Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Want to air your opinions on the latest issue of Retro Gamer? Step inside...

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed, lcarlson

Locked
User avatar
The Laird
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:01 pm
Location: Luton
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by The Laird » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:18 pm

I have been holding back from posting on RG recently for various reasons but while I do see some valid points in what is being said, some of it is baffling.

Like the "too much Atari 8-bit" issue that was brought up by several people (although Merman IIRC already answered this) it needs to be pointed out that firstly there had never been an article on the XE Games System, seems several readers didn't even know it existed, so I was pleased to be the first person to cover this for RG and get another under appreciated system out there. Also the Atari 8-bit range had never had a retrospective in RG, the 800XL had been covered but not the range as a whole. Not to mention the fact the original A8 machines turned 35 this year. In the last 3 years how much Atari 8-bit coverage has their been? Hardly any, so I don't see 2 articles as a big deal for a range of machine that, if you include the 5200, sold the same amount as the Spectrum worldwide. Nothing was re-used between the articles and the focus was different, console version in first article and computers in the second. Chuck Peavey was interviewed for both articles (nobody else appeared in both) and that was only because he worked on a huge amount of A8 games for Sculptured Software and gave me two really insightful interviews.

Anyway I really don't want to keep going on about it and am glad that a lot of people enjoyed the articles and I thank everyone for the positive feedback that I got on them.

I am also glad people enjoyed the Thalion article too, I had a huge amount of information for this one and so many people who worked for the company wanted to be part of it. Never had that kind of response to a request for help with an article ever! So at some point I will post some bonus extras for it for anyone who is interested.

User avatar
Zagrebo
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:11 pm
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by Zagrebo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:09 pm

I'm delighted to see the interview with Pete Cooke which I've been hoping for for ages. He's looking great for his age (he must be nearly 60 now, if not over) although I think he should have kept the beard, there's something very "beardy" about his interests.

I'm a shameless Pete Cooke fanboy and was actually blabbering on to a mate in the pub the other night about how brilliant I think his games are and how he "tried to get 8-bit machines to do 16-bit things".

I loved the bit in the interview where he mentioned when he started teaching at college and one of his students knew who he was and was a bit starstruck. :D
http://mattyongames.wordpress.com/

Indie gaming and retrogaming blog by me

User avatar
ipmarks
Posts: 720
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:46 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by ipmarks » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:10 pm

The Laird wrote:I have been holding back from posting on RG recently for various reasons but while I do see some valid points in what is being said, some of it is baffling.

Like the "too much Atari 8-bit" issue that was brought up by several people (although Merman IIRC already answered this) it needs to be pointed out that firstly there had never been an article on the XE Games System, seems several readers didn't even know it existed, so I was pleased to be the first person to cover this for RG and get another under appreciated system out there. Also the Atari 8-bit range had never had a retrospective in RG, the 800XL had been covered but not the range as a whole. Not to mention the fact the original A8 machines turned 35 this year. In the last 3 years how much Atari 8-bit coverage has their been? Hardly any, so I don't see 2 articles as a big deal for a range of machine that, if you include the 5200, sold the same amount as the Spectrum worldwide. Nothing was re-used between the articles and the focus was different, console version in first article and computers in the second. Chuck Peavey was interviewed for both articles (nobody else appeared in both) and that was only because he worked on a huge amount of A8 games for Sculptured Software and gave me two really insightful interviews.

Anyway I really don't want to keep going on about it and am glad that a lot of people enjoyed the articles and I thank everyone for the positive feedback that I got on them.

I am also glad people enjoyed the Thalion article too, I had a huge amount of information for this one and so many people who worked for the company wanted to be part of it. Never had that kind of response to a request for help with an article ever! So at some point I will post some bonus extras for it for anyone who is interested.
I have no complaint with the two Atari articles. I've always thought they were a bit under represented in Retro Gamer... perhaps having them in adjoining months was a bit silly, but they were good, interesting articles, that had new things to say... unlike another article I didn't enjoy as much. I'd quite like a top 25 games for the A8 type feature (as long as it was exclusives for the system), as just getting into these machines, and have loved discovering great games I know nothing about.

To be honest I've never heard of Thalion, or any of the games (I had neither an ST or an Amiga), so have not read it yet. Will read it though, as always happy to learn about retro games I know nothing about.

Lost Dragon
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by Lost Dragon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:13 pm

Quick post before forum goes down..again.

The 'issue' with A8 coverage was'nt fact it was there, hell it was badly needed as by Darran's own admission, lack of writers on A8 had meant lack of coverage,(in past A8 versions of games not mentioned or brief bit of text, screenshot if lucky were all we got) but it was the fact we had it 2 months in a row.The A8 hardware 1st looked at in micro form, indeed much needed and not been covered for such a long time.Personally thought it was fantastic to see it covered again, but there was always the danger over just when to cover the console version of it.The XE was just the A8 re-packaged, re-launched and entire part of Atari's plan was fact it could play existing games as well as carts developed to tie-in with the 'new' hardware.Had the 2 articles been spaced much further apart, don't think many people would have reacted way they did.Much as i love the A8 range, i have to accept in UK terms, for many it was just too obscure.

As for Chuck-indeed a key figure from the A8 era, fantastic to see him interviewed, but i feel same way about say seeing the Pickford Bros appearing so often in (past) RG articles-No-one's doubting role they played, it'd just be fantastic, if possible, to get a much broader spectrum of coders, artists etc onboard for these articles, rather than same 'voice' each time.I'd loved to have heard from more coders who worked on A8 and C64 versions of the same games, how they approached conversions between the 2 formats, just how much of an issue was the limited sprites/PMG of the A8, what did they feel about commercial chances of the A8 and later the console version of it.Was it frustrating seeing games they'd worked hard on doing the rounds on the pirate circuit on A8, months in many cases before release? just why were there so few talented A8 coders out there? that sort of thing.Chuck interviews i read in 2 issues of RG and Greyfoxes A8 Gamer, in space of 2 months, so can you blame me for wanting to hear another set of views?.


Anywho, indeed the Thalion piece was very welcome, not surprised to hear they are 'unknown' to many, they appeared late in the day as it were for many gamers, but at least now they are getting remembered in style.

Think this style of article is where RG 'shines' bringing the lesser known's (be they developers and or games) to the forefront.
Last edited by Lost Dragon on Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Nemesis
Posts: 1967
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:55 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by Nemesis » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:36 pm

ipmarks wrote:But if there is nothing new to say?
I agree with ip tbh. I thought that when I saw a Knight Lore article was forthcoming my first thought was " here we go, Jon Ritman goes on again about how amazed he was when he saw Knight Lore in action". Then Shahids contribution which was pretty much the same as the interview featured in RG a few issues back.

I'm not sure I really agree with the mantra that just because something has an anniversary that an article must be printed to celebrate it, especially if much of the content is recycled.
Oh and if you want to do little social experiments on our forum don't post about them on your own you plum - Darren@Retro Gamer

Lost Dragon
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by Lost Dragon » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:55 pm

Nemesis wrote:
ipmarks wrote:But if there is nothing new to say?
I agree with ip tbh. I thought that when I saw a Knight Lore article was forthcoming my first thought was " here we go, Jon Ritman goes on again about how amazed he was when he saw Knight Lore in action". Then Shahids contribution which was pretty much the same as the interview featured in RG a few issues back.

I'm not sure I really agree with the mantra that just because something has an anniversary that an article must be printed to celebrate it, especially if much of the content is recycled.
Think if nothing else is 'taken from' this months feedback thread by the RG team, it should be that the long term readership would really like to see a few fresh names interviewed for all future articles:Nes/Atari/ZX Spectrum8/16 bit, hardware/software related.

Now, i fully understand what a total nightmare it must be trying to track down many who were involved and when you do, not everyones going to have anything fresh to say/lot of time passed so they've forgotten things or got things a little muddled and i'm sure there are a good few without the time to really chat or might just want not to speak to anyone, so i'm personally not asking for the impossible, made possible, just that the team (and that goes from Darran/Nick, to all the many staff writers), take on board just why many of us are 'groaning' at same names cropping up so often.

We only voice our personal thoughts as we want to improve the magazine, get more subscribers, folks buying at newsagents etc, so yes it is somewhat 'selfish' an approach, we just want the magazine around for years to come.

Put it this way, RG i'll happily take to the forum and say loved this, was'nt so keen on that, you got this wrong, that never happened, great to see this, not that again, etc etc, where as magazines like Empire, Gamestm, OPM, OXM and soon to be Edge, i just got bored with reading same material or new material presented in a childish or parched manner (depending on publication in question) i just picked up phone, cancelled sub, never bought another issue since.

If i'm here, moaning away, you at least know the magazine is having an effect (in a good way) on me.Basically if i did'nt give a f**k about it, i would'nt bother with the feedback, let alone subscribe.

:lol:

mikeb
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:57 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by mikeb » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:13 pm

Lost Dragon wrote: Think if nothing else is 'taken from' this months feedback thread by the RG team, it should be that the long term readership would really like to see a few fresh names interviewed for all future articles:Nes/Atari/ZX Spectrum8/16 bit, hardware/software related.
To be fair this issue has the developers of Ballblazer, Knights of the Sky, Thalion, Mike Webb of Solstice fame and Pete Cooke, all of which have never been interviewed for the mag before... the last one is a bit of a coup in my eyes as I'd been trying to track him down for years.... so we do try. Really, if you knew how much went into getting hold of some of our interviewees and then getting them to talk (as I actually outlined in the Ballblazer piece) I suspect you'd find it harder to be critical of this aspect of the mag.

[And well done Graeme, Martyn & Keiran - top work ;)]

There may be more 'new faces' actually as I've not finished the issue yet...

User avatar
theantmeister
Posts: 3440
Joined: Wed May 26, 2010 12:36 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by theantmeister » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:18 pm

psj3809 wrote:The second it features a 10 page write up on some 30 year old anniversary of an Oric game then i'll quit buying the mag.
Now you know how I feel. The Spectrum may as well be the Oric as far as I'm concerned. I never even knew either existed until I started reading RG. Again, not that I don't mind reading the occasional feature on it or its games (believe it or not, I found that feature on the 128 expansion fascinating).
retrosofer wrote:I dont think Darren would say anything different than what he already explained in the feedback 107 thread other than why specific articles were featured, which has already been explained. I dont see any problem with the Strider article and expected RG to tie in an article with release of a new game in the series, but still not convinced by a feature on Knight Lore though, still great issue this month though.
I had a look through the issue 107 feedback thread and now I'm more confused. Darran's argument was that they have to put a well known game with mass appeal on the cover in order to keep sales up:
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:Do you want to see Retro Gamer on the shelves in a year's time? You need to have commerical games that appeal to new readers, as they're the hits that attract people to pick your magazine up.Fill Retro Gamer completely with niche stuff and our audiance will dry up.
I don't see how this cover achieves that. If anything, this cover only really appeals to the kind of person who would already buy the mag (or subscribe). Wasn't there a Speccy cover that was dropped recently for a more modern cover because it didn't have enough mass appeal?
Lost Dragon wrote:RG has been the only magazine i've subscribed to where on the most part, the team will respond to reader feedback in such a positive way (sorry but past responses from likes of The Rev etc were not good for the magazine) and long may it continue.
I think Rev Stu was the best writer RG ever had. The only thing funnier than that Kick Off feature he did was everybody's reaction to it. Oh the butthurt! :lol:

User avatar
The Laird
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:01 pm
Location: Luton
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by The Laird » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:22 pm

mikeb wrote:Really, if you knew how much went into getting hold of some of our interviewees and then getting them to talk (as I actually outlined in the Ballblazer piece) I suspect you'd find it harder to be critical of this aspect of the mag.

[And well done Graeme, Martyn & Keiran - top work ;)]
So true and I myself have just got hold of a few people that I have been chasing for 2 years now!!!!! :shock:

mikeb
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:57 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by mikeb » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:32 pm

-
Last edited by mikeb on Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mikeb
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:57 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by mikeb » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:32 pm

The Laird wrote:So true and I myself have just got hold of a few people that I have been chasing for 2 years now!!!!! :shock:
My record's definitely Ballblazer, I'd been trying to get an interview with the creator since I started writing for the mag back in 2007!
Likewise the Cinemaware and Access software pieces took years to track everyone concerned down and to get interviews. You definitely have to be patient in this game ;)

User avatar
PaulEMoz
Posts: 610
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:11 pm
Location: Co. Durham
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by PaulEMoz » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:07 pm

Getting hold of people is definitely a hell of a trick. I'm not sure how you RG guys do it sometimes, you're very impressive at it!

User avatar
RetroMartin
Posts: 1679
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:02 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by RetroMartin » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:46 am

Not a bad issue, love the gameboy and rts articles especially, not been blessed with playing knightlore personally!
Image

PSN username - MartinPhantom

User avatar
NickThorpe
Posts: 499
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:45 am
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by NickThorpe » Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:31 am

mikeb wrote:
Lost Dragon wrote: Think if nothing else is 'taken from' this months feedback thread by the RG team, it should be that the long term readership would really like to see a few fresh names interviewed for all future articles:Nes/Atari/ZX Spectrum8/16 bit, hardware/software related.
To be fair this issue has the developers of Ballblazer, Knights of the Sky, Thalion, Mike Webb of Solstice fame and Pete Cooke, all of which have never been interviewed for the mag before... the last one is a bit of a coup in my eyes as I'd been trying to track him down for years.... so we do try. Really, if you knew how much went into getting hold of some of our interviewees and then getting them to talk (as I actually outlined in the Ballblazer piece) I suspect you'd find it harder to be critical of this aspect of the mag.

[And well done Graeme, Martyn & Keiran - top work ;)]

There may be more 'new faces' actually as I've not finished the issue yet...
Yup, access is definitely the challenge. Often discussed in the office lately is a massively popular game that we'd absolutely love to feature, with great cover potential, but which would be a nightmare to get interviewees for. That's not to say that we won't try to get new people for interviews, just that sometimes we won't always get there. As Mike rightly points out though, this issue does feature a good range of people we've never spoken to before.

As for the feedback, we do appreciate it and understand where it's coming from - we're all passionate about the magazine and want it to be the best that it can be. On a personal level, it's actually nice to have it - firstly because I've only just crossed the reader/writer divide, and secondly because in my pre-RG days I could interview the likes of Yuji Naka and end up with less than 10 comments (this actually happened).
Image

MartynC
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:19 pm

Re: Retro Gamer - Issue 126

Post by MartynC » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:05 pm

I don't think I've ever defended anything I've written on here before. I don't think I've needed to if I'm honest.

But this feedback has made me go back and check the commission from Darran, re-read the article more than once, and try and work out if I've messed up!

The idea of the article was to look at the influence of Knight Lore by talking to various developers of isometric games. This 'legacy' part was 3/4 of the article, with the first quarter covering the release and reception of the game (which I felt had to be covered to emphasise the initial impact of the game).

As for developers, I wasn't lazy! I spoke to eight people in total, half of which have never appeared in the magazine before (as far as I'm aware):
  • Mike Webb (Solstice)
    Bo Jangeborg (Fairlight)
    Graham Stafford (NEXOR, Nosferatu)
    Juan Delcan (The Abbey of Crime)
As for those that have appeared before, particularly Shahid and Jon, I'd argue that their input was crucial to the story I was trying to tell. Shahid did one of the very first Knight Lore clones while Jon did some of the most popular.

I understand that regular readers will know all about Knight Lore. However, this was the first time the game has had its own dedicated feature. As Darran says, it's now done. There's unlikely to be another one.

Finally, in case you weren't aware: Ultimate acutally became Rare!!! (I know!!!). And those guys at Rare liked the article at any rate.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest