SEGA Mania magazine – review

SEGA Mania is a relatively new (4 issues in at the time of writing), glossy, full colour magazine and is an unashamed homage to the likes of Mean Machines SEGA and SEGA Power. The men behind the magazine – Tim Hugall, Simon Pike and Sam Forrester – have produced what is to all intents a purposes a modern equivalent that focuses on the 1990s in particular.

From the off, SEGA Mania is obviously a labour of love for the lads working on it, and kicks off with Issue 1 exploring the year 1990. They do this in an interesting fashion, with articles relating to non-game related events in that era, which serve to really take you back to the time in question. The magazine then moves on to focus on the game-related events of that year such as the Master System II and Game Gear releases and other articles including one featuring a Master System controller-shaped coffee table!

The main chunk of the magazine is taken up with various game reviews, mainly from UK-released Master System and Megadrive games from 1990 but also includes Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX to add some contemporary SEGA gaming into the mix. The writing does the job but ‘Dad jokes’ are abundant and there is some very bad, sometimes rude humour added which I felt was unecessary and a bit strained at times.

In the final section of the magazine, the SEGA Mania team cover contemporary indie synthwave music releases and SEGA merchandise, including clothing and books, culminating in some 1990s movie reviews. These are a nice touch adding to the whole ‘take you back in time’ feel of the magazine that the writers are so clearly trying to invoke. The letters pages at the end of the magazine were predictably (as it is the first issue) entirely made up – resulting in more ‘dad humour’ unfortunately!

The magazine is full colour and over 50 pages, which is an ambitious goal for a first issue which they have managed to pull off to their credit, but the overall design of the magazine does have some issues. I am an ex-graphic designer with some 16 years of commercial experience and know about the ‘rules’ of publishing, many of which the team at SEGA Mania clearly don’t. Text too close to the margins of the page, poor choice of typefaces, type sizes, backgrounds that are so busy they shouldn’t be used as backgrounds and the choice of text/background colour combos all combine to make the magazine a bit of an eyesore.

Thankfully, someone must have already had a word with the crew at SM, as some of these faux pas appear less of a problem in the subsequent issues, although still not great, and they could probably do with the benefit of someone with a design background maybe joining the team.

With all that I have said (even If what has been said seems a little harsh), this magazine is on track and improving issue by issue. Issue 3 even includes a cover CD which is a lovely touch, although there is only game music on it and not the homebrew Mega CD demo I was hoping for!

In Summary

SEGA Mania is clearly written by a team that love SEGA and the content is on the whole a very worthwhile read with a healthy range of subjects covered. If they can get their design-issues sorted and steer away from trying to be ‘edgy’ I think they will have a great thing going here and I look forward to reading further issues whilst wishing them every future success.

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