EMAP is a large multi-media publishing company that, until the mid 2000s, published videogaming magazines. It published the world’s first dedicated videogaming magazine with Computer & Video Games and some of the world’s most famous gaming journalists came from the company.
EMAP (East Midlands Allied Publishing) was formed in 1947 when four regional newspaper groups merged. The company would publish its first consumer magazine, Angling Times, in 1953. Many more successful magazine launches took place in the following decades.
It wasn’t until 1981 when EMAP decided to launch a dedicated videogaming magzine. Editor Terry Pratt, along with a small group of editorial staff, launched Computer & Video Games, cover dated November 1981. The first issue of C&VG contained a variety of gaming content from computers, arcade, type-ins, puzzles, and more. The most noticeable thing about the early issues of C&VG is that the games coverage included illustrations instead of screenshots – the technology to capture screenshots hadn’t been implemented at the time.
In 1984, EMAP purchased Sinclair User from ECC Publications Ltd and published their first SU issue with number 30, dated September 1984. Sinclair User was very much aimed at the serious user of the Sinclair computers, with articles on things such as programming, business software, type-ins and educational software. However, by 1986, SU, with Editor David Kelly, underwent a transformation and its focused shifted towards gaming.
With the Sinclair computers covered with Sinclair User, EMAP next decided to have a magazine to cover the increasing popular Commodore computers. Commodore User was that magazine…
By the late 1980s, the 16-bit computers (Atari ST, Amiga and PC) were beginning to increase in popularity and potential. To this end, EMAP launched The One For 16-bit Games, a multi-format magazine that would cover these new exciting 16-bit wonder computers. With Gary Penn as Editor, issue one went out with cover date of September 1988. The magazine was quickly hailed as a market leader, gaining the prestigious InDin award for ‘Magazine of the Year’ in 1990.
With its February 1989 issue, Commodore User changed name to CU Amiga – C64. EMAP bought ACE from Future Publishing in 1989. EMAPs’ first issue with original co-editors, Steve Cook and Pete Connor, was number 22, cover dated July 1989.
The spring of 1990 saw the launch of PC Leisure, a magazine that would balance its content with the gaming and serious side of the PC. With new Editor, Steve James, Commodore User completed its next transition from CU Amiga – C64 to just CU Amiga, solely covering Commodore’s 16-bit computer. With Julian Rignall as editor, Mean Machines issue 1 was launched, cover dated October 1990, and would initially feature the Mega Drive, NES, Master System and GX4000.
With issue 32, May 1991, The One For 16-bit Games split into The One For Amiga Games and The One For ST Games. The PC coverage was merged with newly launched sister title PC Review, itself the successor to PC Leisure. MegaTech, edited by Paul Glancey, launched with cover date XMAS 1991.
Atari ST Review launched in May 1992 and would cover the 16-bit computer with focus on the serious side, including articles, guides, columnists, etc. Also in May 1992, Sinclair User incorporated rival Spectrum magazine Crash from Europress Impact.
With the success of Mean Machines, it was decided to split the magazine into two separate titles. The new titles, Mean Machines Sega and Nintendo Magazine System, began their issue ones with cover dates of October 1992. With the newly titled Nintendo Magazine System came official endorsement from Nintendo themselves – the first of its kind in UK gaming.
Sinclair User itself lasted another 12 months before finally closing down with issue 134 in May 1993. During the summer of 1993, MegaTech was sold onto rival company Maverick Magazines.
Sega had given EMAP official endorsement with newly launched Sega Magazine (cover dated January 1994).
In 1995, EMAP sold The One Amiga to rival publishing company Maverick Magzines, who would continue to publish the magazine until March 1996. With Sega now concentrating on one console, the Saturn, it was decided to re-launch Sega Magazine as Sega Saturn Magazine.
Mean Machines Sega closed its shop with issue 53, March 1997. Not long after, Mean Machines PlayStation launched with editor Simon Clays helming the new magazine in October 1997. However, the title was soon merged with sister mag PlayStation Plus.
CU Amiga Magazine ended its long run with its October 1998 farewell issue. The following month also saw the farewell of Sega Saturn Magazine with the 37th issue in November 1998.
In 2002, EMAP sold C&VG to rival company Dennis Publishing. Further losses occurred in 2006 when EMAP lost the official endorsement from Nintendo for their Nintendo Official Magazine (formerly Nintendo Magazine System) and thus meant the closure of EMAP’s last videogaming magazine.
Notable gaming journalistsEdit
Commodore User (later CU Amiga-64 and CU Amiga)
The One (later The One For Amiga Games, The One Amiga)
The One For ST Games
Mean Machines Sega
Nintendo Magazine System (later renamed Nintendo Official Magazine)
Sega Saturn Magazine