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

Total Dreamcast: The Magazine That Never Was?

Like any new system before the rise of web-based media, the Dreamcast garnered a whole raft of print-based magazines designed to support the console and help to disseminate news, reviews and hype about upcoming releases. Even though the Dreamcast came equipped with the ability to browse the internet, the online world of the late 1990s was a whole different ballgame to the one we effortlessly surf today. For this reason, for most gamers - including me - magazines were the go to resource for news about the Dreamcast.
Here in the UK, there were plenty of Dreamcast magazines to choose from and we've pored over the majority of them at some point or another here at the Junkyard in the past. There was Official Dreamcast Magazine (known affectionately as ODM) from Dennis Publishing and we featured the alternative 'demo editions' from the pitching process previously. That magazine came with a DreamOn demo disc stuck to the font cover and cost the princely sum of £5 a pop. There were plenty of cheaper alternatives, including DC-UK from Future (the magazine that resulted from the failed pitch for the official license), Dreamcast Magazine from Paragon, Dreamcast Monthly from Quay, and Mr Dreamcast from Magical Media.

Mr Dreamcast is of particular interest to many collectors because it only lasted for two issues and was aimed squarely at a younger audience. Issue 1 came with a Fur Fighters water pistol, and I inadvertently bought it once while waiting for a bus and only realised my mistake when I took my seat and opened the magazine to be confronted with the type of prose usually reserved for a Mr Men book. Just to clarify, my copy didn't have the legendary water pistol stuck on the front, so I'm blaming that for tricking me into a purchase. Cough.
The hallmark of Exeter's finest export
It appears that there was to be another Dreamcast magazine available to discerning readers in the UK though. A magazine that was even advertised and from which review quotes were used to promote certain Dreamcast games. That magazine has become the stuff of legend and I only know about it because of the borderline obsessive work of one tireless collector and expert on the subject. That magazine is Total Dreamcast, a magazine that almost certainly exists somewhere in some form...but never saw the light of newsagents shelves...

Total Control: Issues 6 to 11

As discussed in the first part of this feature, Total Control was a multi-format games magazine from Rapide Publishing which lasted for only 11 issues. These ran between November 1998 and September 1999 and in that short window the Dreamcast hype train was fully boarded, had left its native Japan and was headed at full speed toward the US and Europe.
Because of this, Total Control - more than any other contemporary UK-based magazine - was very liberal with its Dreamcast coverage. Indeed, sometimes this was to it's detriment, as evidenced by the levels of reader vitriol in the letters relating to over-enthusiastic reporting on Sega's fledgling system. PlayStation 2 fanboys transcend both time and space, it seems. Naturally, I jest.

The first half of this feature explores the Dreamcast content contained within issues 1 to 5 of Total Control and can be found here. Now though, we turn our attention to the final six editions of this short-lived publication with issues 6 to 11. If you'd like to see bigger versions of the scans below, feel free to right click and download them to your device - I know Blogger's image viewing thingy is pretty rubbish for text-based stuff.

Enough procrastinating...let's do this!

Total Control: Issues 1 to 5

Total Control was a multi-format print magazine that was sold in the UK between November 1998 and September 1999. Published by (the now defunct) Rapide Publishing, Total Control was marketed as a mature magazine aimed squarely at twenty-somethings with disposable income, and as such had a more adult style than some other magazines available at the time. The late 1990s saw a glut of print magazines come and go, and Total Control had stiff competition from publications like Arcade, CVG and Edge; the latter of which is the only one still going at the time of writing. Total Control only lasted for 11 issues due to Rapide Publishing going into administration just before issue 12 could hit the newsstands, but in this brief run it managed to pack in a ton of high quality Dreamcast-related content. This is no doubt down to the fact that it existed in that golden period between the Japanese and US launches, and died right before the PAL release - as illustrated, rather poignantly by the blue swirl adorning the final issue’s cover.
If you want to read an 'interesting' story about my acquisition of these magazines,
scroll down to the 'bonus feature' at the bottom.
There’s not much written about Total Control these days and the magazine seems to have passed into the annals of time with little more than a whimper, but since collecting the entire catalogue (thanks mainly in part to Matt from SegaMags) I thought it would be nice to feature this oft ignored source of Dreamcast nostalgia right here at the 'Yard. Because there’s quite a lot of Dreamcast coverage in these magazines, I’ve split this feature into two parts - the first of which will look at issues 1 to 5 of Total Control, with issues 6 to 11 investigated in the second part (coming soon!).

Are you ready? Here we go…!