It is not everyday we get to flick through a brand new video game magazine. The art of printed press is slowly dwindling with few bastions left. But editor Tim Hugall has pulled out all the stops to produce a new A4 sized Sega magazine – welcome to Sega Mania!
I was lucky enough to be offered a preview copy of the first issue to review and glad I took the opportunity. Sega Mania is a passion project from keen Sega fans who want to dive deep into the nostalgia gland. It takes its inspiration from the Sega magazines of old such as Mean Machines and Pro, using the same style of writing and ‘laddy’ quips. It is directly aimed at fans of Sega’s consoles from 1990 onward and each issue will cover a different year, the first starting at 1990.
The magazine starts with a column from each of the projects writers, Tim Hugall, Sam Forrestor and Simon Pike. They have lovingly introduced their love for Sega and journey of putting together Sega Mania. You can feel the passion from each and it is exciting to see what will come from this new venture. The highlight for me is they have captured that 90’s Sega magazine vibe with great success. I am using this review to look at the main features and overall quality of the magazine. So lets dive in and check out Sega Mania. You can still order copies direct from the website – so do that now!
Following the brief introductions, Sega Mania kicks off with a whistle-stop tour of 1990. Everything from the first Iraq war to the Turtles get you in the mood. I enjoyed this feature, it helped set the scene of Sega’s place in the world at the time. The discussion around the films and TV from 1990 is spot on. I also like that it is very UK focused and light on content. Anymore than the double spread would have been heavy to read. We quickly flick through to the ‘news’ section containing the ‘new’ Master System II and Game Gear launches! What memories.
It is great to see that there is some ‘modern’ Sega news chucked in for good measure. The Streets of Rage 4 DLC is covered with release date and info. I would like to see the news section bolstered in future issues. There is so much that could be added to the old news and Sega are currently riding a sea of popularity. There is much to showcase. Hopefully, as the magazine takes off we can also see some ‘import’ news, such as launches of territory exclusive games. Possibly news of some new Sega merch or initiatives as well?
After an interview with Tommy Brown who has made the most amazing SMS table the magazine gets to its main selling point. Over 20 pages of reviews for Sega games released in 1990. All the classic titles from Strider to Golden Axe are covered. I especially enjoyed the Paper Boy review with its newspaper stylings. Most games get at least a page with some taking a full double spread. The images are clear and care has been taken to create eye-catching layouts. Super Hang-On and Italia ’90 are particularly impressive.
As for the reviews themselves, the old Sega magazine style is present. The reviewers are not pulling any punches. They also acknowledge that nostalgia is a powerful emotion that may sway their review at times. However, being that these are thirty year old games it is more the memory than the accuracy of reporting that is important here. It really isn’t important about having a score, so I was glad they have been omitted. There is also a splattering of tongue in cheek word play at times that keeps proceedings refreshing. I really enjoyed the reviews they are a great way to look back at the games that were current in a snapshot of Sega’s history.
The magazine starts to wind up after the review section. We are treated to some interviews with 90’s influenced music creators. I was a little unsure of this at first even though the interviews are interesting. I understood the premise, the writers are going a bit beyond just Sega and capturing some more 90’s nostalgia. But it felt a little shoe-horned in for me personally. However, I was enthralled by the next section on retro gaming merch, books and general geekery. A collection of things to buy, t-shirts and things. This was followed up by some short movie reviews and a column from Ian Beale which was very funny. It definitely screamed Mean Machines at me.
There is a letter section towards the back that contains fictional letters in further reverence to Mean Machines. I am sure this section will expand as actual reader letters and comments flood in. Overall, I feel Sega Mania has a bright future. I know from a few messages with the team that more features and sections are planned. I think that the UK Sega community needs this right now. It is a step back to the glory days of print media with a square focus on us, those that bleed blue. Grab a copy now, put the kettle on and indulge that nostalgia.