Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

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Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by jimbo_too » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:26 am

Dear Darran,

It has been 3 months since I last bought a copy of Retro Gamer. When I picked up my first one back in 2006 (I think, it was the one with Ghouls and Ghosts on the cover) I thought it was the bestest thing ever. I particularly loved the coverage of the 8-bit era.

Recently things started to cloud my enjoyment of the magazine. I was one of the many puzzled by the large amount of coverage Apple's gadgets have gotten in your magazine. I have noticed a certain amount of repeating of topics and people being re-interviewed, and I wonder if you're running out of things to write about? I also don't like the coverage of modern games in the mag (I am aware that this is a purely financial concern, the same way that you tend to theme magazines around whatever big modern release is coming out at that time, like the unutterably sh*t Prince of Persia).

I am also baffled by the way that the magazine seems to be focussing more on recent consoles, presumably in the hope of attracting a younger audience. I also loved Stuart Campbell's 'Definitive' articles, and there seem to be less of them these days. I hear that he pitched you the concept of a bookazine of Definitives but he was turned down, yet someone thought that a bookazine full of dull technical specs would be a sure-fire winner.

I still love the Homebrew section, as I feel that this is in tune with the era that your magazine evokes when it's on top form. I also love the coverage of games I've never heard about, although I accept that this is not a great selling point (unlike putting Lara f*cking Croft on your cover - Jesus wept)

This is not an attempt to get you to change the magazine, but more to explain why I have been put off the magazine. I don't know if anyone else feels as strongly as me, but I just felt that it needed to be said.

And so ends my final post on this forum. Bye all...
Antiriad2097 wrote:Jimbo_too, 11% Troll :lol:

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:49 am

Sorry you haven't enjoyed the last few issues, but that's the way it goes sadly. For every reader who writes something like this you get the complete opposite, meaning its incredibly hard to keep everybody happy. We rarely cover the same stuff, but if you have it in your head that you do then I'm not going to convince you otherwise. With regards to speaking to the same people? Well many of the people were responsible to some of the most popular games of all time, and if they were working on their own you have no option but to re-interview them. If we were asking them the same questions month after month then you may have a valid point, but I don't really understand what your argument is. Yes we tie in covers to make the mag more financially viable, but we also do cracking efforts like Laser Squad, which you've missed as it was issue 81.

As for things like bookazines, that's not down to me I'm afraid. I concentrate on the magazine content and based on the climbing readership I'd argue that it's doing quite well. Bookazines are decided on sales etc. I'm sure a definitive one has been pitched though, along with a making of one as well.

We're perfectly aware that not everyone is going to like what we do, but we do try our best to keep everyone happy. We've even introduced a thread that's now on over 300 posts asking for ways to improve the magazine and it's all being taken on board as you'll see next week. Also, we hardly ever cover apple stuff now (in fact people are now asking for more coverage). I'm really sorry that you're leaving Jimbo_too, but unfortunately I can't make a magazine that appeals solely to you and nobody else, and based on your post that's what you want. You're obviously a big fan of 8-bit coverage, but interestingly one of your favourite sections (homebrew) is one that most people want to see disappear from the magazine forever. It stays in though because you have to try and keep as many different people as possible.

I'll admit that this month's cover and next month's are commercially focused, but believe it or not, this happens so we can do the stuff which isn't (and they far out weigh the lara covers). Maybe you'll return one day when an issue takes your fancy, maybe you won't. I just have to concentrate on making the mag as good as possible and I'm truly sorry that that doesn't tie in with what you personally expect from the magazine.

If others feel the same way though, please feel free to say your piece.


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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by Greyfox » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:00 am

:D I agree with your statements Darran, I do find myself in some occasions not liking some elements of the magazine, but doesn't stop me from buying it..as without a full set of publications I feel there no point in collecting it in the first place, I love the magazine even if some of the features don't interest me personally, someone will like them and some won't, which is fine by me..keep up the good work..;)

Sorry to here you leave Jimbo_too, but leaving the forum based on your argument , seems a little pointless, what has the forum got to do with your exiting?, the forum has many topics and area not related to the magazine itself? , Seems weird you would leave on the bases of not liking elements of Retro Gamer magazine?

anyway take care.

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by IronMaidenRule » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:34 am

Greyfox wrote:I love the magazine even if some of the features don't interest me personally, someone will like them and some won't, which is fine by me..
Agree, with this totally, there will always be some articles I like and some I don't, the magazine is made for the whole retro community....not myself!

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by kelp7 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:57 am

Sounds like someone similarly minded to me except even less forgiving :) I'll not stop reading / buying the magazine.... ever, probably. I'll also put a vote in for the Homebrew section, I love it. One of my favourite parts of the magazine each month is reading about new games for the old machines I loved to play on in my early years. Luckily I can see the pattern of general swaying back and forth between more modern and less modern coverage over time, so I'm quite prepared to be faced with 32-bit or whatever else stuff on occasion, there's always still the odd bit of 8-bit to read about in almost every issue so that keeps me happy. Don't see why he's stopping reading completely, at the very least just buy the issues that appeal most to you.
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by CraigGrannell » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:13 am

jimbo_too wrote:the large amount of coverage Apple's gadgets have gotten in your magazine
Mm, all of a shocking half page in the current issue, wasn't it? THE SKY IS FALLING!, etc.

I really don't get the "RG has changed"; maybe it's more that the novelty is wearing off for some long-time readers. Games are rarely repeated, and if developers are interviewed more than once, it's because, as Darran said, they created more than one really great game. After we interviewed Eugene Jarvis about Robotron, should we have said "right, no Defender article for us, then?"
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by Denny Haynes » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:35 am

I'm in the "not everything interests me but somehings do camp". It's very difficult as Darren said to please everybody all of the time, if i had my way then i'd have all the mag dedicated to early arcade, 8 bit and amiga coverage but that would be totally selfish on my part. Must admit that the new Future classic feature leaves me cold, though can i add, new things imo need to be tried out to see if they hit it off with the readership, so as i said not for me but the rest of the readership may love it. Now that 2d gaming article was right up my street, never warmed to 3d anyway, nice to see 2d making a comeback.

Always look forward to my copy every month, i like to be surprised by whats in side :)
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by nakamura » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:44 am

Personally I have almost zero interest in 8 bit gaming even though I spent a lot of time with it as a kid. Yet I still read every article featured in the magazine as some of the info can be very interesting and it is more than possible to find links to games you love.

I don't read retro gamer to see images and read about games I already know and love, that is a bonus. I read it for the wealth of info I am not aware of and less likely to come across.
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by necronom » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:45 am

I doubt I'll ever stop subscribing, as overall it's a fantastic magazine. Some months I think are brilliant (like last months), most have a mixture of things I'm interested in/don't know, and a very small number I flick through and only see a couple of articles I like the look of (like this months, which is probably my least favourite ever, on first impressions).

I do think there is too much console coverage overall, but not enough to stop me buying it, and it sounds like we are getting some Amiga goodness, so that's going to help.
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by SirClive » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:47 am

Can't see why not buying the mag means you stop posting on the forum. We have built a community here that is complimentary to the mag rather than being reliant on it.

My two pence is that I like some of the more modern retro stuff being included. I would like more 8 and 16 bit computer stuff though.

As for the homebrew section, I find it a bit dull to look at and that makes me not want to read it. I have been screaming for a layout redesign for ages but it hasn't happened. It is an interesting part of the mag but I would definitely not want to see it increase in size.

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by Skull Commander » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:54 am

Retro gaming by it's nature will always change and what falls under the retro banner is constantly subject to change as time inevitably moves on. My definaition of retro is perhaps more flexible than some others, but for me the Dreamcast is most definatly retro, and in a few years the Ps2 will be in there too.

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by psj3809 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:20 am

In an ideal world it'll be full of tons of 8 bit stuff for me personally, but i always thought it would cover more and more 16 bit and consoles. Especially if the magazine is looking to break into America more.

But yes at the end of the day its soooo difficult to please everyone. Some people want more techy stuff, some people want more gaming bits, some people even want BASIC listings in the mag (?!?!). If theres too much 8 bit the 16 bit crowd get upset, too much 16 bit and us oldies get upset. I dont mind having Tomb Raider or Mario on the front cover to tie in with a film/new game/anniversary etc. Just obvious that should be the case to take advantage of potentially more sales.

I personally like the Homebrew sections and i know it really helps inspire a lot of the homebrew programmers to do more and more, i really wish there wasnt any Wii/iPhone stuff in the mag but again its just the odd page so its not too bad.

BUT what i dont get is when people flick through and think 'nah nothing for me this month' and dont buy it. I mean firstly its not exactly expensive is it for a subscription ? Yeah there might be a month or two where i think 'hmmm nothing takes my fancy' but then i'll give it a go and i'm surprised. OR if i read it and still think 'nah nothing for me' its just the way it goes. The next month there might be a corking issue for myself. BUT as i subscribe and help keep the mag going i know there'll be some good content for me often. The people who think 'nah dont want it this month', if we all thought like that the mag would probably stop if one month sales were so poor. Over the 13 issues i get a year i know 85% or so i'll really like.

Its a bit like joining a sunday league team, getting fed up with being sub for a week or two and then giving up ! There will be the occasional month where some people dont enjoy it so much, natural, i wouldnt stop buying it though

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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by CraigGrannell » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:35 am

I guess the split is with people who are genuinely interested in retrogaming and those who are purely nostalgic. I've never really understood the "I didn't buy this issue, because it didn't cover a bunch of games that I played as a kid" angle.
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by jdanddiet » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:02 am

Shame to see you go Jimbo, but you really can't please everyone unfortunately. Personally speaking I'd like more 8-bit in the mag (specifically Spectrum :wink: ) but some people would say there's already too much from that era. It works both - or rather, all - ways.
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Re: Why I stopped reading Retro Gamer

Post by hydr0x » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:11 am

CraigGrannell wrote:I guess the split is with people who are genuinely interested in retrogaming and those who are purely nostalgic. I've never really understood the "I didn't buy this issue, because it didn't cover a bunch of games that I played as a kid" angle.
Yeah, and to be honest, you can't avoid losing the nostalgia types. There is no way a general retro gaming mag will be able to deliver enough Speccy (or whatever system you had as a child) coverage five years from now (the PS2 will be 16 years old by then and has to be covered along with GC/Xbox and GBA) to please people who are only in for that specific fix of nostalgia. I'm sorry but those people will either have to adopt to that or stop reading the mag, which is no loss as you'll gain more readers then you'll lose by this.

Look, there's 8(!) major areas in retro gaming that have to be covered in the main section of the mag: Arcade, 8-bit computers, 16-bit computers, 8-bit consoles, 16-bit consoles, 2D-handhelds, early 3D gaming and the dc/ps2/xbox/gc gen. As there are slightly less than 70 pages in the main section that means about 8 pagers per month per area only. That's 1-3 features. The simple math experiment already shows you that there's no way you can expand one of the areas without sacrificing the others. If you can't accept that YOUR personal nostalgic era is only good to make up 1/8 of retro gaming then there's nothing RG can do about it. Just go read some system specific fanzine or something.

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