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ONM Remembered – #28

“Gather round, my little sealettes…”


from Official Nintendo Magazine issue 58 (July 1997)

In the very first issue of ONM I’d ever picked up, the letters page was answered not by one of the magazine’s staff… but instead by a surly sea mammal called Seal. The Seal of No Quality, to be precise.
A snarky, foul-mannered prick, he was prone to insulting the readers’ intelligence; talking about how stupid the PlayStation is; praising Nintendo Official Magazine, and informing people of the difference between 50hz and 60hz video displays. Despite that, readers seemed to love him, and the letters page was littered in fan art and requests for more info about Seal. For whatever reason, he had an unexplained hatred of the magazine’s editor, Simon Clays. He wasn’t the only one badmouthing him, poor ed was the subject of many reader-submitted letters, game ideas and fan art that revolved around tormenting the man in a number of creative fashions.

As if it wasn’t enough for the letters page to be helmed by a fictional character with an agenda, he also had a fictional girlfriend, Geri Haliwhale.

No, I’m serious.
Look, it was dumb as all hell, but you lived with it because where else would you read the latest news on great titles like Body Harvest? Nowhere, that’s where. Okay, there were a bunch of other Nintendo mags, most of which had humans answering mail… but why would you buy a Nintendo mag that didn’t have a scowling creature of the deep in charge of letter duty? It’s the ultimate catch-22, my friend.

By issue 61 (or earlier?), the Seal’s Mailbag pages were renamed Club Mario and answered by ONM staff (okay, not exactly – every answer was prefaced with “ONM“, never a staff member’s name, so for all I know it could have been the office dustbin answering them), while letters to Seal were lumped into a column at the end. The character and his column stuck around until issue 68, when the character was retired.

Apparently Seal wasn’t the magazine’s first fictional member of staff – in the mag’s early days as Nintendo Magazine System (long before I started collecting it), the letters page had Skull. It sounds so bad it’s hard to believe, but I’d believe it. You can read all about it (and then some) at Frying Bear.


… and because I’ve no idea where else to put it, here’s some fan art from the same issue, featuring the magazine’s staff in Star Wars. This is entirely lost on me.