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The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:03 am
by RitmanRovers
I was always a bit puzzled that this magazine wasn't the success that Newsfield's Crash and Zzap! were. Given the likes of Rignall left to play on consoles for EMAP, it feels like a missed opportunity that the old "Newsfield magic" didn't get the chance to shine properly across a whole new generation of new machines.

Does anyone know much about this title? I remember reading something in an old Crash that after just one issue, joint Eds Penn and Kidd were "asked to leave". Anyone know what happened?

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:40 am
by gman72
I had a few issues of it back in the day and thought it was an excellent mag but it just seemed to die a quick death. I can remember reading the fabled article on Ultimate/Rare and finding out they were releasing new games on NES and getting green with envy as I was still running Spectrum and C.64 at the time.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:53 am
by RitmanRovers
gman72 wrote:I had a few issues of it back in the day and thought it was an excellent mag but it just seemed to die a quick death. I can remember reading the fabled article on Ultimate/Rare and finding out they were releasing new games on NES and getting green with envy as I was still running Spectrum and C.64 at the time.
Maybe Newsfield just wasted too much time and resource on the spectacular failure that was "LM". Terrible title, awful magazine

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:58 am
by adippm82
I read a few of it's issues, I seem to remember stopping buying it, because Crash had very similar content, Spectrum wise, I don't know if they shared articles or not, but I think the Ultimate story was in Crash first for instance, the magazine was replaced by Raze, which concentrated more on the upcoming consoles, and I thought that was excellent, it had a lot of love for the Lynx, and the PC Engine, I still have all twelve issues of that before Newsfield went bust, although apparently it was only supposed to run for a year anyway, then it was to be split in two, one for Nintendo and one for Sega.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:15 am
by merman
Personally I stuck with ZZAP! because I stuck with the C64 and did not get another computer/console until much later.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:36 am
by The Laird
Great magazine, I still have a load of old scans from it.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:51 am
by Katzkatz
It was a great magazine. It did seem to cover a lot of other stuff as well, for example : the lightgun craze(think Laser Quest, etc.), virtual reality, early hacking, laserdisk games(Dragon's Lair)etc. I know they used to have a boardgame section in the back of the magazine as well. They also did cover some serious software(e.g. arts packages for the Amiga and Atari ST). It was quite a varied magazine.

I did like the multi format style of it. Knowing when a particular format had not been given a good conversion was always useful.

I do remember reading an article in there about the PC and VGA gaming, saying how it could overtake the home formats - how prophetic was that?

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:01 am
by necronom
I have a few issues, but I'd just got an Amiga when it came out, so I only got it until I found an Amiga mag I liked.

Apart from RG, I've never bothered with multi-format mags, as I didn't see the point in buying a mag with 30 C64/Amiga pages, when I could pay the same and get 100 pages (made-up guesses on pages).

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:29 am
by Mayhem
TGM ran for 34 issues, and I have all of them somewhere at home. So it ran until mid 1990... so before Newsfield collapsed. I'd have to go back to look why, if said, the magazine was halted.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:38 am
by gmintyfresh
The first games mag I bought, I've got about 12 issues from about 1988 - I then moved onto C+VG. It was a strange mixture of serious industry mag with video game features and reviews. It sticks out in my mind because of the articles about the next wave of the Japanese console market, the PC Engine and the Megadrive. TBH the magazine was quite old-fashioned even then and couldn't compete with the emerging full colour games orientated magazines which were emerging at the same time

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:12 am
by RitmanRovers
gmintyfresh wrote:TBH the magazine was quite old-fashioned even then and couldn't compete with the emerging full colour games orientated magazines which were emerging at the same time
Really? What mags were these? I recall Rignall going to C&VG/ Mean Machines, but it's odd that I found their cartoony visuals and playground humour so much of a turn-off (the fcking "YOB", for instance)

I remember Zzap! and Crash being the "less serious" alternatives that took gaming seriously, but did they suddenly become what they always despised? It's difficult to get the balance right. I read the Edge, but it takes itself sooooo seriously it's almost a parody.

I think Games TM and RG get the balance just right.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:24 am
by adippm82
Mayhem wrote:TGM ran for 34 issues, and I have all of them somewhere at home. So it ran until mid 1990... so before Newsfield collapsed. I'd have to go back to look why, if said, the magazine was halted.
The final issue was in September 1990, Apparently Newsfield were not happy with the profits.

As I said it earlier it was replaced with Raze, which itself only ran for precisely one year and 12 issues, largely because it used an expensive outside editorial team, finally Newsfield filed for voluntary liquidation in September 1991, just before Raze was to be split in two, to become Sega Force and Nintendo Force, these were eventually launched by Europress in December 1991.

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:31 am
by RitmanRovers
But what happned with Kidd and Penn? Hmmm? SOMEBODY MUST KNO!!!11111

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:55 am
by adippm82
Just found an interview with Roger Kean,

That multi-format magazine being The Games Machine, which was launched in October 1987. What were the reasons for launching such a magazine, considering that Newsfield seemed to excel at dedicated format magazines?
RK: You're quite right, we were better at single-format, but at the time it looked as though Newsfield would lose market share it we didn't expand our coverage to take into account the new machines coming out. It was also, to some extent, a decision driven by Newsfield's expanded advertising sales team. They felt that they hadn't enough to go at with only the two titles (Amtix! having gone). We gave The Games Machine everything, placing Graeme Kidd and Gary Penn in charge as experienced hands, but as it happened, it didn't work out.

OoPA: What did happen, as the two co-editors, Graeme Kidd and Gary Penn, seemed to disappear?
RK: Gary had already left Newsfield some months before — with Julian Rignall taking over editorship of Zzap! — but we persuaded him back with The Games Machine. There was a lot of tension between the established titles and the new one, especially with two high-flyers in charge and tempers were lost all around, particularly between the photographic department and the editors, and, frankly, no one was impressed with the first issue, so it was Graeme and Gary out, which led to a lot of faction fighting afterwards and a couple of resignations.

And of The Games Machines demise:

OoPA: The Games Machine re-launched in 1990 as Raze, a new magazine that would focus on the rising console boom and 16-bit computers. What were the reasons for the re-launch and outsourcing the editorial work to Words Works Limited (which was headed by former-Future Publishing editor Richard Monteiro)?
RK: The relaunch was necessary because The Games Machine hadn't performed very well after its rocky start. Newsfield was also short of experienced editors, hence Richard Monteiro, with whom we had had plenty of prior contact. In fact, although contracted out, Richard spent a great deal of his time at Newsfield's new Case Mill premises for the finishing, artwork and production process (all electronic by then).

Re: The Games Machine

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:02 am
by RitmanRovers
Interesting. I love all this retro gossip.