Improving the magazine

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hydr0x
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by hydr0x » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:18 am

Havantgottaclue wrote:
hydr0x wrote:Also, you have to stop assuming you're talking about whole Europe when you're in fact just presenting a british POV.
I hope that's not a response to my post, because I assumed no such thing. I don't know enough about gaming in Europe to make such assumptions. I'm glad to know that there are retrogaming magazines in other countries and I'm sure they're worth investigating - that's the only point I wanted to make.
't was a general you mate :wink:
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hydr0x
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by hydr0x » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:28 am

mikeb wrote:I covered Kaiko with the Apidya feature in issue 67, in fact I have a bit of a soft spot for many of the German developed games I played back on the C64 and Amiga. Actually, recently I've been trying to track down a few of the Rainbow arts/Factor 5/Blue Byte guys to talk to, and I've a couple of game making ofs coming up that might be relevant - one being an Anglo-Danish co-production, the other a fondly remembered French title about the American Civil War :)
Sounds great :) Did you get in contact with Factor 5? I'd guess Chris Hülsbeck is the easiest to get in contact with and afaik he's in contact with all of the founders etc. so that should help. Also, a couple of veteran game reviewers are active at spieleveteranen.de and they know almost everyone of relevance from the early 90s so could probably help in contacting these guys.

About the German retro scene: Besides coverage in various publications (similar to the GamesTM retro section) and numerous PDF magazine and some I'd classify as fanzine we have one big commercial retro mag: http://www.retromagazine.eu/retro/

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mikeb
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by mikeb » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:08 am

Thanks for that, hydrox. I have spoken with Chris Huelsbeck and Frank Matze regarding Facor 5, the problem at the moment is that given the messy situation the (now ex) company is in, a lot of the main people involved seem to have gone to ground. Although obviously Chris and Frank themselves were involved with a few of Factor 5's games, such as Turrican 3. Rainbow Arts is another company I'd love to cover but which is proving very hard to track people down, even Manfred Trenz has unfortunately stopped doing interviews now. I may well try and persue the spielveteranan route you mentioned though.

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merman
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by merman » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:06 pm

mikeb wrote:I'm very much in favour with the idea of covering games and game companies from across the globe, not just the UK, US and Japan, although I think the mag has always kept a nice balance in covering those three areas, arguably beacuse they were probably the most influential in the evolution of our little hobby. But of course there were plenty of influential, interesting developers from other countries as well - France (Delphine, Cryo, Silmarils,Titus, Infogrames, Ubisoft) Germany (Rainbow Arts, Ariolasoft, Factor 5, Blue Byte, Thalion, Kaiko) Sweden (DICE) Finland (Bloodhouse, Stavros Fasoulos) Spain (Dinamic, Paco Suarez who created Bugaboo the Flea) Italy (N.A.P.S Team of Shadow Fighter fame) Australia (Melbourne House, Interactive Binary illusions (Flight of The Amazon Queen)) New Zealand (Acid Software (Skidmarks)) to name just a few. I think many of the above (and plenty of others) would be great to see in RG.

I covered Kaiko with the Apidya feature in issue 67, in fact I have a bit of a soft spot for many of the German developed games I played back on the C64 and Amiga. Actually, recently I've been trying to track down a few of the Rainbow arts/Factor 5/Blue Byte guys to talk to, and I've a couple of game making ofs coming up that might be relevant - one being an Anglo-Danish co-production, the other a fondly remembered French title about the American Civil War :)
Oooh, North & South, based on Les Tuniques Bleues! Looking forward to that, Mike!
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Havantgottaclue
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Havantgottaclue » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:59 pm

hydr0x wrote:'t was a general you mate :wink:
In that case, I made the wrong assumption. :oops:
Soon you will have forgotten all things: soon all things will have forgotten you. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7)

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Mr_Staypuft
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Mr_Staypuft » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:17 am

OK,

This will be long... but hey, I'll just write once!
Anything I've quoted below, take as a "HERE! HERE!", thumbs up, etc.
Eric wrote: End game / Boss Rush updated - drop the humour from both and give more in depth detail of the endings & bosses.
"Back to the..." - alternate cinema charts with the music charts. (at least this is an easy improvement)
More retro box art & adverts scattered around features etc.
Covers - keep with the bright and pixely format, these really stand out on the shelves and lets you now instantly what the mag contains.
CraigGrannell wrote:There's been a tendency for screen grabs to become microscopic, surrounded by tons of text. I know this provides the perception of value, but making-ofs like Micro Machines suffer terribly when this happens.
Yes, once screenshots get that small, I lose the feeling of 'excitement' from them.
mikeb wrote:of course there were plenty of influential, interesting developers from other countries as well - France (Delphine, Cryo, Silmarils,Titus, Infogrames, Ubisoft) ...snip save space here.... New Zealand (Acid Software (Skidmarks)) to name just a few. I think many of the above (and plenty of others) would be great to see in RG.


Yes please Mike, love reading about the non-US/UK devs too.

Oh, while I remember, I find the 'Flash Boredom' bit in Homebrew very hard to read with its diagonal writing and micoscopic screenshot!
Antiriad2097 wrote:If anything, I'd ditch some of the sillier elements of the mag, like the 'A-Z of...' in articles, or the similar 'number' ones, where its just random garbage about the game either made up or in no context.
OK, Antiriad's expressed it will a little more forcefully than I would :o - but I do agree.Sure, I understand that these trivia boxes add *visual* interest to an article, but I don't enjoy reading the content.
CraigGrannell wrote:Re including conversions... I think that makes sense when they are interesting for some reason. I mostly avoid conversion stuff in arcade making-ofs, because, frankly, most devs weren't involved in the home versions and don't care about them, and stories in the making of the original game are usually more interesting. It seems bizarre to cut an exclusive and fascinating story about the making of Arcade Game X in order to include shots from the C64, Speccy, CPC and NES (or whatever), not least because if you're that interested, you can just go to MobyGames.
Absolutely Craig. He also went on to suggest moving the 'best' homebriew reviews to the main XBLA/PSN/etc review section. Good idea. Or, should it just be the homebrew games that aren't free? Hmm, really not sure what to do there.
Gabe wrote:Start a series of features looking at certain elements in games and how those features have evolved over the years - i.e. for starters you could have:
  • the concept of how progression in games changed from having to start from scratch when you died, to multiple lives to checkpoints;
    linked to the above, how progression through games moved from granting lives to limited health bars to replenishing health;
    how enemies have gone from simple cannon-fodder to developing AI;
    how level progression has gotten better/smarter
Yes, I find this 'improvements in games' kind of stuff fascinating. Not 'coding' as such. More the mechanics and gameplay concepts.
Oh, and while I remember, the occasional 'top 25 of genre x' is nice!
Tellah wrote: More John Szczepaniak articles.
More import games, oddities and rarities.
Stu Campbell excercising his opinion on matters.
Yeah, miss John. Miss global gaming! Always enjoy Stu's stuff. (More officechair reviews Stu! :lol: )
SqueakyG wrote: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.
I notice that RG has tried a few visual ideas with RR double page spreads; some worked well, some less so.
But I hope that 'whoever does it' will also consider other ideas like showing a series of animation frames, or stitched maps*.
*My tip for creating game panoramas easily? :idea: Use Irfanview to take screenshots every X seconds, then Autostitch will automagically™ glue them together.

@Darran I realise that sometimes you need to have 'standing' changes like the old buyers guide, and I have a suggestion for one if you do need a new static page.

Call it 'The latecomers guide'. A recap of the 10 games on each of the main retro systems that RG considers it's "Perfect 10 games" (from their prior retroinspection) Lets say 12 to the page... 3 across, 4 down. With a pic of the machine at the top, and the top 10 below.
Why?Every now and then, readers will finally decide to buy system X, and it would be great to get RG's authoritive tip on the best 10 titles,
rather than having to search for the relevent back issue. If it's just a single page, it wouldn't be so intrusive, and you could always have 2 pages alternating, one with retro systems 1-12, and the other with systems 23-24.

RE: Humour. I agree with Craig's suggestion of a 'less dry' approach in some articles, (eg sarcastic screenshot captions) but I don't really like the overt 'and now here's a funny bit' that crops up sometimes. eg: Retro Shamer and its 'monologue from the game character'. (Not a fan.) I think RG would do better to keep a broad 'fun attitude' across the entire mag, rather than the obvious concentrated examples of attempted humour.

As Daz said at the end of his long post - 'phew!' - but I think it speaks volumes that so many have contributed/debated good ideas so far. Very few 'I never had system X so don't talk about it' posts in the previous 11 pages.
Great stuff guys 'n' gals. 8)

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TwoHeadedBoy
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by TwoHeadedBoy » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:59 am

Mr_Staypuft wrote: Call it 'The latecomers guide'. A recap of the 10 games on each of the main retro systems that RG considers it's "Perfect 10 games" (from their prior retroinspection) Lets say 12 to the page... 3 across, 4 down. With a pic of the machine at the top, and the top 10 below.
Why?Every now and then, readers will finally decide to buy system X, and it would be great to get RG's authoritive tip on the best 10 titles,
rather than having to search for the relevent back issue. If it's just a single page, it wouldn't be so intrusive, and you could always have 2 pages alternating, one with retro systems 1-12, and the other with systems 23-24.
That's an excellent idea, I like that one.
hydr0x wrote:Image
And that's an amazing cover! Sure to be noticeable on the shelves, unless all your magazines are like that? I was in Berlin ten years ago, and there didn't seem to be a problem with naked flesh on the covers of magazines...
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Havantgottaclue
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Havantgottaclue » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:16 am

That German magazine looks good, but all I can make out (apart from the English of course) is that it is the Spring edition ... :oops:
Soon you will have forgotten all things: soon all things will have forgotten you. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7)

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CraigGrannell
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:17 am

Mr_Staypuft wrote:Call it 'The latecomers guide'. A recap of the 10 games on each of the main retro systems that RG considers it's "Perfect 10 games" (from their prior retroinspection)
That's an excellent idea for standing copy. I hope the mag takes it up. You could easily enough also weld to it favourite retro games from new platforms, as you suggest, which could keep things fresh (since those 'charts' would be updated now and again when something new and great appears). Charts also create massive arguments, so that'd lead to more reader interaction.
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Timothy Lumsden
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Timothy Lumsden » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:21 am

would be better if the recap wasnt just a reprint from Retro-inspection perfect 10 though - and there was at least 1 or 2 'new entries' per month

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:37 am

Timothy Lumsden wrote:would be better if the recap wasnt just a reprint from Retro-inspection perfect 10 though - and there was at least 1 or 2 'new entries' per month
But that kind of defeats the object of standing copy and a 'definitive' top ten per system. For, say, the DS or iOS, the best games are in a state of flux, until the system keels over; for the C64 or Speccy, it's unlikely a chart would change, unless loads of readers argued the toss.
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Rory Milne
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Rory Milne » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:47 am

CraigGrannell wrote:for the C64 or Speccy, it's unlikely a chart would change, unless loads of readers argued the toss.
RG readers arguing the toss over the best C64 or Speccy games? How on earth could that ever conceivably happen??? :wink:

Seriously though, I think it's a great idea.

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Timothy Lumsden
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Timothy Lumsden » Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:49 am

i am happy to defeat the object of a page that's just the same every month! :lol:

looking in from outside the magazine industry, standing copy doesn't satisfy me as consumer.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:56 am

Timothy Lumsden wrote:looking in from outside the magazine industry, standing copy doesn't satisfy me as consumer.
I'm sure it doesn't, and I'm hardly a massive fan, but the harsh reality is this: remove the standing copy from a magazine and it'll most likely lose pages AND increase in price.
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by jdanddiet » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:10 pm

what does standing copy mean exactly?
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