Retro Gamer #20 review

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

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

User avatar
Fandenivoldsk
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 7:24 pm
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Retro Gamer #20 review

Post by Fandenivoldsk » Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:40 pm

Okay, so I read through the whole thing, and here are my thoughts about it.

The cover:
Great use of Overton illustration. I hope that you'll continue to have him and Oli on the frontcover, the same way that Famitsu use Susumu Matsushita! The "leg" in the letter 'R' in the Retro GameR logotype still looks wrong to me... but I'm a graphic designer so I guess I'm one of the only ones to notice it. Overall the cover looks great!

RetroRader:
The photos look a bit dull, but the text is okay - if a bit on the long side. It would have been nice to read the Q&A session in some form.

America Free Retro:
I know from his radioshows that he can have some good points and be very critical on what's happening with retrogaming these days. Yet somehow he still has to convince me in his new column, that his take on US gaming is worth reading. Sadly not very interesting so far.

Nutz about Brazil:
Superb! But could be two pages longer! Please profile TecToy in an upcoming issue! This is what I enjoy about retro reading -> exotica!

Back to the Eighties:
Everyone seems to like these pages, and some even wants to expand it. Well, I like reading them too, but rereading old Zzap and Crash text bits is hardly what I need to buy Retro Gamer in 2006 for. So two pages suits me just fine, thank you!

The Rare Developer Lookback:
Good read and well written, however you need to get some proper interviews with important people in there somehow to make the feature worthwhile in the future. As it stand now, the whole "in-depth" thing appear only skindeep to me. I need to read something that I can't find anywhere on the internet! Interviews usually does it for me.

Flashback, Speedball 2 and Knight Lore:
Same as I said before, you need to interview the developers of the games to make it worth reading. There is nothing in these two articles that I haven't read somewhere before. The layout on these pages look very nice btw!

Tomb Raider:
Well, the writing is good but yet again you need interviews and insights!! Tomb Raider is not even that retro to most of your readers, so I was expecting at least some nerdy info that would make me forgive the length of the complete lowdown... however it was a bit of a letdown.

NeoGeo Pocket:
Very good. One of the best pieces in this issue. Well written and the layout is spot on.

Stephen Robertson article:
Perhaps a bit on the nerdy side - I mean, reading about a guy who did loading screens! But it's one of my favorites in this issue, so no complaining here. Thumbs up!

Technos profile:
The BEST article in this issue!! A joy to read, and tons of stuff I didn't know. Good use of interview here, with lots of interesting quotes from Greg Rice. I would have been nice to have some interviews with some of the japanese guys at Technos as well. I hope Retro Gamer can somehow have a permanent reporter in Japan in the future (how about contacting Yakumo from Retro Core/Segagaga Domain?), as is it very rare to read good interviews with japanese developers (although Edge do it from time to time, and with great success).

Pickform Brothers:
Very well written, and just as good as it was in the last issue! Desert Island Discs is one of my favorites!

RetroRated:
Please! No need for you to review new games such as Battles of Prince of Persia and Alien Hominid. Dull reading.

Retro Scene and Home-Brew Rated:
Superb! For me the heart and soul af retro gaming. Please try and feature as many new retrogames and gamesystems as you can. Perhaps you could expand it with two pages? Much more interested in reading these kinds of reviews, than those I find in RetroRated.

Emulation Nation:
Very well done! Thank you! Great to read about Fredrik 'FluBBa' Olsson - more please!
Last edited by Fandenivoldsk on Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Fandenivoldsk
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 7:24 pm
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

... continued ...

Post by Fandenivoldsk » Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:43 pm

Bargain Hunt:
Oh no! Not again!?! Please don't tell me you'll have these SIX pages in each and every upcoming issue of Retro Gamer! What a waste of pages! The Retro Auction Watch used to be a very good read in the "old" Retro Gamer issues, and it's a shame it's now reduced to some simple short infos on how the auctions ended. It actually used to be very funny reading about how and why the auction is interesting. As it stands now, reading that Barbie: Race and Ride went for £27.05 dosen't do anything for me. So please write some more text for each auction!

Next issue:
Sonic the Hedgehog and R-Type... ugh, not again! I hope you have a pretty unique take on them this time around, because I'd just hate to read the same info about these games once more.
But reading about Team 17 and Imagine Software sounds good!

I think you need more interviews and a more hardcore gamer profile, to be a specialist magazine worth paying for. You have to get more in-depth to compete with info that's available on the internet.
Overall I did enjoy reading RG #20. And it's tons better than the old Retro Gamer! And the layout is just great!

8/10

User avatar
Darran@Retro Gamer
Posts: 6776
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:34 am
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:08 pm

Cheers for the in-depth analysis mate :)

Rest assured, as of issue 21 you will start to see a shift in the content (it will be a lot more noticeable with 22. Short deadlines have been against us, but now the worst is over we're finally getting a chance to flew our muscles.

If you want brand new interviews, by god you're going to start getting them...
Image

User avatar
The Master
Posts: 7252
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:01 pm
Location: the isle of everywhere

Post by The Master » Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:45 pm

NO!!!!!!!! don't change it

(but the speccys are the wrong way round and the prices would be so nice in a world without horrid wankels, find me a CDTV for less than fifty quid!)

It's the only reason why I buy it and if you change it I will kill myself hard

yours sincerely

bubba

ps. more lynx articles pls bias bias

Mad Gerald
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:07 am
Location: Portsmouth
Contact:

Re:

Post by Mad Gerald » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:50 am

The Master wrote:find me a CDTV for less than fifty quid
Check out your local car boot - i saw one late last year for around that price with some software.

User avatar
CraigGrannell
Posts: 4734
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:15 am
Contact:

Re: Retro Gamer #20 review

Post by CraigGrannell » Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:01 am

Fandenivoldsk wrote:Stephen Robertson article: Perhaps a bit on the nerdy side - I mean, reading about a guy who did loading screens! But it's one of my favorites in this issue, so no complaining here.
I really enjoyed that interview, and I personally didn't think it "nerdy"—I just thought of it as an interview with a digital artist. Gaming titles these days interview the art team along with everyone else, so it's great to hear from such people in Retro Gamer, too (and especially someone who created some iconic and memorable images).
Emulation Nation: Very well done! Thank you! Great to read about Fredrik 'FluBBa' Olsson - more please!
I'm glad you liked the piece. Annoyingly, I apparently omitted FluBBa's URL when I edited the piece, so go to http://hem.passagen.se/flubba/gba.html to check out his latest work (including radical updates of his SMS emulator).
iPhone/iPod/iPad game/app reviews: http://www.iphonetiny.com

User avatar
LeeT
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:36 pm

Post by LeeT » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:56 am

I agree with Craig - SIR did some great C64 loading screens of the time and I enjoyed reading about how he created them as it didn't go into too much technical detail and was really interesting.

User avatar
merman
Posts: 6549
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:14 pm
Location: Skegness, UK
Contact:

Re:

Post by merman » Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:56 am

LeeT wrote:I agree with Craig - SIR did some great C64 loading screens of the time and I enjoyed reading about how he created them as it didn't go into too much technical detail and was really interesting.
Thanks for the kind comments on my article! I'm glad people enjoyed it.

Mad Gerald
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:07 am
Location: Portsmouth
Contact:

Re:

Post by Mad Gerald » Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:07 am

merman wrote:
LeeT wrote:I agree with Craig - SIR did some great C64 loading screens of the time and I enjoyed reading about how he created them as it didn't go into too much technical detail and was really interesting.
Thanks for the kind comments on my article! I'm glad people enjoyed it.
I was especially impressed with SIR's favourite screen - WARHAWK as the game created by some friends of mine - they were also regulars of the local computer shop where I worked (see other thread). WARHAWK was 'based' on the arcade game starforce : http://www.verrando.com/arcade/shots/starforc.gif

User avatar
SirClive
Posts: 20261
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:25 pm
Location: Planet Sinclair
Contact:

Re:

Post by SirClive » Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:41 pm

merman wrote:
LeeT wrote:I agree with Craig - SIR did some great C64 loading screens of the time and I enjoyed reading about how he created them as it didn't go into too much technical detail and was really interesting.
Thanks for the kind comments on my article! I'm glad people enjoyed it.
Why don't you put the authors name on the articles?

It woul be nice to know who you like and who you are not so keen on (especially when some of them are forum frequenters too). For example, I loved the RARE piece which was interesting and entertaining, but was not really happy with the RetroRadar which told us very little and wasn't tha interesting. I agree with the person who suggested a transcript of the Q&A). I
Image

NorthWay
Posts: 1638
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:02 am
Location: Grimstad, Norway

Re:

Post by NorthWay » Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:51 pm

LeeT wrote:I agree with Craig - SIR did some great C64 loading screens of the time and I enjoyed reading about how he created them as it didn't go into too much technical detail and was really interesting.
Not to rain on SIRs parade (he has done some nice pictures), but I do rate a few others higher (who? Sorry, can't remember more than Hugh Riley (Magnetic Scrolls?) and Bob Stevenson).

But let's talk about C= 64(?) pictures in general: I find that most of those who use a black background aren't as good or interesting as those done with another colour.
I don't know why this is, but I think it might be because with black you can hide stuff in "the void of space" unlike with a bright background you have to fill in and make interesting details or textures to make the picture look good.
I could imagine the Rambo picture done with black and nothing more than Stallone himself, unlike the real one that has some "noise" to liven it up.
Feel free to fill in examples and counter-examples :-)

User avatar
CraigGrannell
Posts: 4734
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 6:15 am
Contact:

Post by CraigGrannell » Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:48 pm

Drawing images on coloured backgrounds on the C64 was something I always found insanely difficult. Then again, I wasn't SIR, Bob or Hugh. Still, due to the power of the internet, I did find a few surviving pics from my "Mouse and Cheese" and "Blazing Paddles" days.

Image
Image
Image

I wasn't very drunk at the time, but I was quite young, so that's my excuse!
iPhone/iPod/iPad game/app reviews: http://www.iphonetiny.com

User avatar
merman
Posts: 6549
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:14 pm
Location: Skegness, UK
Contact:

Post by merman » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:28 am

SirClive - don't ask me, I just write the articles. Although I would say it seems to be that INTERVIEWS have Retro Gamer in the header and opinion pieces have the author's name...

NorthWay - it's down to the colour restrictions. In a multicolour bitmap you can only have three colours plus the background colour in each 4x8 pixel block. (It's 4 pixels horizontally, because in multicolour mode the horizontal resolution is halved to give the extra colours, so a multicolour bitmap is 160x200 pixels. And that's the sort of detail I left out of the interview to concentrate on the games :) )

So, a lot of artists chose black as their background colour so they could use that as a colour throughout the picture, and still have three other colours available.

I would also agree that Bob Stevenson was amazing - hence The Sentinel being loading screen of the month in RG.

And the reason I interviewed SIR? I met him at a couple of Back in Time events and thought he would make a good interview subject for RG. Loading screens were an ARTFORM back in the 80's.

ste pickford
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:31 am

Post by ste pickford » Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:11 am

The colours on all the 8 bit machines were very strong and bright, so it was difficult to use any colour (other than black) across a large proportion of the screen without it becoming overpowering - almost hurting the eye.

I seem to remember that if you made the whole screen white on the C64 you got a buzz or a hum sound coming out of the TV speakers!

So a black background as a starting point gave the artist more control over the intensity of the image, as you could have bright areas and dark areas, rather than with any other colour as your starting point where everywhere was bright and intense from the start.

DRS
Posts: 549
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:47 am
Location: Nottingham

Post by DRS » Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:34 am

Who is this Pickford? And what the hell does he know about loading screens??

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests