Here’s something you may or may not remember if you were around during the 16-bit era: before Game Fan the magazine, there was Game Fan the catalog! Die Hard Game Club, a prominent import videogame seller which used to advertise in magazines like EGM, put out a mini catalog/magazine that came well before they began publishing their Game Fan magazine. Measuring only about 3.5×5 inches and weighing in at 24 full-color pages, this catalog was packed with screenshots and a little editorial content to make you drool for all those Japanese games that they were selling for well north of 60 bucks a pop.
Yep, that’s Dave Halverson writing the “letter from the president/editor,” the same Dave Halverson who edited Game Fan magazine and later Play magazine. Check out the prices of the hottest Super Famicom titles!
Speaking of the hottest SFC games, look carefully at their list of upcoming games…Super Megaman, River City Ransom 2, Super Blades of Steel and Double Dribble. Were these only planned, rumored, in development, or what? Did Super Mega Man become Mega Man X, or maybe Mega Man 7?
They’re talking about the upcoming SNES version of Street Fighter II, so this catalog must have come out in early 1992. Also, man, PC Engine games were ‘spensive!
The Sega Mega CD was super hot shit at the time for import game enthusiasts, with RPGs like Lunar, Aisle Lord, and Fhey Area getting lots of attention. (Die Hard did do a pretty cool thing when you ordered a Japanese RPG from them: they included English instructions and sometimes even walkthroughs! Gotta admit, that’s quite the service!) What’s also interesting is that the Super NES CD was still on the horizon at this point. The information that they present is very interesting: Castlevania V? Xexus (I’m assuming they meant Xexex, an arcade shmup by Konami)? New FF and DQ? I wonder where their intel came from, and if there are any other known records of any of this stuff having been in development.
All the then-current platforms are represented, from the 16-bit superstars (SFC, Mega Drive, PC Engine, Neo Geo) to the handhelds (Lynx and Game Gear). There are six pages of nothing but screenshots near the end just to whet your whistle some more.
I’d love to find the other catalogs that Die Hard put out and add them to my collection. I think this is a really cool snapshot of a very exciting time in our lives as gamers. The 16-bit era was so much fun because we saw videogame technology growing so rapidly and anything seemed possible, and even though the writing is fanzine-level at best, Game Fan catalog really captured what we were all feeling and kept the hype train rolling full speed ahead.
Finally, as a holiday gift from me to you, please click the link below to open or download a PDF of the full Game Fan #3 catalog (the file is about 15MB). Enjoy paging through it and have a happy new year!!