Author Topic: Games mags  (Read 2854 times)

Games mags
« on: May 29, 2019, 12:59:26 PM »
Was chatting a bit with Steady Eddie over in the WH Smith thread and got to thinking about games mags old and new.

I've recently been indulging my nostalgia by nabbing old issues of Sega/Amiga Power on eBay, as well as some NGamers and PSM2s which are probably the last two mags I really liked. Those old Sega Power mags have so much ridiculous personality to them and I really miss stuff like that. C&VG, too, when it was good. The early PS1/Saturn era when it had the pull-out bog paper Freeplay section. Amazing coverage.

Nowadays it's Retro Gamer sometimes and, erm, that's it. And I don't even much care for that anymore.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2019, 01:13:55 PM »
In a clutch of nostalgia I bought some mid-90s CVG issues a while ago. They were fun to read but the writing was bollocks. Embarrassingly bollocks.

Still they had a lovely fun DIY spirit to them. Loved the black-and-white fanzine pullout bit.

Glebe

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2019, 02:09:31 PM »
As a Speccy 48K user it was Crash and Your Sinclair for me as a little 'un. Halcyon days.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 02:19:53 PM »
GamesMaster was my usual go to, to be honest I'd general just pick them at random, sometimes PC Gamer, to gawk at games my pathetic system would never be able to run.

Neomod

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 04:26:12 PM »
I was the software buyer for the Virgin Megastore, Brighton in the late 80's early 90's and I convinced my boss that to be truly informed I would need to go down to WHSmiths once a month with a load of petty cash and buy EVERY GAMES MAGAZINE they had.

CVG, Amiga Format and ACE spring to mind as being favourites.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2019, 05:08:05 PM »
I haven't bought a copy for more than two decades at this point, but I used to like Edge magazine. It seems to get the piss taken out of it for being pretentious, but I liked the fact that it took gaming seriously (and I was a pretentious youth). Nowadays there are dozens of youtube channels doing the same sort of thing. I remember the graphic design of it being quite stylish, compared to the industry's standard fare.

St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2019, 07:43:29 PM »
Retro Gamer is the only games magazine which I buy anymore (in part because I don't own a current gen games console, so there would be little point in me reading about games which I can't play).

In days gone past, I used to regularly buy GamesTM and Edge, oh and GamesMaster when I was really young.  However, my absolute favourite magazines from my youth were the likes of PC Zone and PC Gamer.  This was back in the pre-Internet days and it was always an absolute joy buying those mags because of the cover mounted demo discs; a whole CD full of the latest demos, patches and mods.  I have very fond memories of working my way through the various demos once a month and seeing what appealed for my next full game purchase.  I sometimes still have dreams where I'll be buying a PC mag with a cover disc and then I wake up and realise that I'm no longer a teenager and those halcyon days of innocence and fun are long gone and then I feel sad.

I was the software buyer for the Virgin Megastore, Brighton in the late 80's early 90's and I convinced my boss that to be truly informed I would need to go down to WHSmiths once a month with a load of petty cash and buy EVERY GAMES MAGAZINE they had.

CVG, Amiga Format and ACE spring to mind as being favourites.

No wonder they went out of business.  You monster!

seepage

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2019, 07:52:41 PM »
what was the one with the column on the back page where a bloke wore multiple pairs of glasses and was scared of something or other and only wrote tangentially about games, a la AA Gill's restaurant reviews? were they actually amusing? 

St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 08:08:38 PM »
In a clutch of nostalgia I bought some mid-90s CVG issues a while ago. They were fun to read but the writing was bollocks. Embarrassingly bollocks.

Still they had a lovely fun DIY spirit to them. Loved the black-and-white fanzine pullout bit.

After recently moving in to my new flat, upon unpacking, I came across an old copy of EGM from the 90's, which I had picked up as a kid during my visit to New York (where I saw Steven Spielberg in Chinatown, wearing a Jurassic Park baseball cap!).  I gave it a re-read and whilst it was a lovely trip down memory lane, the writing is awful and 90% of the news articles never ended up coming to pass (it makes one wonder if that's generally true of all 'hot scoops', even to this day).  The worst part was the reviews section, where four reviewers would write a single sentence for each game and give it a score (often a suspiciously high score, given the game)...



The very height of journalism, there.

Quite honestly, the most interesting part of re-reading the magazine was seeing all of the old adverts for games from the time, which were dripping in tubular 90's radness.  It's just as well I enjoyed them so much because around 30% of the magazines content was adverts.

Consignia

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 08:24:38 PM »

Quite honestly, the most interesting part of re-reading the magazine was seeing all of the old adverts for games from the time, which were dripping in tubular 90's radness.  It's just as well I enjoyed them so much because around 30% of the magazines content was adverts.

Most video games journalism is basically advertising for video games. At every level they just act as a hype machine for new games. Big colourful pictures of new shiny for you to get. In fact it used to be if you didn't follow the publisher's line they'd blacklist you and you wouldn't be able get to report on any of their games which would kick you out of relevance.

St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2019, 08:38:59 PM »
Most video games journalism is basically advertising for video games. At every level they just act as a hype machine for new games. Big colourful pictures of new shiny for you to get. In fact it used to be if you didn't follow the publisher's line they'd blacklist you and you wouldn't be able get to report on any of their games which would kick you out of relevance.

Indeed.  I stopped buying GamesTM shortly after they gave the notoriously broken and awful Boiling Point: Road to Hell a 9/10, saying "Atari has landed itself an absolute classic here. A must-have, no questions asked." They apologised for the review in the following issue (blaming it on an unscrupulous freelancer) but it irremediably tarnished my trust in them.  That's probably another reason why I like Retro Gamer so much.  Publishers aren't breathing down their neck to talk positively about a game from 20-30 years ago.

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2019, 08:57:48 PM »
If anyone knows which issue of what magazine captioned a picture of Knuckles rolling in Sandopolis zone to include the phrase "arse over tit" let me know. Have never forgotten it.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2019, 09:51:49 PM »

Re: Games mags
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2019, 09:57:01 PM »


There's a nice piece by Tom Guise here, talking about his time on Mean Machines Sega.

I often think of this bit, though it has nothing to do with games:

Quote
I tended to wake up five minutes before I was supposed to be at work, rise up vertically on my heels, screaming, give myself a quick gentleman's splash and then running out the door a good fifteen minutes after work has started.

Mister Six

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2019, 09:59:50 PM »
As a Speccy 48K user it was Crash and Your Sinclair for me as a little 'un. Halcyon days.

Your Sinclair then Amiga Power for me. Then I sort of drifted away from games mags as the PC ones didn't seem to have much personality (I never bothered with PC Zone, which seems like a mistake now I know Charlie Brooker used to write for it).


Re: Games mags
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2019, 10:04:53 PM »
The worst part was the reviews section, where four reviewers would write a single sentence for each game and give it a score (often a suspiciously high score, given the game)...

Wasn't it revealed in some exciting expose that the reviewers were all one person?

Re: Games mags
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2019, 10:25:04 PM »
The short-lived Zero (produced by many of the YS crowd) was incredibly formative for me. I still wonder what happened to Duncan MacDonald and hope he hasn't starved to death on Universal Credit yet.

I loved the fact they would print total nonsense like this that had nothing to do with games.


St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2019, 10:50:53 PM »
Wasn't it revealed in some exciting expose that the reviewers were all one person?

I don't know.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least though, as I always found it to be highly suspicious that they were able to have four separate reviewers, reviewing every single new release, month in month out.  That doesn't seem logistically possible.  There's not enough hours in the day for a single person to play that many games (what would it be, 20 games a month?) for long enough to be able to review them all.

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2019, 10:55:43 PM »
Super Play was the one for me. Clued me in on loads of things as a schoolboy, before the internet came along and made pointless arcane knowledge available to all. I loved reading their articles on the weirder side of Japanese games culture, the business strategies of games companies (I think they had an extract from Game Over in one issue), the arcades of Tokyo, obscure Squaresoft RPG's than almost never came out over here (at the time) and anime. It felt like they sneaked half of this past the publisher's who probably just wanted 'generic Nintendo mag to make us some dosh'. Edge did all that shit later of course. There was zero chance I was actually going to go to Tokyo, my childhood holidays were inevitably spent walking around a mill or museum somewhere in rain sodden Blighty, but it felt nice to lay on my teenage bed and daydream whilst flicking through Super Play.

I sold all mine on eBay years ago, got a stupidly high price for them too as I recall.

I used to buy any old shit from the newsagents though, really shoddy rubbish just to have something to waste my pocket money on. Crudely illustrated readers letter's about Mario violently dismembering Sonic or vice versa were massive in them mags, plus some brilliant ongoing bickering from people who'd been beaten on an arcade machine somewhere and wanted revenge. 'Daz from Essex, if you're reading this, meet me at the Trocadero near the Streetfighter machine Sat morning for a rematch ... IF YOU DARE!!'

St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2019, 11:02:36 PM »
...plus some brilliant ongoing bickering from people who'd been beaten on an arcade machine somewhere and wanted revenge. 'Daz from Essex, if you're reading this, meet me at the Trocadero near the Streetfighter machine Sat morning for a rematch ... IF YOU DARE!!'

Haha.  I'd forgotten all about that but now that you've jogged my memory, yeah, that sort of thing cropped up all the time in the gaming mags from my childhood.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2019, 11:56:52 PM »
I don't know.  It wouldn't surprise me in the least though, as I always found it to be highly suspicious that they were able to have four separate reviewers, reviewing every single new release, month in month out.  That doesn't seem logistically possible.  There's not enough hours in the day for a single person to play that many games (what would it be, 20 games a month?) for long enough to be able to review them all.

I'm not sure of that specific example, but there was certainly a bit of that going around. A particularly odd example was Your Sinclair's boyfriend/girlfriend reviewers Rachel Smith and Gwyn Hughes, both of whom were written by John Minson who was also writing for Crash at the time. Pretty sure I remember word of Total! having a stable of freelancers that would write in character as Steve and Andy as well, which made a little more sense in that case as the entire mag was created around two cartoonish personalities.

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2019, 02:34:32 AM »
My two prevailing memories of the Official PlayStation 2 Magazine in the early 2000s:

1: The time their DVD section, in a review of the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, used the photo caption "phwoar, that Hermione, give her a few years"

2: The time they criticised SingStar Popworld, which included the song 'I Just Wanna Live' by Good Charlotte, for including "a live version of a Good Charlotte track"

St_Eddie

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2019, 02:41:59 AM »
My two prevailing memories of the Official PlayStation 2 Magazine in the early 2000s:

1: The time their DVD section, in a review of the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, used the photo caption "phwoar, that Hermione, give her a few years"

Fucking hell.

2: The time they criticised SingStar Popworld, which included the song 'I Just Wanna Live' by Good Charlotte, for including "a live version of a Good Charlotte track"

Haha.

Official console magazines were generally a load of bollocks (not to mention the least reliable source for honest unbiased reviews) and only worth buying for the demo disc, it must be said.

Re: Games mags
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2019, 07:15:28 AM »
Do modern game magazines still take the piss out of rival consoles? Phony GreyStation etc?

I'll never forget the outrage I felt when some Nintendo magazine referred to the Dreamcast as the "Dream-past-it" before it had even come out.

Twed

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2019, 07:31:13 AM »
My parents used to buy me a games mag from the local village newsagent "Maggie's" as a treat, in the distant idyllic times of 1991-ish (the family-run newsagents is now of course a fucking One-Stop with Amazon Pass My Parcel or whatever). Your Sinclair, Sinclair User, and then later Total!, Super Play, Amiga Format. I think I learned how to write through reading them so often (Ed - what a numpty!), and it's probably why I was top of the class at spelling and that.

When I was 16 and hung around on chat rooms all day, my main co-hanger-out friend aspired to be a games mag journalist and ended up succeeding, working at Future and becoming quite well-known.


Re: Games mags
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2019, 07:45:32 AM »
what was the one with the column on the back page where a bloke wore multiple pairs of glasses and was scared of something or other and only wrote tangentially about games, a la AA Gill's restaurant reviews? were they actually amusing?
Mr Cursor, in PC Zone?

Re: Games mags
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2019, 08:36:21 AM »
Official console magazines were generally a load of bollocks

Nintendo one was good in the absolutely mental Gamecube years, and the Official PlayStation Magazine was great right at the arse-end of its life when they'd run multi-page features about the breakfast baguette from their local grease pit, because there were shit-all games coming out

seepage

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Re: Games mags
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2019, 09:16:15 AM »
Mr Cursor, in PC Zone?

yes, that was it, thanks