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Best issue of a game/computer magazine ever?


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I was obsessed with and constantly playing Tekken 2 at the time, along with Ridge Racer Revolution. Finally managed to beat the angel and devil cars in RRR but never really got good at Tekken.

Loved this magazine and must have read it till it was falling apart

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I have a distinct memory of flicking through either ACE or The One circa 1990 and seeing screenshots of Elite Plus, which was the first time I'd seen filled polygons in a game. Mind blowing at the time.

 

There are too many Future mags in this thread so in the interest of balance:

 

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Zero

The first year or so of Zero was a revelation. There was the jump in production values from throwaway 'comic' tat like YS and Crash to something that felt like a 'proper' magazine. The writing and humour was still quite studenty but now the writers were covering games that looked halfway photogenic and machines that could practically do other cool stuff (like music making, art, hardcore sims and strategy etc.) so they could really expand the boundaries of what games mags were about. This first issue contains a phone interview with Jeremy Beadle and a feature on Tim Simenon's recording setup, among lots of other off-kilter ideas.

 

 

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PCZONE

 

Zone ran for 17 years and there were several eras that stood out (along with long stretches of boring brown RTS games). I have particularly fond memories of the run of issues circa 1997 as 3D acceleration took over in the wake of Quake. Glossy covers (like this impossible-to-scan Hexen II one) and extensive developer profiles as each month brought another big FPS.

 

 

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MMS

 

MMS was like a 'zoo radio show' or the Big Breakfast in magazine form, a lovely welcoming secret club (with a ridiculous readership, like 200,000 or something at it's peak). Endlessly enthusiastic and silly, but very serious about presenting games well (Rich Leadbetter was the editor for a while iirc). Plus they offered readers cash for sending in embarrassing photos. They did monster Christmas issues as well.

 

(Issue #8 was the one I remember particularly - it had a massive Shining Force review that I pored over for hours. But the cover was crap compared to the one above)

 

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Megatech

 

Special shout out to Paul Glancey's largely forgotten, cyberpunk-styled Megadrive mag. Probably the best graphically designed mag of the 90s, for a bit. Although they did have a tendency to stick horrible filters over screenshots. (Hey, Photoshop had just been invented.) And a staff of about three people.

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17 hours ago, Hambury said:

Total issue 5 for me, purely for sentimental reasons. It was the first gaming mag I ever bought. I was stuck on Maniac Mansion on the NES and this had a full guide which helped me complete it.

 

By devouring the rest of the mag I learnt about the Super NES and was hooked from there on. It helped I was the perfect age for Total (it was aimed at kids).

 

In later years I appreciated Super Play and N64 Magazine much more. They were the best but Total issue 5 always has a special place for being the first.

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I quite like Total. It was good in its early run under the original editor – it was a Future 8-bit magazine, but about Nintendo games, before it unfortunately turned into a laddish EMAP wannabe. 

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7 minutes ago, Protocol Penguin said:

I quite like Total. It was good in its early run under the original editor – it was a Future 8-bit magazine, but about Nintendo games, before it unfortunately turned into a laddish EMAP wannabe. 

I bought total too, quite liked it, but can't recall anything about it

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Apart from the issues I appeared in, and despite the snorefest it has become, my choice would be issue 1 of Edge. 
 

At that time, the industry was maturing, the cowboy outfits run by dodgy ex-second-hand-car-dealers were going bust or getting bought out by Infogrammes, 3D hardware was on the horizon, developers were starting to use C (although I’d quite fancy doing some assembler again now), the WWW was just around the corner and wide-eyed young men like myself were planning our first studios.

 

<sigh>
 

For me, Edge #1 encapsulated that era; the hopes and dreams, the tech just around the corner, and an industry just beginning to take itself seriously.

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So many decent issues of Super Play; too difficult to choose a definitive one. I’ll choose a couple from when the system, and thus the magazine, were beginning to wind down.

 

Coverage of the Satellaview, an unobtainable magical device only in Japan. Reviews of Dracula X and Earthbound – the latter mentions many issues that people raise today, but doesn’t deny the game’s unique charm. An article about the Internet, with website recommendations; possibly one of the first in a console magazine. 
 

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Couple of months later, what might be the first article about the now-ubiquitous retro gaming, spurned on by its emergence in fanzines and on early websites. (The magazine’s remarkably lukewarm review of Chrono Trigger might confuse today, however.)
 

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On 30/09/2021 at 15:08, Stoppy2000 said:

It's this issue of NMS for me. Bought it on a family holiday so it bizarrely sticks in the memory. I think there are even holiday pics where it makes a cameo. I was reading anything about MK2 I could find...Nintendo-Magazine-System-Issue-23-Magazine-1994-NMS.jpg.47db54f21fd06782ab216980cdaa5f6a.jpg

 

I had that one. Like you, I was desperate for any info about MKII. The review really sold it to me. 

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10 hours ago, Oaf said:

Apart from the issues I appeared in, and despite the snorefest it has become, my choice would be issue 1 of Edge. 
 

At that time, the industry was maturing, the cowboy outfits run by dodgy ex-second-hand-car-dealers were going bust or getting bought out by Infogrammes, 3D hardware was on the horizon, developers were starting to use C (although I’d quite fancy doing some assembler again now), the WWW was just around the corner and wide-eyed young men like myself were planning our first studios.

 

<sigh>
 

For me, Edge #1 encapsulated that era; the hopes and dreams, the tech just around the corner, and an industry just beginning to take itself seriously.

This is the reason I chose issue 11 as that was the culmination of a year of seeing the new wave of 3D come to a head. If I’m being honest issue 5 and the ridge racer cover was the one that really grabbed me and was the second edge issue I bought. I still have the first 50 or so on a shelf but these days if I flick through a copy it is just so dull and not the magazine I recall. 
 

The other one is any super play with their final fantasy log journal type thing (I can’t remember what it was called) that just hyped ff vi so much. I first played it on zsnes then bought a us cart a year or so later. I’m never quite sure how they managed to extract so much depth from that game but as I played through I remember seeing the extras they had pointed out in their journal. 

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On 01/10/2021 at 19:57, cubik said:

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I was obsessed with and constantly playing Tekken 2 at the time, along with Ridge Racer Revolution. Finally managed to beat the angel and devil cars in RRR but never really got good at Tekken.

Loved this magazine and must have read it till it was falling apart

Another one I loved. Something like 26 pages on Tekken 2, they got the arcade version in the office and utterly *rinsed* it for a month or two. Proper in depth nerdy stuff, well before it was getting major coverage in UK mags.

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On 30/09/2021 at 13:10, Anne Summers said:

That was always what I thought but - apart from the robot skull it doesn't really relate to anything that happened in T1, and this was 3 years before T2 came out so no one knew Cyberdine were going to create Skynet from leftover parts of Arnie. 

 

T2 was released in the summer of 1991. It wasn't out when the mag was out though. I remember seeing the teaser trailer at the beginning of the Total Recall VHS in early 1991.

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On 30/09/2021 at 18:05, bplus said:

I had the first 24 of these in mint condition in a box. Stupidly binned them bout 20 years ago. Oh and mortal Kombat 2 , I spent 65 quid on that. All saved from my 4 quid 50 a week paper round!

 

Also stunt race FX was over hyped rubbish! :)

 

I loved Stunt Race FX. I played an insane amount of it back in the day. It ran at about 2fps but those two frames were glorious!

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A couple spring to mind for me:

- The issue of NMS that had the Street Fighter II VHS tape covermount - Felix the Cat was on the cover - I must have worn the tape out!

- Issue 9 of Super Play, that had a 3 page piece on game music - that they referenced various game music CDs seemed so cool and exotic and I coveted those items massively!

 

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22 hours ago, Oaf said:

Apart from the issues I appeared in, and despite the snorefest it has become, my choice would be issue 1 of Edge. 
 

At that time, the industry was maturing, the cowboy outfits run by dodgy ex-second-hand-car-dealers were going bust or getting bought out by Infogrammes, 3D hardware was on the horizon, developers were starting to use C (although I’d quite fancy doing some assembler again now), the WWW was just around the corner and wide-eyed young men like myself were planning our first studios.

 

<sigh>
 

For me, Edge #1 encapsulated that era; the hopes and dreams, the tech just around the corner, and an industry just beginning to take itself seriously.

 

I remember buying it after school then walking home with my Mum. I would have been 15. I took it on our holiday to Orlando that October where I turned 16. I remember reading it in our hotel room while eating potato chips and watching an episode of TNG that probably wasn't shown on BBC2 until 2000.

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* Frantically scribbles notes *

 

Only one magazine I've done in this thread so far, AP 42 although in investigating THAT issue 48 comes up.

 

Issue 42 is the notorious first of 3 AP issues where they broke their "We won't review unfinished games" promise.  In 42, it's super stardust, 43 Pinball Illusions and then 44 SWOS for which they issue an "apology" in 48 written by people entirely employed by the developer, including the forum's favourite transphobe.

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At the risk of sounding like a trashy teen, the E3 coverage in multiformat magazines during the glory years of '97-'98 was pretty good. On a similar note, I think it was something like Gamesmaster magazine that came with a VHS full of game trailers and footage for its Xmas '97 issue. At a time before broadband and streaming it was a nice giveaway. :D 

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For me I think it has to be my issue #1 of Mean Machines magazine. 

Like many people, I stupidly threw out a huge pile of old gaming magazines once I reached my twenties. I thought they'd all gone for good until a few years ago when I was looking for something in my parent's loft and found this lone survivor.

It's actually a pretty good issue and incredibly nostalgic to read. This came out before I even owned any of the featured consoles (Oct 1990) but I was desperate for a NES. I received the legendary Turtles Pack for my birthday in December 1990 and the Turtles game was reviewed in this very issue (it got 90%).

There's also a great review of Super Mario Bros. 2 (89%) which I got some time later and which ended up as one of my favourite games on the console.

I ended up buying Mean Machines pretty regularly. It was definitely my favourite magazine of the era.

I've since bought a few old gaming magazines second hand but it's so nice to have this genuine article which I bought with my pocket money 30 years ago and then read on the No.8 bus home.

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If I had to narrow it down I'd say it would be these three.

 

I was a sucker for a Christmas special as a kid and this was a doozy. I had a C64 at this point but I'd had it since 1984 and would end up with an Amiga in the summer of 1989. So at this point I was crazy for C64 games and lusted after Amiga ones. Newsfield mags of this era had so much personality and although horribly dated now were a joy at the time.

 

This Mean Machines one is a bit weird for me. I was getting a Super Famicom for Christmas and loved Mean Machines but the only console I owned at the time was a Game Boy – and I didn't really buy games for it. In this issue there aren't even any SFC reviews. But this (and the following issue that landed in late December) are tied up in my brain with getting that Super Famicom.

 

Finally it's the first issue of Edge. There ones that came after in the next year or so were much better as they found their feet but it was so different to the rest of the trash out there. My local newsagent didn't stock it so it had extra mystique for me. Still the only games magazine I ever subscribed to. I had a subscription from issue 2 until I cancelled early this year.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Edge 100.

 

Cover drawn by Shigeru Miyamoto and just a great issue lots of interviews with industry leaders and visionaries at the time. One of the only physical Edge copies I kept.

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For me it has to be the relaunch of Retro Gamer issue 19. I'm sure we all thought this was dead after the publishing collapsed but Strider and co swooped in to relaunch and bring it back not too long after. There was nothing quite like it and there still isn't to this day, I've been subscribed to this for that long it's practically an institution now, think I was 22 when I started reading and I'm 41 now. There's also a picture of Strider on a mobility scooter over on Facebook so I think we are all growing up with it now :lol:

 

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

I've been subscribed to this for that long it's practically an institution now, think I was 22 when I started reading and I'm 41 now. 

Now I feel super old and too much time has passed. Retro Gamer still feels like a new magazine on the market.

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Yeah the sheer age of RG now is where my retort to the complaints when they dared to put Half Life on the cover a year or so back came in. 

 

Issue 1 of RG features Manic Miner. No-one complained.

 

It was newer than Half Life now is.

 

In fact, here's a few games that are now as old as Manic Miner was when Retro Gamer launched.

 

Animal Crossing. Burnout. Phoenix Wright, Halo, Max Payne, Pikmin, Tropico.

 

Oh, and GTA3.

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I would like to put forward the March 1988 issue of Newsfield's excellent "The Games Machine."

 

This was the one that featured Rare Ltd. on the cover.

 

I can clearly remember buying the magzine and standing reading it in my local computer shop of choice.

 

I was gobsmacked to read that Ultimate had another side to the company and had been making games for Nintendo for the previous four years. That was a genuine world exclusive. It had a real impact on me. I began saving for a NES and bought one soon after the official UK launch.

 

https://rk.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/industry/publishers/ultimate_tgm.htm - here's a link to the text of the article.

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Was the Games Machine the mag that used a rating system based on stars, which went from supernova at the top end to black hole at the bottom? If not, what was the mag I’m thinking of? Assuming it’s not some childhood dream my brain has mistakenly tagged as a real memory. 

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10 hours ago, Dudley said:

Yeah the sheer age of RG now is where my retort to the complaints when they dared to put Half Life on the cover a year or so back came in. 

 

Issue 1 of RG features Manic Miner. No-one complained.

 

It was newer than Half Life now is.

 

In fact, here's a few games that are now as old as Manic Miner was when Retro Gamer launched.

 

Animal Crossing. Burnout. Phoenix Wright, Halo, Max Payne, Pikmin, Tropico.

 

Oh, and GTA3.

Heh, I remember when I read the early retro gaming websites, and a particularly great British fanzine, many 8-bit microcomputer classics were still less than a decade old, and 16-bit systems were definitely off-limit as “retro”. People who deny retro has a sliding timescale are weird.

 

edit: by early retro gaming, I mean 1995.

Edited by Protocol Penguin
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4 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

People who deny retro has a sliding timescale are weird.

 

What is their opposing argument? I assume it has something to do with the rate of change. Manic Miner felt distinctly primitive in 2003, whereas the core gameplay of Animal Crossing, Burnout, etc. has changed only slightly during the past 15 years.

 

On the topic of The Games Machine, I'm amazed that the Italian edition continues to be published. I wonder if there's anyone who has bought it for the entire 33+ year run.

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Yeah, some people class it as "Until things went 3D".  But we can go back and forward many times on this one.

 

6 hours ago, K said:

Was the Games Machine the mag that used a rating system based on stars, which went from supernova at the top end to black hole at the bottom? If not, what was the mag I’m thinking of? Assuming it’s not some childhood dream my brain has mistakenly tagged as a real memory. 

 

For what it's worth I just opened a random TGM and they're using percentages...

 

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