Megazone (later Sega Megazone) was a multi-format games magazine published by Sega Ozisoft and (later) Mason Stewart Publishing in Australia from 1989 until October 1995. It was the first multi-format magazine written in Australia for the Australasian market.
Megazone started as Megacom in 1988, before becoming Megacomp in its second issue which came four months after the first. The magazine started became bi-monthly with the second issue (December 1988/January 1989), covering popular computer formats of the day such as the Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, Commodore 64 and IBM PC. Gradually, the magazine expanded to include the console formats of the day, including the Sega Master System, Mega Drive, Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo, changing names to Megazone in the process.
As the magazine's popularity increased, publisher Sega Ozisoft increased the magazine's page count from 62 pages to 96 pages in the April-May 1993 issue, before increasing the publication frequency to monthly in June 1993.
However, in September 1993, Sega Ozisoft sold the publication to Mason Stewart Publishing, and the magazine coverage switched from multi-format to Sega only, angering a number of fans. Around this time, then-editor Stuart Clarke left the magazine to start a new multi-format games magazine called Hyper at Next Publishing, with Adam Waring taking over the editor's chair.
Under Waring, the magazine's tone shifted towards a more teenage-oriented, with a greater emphasis on toilet and sexual humour along with an abundance of gory covers and inserts from artist Frants Kantor. The magazine attracted controversy in 1995 for threatening to kill a koala if readers did not subscribe.
At this time, we are uncertain as to what caused Megazone to shut down. The magazine started Sega Saturn review coverage with its September 1995 issue, but for reasons unknown, the October 1995 issue was its last. Speculation points to publisher in-fighting as the cause of the magazine's demise. The last issue is remembered by fans for some particularly racy and uncensored fan art.
From inception, Megazone provided substantial coverage of the variety of home computer formats available in Australia at the time, through content produced in house or licensed from UK magazines. This practice continued even after Sega Ozisoft purchased the magazine, as the company was also a key distributor of games for home computer formats.
In issue 27, the magazine announced that it would no longer cover Nintendo software - a move that was somewhat expected by readers due to the magazine's notoriously poor coverage of Nintendo formats.
In a surprise move, Sega Ozisoft decided to sell the publication in September 1993. Mason Stewart Publishing purchased the title and decided to make sweeping changes to the magazine's editorial coverage, dedicating the magazine entirely to Sega format coverage. In addition to cutting PC and Amiga news and reviews, Mason Stewart also decided to slash most of the magazine's lifestyle content, which was intended to engage with an older audience. This led to many readers abandoning the magazine, and jumping ship to Hyper, the magazine produced by much of the pre Issue #32 Megazone production team.
Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog Lock-On
Around the time of the announcement of the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on feature, Megazone announced that Knuckles would be playable in both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and published doctored photos of Knuckles appearing in Green Hill Zone. Readers of the magazine were upset when it was revealed to be a hoax.
Koala Shooting Threat
Later in the Mason Stewart Run, Megazone jokingly stated in their subscription information that if you didn't subscribed to the magazine, they would "shoot this helpless and very endangered koala." The joke drew the ire of animal rights activists, and the magazine issued something of an apology, stating that they thought it was okay to joke about it, since Denton featured a skit along the same lines where comedian Amanda Keller shot a koala.
It is argued that Megazone's reviewing system lacked objectivity, due to the publication being owned by Ozisoft, and many of its writers being employed by the company on the Sega Hotline. It often attracts the label of "glorified Ozisoft pamphlet." The magazine was also heavily criticised for failing to cover titles that Ozisoft did not distribute themselves, leading to a near total lack of NES and SNES coverage.
- Some issues were technically monthly issues, which screws with the numbering.
- Many of the writers worked for Sega on the hotline.
- Early issues featured content republished from Amstrad Action and Amiga Action.
- According to ASIC, Megazone Pty Ltd established 16/01/1990.
- Exodus may have been caused by poor Ozisoft management reaction to plans to review Street Fighter II
- May have been a legal issue with the name Megacom which forced the initial name change. This seems to have confused the NLA?
- Independently published for issues 1 & 2 at least - when was it acquired by Ozisoft?
- Initial publishing address is Bentleigh in Victoria. The address appears to be residential and is blocked on Google maps from direct view. RE.com.au history indicates property sold November 1989 - would tie in with move to Ozisoft
- Is Peter Lindemann the DJ from 3PBS - possible per Facebook stalking. Age and Richmond Tigers fandom seem to indicate yes.
- Issue 2 suggests Toltoys was going to distribute Sega stuff in Oz - pre Ozisoft? Doesn't line up with 1987 SMS debute most histories suggest. Toltoys distributed Star Wars figures in Aus.
- Early pre-Ozisoft issues are predominately black and white
The following people were credited as contributors in the original iteration of Megazone: Peter Lindemann, Steve Merrett, Dough Johns, Alex Simmons, Andy Mitchell, Steve Kenedy, Elizabeth Ashby, Stuart Clarke, Thom Hastings, Mario Moeller, Gordon Christie, Ariel Aeronaut, Lorna Clarkson, Brian Costelloe, Karen Collins, Martin Egan, Tim Smith, Brett Monroe, Craig Kirkwood, Graham Cousens, Gabriel Wilder, Fil Barlow, "Moose" Brightman, Nick Smith, Brett Munro, Andrew Burgess, David Wildgoose, Mark Bruton, Aaron Southwell, Cathie Mascord, David Colville, Andrew Stolp, Andrew Iredale, Drew Zanki, David Carson, Stuart Slater, Brett Thurling, Lucy Brightman, Paul Cassidy, Daniel Bedkober, Adam Waring, Tim Gadler, Julian Schoffel, Jad McAdam, Brendan Basto, Ben Mansill, Wayne Lawson, Brendan Kane, Paul Kidd, Andrew Humphreys, Lucia Robson, Bill Hibble, Tim Levy, Anthony Mansour, Dean Stibbe, Simon Sharwood, David Lang, George Connell, Wayne Lawson.
The following people were credited as contributors in the Mason Stewart incarnation of the magazine: Adam Waring, Wayne Lawson, Trevor Viper, Duane Hatherly, Peter Burney, Nathan Cochrane, Derek de la Fuente, Virode Imtamasan, David Thompson, Mark Sariban, Sam Hickman, Angus Glafhier, Gary Chaloner, Darren Porter, Mark McBride, Jacinta Miller, Marshal M. Rosenthal, Julie Quatch, Agatha Antonian, Steve Bough, Steven Miller, Fil Barlow, Edward Larrosa, Andrew Humphreys, Jack Maine, Tim Gadler.
- Catalogue entry at the National Library of Australia