There were many other Nintendo oriented magazines that Future ran alongside Super Play and its descendents on newsagents shelves, usually as an aim to capture a slightly different market - or that someone would buy more than one magazine a month. These magazines were never considered as part of the Super Play to NGamer timeline, but are all worth a read nonetheless.
Some magazines were even dedicated to the pocket consoles of the day, meaning they were on the shelves as the main console magazine. We’ll take a look at all of them below.
The name TOTAL! has to have uppercase letters and an exclamation point, and that probably tells you a lot about the style of the magazine. They were the flip-side of the coin compared to Super Play, and looked at the wider world of the Nintendo library compared to Super Play’s focus of the SNES, and was full of humour and in-jokes.
Rather like the Super Play lineage, the team was very much at the heart of the magazine, with caricatures of the staff appearing in every issue. The magazine definitely had a personality of its very own and played on this at every opportunity.
The magazine was launched before and finished slightly after Super Play, in the November of 1996, with a total of 58 issues released.
(Nintendo) Game Zone (1991-1994)
Nintendo Game Zone is a rather confusing magazine looking back at it. The magazine started off as Game Zone, launched in 1991 by Dennis publishing, covering both SEGA and Nintendo consoles. They split up after 12 issues, as Game Zone (volume 2) and Sega Zone, restarting the numbering from scratch. This actually happened in the same month as Mean Machines split, so who knows which publisher had the idea of splitting first!
The magazine was still titled Game Zone, however it went through several iterations of design, as the team strived to identify it as a Nintendo magazine. Future took over the publishing with issue 13, giving the magazine another facelift and formally gaining the title of Nintendo Game Zone. It lasted another 6 issues before being cancelled in 1994.
The magazine generally covered a similar theme to Total!, covering similar themes. By the time Future took over, it was focused towards teenage boys. With Football stars of the day appearing on the cover more often than not.
Planet Game Boy (1999-2000)
With the success of the Planet GB section within N64 magazine, Future decided to release two spin-off magazines in the Summer and Autumn of 1999. These magazines were basically expanded versions of the N64 Magazine supplement, focusing on big previews, big reviews and a couple of guides to recent games - the first issue had a complete mapped solution to Link’s Awakening DX. They followed a similar visual style (and paper size) of N64 Magazine’s segment.
Planet Game Boy went much further when looking at the culture of the Game Boy than N64 Magazine ever had, including a deep look into developers Crawfish and how they went about building a game.
Another 3 issues followed in 2000, although the magazine was changed greatly, moving to a design totally separate from N64 magazine. One of the main focuses of these new issues was on the Game Boy Advance and these issues looked at concept art as well as mock-up screenshots of Mario Kart running on the pocket console. We’ll cover Planet Game Boy in more depth in a future article.
Nintendo World (1998-2000)
audience compared to N64 Magazine - with all 17 issues coming in at 68 pages, with some spaces dedicated to posters. The magazine was edited at first by future NGC editor Marus Hawkins, and he brought a similar sense of charm and humour to Nintendo World.
Teenagers were well catered for by this magazine. covers sported the trending subjects of the day, such as Resident Evil and Pokemon. As it hit prime-time, Pokemon was one of the biggest focuses of the magazine. There were many features that incorporated Pokemon, including a dedicated News section as well as Pokemon tournaments featuring user created monsters that lasted until the final issue.
The magazine was first published in late 1999, however after 17 issues the magazine was incorporated into N64, also taking on Geraint Evans, who stayed with the magazine until late in the NGC days and even contributed to several issues of NGamer.
Advance was a follow-up to Planet GB, covering (unsurprisingly) the GB Advance. The first few issues were published in a small form factor to go with the pocket console. It reverted to a larger more standard A4 format from issue 4 onwards, as was a similar situation with NGC.
As with PGB, magazines were released quarterly, covering the major games of the quarter in great detail as well as extensive guides for the latest games. The initial issues were advertised heavily in NGC, although this did fall off for later issues.
Advance lasted for 8 issues, which took them to the summer of 2004, and the rumours about the forthcoming DS. Although independent to NGC, there were some shared staff between the magazines, allowing them to put together many in-depth articles about the games of the month.
Official Nintendo Magazine (2006-2014)
In 2006 Nintendo acquired the licence for the Official Nintendo Magazine. ONM was a more professional looking magazine, and went more deeply into the technical innovations of the time (the Wii specifically), and was aimed at the older reader compared to NGamer. Being official of course, they had to tow the line with Nintendo, but this didn’t stop them pumping out top quality writing.
The magazine shared many things with NGamer through their respective lifespans, including several members of staff (Production Editor Charlotte Martyn being the biggest example).
Unfortunately, the difficulty in differentiating the two titles led to the demise of NGamer in late 2012 as Future couldn’t sustain two different magazines. Many NGamer staff were integrated into NOM, including Matthew Castle becoming editor, with a promise to bring more of NGamers style of humour to the magazine. The Official Magazine lasted for a further two years, before Future finally closed the doors in December 2014 - shortly after doing the same with the USA variant Nintendo Power.
Alas, ONM marks the last published Nintendo magazine by Future, and whilst special bookazines have been published reprinting Retro Gamer content, there hasn’t been a dedicated Nintendo magazine since 2014. The Super Play special that came free with Retro Gamer in 2017 was the closest we got, and that very much seems like a one off - never to be repeated - event.