First, a caveat to my 2p on this thread: as a contributor, I'm somewhat biased. However, it is worth noting that 1) I do read the magazine cover to cover (which isn't the case for many publications I write for), and; 2) I buy the mag every month, because I want to read it, not because my face pops up now and again on page 3.
The post Darran copied here is somewhat indicative of bad-blood posts I've seen on certain forums, although many of those come from people who themselves were trying to get involved in some kind of retro publication (prior to Imagine's purchase and revival of Retro Gamer and since). What I cannot understand is how some readers saw the Live version of the magazine compared to the Imagine one. For all of the complaints about wasted space, I suspect some people either have short memories or selective ones, clearly ignoring the huge amount of standing copy in the Live mag, or those lengthy "advertising" galleries, which in some cases took up to *12* pages of the mag.
It's also worth noting that Darran didn't bulldoze the old when he took over the running of the magazine: there's actually a pretty clear thread from the start of the second volume to the first Imagine issue, although one could easily argue that Darran hurried along the process somewhat. What I'm talking about here is the emphasis shift from hardware to gaming, but then that makes sense in a title called Retro GAMER, and hardware isn't exactly being ignored in the current version of the magazine.
Reviews have long been a bone of contention in the magâ€”some love them and others hate them. Our poster seems to fall between two camps, criticising one element, but then saying they want reader reviews: in other words, perhaps they aren't satisfied with reviews unless they are written by themselves (or, perhaps, "sceners"); this reading is somewhat insulting, however, insinuating that the Imagine staff members are neither capable at reviewing games nor big enough fans to do so. (I should note that this is MY reading of the post, not necessarily what the original poster meant, but it IS indicative of the general feeling regarding reviews in the magazine.)
From my own point of view, I want to see reviews in Retro Gamer. I want to know whether I should bother paying Â£20 for Taito Legends 2, or whether it's a pile of censored that should be avoided. As another poster here said, most magazines summarily dismiss such collections. The otherwise impressive Official Nintendo Magazine (Future's recent effort) stamped all over the Namco collection; crucially, the criticism wasn't levelled at the poor quality of the compilation itself, but at the included games. (The suggestion was that the games were old and not by Nintendo, and therefore that they were all censored.) Retro Gamer, however, is written by people who have similar sensibilities to the readership, and so it makes perfect sense to review not only titles with a direct link to the past (namely the retro compilations), but also titles that may appeal to the readers.
The other reviews area is homebrew. As long as this doesn't take up too much space, I think it also has a place in the magazine -- and for more than a single reason. First, most readers of the magazine are likely to be in their 20s, 30s or 40s. Many are married, with children, or have jobs that keep them very busy, and therefore have little time to spend on gaming. That's certainly the case for me. Therefore, I want to know whether it's worth my while bothering with a homebrew game: although homebrew efforts cost little or no money, they cost TIME. Secondly, such reviews are useful to draw attention to labours of love that have almost no chance whatsoever of getting coverage in other news-stand magazines. This is one way in which Retro Gamer can directly link to the scene that people suggest it's somehow betrayed since its rebirth.
Last edited by CraigGrannell
on Mon Apr 17, 2006 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.