Showing posts with label Paragon Publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paragon Publishing. Show all posts

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 20

Issue 20 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine was released on the 22nd March 2001. By this point, the news of Sega's 'restructure' and shift to becoming a software-only developer and publisher had already broken and as such, the seismic ripples had spread throughout the gaming industry. Dreamcast games were being cancelled at an unprecedented rate, and in an effort to shift units the console's price point was slashed dramatically in all territories.

This was actually quite a bold and positive move by Sega, as reports in issue 20 reveal that the price drop actually helped to increase sales of the ailing Dreamcast. Other positive news reported that the Dreamcast won several awards at the Electronics Boutique annual awards, even bagging a 'console of the year' award for 2000. Sadly though, this was all academic because as we now know, the console didn't really have much longer to live.
Even in light of such moribund developments though, Dreamcast Magazine continued for quite some time and as referenced in the editor's intro March 2001 heralded the closure of the only other unofficial Dreamcast magazine on sale in the UK (which I'm guessing was DC-UK, although don't quote me on that). What this meant was, after March 2001 the only magazines flying the blue swirl on newsstands in the UK (and possibly mainland Europe, too) were Dreamcast Magazine and the Official Dreamcast Magazine; a publication which itself went down the drain not too long later...

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 19

Issue 19 of Paragon Publishing Dreamcast Magazine hit the stores on 22 February 2001, just a month before the Dreamcast console went out of production. That didn't stop it being absolutely filled with awesome new games though, and the cover featured Neversoft and Activision's great 3D roaming beat 'em up Spider-Man. Inside the magazine a huge feature on the 2001 ATEI (Amusement Trades Exhibition International) held at Earls Court, London over two days in January, speculated on various Sega arcade IPs that may be heading to the Dreamcast. Of the 12 games featured, only 3 actually made it to the Dreamcast (Cosmic Smash, WWF Royal Rumble and Sports Jam) but the feature hints at what could have been had the console survived another year or two.
The news section gives first details on sequels for Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5, Mr Driller and Metropolis Street Racer; and conversely also confirms the cancellation of Star Wars Super Bombad Racing. Other titles 'confirmed' for Dreamcast include House of the Dead 3, Virtua Golf and the MMORPG Farnation - a game that was subsequently moved to the Xbox before being canned. News of a PAL 'Mega Drive Compilation' is reported, and this could be linked in some way to the recently discovered official emulator, but I'm just speculating. Speculating wildly, while waving my arms and frothing at the mouth in a way that only a rampant fanboy can.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 18

Issue 18 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast periodical hit the shelves on the 25th January 2001, just a month before production of new Dreamcast hardware was announced as cancelled. Even with this heartbreaking news on the horizon, Dreamcast Magazine issue 18 hit it home that the Dreamcast wasn't yet out for the count, with some truly stunning games reviewed. Before we get to those though, let's look at some of the interesting news and previews in the first half of the mag...
Previews include Daytona 2001, Phantasy Star Online, Giant Killers, Ducati World (shudder), Confidential Mission and Championship Surfer. The infamous Black & White development diary returns and news of Sega Europe's then chief JF Cecillon leaving the company is also reported. There are some intriguing news stories, such as a snippet mentioning rumours of a successor the Dreamcast coming out of Japan, and information on yet another Virtual On game heading to the Dreamcast, this time titled Virtual On 4: Force.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 17

Issue 17 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine was available to purchase in UK corner shops from 28th December 2000. Costing just £2.99 and nestled in amongst the Buckfast and Wham Bars, issue 17 featured Ubisoft and Darkworks' Lovecraft-inspired horror adventure Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare on the cover; alongside Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Tomb Raider Chronicles. The biggest draw for buyers of Dreamcast Magazine issue 17 though, was the infamous cover-mounted free gift.
The Blaze Xploder DC Cheats CD was intended to be a sample of the full product, which allowed users to activate cheats in Dreamcast games. Promising exotic treats such as infinite lives, the removal of in-game timers, and naked characters (probably); the demo version bundled with issue 17 allowed gamers to implement certain 'pokes' in a limited selection of 'titles.' However, it quickly became apparent that while the disc did indeed work as intended, it also bestowed upon users the ability to completely bypass the regional lockout of the Dreamcast and thus opened the door for UK gamers to play NTSC-U and NTSC-J games on their PAL systems.
Imagine for a moment that you answered an innocent knock on your front door, only to be confronted by Professor X who proceded to explain that you were the heir to Stark Industries and were now the new Iron Man. Yes, I know I'm mixing franchises, but this is the kind of power we're talking about. Sort of. It isn't. Anyway, this wasn't the only time such a blunder glorious fuck up was made by a magazine in the UK (as this recent Eurogamer article from former DC-UK editor Keith Stuart will testify); but it was certainly the first time it happened with a disc given away by Dreamcast Magazine, and it probably didn't help Paragon's relationship with Sega Europe either.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 16

Issue 16 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine hit shelves on the 30th November 2000 and was stuffed full of the latest Dreamcast previews and reviews. The cover featured first person shooter Unreal Tournament - a game that was billed as an online multi-player showcase...but which eventually launched in PAL territories with all of the online components removed.
Issue 16 is notable in that it was amongst the first of the magazines at the time to report on a Dreamcast port of PlayStation and PC favourite Driver 2, but alas that never materialised. Other non-released games to be featured in issue 16 include Commandos 2, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell Conspiracies and Woody Woodpecker Racing.
Interestingly, there are several reports in this issue that point towards an upturn in fortunes for Sega's little white box, with sales in both Europe and the US being touted as looking very healthy. In Europe Sega announce over 1 million systems sold and a Dreamarena user base of 400,000; while in the US a $50 price cut leads to monthly sales in October 2000 to double those of September 2000.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 14

Issue 14 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine hit store shelves on 5th October 2000 and featured a menacing Ryo Hazuki staring out from the cover. Other big games name checked include Jet Set Radio, Le Mans 24hrs and Ultimate Fighting Championship. Unlike many previous editions, Issue 14 doesn't really showcase many unreleased gems although both Gun Valkyrie and Heroes of Might & Magic III are previewed.
One of the most interesting tidbits of news involves a referenced interview in which Yuki Naka reveals an early name for the Dreamcast that was considered by Sega was the 'Sega G-Cube,' while another mentions a patent lawsuit involving Sega and a company called Optix Media. A quick Google search reveals nothing about this patent dispute, and neither does the article.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 12

Dreamcast Magazine issue 12 hit shop shelves on 10th August 2000 with a cover emblazoned with Ferrari F355 Challenge and a free double-sided Ferrari poster, which is odd because the issue was actually sponsored by Lamborghini. Naturally, I jest. It's been a while since we looked at Paragon Publishing's unofficial periodical though, so I thought it was about time we dipped back in...and where better to start than with the next in the series? Exactly.
So issue 12 then. It picks up - funnily enough - exactly where issue 11 left off and continues with the same high quality and oft humorous prose as before. Previews in this issue include Silent Scope, Half-Life, WWF Royal Rumble, Record Of Lodoss War, MTV Skateboarding, Star Lancer and the aforementioned Ferrari F355. Interesting news snippets concern themselves with the imminent launch of the Sega Sports black console (see above), the attempt to get Jet Set Radio banned in America, the Virgin Net Dreamscreen service for Dreamarena users, and the new-fangled Utopia boot disc.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 11

Dreamcast Magazine issue number 11 frolicked off the press and onto the shelf of your local Newsagents on the 13th July 2000. Not a particularly memorable day for many, but according to a quick Google search, 13th July 2000 was also the day that Fijian rebels released 18 hostages including the former Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry after eight weeks holed up in the island's parliament building.
Issue 11 is an absolute beast when it comes to unreleased games though (see what I did there?). Colin McRae Rally 2.0 grabs the cover and receives a lengthy preview of the rally game that never was (unless you've been privileged enough to play it), and the rest of the Forecast section contains a ton of other stuff you've probably never heard of before.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 10

Released on 20th June 2000, Dreamcast Magazine issue 10 was the biggest edition so far and weighed in at 130 pages of Dreamcast-related goodness. Another edition stuffed full of previews and reviews, this issue is also a goldmine of information on unreleased software and hardware; and the cover hints at a free music CD.
There are previews of Independence War 2, Star Wars Super Bombad Racing, Colin McRae 2.0, The Road to El Dorado, Roswell Conspiracies, Castlevania Resurrection and Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver 2. There's also a brief look at the Bleem! for Dreamcast controller adapter and a news snippet about a possible port of Metal Gear Solid 2. Other features include a look at the various Sega Parks dotted throughout the UK and a fairly huge Samba De Amigo review.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 9

It's that time again folks - time to take a trip into the distant past and dive into another issue of Dreamcast Magazine! Don't worry though - there's no need to fire up the DeLorean as we've done the hard work for you. Dreamcast Magazine issue 9 hit shop shelves on 18th May 2000 and features 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker on the cover. Previews include Nightmare Creatures 2, Half-Life, Spirit of Speed 1937 (ugh) and a little game from Quantic Dream called Quark.
There are few concrete details to be found about Quark, but it looks as if it was going to be a 3D platformer set across two distinct environments - one a fantasy world with elves and monsters; the other a sort of steampunk version of Victorian London. Another unreleased title, Black & White from Lionhead Studios is given a fairly lengthy preview too, and the first part of Dreamcast Magazine's Black & White Development Diary is showcased on page 38. This dev diary was continued for months and the Dreamcast version of Peter Molyneux's god simulator looked to be in a fairly advanced stage of completion when it was pulled. At the time of writing, the DC version has never been leaked but who knows if this will change in the future...

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 8

If you'd shambled out of the incessant rain and into your local Woolworths in the days immediately after Thursday the 20th of April 2000, the chances are that upon visiting the magazine section you would have happened across issue 8 of Dreamcast Magazine. Nestled in amongst Total Control, Arcade, N64 Magazine, PlayStation Plus and all the other defunct periodicals of yore, Dreamcast Magazine issue 8 retailed for the meagre sum of £2.99, which means that the 114 pages contained betwixt its glossy covers weighed in at a total cost of just under 3 pence each. In modern money, that's about £5.67.
Now the science bit is out of the way (or is it maths? I regularly get those two mixed up, along with religion and politics), let's get down to business. The cover features Dead or Alive 2 for the second time in eight months, and the previews section details such delights as Evil Dead Hail to the King, Wacky Races, Rush 2049, Gauntlet Legends and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 7

Issue 7 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine was available to buy from all good (and quite probably some slightly cruddy) book stores and newsagents on the 30th March 2000. Back in those halcyon days of VHS boxsets and massive MP3 players that took four AAA batteries, Dreamcast Magazine was by far the most popular and best-selling alternative to the official Sega-sanctioned periodical from Dennis Publishing. Issue 7 isn't a rich source of unreleased games like some other issues have been, but it weighs in at 114 pages and this represents a lot of content for the princely asking price of £2.99 a copy. According to the cover issue 7 also came with a free book worth £9.99, but just quite what it was is a mystery as it is not referenced at all in the magazine itself.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 6

Issue 6 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine was available from the 24th February 2000 and marked the first time Lara Croft appeared on the mag's cover. Following in the tradition set by preceding issues, several features on arcade games that either weren't announced or had nothing to do with the Dreamcast are included, although to off-set that there is a fairly lengthy 'history of racing games' article, complete with previews of upcoming Dreamcast driving titles. Issue 6 is particularly interesting in that several high profile abandoned games are showcased, with Picassio, DroneZ and Felony Pursuit all being covered, and Midnight GT also gets a small mention.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 5

Released on 27th January 2000, Dreamcast Magazine issue 5 really marked the point that the magazine got into its stride. The releases were coming thick and fast by that point in the Dreamcast's life and the various sections of the magazine had taken the shape that would remain for the remainder of the publication's run. While the 'unreleased' games are thin on the ground in this issue, there are plenty of previews for games that did see the light of day. The cover, as discussed in the video below is very much of the era, and features the scantily-clad female protagonists of Tecmo's Dead or Alive 2. On this subject, the magazine also has a slightly cringeworthy 'Top 10 Girls on Dreamcast' later on, but the less the said about that the better.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 4

Dreamcast Magazine issue 4 was released on the 23rd December 1999 and was, in effect the Christmas issue of Paragon Publishing's Sega-related periodical. It was the first issue to sport a printed spine in place of a stapled design and featured a slightly re-jigged internal layout. The cover is split between Chu Chu Rocket and Crazy Taxi, two mainstays of the Dreamcast's library, but also mentions Soul Reaver and Fighting Force 2.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 3

Issue 3 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 23rd November 1999. The main cover story was the magazine's first in-depth look at Shenmue, a game that with hindsight needs no real introduction. Other previews include Vigilant 8: 2nd Offence, Ferarri F355 and Resident Evil 2; while the news section details European sales figures for the fledgling system and takes a look at new peripherals available to buy.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 2

The second issue of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 21st October 1999 for the princely sum of £2.95. While the first issue was more of a preview and had practically zero reader participation (for obvious reasons), issue 2 was more fleshed out and had a mail section for reader letters and a high score section to which readers could submit their best attempts at various Dreamcast games. Other new sections introduced for issue 2 included import reviews and the free gift was a Virtua Fighter 3tb solutions booklet.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 1

Dreamcast Magazine from Paragon Publishing was the UK's best-selling unofficial Dreamcast publication during the system's natural lifespan. I bought it on more regular occasions than I purchased the official Dreamcast magazine because it was a bit cheaper, and was a little bit more tongue in cheek when it came to reviews and commenting on the Dreamcast's performance in the console war of the era. Sure, the official mag had the Dream On demo discs, but Dreamcast Magazine had total freedom to be as honest as possible, and this usually lead to some interesting exchanges between the editorial staff and software publishers which were usually printed in the mag, much to the amusement of readers.