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  • [I ♥ The PC Engine] PC Engine FAN

    Posted on May 18th, 2009 keving 64 comments

    pcenginefanxI’ll be mentioning this magazine at least once in nearly every I ♥ The PC Engine entry, so I should probably go into depth on it a little more.

    PC Engine FAN was the longest-lasting magazine in Japan exclusively dedicated to NEC systems, beating out rival mags Gekkan PC Engine (Shogakukan) and Marukatsu PC Engine (Kadokawa Shoten) to the market by a month in late 1988. Published by Tokuma Shoten, the mag started out as a separate department of Family Computer Magazine, Tokuma’s flagship console publication; the “FAN” name was also used by sister titles MSX FAN and Mega Drive FAN.

    Most of PC Engine FAN’s covers were either drawn or designed by Akemi Takada, an artist and illustrator who’s best known overseas for her contributions to the Patlabor anime series. Takada began her run by drawing original compositions based on whatever hot game was being discussed inside, but after 1993 the magazine created Mana, a sort of anime-girl mascot, and made her the main subject of most covers. Near the end of the mag’s run, Tokuma released a CD-ROM that had hi-res versions of all the covers that featured Mana, along with a few audio tracks of her singing. (That’s her up there, dressed as Chun Li, in mid-’93.)

    Gekkan and Marukatsu folded with their respective January 1994 issues, making FAN and Dengeki PC Engine the entirety of the PCE-specific marketplace. Dengeki renamed itself to Dengeki G’s Engine (currently Dengeki G’s Magazine) in 1996 and became a multiplatform mag devoted to “girl games,” but FAN couldn’t do this since Tokuma already had a gal-game mag, Virtual IDOL, in its lineup. In the end, both PC Engine FAN and MSX FAN became targeted primarily toward amateur software developers for their final years, although that trend didn’t last long — PC Engine FAN closed up with its October 1996 issue, with two specials released late on in ’97.

    A lot of the PCE’s history in Japan is intertwined with PCE FAN. Kazuhiro Ochi drew a Cosmic Fantasy manga in it for a year or so. The magazine sold a second pressing of Magical Chase via mail-order after the original publisher went bankrupt almost immediately after releasing the shooter classic. And so on.

    A PCE game’s “PC Engine FAN Score” in my entries is the average score for the game as rated by readers who sent in scores to the magazine. The score’s out of 30 and divided into six fields, from character design to “addictiveness” (netchuudo) and value for money. I have these average scores for most, but not all, of the PCE library, and while PCE FAN’s readers had a tendency to rate gal-games high and the more obscure, obtuse releases lower, it’s still a reasonably accurate guide to what’s good and crap in the PCE library. Generally speaking, if a game’s PCE FAN score is over 20.00 then it’s very solid; if it’s over 25.00 then it’s a vital part of any PCE owner’s collection.


    14 responses to “[I ♥ The PC Engine] PC Engine FAN” RSS icon

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