['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which covers video game magazines from the late '70s all the way up to right now.]

Any regular reader of GameSetWatch knows about Simon and I's infatuation (some would call it obsession) with Mr. Dreamcast. Easily the most charming name for a game magazine ever conceived (with Japan's Beep running a close second), Mr. DC is a fairly obscure publication even in its home country of Britain, publishing only two issues before disappearing -- but I was lucky enough to pick up the second issue from a UK fan who sent it along to me with some other magazines.

mrdreamcast2.jpg

Mr. DC (which is the name of the blue swirly thing on the top left corner of the cover) was published by Magical Media, an outfit run by longtime UK computer/gear-mag writer and publisher Simon Rockman. Simon hired a handful of people away from Future Publishing to found the mag, including editor Caspar Field, who (up to that time) was running DC-UK, Future's Dreamcast title.

Field and Rockman answered questions from UK computer-trade title CTW back before the launch in 2000, a time when the DC's fortunes were already slipping and the idea of not just a new DC mag, but a kid-oriented DC mag, was seen as a little daft:

"I think the key difference with Dreamcast is that it’s been launched at £199, and I think they’ll be announcing definite UK price cuts at E3. We just felt it was good to be in the market early and to see if we could challenge some of that received wisdom, I guess. Certainly the feedback we’ve been getting from readers and from kids has been fantastic.

Everyone’s been growing up and wanting to make magazines like DC-UK and [Official Dreamcast Magazine] that are aimed at 25-30 year-olds [...] when you talk to any games player about playing games in their youth, you forget how passionate you were about it then. That’s really, I think, forgotten, that kind of passion –- I think even I’d forgotten it -– and I hope we can tap into it."

So what does Mr. Dreamcast have in store for the potential reader? A lot of color and bright screenshots, for one. The issue starts out with a wealth of large previews, all done up in that classic old Future style where the text is kind of divided into three or four of what you'd normall call sidebars. "Club zone" occupies the mid-part of the magazine; it's filled with strategies, reader art, crosswords, a regular two-page column on the Neo Geo Pocket Color scene, and even a long sidebar that explains 60hz television modes to the young audience.

The mag's rounded out by the reviews section, with games rated out of 25 in graphics, sound, control, and "ideas," added up to a total score out of 100. There's also four pages titled "Your shout," which is probably the most original part of the mag -- a jury of 16 gamers (aged 11 to 15) play a game and state their opinions on it, complete with lots of pix of excited kids around the TV. (Almost no one liked Chu Chu Rocket, shamefully enough.)

It's really a nice little 84-page magazine for its audience, but as Field himself commented the last time Mr. DC was mentioned here, it was likely in the wrong place at the wrong time. "Myself, Craig, Jon and Camilla were proud of Mr. Dreamcast," he wrote. "It was for kids, it was written 'to a level', but it was packed with more info and less condescending-bollocks than any other kids' games magazine at the time [...] And by the way, we sold 12,000 copies of issue one... So it can't have been all that shit... Can it? Maybe it was just the free waterpistol..."

Still, I commend Caspar and his crew for giving us the magazine with, at the very least, the most whimsical name in all of history. Thank you!

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also an editor at Newtype USA magazine.]