Improving the magazine

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thevulture
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by thevulture » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:02 pm

Have asked before-Totally forgot answer :oops: But:Tony Crowther, feature on N20, Captive, Liberation, Realms of the haunting etc would be great. Also a what ever happened to? I.E where are Martin Walker, Glyn williams etc these days?.

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Jet Pilot
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Jet Pilot » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:24 pm

ipmarks wrote:I'm with you on this... I didn't buy Games TM last month as it was sealed in a bag and had no visible clue as to what articles it contained. It could have had the best retro articles in the world, but I'm not paying £4+ to find out.
That's probably why all of the bagged magazines at my local bookstore usually have at least one copy where a customer has ripped the bag open. Apparently you're not the only one who wants to spend money just to see what's inside, and I can't blame you. I don't like bagged magazines either and typically won't buy and issue off the newsstand if I can't have a flick-through first.
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Darran@Retro Gamer
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:13 pm

Cheers for all the feedback guys :)
Just a few pointers based on what's be said so far.

Try and suggest ideas that will improve the magazine as a whole. Things like more Vectrex coverage because I like it isn't useful in the slightest, but article ideas or the tone of the magazine are far more useful.

I'm fully aware that the magazine is suffering in certain areas (too much coverage/not enough) so I'll be doing things to ensure that this becomes more balanced in the future.

Anyhoo
Japanese gaming
It's not going anywhere. Well it's not been in the issue for months but we will be looking at no more than 4 pages a month in future issues.

Retroinspection
The current format needs to change. We are getting constant demands to look at machines like the Spectrum and SNES, so they're coming back. I'm fully aware that there are obscure systems we've yet to cover, but these represent their own problems due to the speciliased knowledge to cover them. I obviously don't want to reveal too much here but we'll be taking a three-pronged attack on hardware in the future, one of which will be from a collectors angle.

Last Gen Systems
Again due to a lot of demand we're going to introduce last generation games. We're fully aware that not everyone feels these machines are retro yet, but the online poll we ran and the many requests I receive do tell us that people are interested in seeing them covered. They will be confined to two pages a month.

Ebay Section
It's not been in for a while now and it's unlikely to be coming back.

One-Off Features
The mag can be heavily templated at times, so we're aiming to get more one-off features into the mag to keep it fresh and exciting. We do them every now and then, but we're planning to get at least one into each issue. Topics will include copy protection, car booting, the amiga public demo scene, tabletops (this is proving a bloody nightmare so expect it as a possible mini collector/price guide as it's proving a nightmare to find anywone with any real knowledge), type in features, preserving tapes, emulating and much much more.

Free Gifts
Never going to happen (although Ash has given me an idea for issue 100)

The Same old Faces
It's inevitable I'm afraid. When you have certain individual making loads of great games readers want to hear abou tthem. Look at film and music mags, it happens all the time. Having said that I know freelancers are casting their nets far and wide and the introduction of new freelancers is also introducing fresh faces, which, while well known in the community rarely feature in the magazine (if at all).

Structure
Northway's comment is a good one. Sometimes you get a great exclusive that you'd love to give 16 pages to, others time you feel a making of could be stripped down to a simple two page Q&A. We'll keep an eye on this and it will help change the flow. We've obviously introduced The Unconverted and Same Name Different Game off the back of two bigger features so we have started already.

Homebrew
This section is a tricky one as people seem to want a lot from it. I won't be increasing it, but it defintly needs a reboot. Jason does an amazing job on it, but there's so much stuff coming out that it may be proving too much for one just one person. Hmm maybe it does need an extra two pages...

Conversion Comparisons
I'm fully aware that these are popular, but I don't want to drench the mag in them. They currently feature in the ultimate guides and coin-op capers. MAybe they could also be introduced into making ofs (when they're relevant).

Humour
We'll look into this, although bear in mind that I'm not a funny guy. I do feel that we have far more personality than most other mags, but will admit that certain features can feel a little sterile. Again though you need to remember that there are only two-inhouse writers (stuart and myself) so it's quite tough to get a whole raft of freelancers on the same page.

Back to the Noughties.
Maybe, but I feel the front end of the mag is already quite dense.

Pull Outs
too expensive. won't happen.

Phew, that's everything I think.
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merman
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by merman » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:39 pm

thevulture wrote:Have asked before-Totally forgot answer :oops: But:Tony Crowther, feature on N20, Captive, Liberation, Realms of the haunting etc would be great. Also a what ever happened to? I.E where are Martin Walker, Glyn williams etc these days?.
When I met Tony at Retro Rewind, he was definitely interested in doing some articles...
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thevulture
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by thevulture » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:10 am

merman wrote:
thevulture wrote:Have asked before-Totally forgot answer :oops: But:Tony Crowther, feature on N20, Captive, Liberation, Realms of the haunting etc would be great. Also a what ever happened to? I.E where are Martin Walker, Glyn williams etc these days?.
When I met Tony at Retro Rewind, he was definitely interested in doing some articles...
Sweet! He`s somebody i`d be really interesting in reading up on.Really hope some articles appear at somepoint.

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Timothy Lumsden
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Timothy Lumsden » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:42 am

@Darran
re: Homebrew

maybe this doesnt need to be longer, but just better laid out. At the moment it's mainly a review section that sits on its own outside the main review section of the magazine.

Why not review less homebrew titles, but put the best ones into the main review section along with XBLA, Iphone, DS and other games? (after all, these are just games like any other)

The 'main' homebrew section could then be used exclusively for homebrew news/ interviews rather than reviews.

anyone else think it's a workable idea?

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CraigGrannell
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:13 am

The Master wrote:It's only because people think there's nipples in there, though.
Free nipples? That would make for a pretty grim bag when opened.
thevulture wrote:Also a what ever happened to? I.E where are Martin Walker
Martin's at Yew Tree Magic, creating music and, last I heard, working hard on sound design. And, no, he's not interested in talking about Hunter's Moon (or any of his other games) for Retro Gamer.
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Conversion Comparisons
I'm fully aware that these are popular, but I don't want to drench the mag in them. They currently feature in the ultimate guides and coin-op capers. MAybe they could also be introduced into making ofs (when they're relevant).
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.

However, when the conversions are interesting in themselves, it becomes a different matter. When I wrote the Marble Madness and Pac-Man pieces, I realised there were some very odd conversions about, hence including them in the articles.
Timothy Lumsden wrote:Why not review less homebrew titles, but put the best ones into the main review section along with XBLA, Iphone, DS and other games? (after all, these are just games like any other)
Assuming it wouldn't censored of advertisers, I think that's an excellent idea, although if that was done, the ratings would need some serious tightening up. (Mind you, RG could do with that happening anyway—ratings are often pretty lenient, but are occasionally extremely brutal.)
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Darran@Retro Gamer
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:25 am

Let that Pac-Man score go Craig. Let it go.
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CraigGrannell
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by CraigGrannell » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:52 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Let that Pac-Man score go Craig. Let it go.
Well, yeah, but there are are obvious inconsistencies between the main area and homebrew that aren't too troublesome now, but would need addressing if the reviews sections were merged. Everyone on the same page and all that.
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Darran@Retro Gamer
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:16 am

the review section is small enough as it is. One possible option might just be to integrate the section into news and reviews. ON the other hand, reviewing homebrew games in next to retail doesn't sit too well with me, especially as the scoring system for the former is far too leniant. In fact. I might just abolish scores on homebrew all together...
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Jet Pilot
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Jet Pilot » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:29 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Homebrew...Hmm maybe it does need an extra two pages...
Please no. The homebrew section is large enough already, and I know I'm not the only one that skips over it completely. I personally find that homebrew has nothing to do with retro gaming and has no place in the magazine, but I'm not going to complain about the current coverage because there are people out there who enjoy it. All I ask is that you don't expand the coverage at the expense of adding new features to the magazine.

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Back to the Noughties...Maybe, but I feel the front end of the mag is already quite dense.
If you have two extra pages to spend, please use it on this feature, not more homebrew.
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joefish
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by joefish » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:55 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Try and suggest ideas that will improve the magazine as a whole. Things like more Vectrex coverage because I like it isn't useful in the slightest, but article ideas or the tone of the magazine are far more useful.
I'm gonna mention this again, because reading the mag from month to month I'm beginning to think I must have dreamed the entire ST/Amiga gaming/demo/PD scene of the nineties. Can someone please try to bear in mind that there were, in fact, some 16-bit computers on sale once, not just consoles? There are articles on software houses that mention some great ST/Amiga games, there's usually a screenshot in the summary of arcade conversions, 'Back to the 90s' even sometimes squeezes in a reference - Leander, SOTBeast series, Killing Game Show, Lemmings, etc. etc., but when it comes to featuring actual 16-bit games it's pretty much always consoles. I'm not trying to say the magazine should be all about computers and no consoles (like the next fanboi response to this post is going to try and make out, even though I've already been labelled a Speccy nut several times), but I'm not the only one to notice the balance here is way off.
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:One-Off Features
...Topics will include ...the amiga public demo scene..
Please, bring it on! And this even from someone who had an ST!

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joefish
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by joefish » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:57 am

P.S. 'Homebrew' seems just fine to me. Leave it. :roll:

Gabe
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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Gabe » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:37 am

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
All could cover multiple genres individually and at the same time.

Have a small semi-regular feature on gaming cliches - such as the various with platformers you'll probably encounter fire & ice levels at some point, or in an action-adventure you'll often lose powers/weapons and have to earn them back etc.

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Re: Improving the magazine

Post by Havantgottaclue » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:16 pm

joefish wrote:P.S. 'Homebrew' seems just fine to me. Leave it. :roll:
+1 for that, and I also agree with you about covering more on the 16-bit computers.
Soon you will have forgotten all things: soon all things will have forgotten you. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7)

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