Improving the magazine

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Darran@Retro Gamer
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:52 am

cruachan wrote:Its funny, the first place I go to is the ebay section when I buy the mag. I was going to suggest more on collecting, value and price fluctuations but I get the impression that I might be alone in that sentiment!!

As fat trucker said - if it aint broke!!!

congratulations on 80 issues :-)
We've got something planned as far as collecting goes. In fact you might say we have 61 features already lined up...

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by MattyC64c » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:07 pm

CraigGrannell wrote:Features-wise, the only thing I'd like to see killed is the eBay/buyer guide spread (which, unless I'm mistaken, wasn't in #79). It's a waste of space, and it's not updated enough to be worthwhile from a value standpoint. I'd sooner see the collection stuff welded to an expanded letters page, which could also flag one or two interesting auctions. Alternatively, leave the letters page with its current count and shove another reader RR in the mag every month, or just give one or two of the making-ofs more space to breathe.
Absolutely, couldn't agree more Craig. The eBay/buyer guide is a waste, especialy since its already viewable on the website anyway. An expanded letters page and an extra reader review would be a welcome addition too if possible.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Greyfox » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:16 pm FT said, allot of the structures are pretty spot on for the magazine, so I love those too..but as the debate over gaming and retro related stuff after year "2000", I feel myself would love to see an added edition to the "Back to the Naughties" section, just covering the first 5yrs of 21st century, although it diverts from the retro concept, there is allot of stuff, I'd love to see, e.g. making of ICO etc..or gamers developments at the birth of 3d gaming.

also when are there gonna be any reprints of some classic gaming art, clipped in the middle or attached..say like hmm..a special feature, that has a poster to promote it, it can't be that expensive can it? or maybe a wall planner at xmas, like what Edge Magazine used to do? or is there any chance of a cheat codes section in the magazine, or tethered with "The Ultimate Guide" series, I know ppl can just go on the internet to get these, but if I see a cheat code for a game or something I missed, then I have the magazine as reference.

other than that, the magazine is a work of the gods, just room for some gaming adverts again from the old days

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Jet Pilot » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:27 pm

Overall, the magazine is outstanding (Mario notwithstanding :) ).

I like the mix of features plus the non-regular features that only show up every few issues such as "Unconverted" and "Let's All Play."

The only thing that I wish the magazine had more coverage of is Japanese content. However I do understand that there is a language barrier, plus an unwillingness of many of these developers to even speak to the magazine about their past work, which I do find disappointing. Unfortunately, RG has no control over that.

As we are now a decade into this century, I think the definition of "Retro" needs a bit of updating. Certainly, consoles that were released a decade ago should be considered retro (not looking for a debate as that is found elsewhere on these forums :lol: ...just stating my suggestions for the magazine).

Other than that, I like the mix of the UK micro-computers and games (something I have no experience with as an American) and console games. I like the dense content of the magazine and the minimal amount of ads. Overall, Retro Gamer is a great product. Here's to the next 80 issues!
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by joefish » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:37 pm

A wall planner is a nice idea, or something special every Christmas.

To me, the 'back to the 80's' section is getting pretty late on in the 8-bit world. For those (like me) who started reading the new version of the magazine that's a lot of early ground I've not seen covered.

I thought the last issue had a very good balance to it - I read pretty much every bit of every article, which I haven't done for a few issues now. Not having had a 16-bit console, I'm never that much interested in those articles - but the piece on the Thunder Force series was interesting for its history.

I do really think the Amiga and especially the Atari ST are hugely neglected in the coverage though. There's the occasional screen shot for multi-platform conversions, but whereas there are dedicated articles on classic 8-bit computer games and software houses, and 16-bit console games and series, the 16-bit home computers are hardly seen at all.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by SqueakyG » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:48 pm

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:
Jet Pilot wrote:80 issues and still no Mario feature? :(
Will that improve the magazine though?
It would improve it for a month! :wink:

Seriously though, any improvements would just be minor tweaks. I can't think of anything drastically wrong with the mag.

Something I just wrote in another thread: Retro Revivals are great when they are pretty 16-bit games that show off how amazing pixel art can be, but 8-bit games are often hideous when blown up over two pages, especially the abstract Atari 2600 stuff. So I suggest only using detailed 16-bit shots, or stitching together level maps.

Bring back Archer MacLean! I was flicking through back issues to assemble my massive feature index spreadsheet (have you seen that? Check it out) and I always had to stop and read every one of Archer's columns. They were always fascinating, no matter what he was talking about. So unless he's run out of stories or he's demanding too much money, get him back!

PlayStation, Saturn and N64 are definitely retro in my opinion, so there could be a better balance of coverage there. I know this is totally subjective, of course. I just know that the 17-year-old A-level student playing WipEout 2097 in his bedroom is a different person than the 30-year-old writing this post today!

I always liked Retro Shamer, and I wish you could take it further. You often went with minor games I'd never heard of, or widely known disasters. How about being a bit more controversial? A lot of games were frustrating and rubbish, and that's part of the nostalgia. The Angry Videogame Nerd makes video content - mostly for NES games - which manages to be nostalgic and respectful whilst ripping into bad 8-bit videogame design. I'd like some kind of Retro Gamer equivalent.
the_hawk wrote:there's already enough stuff in the mag that has no relevance to those brought up in the UK. It's a British mag, why shouldn't it be UK centric?
I don't agree with this. I think new readers are probably attracted to Retro Gamer when they see the mag covering a system they owned as a child... but then you stay for more than just your own system. I didn't see a NES during my entire childhood, yet I know the console was important to the development of videogaming in the 80s, had an influence on everything we played in the UK in the 90s, and had some really good games which I can enjoy today on an emulator. As for UK-centric coverage, I've never had the slightest fondness for the Spectrum, because I never saw one as a child. Most of us had Acorn Electrons and my best friend had a C64... but no Spectrums. So I get absolutely nothing from Spectrum coverage (and unlike the NES, when I check out Spectrum games on emulation I'm just non-plussed. I can't see the appeal of Manic Miner at all. Um... am I banned from the forum now? :twisted: )

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Denny Haynes » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:29 pm

Well i can say what RG does well.......

1. Coinop capers ( My fave) though i'd like to see that go more indepth, as in tech specs of the pcb it runs on, plus if theres any major differences in the overseas coinop versions.

2. Back to the 80's and 90's, really enjoy those but maybe more screen shots for the many games listed.

3. The ultimate guide, simply stunning, i'd keep that to the same format.

4. Retrospection.

5. The making of's.

6. The definitive guides.

7. The unconverted ( another fave ), maybe expanded please?

I also enjoy iain Lee and Paul Davies rambles but this could easily be condensed to one page to add other features. Lets all play and Homebrew take my interest as does Gameroom releases but can't stand the iphone stuff, saying that i have a HUGE pet hate where phones are concerned.
One feature i'd like to see added is a monthly look at at whats happening in Mame, maybe an article on decapping or how the devs and dumpers do there thing.
And one other thing, yes i know you've got the Bad Influence article for next month but i'd like to see a TV feature where computer graphics were or are used like Gamesmaster, Gamesworld and The adventure game to name but a few.

How my humble comments have some worth for you.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:42 pm

Picking up two points:

Archer simply stopped writing for the mag because of a lack of time. I don't think it was supposed to be a permanent break though.

On UK-centric or otherwise, relevance is the most important thing. Anything important in the general scheme of things should be covered. Of course, what's important to one person may be less so to someone else. However, the mag doesn't tend to turn down pitches on the basis of their country of origin.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Roo » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:48 pm

Nup, the magazine is better now than it was a year ago, or two years ago, or three, and so on. I'd go as far to say Retro Gamer is the most well-rounded gaming magazine I've read. Sorry to sound like such a lickarse.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Jet Pilot » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:49 pm

the_hawk wrote:I disagree, there's already enough stuff in the mag that has no relevance to those brought up in the UK. It's a British mag, why shouldn't it be UK centric? If, for example I subscribed to some Yank soccer mag I wouldn't expect to find pages to be devoted to the Irish Premier League.
I disagree completely. Retro gaming is a hobby that has a worldwide fan base with content from across the globe. To ignore such content simply because it wasn't made in the UK would mean that RG would be ignoring the vast majority of the retro gaming scene and a large part of the history of the gaming industry. Half the fun of retro gaming is nostalgia, however the other half is learning about new (err...old) games and machines, not just reading about the same familiar content over and over again.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by ipmarks » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:06 pm

Generally I think the magazine is really good at the moment, and the last few issues have been really excellent... it's difficult to say what would improve it really, myself I'd like more 8 bit coverage, but there are others that would want more 16 bit... I actually think the balance of the two is good at the moment.

Possibly it's time to let the Gamecube and original Xbox into the club... they aren't much newer than the Dreamcast after all, and I'd enjoy reading about the making of Wind Waker, Halo and the like. Myself I wouldn't let the PS/2 in yet as it still seems like a saleable system... I could be persuaded though.

Really like the idea of more Retro Shamers, there is a real perverse joy to be had with reading about dreadful games. Would be really interesting to talk to developers more and see what went wrong etc.

I'd perhaps like a little less of the forum stuff, because I can read that information on the forums. I'm not saying no forum stuff, just a bit less.

I myself would like the in-depth looks at games systems to be a bit longer... they have of late been down to 4 pages or the like. I used to like the pre-Imagine days of 8 page plus articles on Commodore 64's etc. Maybe that's just me.

I also used to like the eBay auction watch in the old pre-imagine days, when there would be 1/2 page devoted to talking about different items that sold that month.

A bit about emulation would be appreciated sometimes - not too much, just a bit - particularly on obscure machines that can be tricky to get to work. I know there are legality issues here though. I myself have been emulating for about 15 years and have still failed to get a working Neo-Geo system... an article on this would be great in my opinion.

Anyway, I still look forward with boyish anticipation to the magazine, it's my reading highlight of the month... so you must be doing something right (in fact you are doing most things right as far as I'm concerned) so please keep it up.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by necronom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:28 pm

I've read every page of every issue (apart from issue 1), and I love it. There is a lot of console stuff that I'm not too bothered about, but I usually find them interesting or fun to read, even if it's only parts of an article. I prefer computers. More 8-bit computers are always welcome.

The only thing I'm really disappointed at is the lack of the Amiga (and as a lot of Amiga games were also on the ST, that would get some coverage as well). Almost everyone I knew who played games had an Amiga, and it's clearly the best computer ever made, so some more interviews and making ofs would be great.

No Mario ever, would also improve the mag.

I'd also rather see some older computers instead of newer ones. The Vic-20 and others from the very early '80s would be welcome. If the Spectrum gets pages, I don't see why the Vic can't, as it can out-perform the Spectrum in many areas. Reading interviews from programmers who had a lot of limitations, are usually interesting.

Something that usually spoils articles on the hardware side is that there often isn't a "Specs" box. I was reading one article (I can't remember which), and I was really interested to see how many colours it had, the resolution, sound specs, etc. I meant to look it up on the internet, but then forgot, and now the moment has gone.

I really wouldn't like anything like the xbox to be in the mag. That would be worse than Mario.

Small hardware reviews of things like card readers, network cards, adapters, special carts (like ones I know of on the Vic-20), etc. would be very interesting. There must be someone who can write articles who has some modern add-ons. Couldn't someone who makes them, loan something to someone? Surely the exposure and advertising from the article would be worth the postage there and back?

In general, it's a great mag. Well done all involved.

I've just remembered another thing. Putting a Space Invader or something at the end of all the multi-page articles would be good. Some have it, and others don't. I find them useful. They wouldn't work in some articles, but a few extra ones this month would have worked.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:37 pm

Please start doing a monthly handheld/tabletop bit.

It doesn't need to be much, just some nice big pics of the given machine, some comments about the game and some basic specs.

Mostly its about the pictures.

Besides Astro Wars and Game & Watch, they so rarely even get a mention but they're just beautiful bits of kit to look at, especially the big LED/VFD tabletop systems.

I'll even lend you my slightly yellow, scruffy boxed, but original 'only one owner' Galaxy Twinvader if it helps?

I'd love a big collection of them but they're so bulky its not very practical, so reading about them is the next best thing.

Its such an overlooked area of retro gaming too, there's the odd emulator/simulator but many are impossible to play without the real thing to hand now. You could start a new wave of development if you raised the profile (though I've an idea of my own I've been tinkering with there...)

Even half a page every other month would be a start.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by ipmarks » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:39 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:Please start doing a monthly handheld/tabletop bit.

It doesn't need to be much, just some nice big pics of the given machine, some comments about the game and some basic specs.

Mostly its about the pictures.

Besides Astro Wars and Game & Watch, they so rarely even get a mention but they're just beautiful bits of kit to look at, especially the big LED/VFD tabletop systems.
Yes please to this also!

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Megamixer » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:00 pm

I've got no problem with most of the magazine. The only thing I'd like to suggest is a few changes to the ebay/collector's corner bit.

Keep the featured collector but perhaps get rid of the price guide in the middle and do a spot each month where a different machine is featured. You could provide all sorts of useful up-to-date info on what's what, how much we should pay, what the best games are. which cables are essential etc. I feel it would be a good way to focus more on what/how to get started with a retro platform as the retroinspections are more about the history/development of said machines.

This would be a useful section and easy to have up-to-date unlike the current listings which are badly inaccurate.
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