Sega Visions Part 3: On Top of the World

Click here for Part 2

On my last article, we saw how Sega Visions had been on a steady rise for several issues. What began as a catalog masquerading as a humble magazine had grown in readership, content, quality and most importantly: it found both an audience and its identity. This time, we'll be taking a look at what I consider to be the magazine's peak which spanned from issues 10 to to 17. It should come as no surprise that this period includes the launch for both Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, after all, it was at this point Sega's blue hedgehog reached the apex of his career. Needless to say, Sega was enjoying a massive success in the US market and that translated directly into Sega Visions' fortunes.

several magazine mainstays were renamed for a younger demographic

Keeping in tone with Sega's hip attitude, several magazine mainstays have been renamed and the visuals given more flare. The news section was renamed to 'Say What?' and catered exclusively to teenagers and young adults. Articles now approached topics like new candy flavors, comic books, Saturday morning cartoons and even the occasional Nintendo Bashing. Sega Visions had also been steadily growing in length and with the launch of Sonic 2, issues would now contain over 100 pages each, roughly triple of that found in issue 1.

I hope someone saved those envelopes

Without a doubt in my mind, the greatest upgrade was to the mailbox, now renamed 'Yo Sega!'. The most prominent change is the inclusion of envelop art. These were hand drawn by kids in the early 90s with little to no reference material other than the games themselves and many of them still look impressive. They often featured characters from any number of games and cartoons with the two most common themes being Mortal Kombat Vs. Street Fighter and Mario Vs. Sonic. Of course, we should remember this was a Sega fan-magazine, so these bouts rarely ended well for Nintendo's plummer. My favorite aspect of the mailbox are of course, the questions who serve as a time capsule for your average consumer. It's easy to read these questions and imagine the sort of arguments and videogame themed fights kids must have gotten to back then. 

The Magazine's final mention of the Master System is a bitter one

It seems like every issue there's someone asking what a "bit" is, how can they become developers or advice over play sessions with family members. Many letter submissions state to either own a Sega CD or being strongly interested in purchasing one. Considering only 2.7 million CD units were ever sold to a Sega Genesis userbase of 40 million, one could make the argument Sega Visions became a community voice for Sega's most dedicated fans. Back part 2 of this series, I mentioned the Master System had slowly phased from Sega's publication. At least one user noticed this and wrote them a letter asking what happened to it. Sadly, the reader's dedication to the ill-fated 8-bit system was greeted with a rude reply, stating 'progress happened'. This undeserving send-off would be the last time anyone at Sega Visions would ever mention the Master System.

The Archie Comics/Sega partnership endures to this day

With a strong readership following and an increase in number of pages issues could focus on more than just videogames. Though not the first Sega comic featuring in the magazine (that honor goes to Niles Nemo in Sega Land) the Sonic the Hedgehog comic proved a popular choice with the occasional fan mail claiming to be a subscriber. This would even extend to advertisements, as some would now advertise Nickelodeon or other non-gaming products, though this still wasn't common. 

A Pelé interview is followed by the announcement of Sega's new rating system.

Certain issues would also interview non-gaming public figures including Mr. Big's lead singer, Eric Martin and Pelé. Finally, there were some rumblings of a videogame rating system, Sega countered by preemptively announcing its own. When the issue 17 launched, the US Senate hearings which led to the ESRB's creation were already underway, culminating in the Sega CD title, Night Trap being removed from store shelves. These topics however, would not make it onto Sega Visions until issue 18 and we'll look into that in the upcoming part 4.

Click here for Part 4

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