Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

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

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

User avatar
nakamura
Posts: 7582
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:32 pm
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by nakamura » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:15 pm

TwoHeadedBoy wrote:= that Mario special was the absolute pits, for example.h.
Because it was bad or you don't like Mario?
http://judged-by-gabranth.blogspot.co.uk/
Antiriad2097 wrote:I have a general rule of thumb that if Nakamura likes something, it's not for me ;)

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:09 pm

I don't anymore... never actually thought I'd say that as it used to be my favourite read of the month. Then I just fell out of love with it.
Cancelled my subscription, and although have glanced at copies owned by friends I haven't bought the last few issues.

I know I'll probably get flak for this but here are the things that have made me not want to read it anymore:-
Firstly it is really starting to repeat articles now - case in point being the Atari 7800 article. We have been told the story of that machines development over and over in RG, I could pretty much write the article from memory. It was well written, yes, but it didn't add anything new. There have been a few articles like this - the Knight Lore one a few issues back another example. When RG isn't repeating itself, it often then goes too obscure I find with long articles on games not many have heard of. I swear the other month their was an issue where I honestly hadn't ever heard of half the games featured. I know it's my ignorance, but if me a seasoned retro gamer who has owned pretty much every major system hasn't heard of the games then what about the casual retro gamer. I am aware also of the irony of moaning about both the familiar and the obscure, but feel the correct balance in the mag is no longer there.
Secondly I personally feel the magazine has dumbed down. Silly jokey captions - such as the ones on the Driver article - or pretend fights between ninjas would have felt immature in Crash or C&VG when I was 13. I am now 43 and feel slightly cringy when I read them. Also whole page boxouts that tell us good racing games have cars in them, or good space games have spaceships. It just seems like silly fluff page fillers to me.
Thirdly I think there is too much emphasis on designers of games, and not enough on the games themselves. A case in point was the Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters article. I have never played this game, but I'd of learnt nothing about the gameplay and how it felt from the article. There is nothing wrong with game writers telling us the sound chip problems they encountered, but there should still be some description of why the game was great in the first place. Similarly the Elder Scrolls article rushed through the early games (surely in a magazine called RG the older the better) and talked extensively on the more modern ones, and how they were developed. I want an article to make me want to play the game I'm reading about, not a love in between game writers and RG staff. RG seems at the moment to treat game writers as little demi-gods, and print every little snippet they say. Just because you start a quote with 'Here's an interesting story he told me...' doesn't mean it is an interesting story - programmers are not always thrilling conversationalists I find (the 7800 article about the mans boss who was writing a bad game with Grandpa Munster take note). I think it should be all about games, and the joy of games. It can be intelligent too though.

The bits I still adore are the comparisons of games on different systems, the ever well written Back to the series, the Unconverted is brilliant, and the last two Minority Reports on Amstrad PCW and TRS-80 have nearly persuaded me to buy the mag again they were so interesting.

Rant over, I'll wait for the flak.

User avatar
Darran@Retro Gamer
Posts: 6771
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:34 am
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:47 pm

There have only been two articles about the atari 7800 and two specifically about knightlore in the last 10 years. How is that continually repeating content?

Still, I totally understand what it's like to fall out of love with a magazine. I no longer read empire for example. I hope you find something out there that's more to your liking, or maybe you'll pick up a future issue when you see something in it that that you like.

You raise an interesting point about eftpotrm. Some people love hearing about game mechanics, but many don't. I guess it comes down to how well you know the game, and most of the games we cover are well known so we don't tend to cover the basics. The ultimate guides do do this however, so I guess it's about striking a balance. maybe future making ofs can have a box out describing how the game plays for those who have never heard of it.
Image

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:01 pm

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:There have only been two articles about the atari 7800 and two specifically about knightlore in the last 10 years. How is that continually repeating content?

Still, I totally understand what it's like to fall out of love with a magazine. I no longer read empire for example. I hope you find something out there that's more to your liking, or maybe you'll pick up a future issue when you see something in it that that you like.

You raise an interesting point about eftpotrm. Some people love hearing about game mechanics, but many don't. I guess it comes down to how well you know the game, and most of the games we cover are well known so we don't tend to cover the basics. The ultimate guides do do this however, so I guess it's about striking a balance. maybe future making ofs can have a box out describing how the game plays for those who have never heard of it.
Maybe only 2 specific 7800 articles, but the story of its development has cropped up numerous times in other related articles I'm sure. The Knight Lore one I'm not getting into again as I was shouted down last time. Maybe they were bad examples, but there has been content repeat.

I still stand by my other points - they are my opinion and how I feel - I'm sure I cannot be the only one who doesn't think the magazine is beyond criticism.

That said thank you as ever Darran for your personal response. I know there are not many magazine editors who go to as much trouble as you to keep in touch with your readers.

User avatar
Darran@Retro Gamer
Posts: 6771
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:34 am
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:15 pm

No magazine is perfect.
There's been a lot of atari coverage as it's been tied into anniversaries and there will obviously be crossover there. That's finished now and the focus is moving to playstation and saturn as they have their own anniversaries and have rarely been covered by the mag.

I can't really comment on humour as it's clearly subjective. We see the box out as a bit of fun, you see it otherwise, that's fine as well.

Box outs are interesting when it comes down to it. They're designed by their very nature to be light reading, as the body is so heavy. A lot of people see them as additional pointers (ie if you like this game here are others to try) but some will argue they are lightweight.

Ultimately it comes down to what you want or expect from a magazine. If it doesn't meet your expectations or simply goes on about how great peter jackson is then you stop reading it.
Image

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:27 pm

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:No magazine is perfect.
There's been a lot of atari coverage as it's been tied into anniversaries and there will obviously be crossover there. That's finished now and the focus is moving to playstation and saturn as they have their own anniversaries and have rarely been covered by the mag.

I can't really comment on humour as it's clearly subjective. We see the box out as a bit of fun, you see it otherwise, that's fine as well.

Box outs are interesting when it comes down to it. They're designed by their very nature to be light reading, as the body is so heavy. A lot of people see them as additional pointers (ie if you like this game here are others to try) but some will argue they are lightweight.

Ultimately it comes down to what you want or expect from a magazine. If it doesn't meet your expectations or simply goes on about how great peter jackson is then you stop reading it.
I obviously don't agree with all you say, but as ever you are a gentleman.
Long may Retro Gamer thrive under your editorship.... You may have lost me as a subscriber, but i'm just a moaning old git. I'm sure many more will subscribe in my place.

NorthWay
Posts: 1630
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:02 am
Location: Grimstad, Norway

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by NorthWay » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:51 am

ianpmarks wrote:I honestly hadn't ever heard of half the games featured.
That, my friend, is retro heaven to me. Seems we differ seriously here.

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:58 am

NorthWay wrote:
ianpmarks wrote:I honestly hadn't ever heard of half the games featured.
That, my friend, is retro heaven to me. Seems we differ seriously here.
I like a balance of known and unknown. Also there's a difference between unknown and really, really obscure. For some of the games featured lately there is I believe a definite reason why they have remained so poorly known.

Everyone has different likes and dislikes though. I was just explaining mine, and why i don't buy RG anymore.

User avatar
nakamura
Posts: 7582
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:32 pm
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by nakamura » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:33 pm

I actually think the mention of game mechanics is quite an interesting point. The magazine does tend to focus on a more technical point when talking about the games, or a business point etc. Perhaps a short section in a making of could be good? I don't know.

I suppose the counter argument is discussing the mechanics etc requires no real specialist info or writing. It can be done on any free website. I guess it all depends on what you want from the magazine.
http://judged-by-gabranth.blogspot.co.uk/
Antiriad2097 wrote:I have a general rule of thumb that if Nakamura likes something, it's not for me ;)

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:47 pm

nakamura wrote:I actually think the mention of game mechanics is quite an interesting point. The magazine does tend to focus on a more technical point when talking about the games, or a business point etc. Perhaps a short section in a making of could be good? I don't know.

I suppose the counter argument is discussing the mechanics etc requires no real specialist info or writing. It can be done on any free website. I guess it all depends on what you want from the magazine.
The internet is full of all sorts of badly written blogs about games. I think well written sections on game mechanics by professional RG writers would be brilliant. I really get disappointed when an article about a game I know nothing about fails to tell me how it actually plays - surely thats key.

User avatar
nakamura
Posts: 7582
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:32 pm
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by nakamura » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:51 pm

ianpmarks wrote:
nakamura wrote:I actually think the mention of game mechanics is quite an interesting point. The magazine does tend to focus on a more technical point when talking about the games, or a business point etc. Perhaps a short section in a making of could be good? I don't know.

I suppose the counter argument is discussing the mechanics etc requires no real specialist info or writing. It can be done on any free website. I guess it all depends on what you want from the magazine.
The internet is full of all sorts of badly written blogs about games. I think well written sections on game mechanics by professional RG writers would be brilliant. I really get disappointed when an article about a game I know nothing about fails to tell me how it actually plays - surely thats key.
I fully agree. I would like to see in depth looks of play mechanics myself, so many people overlook them, even more so in modern gaming. I find plenty of newer games dull today not because I am a grumpy sod, but because they bore me (not all). Review sites today are even worse, even the so called professionals of the mainstream sites don't seem to have a clue IMO.
http://judged-by-gabranth.blogspot.co.uk/
Antiriad2097 wrote:I have a general rule of thumb that if Nakamura likes something, it's not for me ;)

User avatar
The Laird
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Luton
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by The Laird » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:50 pm

ianpmarks wrote:Firstly it is really starting to repeat articles now - case in point being the Atari 7800 article. We have been told the story of that machines development over and over in RG, I could pretty much write the article from memory. It was well written, yes, but it didn't add anything new.
I tend to stay away from stuff like this these days, but sorry you a just plain wrong. There was a lot of stuff in my 7800 article that was not in Marty's previous article. Not only did I read it first before writing my own but also spoke to Marty myself on numerous occasions. I even discovered a bunch of interesting info that even he didn't know and now wants to include in the next Atari book. The programmer of Ninja Golf had never been interviewed before and believe me when I say that game is legendary among fans of the system. It was also great to discover a huge amount of info about a lost 7800 game, especially one attached to a quite high profile (for the time) licence. Marty's article was much more technical than mine and focused very much on the history. It also, understandably, had more of a US slant. Mine was geared towards a European perspective and had more focus on games and the incredible homebrew scene the system has.

Also: Regarding EFTPOTRM - it actually does talk about gameplay and this was something several people at the time said they liked about it. The reason I did include that element was because a few people had been asking for that and so it was very much on my mind. I tried to strike a happy balance between the two.

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:10 pm

The Laird wrote:
ianpmarks wrote:Firstly it is really starting to repeat articles now - case in point being the Atari 7800 article. We have been told the story of that machines development over and over in RG, I could pretty much write the article from memory. It was well written, yes, but it didn't add anything new.
I tend to stay away from stuff like this these days, but sorry you a just plain wrong. There was a lot of stuff in my 7800 article that was not in Marty's previous article. Not only did I read it first before writing my own but also spoke to Marty myself on numerous occasions. I even discovered a bunch of interesting info that even he didn't know and now wants to include in the next Atari book. The programmer of Ninja Golf had never been interviewed before and believe me when I say that game is legendary among fans of the system. It was also great to discover a huge amount of info about a lost 7800 game, especially one attached to a quite high profile (for the time) licence. Marty's article was much more technical than mine and focused very much on the history. It also, understandably, had more of a US slant. Mine was geared towards a European perspective and had more focus on games and the incredible homebrew scene the system has.

Also: Regarding EFTPOTRM - it actually does talk about gameplay and this was something several people at the time said they liked about it. The reason I did include that element was because a few people had been asking for that and so it was very much on my mind. I tried to strike a happy balance between the two.
I'm not getting into an argument with you. Stop treating critiques of articles as personal attacks. I wasn't even aware you had written both of them, as don't really bother seeing who wrote what. Why would I? I particularly love the comment 'I tend to stay away from this stuff...' and then you proceed to launch into a long comment about how wrong I am.

To me the 7800 article felt like it had been done before. How can I be wrong about how I feel? I already felt I knew most of the information. I don't read other retro magazines or blogs, so a lot of it must have been in RG in some form - either Marty's article you talk about, or other articles about Atari in general or 7800 games.
As to EFTPOTRM I said it taught me nothing about the game. That's the impression I got of the article. That's what I took away from it. Again how can that be wrong. In my defence even Darran mentions in his reply to me that I raise an interesting point with EFTPOTRM. I really didn't think there was much in the article about how the game played.
Anyway they were just my thoughts... feel free to try and convince me that my thoughts and personal opinions are incorrect.

User avatar
The Laird
Posts: 8496
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:01 am
Location: Luton
Contact:

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by The Laird » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:13 pm

I didn't take anything personally, I merely replied stating a few facts. End of.

User avatar
ianpmarks
Posts: 457
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:49 am

Re: Why do you buy Retro Gamer?

Post by ianpmarks » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:18 pm

The Laird wrote:I didn't take anything personally, I merely replied stating a few facts. End of.
I see. Yours are 'facts' whilst I am just plain wrong. Brilliant.
Despite your 'facts' I still think my opinions on the magazine are valid.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest