Monday, 12 November 2012

The Joy of Literature (Game Magazines)

A plane, bus, train and two coach rides later and I have miraculously found myself back in my flat in Roermond, The Netherlands. The desk lamps I had placed behind my closed blinds with a timer plug set to turn them on at night seemed to have done the trick, as all of my treasured possessions lie precisely where I had left them. But what exactly had I brought back from my trip aside from a sturdier, yet slurred, English accent?

I hit all of the charity shops I could find during my stay in both Ipswich and Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, but was unable to uncover even the tiniest piece of gaming history to snap up at next-to-nothing prices. However, a fantastic purchase came in the form of several video game magazines being sold by a chap with a market stall in Ipswich town square. He was selling magazines for a mere £1 each, or £2.50 for three. Naturally I snapped up six magazines for £5, this being the price I had paid only a day before for the latest issue of Edge (#247, December 2012).

This is the best little deal I've come across for ages. Not only did I buy magazines that were only a month or two old for fraction of their original price, but I also bought magazines that would have cost me €10-15 each here in The Netherlands.

And what exactly did I get? Here's the list:
  • Edge #244, September 2012
  • Edge #242, July 2012
  • Edge #241, June2012
  • Retro Gamer #107 September 2012
  • Retro Gamer #103 May 2012
  • Nintendo Gamer  #80 October 2012
Yes, these are relatively old magazines, but I didn't buy them for up-to-date gaming news, which is what the internet is for. Sadly, that's the very reason I bought Nintendo Gamer as #80 marks the final issue of the magazine which, despite being successful in the past, has abruptly ceased to exist in much the same way many print publications have.

This particular issue of the magazine gives an insight into the world of print publication as editor Nick Ellis explains how half of the issue had been completed before they received the news from a higher order that it would be the very last. The result is a hodge-podge of up-to-date features and reviews wedged inbetween magazine retrospectives. It's a saddening yet charming way to say goodbye. The brand still lives on as a website providing the same information for free, except exclusively on the internet. It is the way of all things.

Issue 247 contains a close look at the highly anticipated Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Retro Gamer needs no introduction to anyone remotely interested in retro gaming. As almost the entirety of the articles within are retrospective, they stand more as mini encyclopaedias then magazines. I've very happy to get two of them at such an amazing price.

The issues of Edge are my personal highlights however, as each issue acts as a volume of my own video game journalistic bible. As far as I'm concerned Edge is up there with the very greats of British video game magazines and I learn something new about the art of writing with every flick of the page. The relevancy of the articles is of no concern as the content is of top-notch quality.

It still surprises me that I spend more time reading, writing and talking about games than I do actually playing them. But with this stack of magazines to get through, that won't be changing any time soon.


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