Friday, September 6, 2019

Dreamcast 20th Anniversary: Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine

For the second day of Dreamcast coverage I'm focusing on the Official Sega Dreamcast Magazine, or is it the Official Dreamcast Magazine? Sega was initially placed in front of the Dreamcast name but a year later Sega simply called it Dreamcast and did start removing "Sega" from packaging. When the game cases went from black to white Sega was removed and for this magazine it is gone from the cover of issue #7 on. It may have had something to do with the Sega name not carrying as much weight as it once had. In any case, I thought it worth pointing out here since the magazine title does alter slightly over time. Launched just ahead of the console's release, the magazine opened with only three primary staff members: Editor-in-Chief Simon Cox, Senior Editor Randy Nelson, and Reviews Editor Francesca Reyes. The first year the magazine was bi-monthly but during the busy 2000 fall/winter release schedule it published November 2000, December 2000, and Holiday 2000 issues.

The images above are from the 1st issue (September 1999) and provide a nice rundown on the console and its accessories. Having released ahead of the console, and perhaps since the console itself included a demo disc, the 1st issue was packaged with a CD full of trailers that can be viewed on a computer. Demo discs were bundled with issues 2-11 and near the end of this post you can read why the 11th issue was the last to include one. Next is a rather long article from the 4th issue (March 2000). It's got a bit of everything with game previews, short interviews, and lots of upcoming games, though some were only ever rumors or staff guesses.

Quite of a few of the games listed never did release; I might mess some of these up if I don't recognize title changes but these are the games from the article that I don't believe ever arrived on the U.S. Dreamcast: Agartha, Age of Empires, Alien Breed Conflict, Anachronox, Arcatera, Arena Football, Baldur's Gate, Big Bang, Black & White, Boarder Zone, Castlevania: Resurrection, Chakan, Croc 2, Cut Away, Daikatana, Dark Angel, Daytona 2, Deadly Pursuit, Dronez, ESPN Baseball Tonight, Felony Pursuit, Flesh and Wire, Giants, Halo, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Indiana Jones & the Infernal Machine, Jump Runner, Knights, Legend of the Blade Masters, Lunar 3, Major League Soccer, Max Payne, Messiah, Midnight GT, Midtown Madness, MS Flight Simulator, Nights 2, Oni, Outcast 2, Outrun 2, Planet of the Apes, Ready 2 Rumble Wrestling, Renegade Racers, Sakura Taisen 3, Seven Mansions, Star Trek: New Worlds, Stunt GP, Take the Bullet, Team Fortress, Toy Commander 2, Toy Fighter, Undercover 2025 AD, V-Rally 2, Viva Soccer, and Wrestlemania 2000. Yeah, that's a lot! You can see there were a few Microsoft properties that I expect were pulled -- if ever announced or even considered -- in favor of preparing for the Xbox.

Dreamcast game art is often colorful and pleasant to view as are most of the magazine covers so, of course, I scanned those and the demo disc sleeves. Two of the discs were attached to a cardboard insert which is why they are larger, and there are also back scans of those. The Vol. 4 disc actually does include a full game: the rather basic puzzle game called Sega Swirl. 

Unfortunately, the magazine's life was cut short not long after Sega announced in January 2001 that the console would be discontinued March 31, 2001. While games would be released into early 2002, the official magazine dropped the inclusion of a demo disc in its second to last issue and then the magazine was abruptly canceled with the March/April 2001 issue. Below is the letter announcing demo discs have ceased and the last page of the final issue where issue #13 is being advertised. Magazines go into print well in advance of shipping so the staff was not yet aware that #12 would be its final issue.

Finally, I'm adding a scan from the final issue that shows all the review scores from the first 11 issues. I'll also list all of the review scores from the 12th issue since they don't appear on the Test Zone Archive page. The scoring system is a 10-point scale: 1 is the worst and 10 the best.
  • Championship Surfer (7)
  • Chicken Run (5)
  • Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (8)
  • Dino Crisis (7)
  • Disney's Dinosaur (5)
  • Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers! (5)
  • ESPN NBA 2 Night (1)
  • Kao the Kagaroo (8)
  • King of Fighters: Evolution, The (8)
  • Mars Matrix (7)
  • Max Steel (7)
  • Maximum Pool (2)
  • MTV Sports Skateboarding (2)
  • Prince of Persia: Arabian Nights (3)
  • Project Justice (6)
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (8)
  • Sno-Cross Championship Racing (7)
  • Sonic Shuffle (5)
  • Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (7)
  • Tomb Raider: Chronicles (4)
  • Typing of the Dead, The (8)
  • Urban Chaos (2)

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