Nick R Posted March 16 Share Posted March 16 6 hours ago, makkuwata said: I probably had every issue of the official Dreamcast magazine just for the demos. You’d throw away the mag as it was painful late nineties ‘wipeout made gaming for grown ups’ dreck, Boo, I won't stand for this ODM slander! It may have started off like that (that issue 0 cover... ), but after a few months it became more games-focused, and a great magazine. Probably the closest thing we got to a continuation of Sega Saturn Magazine and late-90s C&VG. Ed Lomas posts on Reddit sometimes - a few years ago he talked about how ODM started off doing all that lifestyle photoshoot stuff and then moved away from that: https://www.reddit.com/r/dreamcast/comments/4n5s7f/i_worked_on_a_dreamcast_magazine_back_in_the_day/ Quote On the subject of Sega's perception of the Dreamcast community against the reality, I think their understanding changed a lot from the beginning to the end. You mention there about DC-UK being Future's pitch to be the official Dreamcast mag... I think Sega's idea about its audience at that point was wildly wrong. I was working at Emap before the Dreamcast came out. Emap kind of started the whole 'official games magazine' thing in the early 90s with Nintendo Magazine System and then Sega Magazine, and they'd been running the official Sega Saturn Magazine brilliantly for years. The SSM team had done a great job of really hooking dedicated Saturn fans and keeping them reading long after Sega had given up on the console, and they were pretty confident they'd be given the official Dreamcast license too. At that time, the biggest magazines in the UK were FHM and Loaded, and video game companies were desperate to be associated with 'lifestyle' brands like those. Sony had revolutionised the video game world by making the PlayStation genuinely cool - footballers, pop stars, models, TV personalities... they all played PlayStation and mentioned PlayStation in TV interviews and newspapers. People who would beat up 'nerds' for playing video games a few years earlier now had a PlayStation at home and obsessed about FIFA and Metal Gear Solid. They'd created a new breed of gamer and there were millions of them. Every games company wanted a piece of that action in the late 90s and was desperate to move away from the old image of 'nerdy' video gamers, and tap into the 'cool' world of casual gamers. So it was known Sega wanted their new console to be seen as 'cool', and wanted its official magazine to be as much like a real 'lifestyle' magazine as possible. I saw Emap's dummy magazines and they did a nice redesign of what had worked in Sega Saturn Magazine and incorporated more lifestyle elements - photography, spacious design, content that went beyond game reviews and guides, etc. Future obviously did the same with what ended up becoming DC-UK. Dennis Publishing, however, dumped an absolute crapload of money on their mock-up and went even more 'lifestyle' - they even hired Rankin to do a Virtua Fighter-inspired photoshoot (I thought it was horrible but Rankin was and still is one of the most high-profile, trendy and expensive fashion photographers in the world). Sega's European marketing team were going after that big new PlayStation audience - they spent something like 30% of their entire marketing budget sponsoring Arsenal, then didn't have the money (or the plan) to tell everybody what the word 'Dreamcast' on their shirts even meant. To them, an expensive, glossy magazine with trendy photoshoots, lifestyle features and interviews was the perfect thing to associate with their new brand, so that's the publisher they chose. The fact it also disassociated Dreamcast from PlayStation (Future) and Saturn (Emap) was also no doubt a factor. I joined Official Dreamcast Magazine when they were finishing issue 1 and the realities of making a 100+ page video game magazine meant it was already less of a glossy lifestyle magazine than the mock-up. Not long after launch it became clear Dreamcast wasn't going to explode as a hip lifestyle brand and we were given free reign to make it more of the gaming magazine we wanted it to be - the not-very-interested-in-games launch editor also moved on, allowing a much more gaming-focused editor to take over. This 'high-end' start to the magazine's life was actually really helpful for us, as such an enormous budget had been allocated for the magazine each month that when we were running it more like a standard games mag, no matter how much we spent on nice photography, illustration, travel, etc, we still only ever spent a fraction of the budget. And as such, the bosses left us alone because on paper we were always making more money than they expected. So, to bring it back to where I started, I think Sega believed they were going to have a trendy, adult audience playing Dreamcast when they in fact ended up with an audience of very appreciative, serious gamers. I think most of us in the industry expected that to be the case from the very beginning. But Sega adapted well to it and allowed us to make the magazine we wanted. We were the most truthful and honest reviewers out of all the UK Dreamcast magazines - if Sega made a crap game, we told everybody and gave it a low score while the other magazines were trying to be nice to Sega and overrating them. Sega liked the lifestyle elements we retained in the magazine and we always kept the production values high, so the magazine looked and felt high quality. We featured Sega staff in interesting articles and they liked that. We aimed to make the most of our 'official' tag by using Sega to get access other magazines couldn't, and providing them with a magazine they could be proud of - they never interfered with our reviews and never complained particularly seriously about anything we did. I used to get annoyed at how much they would help out the unofficial magazines when they weren't supposed to, but as a big Sega fan - and a big Dreamcast fan - I wanted them to succeed so would let it slide. It was a pleasantly surprising situation to get such freedom while working on an official title but it made that part of the job pretty easy. We loved games, we loved games magazines, and we had the money and freedom to make a magazine with the readers as the main focus. I think we ended up making a really good magazine out of it in the end. 8 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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