New-old is the new… old?

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[All credit for this idea goes to the powerful Ant of Gaming Hell, and I’d also like to thank him for proving that there are at least two of us on the planet who want to see legendary nineties gaming magazine Super Play in a more Sega-y form]

To say that traditional gaming magazines are having a bit of trouble surviving right now would be something of an understatement – even popular websites providing to-the-second coverage of live streaming events can’t relax for a minute for fear of falling behind and losing those precious revenue-generating clicks so what hope is there for something provided monthly on mushed-up sheets of dead tree?

It wasn’t always this hard though, and for a time in the far too distant past you could stroll into any newsagent in the land and find them stocked with not one, not two, not three, but a whole section of magazines covering everything from the 3DO to other consoles people could actually play without feeling intense buyer’s remorse afterwards. At a time when the internet was at best charged per-minute and came down a telephone line to a creaky beige tower PC these hallowed tomes were quite literally every scrap of gaming news and opinion we had to look forward to, and opening a fresh issue was like being hit by a tidal wave of exciting information and wonderful screenshots from games that might never even see the light of day in the UK at all, never mind end up sitting in your own Mega Drive or SNES.

The single page faux-preview of Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes Mega Drive port below is from an issue of “Mega Play” – a imagined nineties Sega-only magazine skewed towards coverage of Japanese games – and my own attempt at capturing the spirit of that era; that feeling of seeing a completely unknown game for the first time and trying to glean as much as possible from a few screenshots and some tantalising morsels of information. Want to know more? All you could do was wait impatiently for the next issue to turn up on local shelves and hope it offered a double-page review for you to pore over as you silently wondered if £70 would be too much to spend on a pretty import game you couldn’t read or play. As such the text isn’t anywhere near as informative as it would be if I was writing a proper blog post about the game, but I do hope my little slice of pretend nostalgia scratches a particular retro itch of a different sort.

[You’ll need to right click->open image in new tab to read the text, sorry about that]

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7 thoughts on “New-old is the new… old?

  1. I love this! I won’t lie, I’ve actually toyed with the idea of doing something like this for modern games, but it’d be a vanity project at best. :) The old magazine format is super-important to me, though — I grew up with it, and watching my brother working his way up through that part of the industry during its golden age was a huge inspiration for me — so I’m glad there are other people out there who miss it.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve been drawing up plans recently to do a proper fanzine sort of thing but I can’t really justify spending the time on it so this made for a nice compromise :D

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Could totally see myself being hyped from that preview, buy the game, and then find out that it is kind of just a bore. I mean, if I every would have had a MegaDrive xD

    I know you warned us on Twitter, but Y’s still seemingly came out of nowhere to stab right between the two lower most ribbs :D

    Also, the “no buyer’s remorse” so close to the 3DO sure is an interesting decission.

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    1. That’s what I like to hear (the “hyped from the preview” bit, not the “then find out it’s a bore” part XD)!

      I’m so sorry but it had to be done for authenticity’s sake and I will not refer to Falcom’s Adol-based RPG by that name again if I can help it!

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  3. Another thing about magazines (I had at least 6 monthly magazines put aside for me at the newsagents) is that I could spend countless hours reading them and re-reading them. I could pull them out years later and read them again. With modern gaming sites, I’m lucky if I can be bothered skimming the summation, let alone read a whole review!

    This is among your best work ever :D

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    1. Yes, that’s true! In fact it was my original Super Play magazines from all those years ago that I used as references for this! They’re more than a bit tatty now, but it’s the good sort that’s come from lots of use :D

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