 100 pages so you always got a good read out of it. Stylistically, ODM sits proudly in the 'lad's mag' section - dominated by white spaces with the occasional bit of writing, minimalistic illustrations and slightly supercilious reviews. It featured a scoring mark 'out of 10,' and because it was the official tome, always had the most up to date previews and reviews. The downside was that, due to said officialdom, the mag was rarely unbiased and almost every review heaped some kind of praise, even if the game was a pile of toss. Like Army Men: Sarge's Heores. An interesting regular feature was the bit near the back, where a panel of industry insiders (usually developers or publishers) were interviewed on various aspects of Dreamcast gaming.

Overall: A tad pretentious, but a quality read nontheless - and it had the demo disk, albeit for a hefty price.

Dreamcast Monthly
Price: 2.99
Publisher: Quay

Dreamcast Monthly was a mag that, as far as I know, didn't run for any longer than a year. It was a well designed magazine but was only sold in a limited number of stores - indeed, I only ever saw it in one shop - and pretty much every issue was packaged with some kind of freebie, be it a tips book or a poster etc. The styling is very different from the Official mag in that every page is packed with info and pictures to the point where, in some ways, it's difficult to read. Dreamcast Monhly, like most mags, featured some interesting interviews with industry big-wigs, and possibly the most interesting was in Issue 8 (pictured) with the MD of Promethian Designs - the hearts and minds behind such cancelled Dreamcast classics as Picassio, Renegade Racers, and Hydro Sprint. The puzzling thing about Dreamcast Monthly though, was the inconsistency with the rest of the industry when it came to review scores. Sure, a review is merely the opinion of the person playing the game - but since when was Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation a 10/10 game, while Soul Calibur only a 9/10? Did the Man from Eidos have his own parking space down at Quay Publishing?

Overall: Another good quality magazine, full of screenshots and interesting features.

Price: 2.95
Publisher: Future Publishing

DC-UK was Future's flagship Dreamcast magazine and rates among some of the best magazines ever produced by that particular publishing house. It had a very similar design and review scoring system to the official mag, but also featured some great mag-specific artwork such as reviewer portraits, feature illustrations and photography. An interesting section of the mag, titled 'DC-World' covered cheats, online news, letters, player's guides, a review database and a general reader interaction bit. DC-UK was also one of the mags that was availible prior to the Dreamcast console's actual launch, and featured a VHS tape with game footage and adverts for the system.

Overall: A serious alternative to the official mag, and with the added bonus of being completely independent (ie: unbiased)

Dreamcast Magazine
Price: 2.99
Publisher: Paragon

Although Dennis Publishing had the trump card with the official Dreamcast liscense, Paragon held the upper hand when it came to sales. Why? Because Dreamcast Magazine was the best selling, longest running, highest quality Dreamcast monthly on the market. Dreamcast Magazine was there from the start, all the way to the bitter end when, with a dearth of new releases to review, they actually re-reviewed the launch games when they were bundled together with the console in an attempt to coax newcomers to the DC scene. The mag ran for over two years and featured some excellent reviews and special features. The back section of the mag had a complete UK and import reviews database, DVD reviews, cheats and reader reviews; whilst the front hosted the previews and the middle section the reviews. A whole page was dedicated to US and Japanese news (written by non other than the suspiciously named Dan Francisco) and it invariaby came wih a free tips book, poster or other free gift. Like I said, it was the last Dreamcast mag to jump ship and towards the end seemed to feature reviewers who had been educated at the Elementary School of Cliche Quoters, but for the most part Dreamcast Magazine was the best DC read availible.

Overall: 100% quality, and wih us to the bitter end. Bravo.

Mr Dreamcast
Price: 2.50
Publisher: Magical Media

Christ almighty. I only ever saw this monstrosity once, and only bought it on that solitary occasion because I was facing a long and boring bus journey. It was clearly aimed at the younger end of the market as this particular issue came complete with a Fur Fighters water pistol (!) and prose that wouldn't seem out of place in a Puddle Lane Ladybird book. Readers artwork featured in the letters section, as did an eerily familiar 'vs' bit, where two totally different games were pitted against each other in a Totally Ridiculous Comparison. Hmmm. Anyway - a mag definatley for the youger Dreamcast gamer, but also a contradiction in the way the reviews were sometimes written for an older age group. Bizarre. At any rate, it didn't run for longer than a few issues. A case of drowning a retared puppy to put the little fucker out of it's misery, methinks.

Overall: Wierd.

Now you've finished reading about mags, I thought maybe you'd like to see boobs combined with our favourite console:

Shame it's a fucking Arsenal shirt she's 'wearing.'


The Swill Man said...

Ooh, I love those painted-on clothes.

Animated AF said...

Shame she's also ugly as sin.
I still have all my ODM's (I subscribed) and Dreamcast Magazines, as well as a few DC-UK's. I could never find Dreamcast Monthly, and have never seen that Mr.Dreamcast one in my entire life.

fatherkrishna said...

Nice post mate but it's got my juices flowing... Try as I might I cannot get hold of any DC magazines. Want mags and demo discs. Have tried to get 'em off ebay to no avail. Now as for the bird with the painted on clothes, I think 'ugly as sin' is a bit harsh Gagaman.
I would. Really I would. Definitely. Wouldn't you? Cos I would. I really would. Etc. etc.

Tom Charnock said...

I never actual looked at her face...if you get my meaning...

Son_et_lumiere said...

I think DC-UK was better than ODM, it was more fun and interesting. ODM was good though, and a lot better than Dreamcast Monthy.

Son_et_lumiere said...

I mean Dreamcast Magazine. I nver got that Dreamcast Monthly.

fatherkrishna said...

I now have issue 16 and 21 of Dreamcast Magazine! In pristine condition!!!
Reviews of Sega Smash Pack and Shenmue... Well Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1999! (to 2001 obviously...)
Oh Pooh! If they're in pristine condition I can't read them in the bath... Bah!

Anonymous said...

Okay, ODM was definitly not a biased magazine. In many cases they were harsher in their review scores then many other mags (giving Fur Fighters 7/10 which a developer on the game remarked as being the lowest score they got) and often got critizised for it. As for heaping praise on Army Men? This is the original review: (All ODM's reviews are now on CVG). It gives it 3/10 and describes the series as "without putting too finer point on it, abysmal". How exactly is there any praise whatsoever.

Dreamcast Magazine was however far more biased. Regularly giving out 9/10 for decent games, it was more like a VG tabloid.

Tom Charnock said...

Well, Sofox - everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I was always more of a Dreamcast Magazine reader than an ODM reader simply because I thought ODM was a bit aloof - and some sections (namely the 'Drinking' section where staff members discussed that issue's reviews over a beveridge in a 'trendy' london bar) were self indulgent toss.

Anonymous said...

Not saying they mightn't have been a bit aloof, not saying they mightn't have been a bit self indulgent either (though largely I wouldn't say so).
My point was with the review scores and that if anything, they were the opposite of biased. The only game I thought they were even close to being biased was Shenmue (10/10) (and that's debateable in and of itself). Jet Set Radio was a true Sega game loved by fans and critics yet ODM only gave it 8/10, exact same story with Space Channel 5.
Speed Devils got 7/10 on ODM, yet I believe Dreamcast Magazine gave it 9/10 (decent, fun racing game I thought).
I skimmed the Dreamcast Magazine, but the were a tad "tabloidy" for my tastes (even had a faux tabloid section one issue) and the Sony bashing was a little too much for me.
Interestingly, a third party backing me up describing the magazine as being "curiously unbiased and well-written"

Reprise said...

I am like nearly 20 years late entering this comment section haha, but Mr. Anonymous was completely right. There was nothing remotely biased about the official Dreamcast magazine. It is probably one of the least biased official magazines we ever had in the UK and in terms of its reviews was a breath of fresh air compared to the Official Playstation magazine, Nintendo magazine and Saturn magazine (which I loved, by the way, but come on, go back and look at some of those scores lol). It scored games very fairly and, if anything, was criticised for scoring games too low. Dreamcast Magazine (the unofficial one) was far more biased, as much as I also really enjoyed that one.

Going back to them as an adult, I also quite appreciate the more mature minimalist design and "pretentious" tone. It's the same with Edge magazine. I always thought that was really pretentious and I preferred Gamesmaster and C&VG for multiplatform magazines, but going back I much prefer Edge now. Gamesmaster is very tabloid like, cluttering the magazine pages, filling every inch with pictures and "wacky" text. It's also very juvenile with its tone, which I thought was edgy and cool as a teenager, but now it just seems lame.