The Birth of a Legend
The magazine got off to a blazing start, and within a few issues was the best selling multi-format videogames publication in the UK. Following the lead of parent magazine CVG, Mean Machines covered both domestic and imported releases, meaning that the magazine could review titles that were months away from UK release, giving it a considerable edge over the competition (Sega Power only reviewed official releases, for example). At the time, import gaming was much more popular than it is now (increased territory lockouts and swifter UK release dates have made import gaming a relatively niche pastime today) but it was still a brave choice to cater for import gamers by focusing on games that were still months away from being officially released in this country.
Originally, the Megadrive, Master System, NES, Gameboy and Amstrad consoles were covered. The Amstrad soon died a painful death due to consumer apathy, and the SNES took its place amongst the line-up, making MM, in review terms at least, a Sega and Nintendo only magazine. Although these consoles were the main focus of the magazine, space was also given to other, niche machines like the NeoGeo and PC Engine.
These days it's hard to imagine a world without the internet. Any 'exclusive news' in today's magazines has usually been plastered all over the net for weeks. Magazines by their very nature are behind the times - they're usually written weeks before they're published. But regardless of this, back in 1990 videogames magazines like Mean Machines were your first contact with breaking events as there was simply no other medium to get the latest news to the public. I suppose that was a huge part of Mean Machines' appeal - when you picked up off the newstand, you were buying a piece of cutting-edge news. The same could be said of any videogames magazine back in 1990, but MM did it so much better.