Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Retro Gamer Magazine

Not too long ago I discovered a magazine online called Retro Gamer - it is a magazine published in the UK that is, as the name would suggest, dedicated to retro gaming. I wandered around their website ( for a while and they have some interesting stuff on there if you like old-school games like I do. I even found a few of the older issues online in PDF format so I downloaded them and checked them out to see what the magazine proper looked like and I liked it, but I'm the kind of guy that really needs the real magazine or book in my hand to enjoy it.

Well, last weekend I was in Fry's Electronics and as I was approaching the checkout line something caught my eye - a real copy of Retro Gamer Magazine! I was rather excited to see it in the real world so I bought a copy and checked it out. The main feature of this issue was a retrospective of Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider games (and I thought she was hot back in the day on the PS1 - just look at her now!)

It also had tons of retro game reviews, an interesting article on the Atari 7800, a feature on the making of the classic Dreamcast game Shenmue, an interview with Atari legend game developer Ed Logg who created Asteroids, Centipede, Gauntlet, Millipede, etc on the making of the arcade game Xybots (which I hadn't ever even played before but now I see is listed as one of the games at the upcoming Houston Area Arcade Expo). Anyway - I could go on but the bottom line is I think it is a cool magazine that offers unique content you won't see in other gaming magazines. And it is very well made and professionally done. It looks as good or better than any other gaming magazine like Game Informer or Playstation: the Official Magazine.

Being a British publication the magazine is a bit more focused on UK-centric things like the ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC computers - neither of which I know much at all about, but they do plenty of material on the games more familiar to the US too. Plus, I found the new perspective (new to me) interesting. This issue introduced me to a British adventure game company called Magnetic Scrolls - I'd never heard of them but apparently they were quite popular in England and competed with Infocom over there. The universe keeps pulling me into adventure games lately for some reason.

The only drawback to buying it is the reason I probably won't be buying it regularly - the high price. It cost $10. $10!  I really enjoyed the magazine but $10 just seems like way too much. Looks like you can buy them from their website for closer to $7.50 but I don't know what they charge for shipping it across the pond.

So check out the website and if you are in a Fry's - or possibly a Barnes and Noble - pick up a copy and give it a once over. You might just like it. I did.

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gnome said...

So glad you discovered Retro Gamer, as it quite frankly is my all time favourite mag. And I've been a subscriber for three years, which I actually recommend. In Greece I used to pay 10 euros for the thing; comes way cheaper when you subscribe.

Oh, and I was quite shocked you didn't know of Magnetic Scrolls. You'll love their stuff. Start off with Fish and Wonderland.

Mind you, there were many European text adventure creators. I suggest you have a look at Level 9 and Zenobi.

As for the Speccy, well, it's the best gaming machine ever created and Manic Miner is the best platform game possible. Ahem. Right. Sorry about that...

MadPlanet said...

Thanks Gnome. I had to pull up a converter for Euros to Dollars (just barely have pounds to dollars figured out) and I see that's about $13 - so even a little bit more than I paid. I haven't ruled out subscribing, I did enjoy the magazine quite a bit and it does offer a LOT of content.

I had a feeling you would be familiar with Magnetic Scrolls but nope I'd never heard of them before. Thanks for the suggestions on games. I have heard of Level 9 but I've never played any of their games. And Zenobi? Well I'm unfamiliar with them as well so add another slew of adventure games to the queue.

Never had a Speccy, but I think I DID play Manic Miner on my C64. Or was that Miner 2049'er? Hmm - now I'll have to check.

Fallguy40 said...

Hey Madplanet, speaking of gaming magazines, I got the new Game Informer in the mail yesterday and there is an opinion piece in it by Scott Jones that sums up your feelings on sandbox games,specifically Red Dead Redemption. Check it out.

I don't think I've ever seen Retro Gamer. I wonder if Barnes & Noble carries it.

MadPlanet said...

Thanks FallGuy. I thought I had the new GI but maybe not. I have the one with Batman on the cover. I'll check out the piece.

I had never seen Retro Gamer either, but according to them Barnes and Noble does carry it so give it look if you are in one sometime. They also cover stuff like new retro-styled games, releases on Wii virtual console, etc. I was pretty impressed with it.

gnome said...

Ah, but Zenobi was one of the bigger indie (very indie and run by one person) publishers and developers of text adventures in the UK. Try searching for it in my blog or even try this:

PS. Check, check!

Fallguy40 said...

There's a new issue out with with Bioshock Infinite cover art that looks like the Saturday Evening Post. At first I didn't realize it was GI Mag.

MadPlanet said...

@Gnome: Cool - thanks! I checked the Zenobi website and see he offers several of the games for free download so I'll check 'em out. TZX files though so I'll have to dig up a Speccy emulator. I've seen them but have never set one up so that is a good excuse to tackle it. I'll also check out your blog for that stuff. I've browsed through it on several occasions - you've been at this for quite a while so there is a lot of great stuff on there!

@Fallguy40: The new GI is probably in my mailbox - haven't checked it in a few days. So I'll check it. I actually thought about making a post with my thoughts on the widely popular open-world games, but haven't gotten around to it. He may have scooped me!