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June 9, 2006 1:08 AM   Subscribe

A long time ago, way back before the internet brought us gaming news virtually at the click of a button, gamers had to get their gaming news via magazines. For console owners living in the United Kingdom and Australia, the magazine of choice would almost certainly have been Mean Machines. Combining gaming news with classic British humor* with a great layout, Mean Machines made for a great read every issue. Though now (sadly) long dead, nostalgic fans of Mean Machines will undoubtedly be happy to learn that you can now read every one of their reviews online in both HTML and scanned pdf formats at The Mean Machines Archive. With an issue by issue examination of this classic publication, the site is well worth a look if you were a fan of the magazine or just to see what gaming news was like before the likes of IGN (which, interestingly enough, lead editor of Mean Machines Julian Rignall would one day join).

* not an oxymoron
posted by Effigy2000 (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
*The correct spelling is, 'humour'.
posted by MrMustard at 1:18 AM on June 9, 2006

Wow, set nostalgia factor to maximum. I still have some back issues kicking around in my parents' attic, I think. A great read - I was about 11 when the magazine came out and it was a bit like an entry to another world - funny, adult (well, to me anyway) writing about something most grown-ups didn't take seriously. A bit like Amiga Power in that respect (there is a truly great Wikipedia article on the latter - no other gaming mag has come close to either of these two).
posted by greycap at 1:22 AM on June 9, 2006

No, MrMustard, it's humor.

And greycap... I know! I literally squealed with excitement upon coming across the MM Archive. I'm sure most American MeFites will find no value here (they had their ad-packed Electronic Gaming Monthly), but for people like you and me, this is nostalgia to a power of 10.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:27 AM on June 9, 2006

There was a discussion of old gaming magazines on the HOTU forums with a lot of great links for various other magazine sites with scans, etc. Here are the links with some explanations:

Apparently, there are cover scans of the Sierra InterAction Magazine at Sierragamers, a Wiki devoted to documenting various magazine runs and a site with scans and infos on various German magazines here.

Really nice for a trip down memory lane.
posted by Glow Bucket at 1:39 AM on June 9, 2006

Actually, the British variant is indeed 'humour'. Damn all those months I spent in the States! So we were both right. Moving on....
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:41 AM on June 9, 2006

Sorry Effigy2000 but it's humour in this context, British Humour.

This one could run and run, as George Bernard Shaw said "England and America are two countries separated by a common language."
posted by lloyder at 1:44 AM on June 9, 2006

Zzap!64 was very definitely the best computer games magazine evar (assuming you had a Commodore 64 at any rate). I remember waiting to get the mag to see how many double thumbs-up mullett headshots Rignall gave out - they would be the games I'd save up for.
posted by longbaugh at 1:47 AM on June 9, 2006

lloyder; I know.

This review of the original Sonic The Hedgehog (pdf link) makes me want to play it again. What's really interesting though is not only how good Sonic still looks, but how a review I must have read a dozen times over in paper format can make me all nostalgic after all these years.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:53 AM on June 9, 2006

Sorry Effigy2000 but it's humour in this context

From Effigy2000's own link:
Variant: or chiefly British hu·mour /'hyü-m&r, 'yü-/

His humors must have been out of balance when he read that.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:54 AM on June 9, 2006

Have just spent a happy hour browsing these - one thing I'd forgotten is quite how many exclamation marks are used (the Sonic review is a good example).
posted by greycap at 2:08 AM on June 9, 2006

Oh wow, this brings back memories - I'm pretty sure Mean Machines was the first games magazine I ever bought (soon after winning my first console - a Master System - in a competition on a Rice Krispies box. Weird to think I might never have gotten into videogames if it wasn't for Kellogg's), and I remember my parents deciding it was too 'adult' for me at my age, which of course didn't do anything but stop me letting them know I'd bought it, and making it all cool and illicit. Sort of like porn, only with a cheats section in the middle.

Of course, it was the mighty Super Play that got me into importing, and from there it was only a slippery slope. And I'm sure someone's going to mention PC Zone's heyday (and with a better link than any of the current-era ones I can find, hopefully... hint hint) as a magazine truly willing to break the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in a games mag and offend and confuse anyone and everyone in its way. And then, of course, there's The Most Holy Digitiser... But before all of that, for me at least, was Mean Machines. Thanks for the link, Effigy2000. It's kind of worrying how nostalgic an old games magazine is making me.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:13 AM on June 9, 2006

The thing that struck me from the Sonic review was that a game cost £40 in 1991. Fucking hell, I don't think they cost that much now. I know that Megardrive cartridges were much more expensive to produce than cheapo DVDs but that was a lot of money in 1991. No wonder my parents used to complain about the prices of games.

This reminds me of Sinclair Magazine which was also great fun. I remember the review of Chase HQ on the Spectrum got a score of 100 out of 100. I believe I used a tape-to-tape deck to surreptiously copy it from a pal.

Punch the Pedal!
posted by ClanvidHorse at 2:15 AM on June 9, 2006

I always liked Digitiser, the Teletext magazine.
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:12 AM on June 9, 2006

classic British humor* * not an oxymoron

...what?! For whom is that an oxymoron? Monty Python alone is enough to make the term "British humour" a thing to revere.

If you were talking about the French, that would be another story.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:46 AM on June 9, 2006

Cripes. At that time I was stuck with Nitendo Power...
posted by jaysus chris at 7:09 AM on June 9, 2006

ZZap!64 was the one true computer games magazine!
posted by metaxa at 8:12 AM on June 9, 2006

"Sonic curls up into a prickly ball, ready to do battle or something"

These are really interesting to read, I could browse through them for hours. The page layouts are so vivid and oriented on great artwork, the writing style is so much more simple and clean than todays mainstream magazines. I haven't picked up a gaming issue since I was about 12, and even then I recall them consisting of convoluted trash that seemed to be crafted with all the love and care of a rough bowel movement.
posted by prostyle at 8:23 AM on June 9, 2006

I think we just got dissed by the country that produced "Big Mommas House 2".
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on June 9, 2006

I think we just got dissed by the country that produced "Big Mommas House 2".

I suspect that's a tautology.

I also suspect I have read far more issues of Zzap64! than anyone who never even owned a c64 has a right to admit. So I won't. Julio who?
posted by Sparx at 4:50 PM on June 9, 2006

Is it just me or has someone along the line got confused?

I remember Jaz Rignall has having a mullet and a smiley face. I always thought he was the funny one.

The photo of the guy in the review above is Dave Perry.
posted by aqueousdan at 1:59 AM on June 10, 2006

Okay please ignore me, i am clearly the confused one. I got sunstroke yesterday.

*goes even redder from embarassment*
posted by aqueousdan at 2:04 AM on June 10, 2006

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