A personal perspective of video games magazines - By CheekyCrissy
Growing up, I bought a LOT of games.
But only a small handful, were any good.
My father gave my £5 a week pocket money, which by 1980’s standards, was still a lot of money to throw around.
Games were sold anywhere, News Agents, Local Chemists, Toy Shops, Anywhere that accepted Cassette Tapes and Floppy Discs, would be sold.
For the amount I was given each week, I could only afford the Budget Priced Games.
They were sold, from anywhere from £1.99 to £5.99 upwards & there was no real ‘Quality Control’ back then, so the quality of the games that were available varied.
I would be at my Local Toys’R US and there would be this stack of shelves going up to six feet high, which was mostly filled with ‘MasterTronic’ and ‘CodeMaster’ titles. (Later to be replaced with NES and MasterSystem Carts)
Most of these titles were the kind of games parents would buy for their children, as a way to keep them quiet.
I can recall games such as Mastertronic’s ‘Terminus - The Prison Planet’ (Or ‘Fly Spy’ – in which I had ZERO Clue in knowing what I was doing.)
There were some surprises, such as Riccohets ‘Aliens’ Movie License.
(This was crazy at the time, because there was a TON of Merch tied to movies of which I was, back then not even old enough to go and see.)
Then CodeMasters came and knocked it out of the park with games like ‘BMX Simulator’ & ‘Dizzy’.
But for the most part, I was collecting some REALLY bad games.
That is, until a friend I met in Primary school ‘Adam’ convinced me to take up reading Gaming publications, to find better games.
He was like Here, “You gotta Read this!” and puts a copy of ‘ACE’ in my hand.
I was staring at an advertisement for Capcom’s ‘Bionic Commando’ and Namco’s ‘Rolling Thunder’ and I couldn’t get enough!
Every week through most of my Childhood and teenage years, I was collecting Computer Magazines for practically all of the Computers and Consoles that I was currently playing on.
Laughing at ‘Yobs Mailbag’ featured in ‘CVG’ (Computer and Video Games) and ‘SEGA – Mean Machines’ I was taking in all of this information, I was learning about Arcade conversions, for games that I was constantly throwing money into at Seaside resorts and local Newsagents that I would frequent every Saturday.
I was learning POKE Cheats that you almost had to type in an entire program for it to work!
I was discovering a community of Gamers out there, like me!
I was being bullied at school & my home life wasn’t that great either & constantly fighting with my brother, so gaming was (And always has been) my escape from everything.
Gaming became my comfort place, my world. And to learn there were others like me out there, gave me hope.
I was always fascinated learning about each new home machine that came along.
My obsession, earlier in my childhood, was Arcades and I had this ‘Thing’ about having one in my home, or a machine powerful enough to give me that ‘Arcade Experience’ and Gaming magazines pointed me in the right direction, on what Arcade games were worth playing or throwing money into, each time I visited a place.
I went through the Nintendo years with my Brother, he was just huge on Super Mario, so I was just reading ‘Official’ Nintendo Magazines and for me some of the official Magazines tied to a specific Brand or machine came off more biased with it’s first party game reviews.
Don’t get me wrong, Mario is a great platformer and at the time the earlier games were released, they were good, well crafted, well thought out, for gamers of the genre. And I felt the platforming genre at the time was still relatively new and anyone that was anyone was releasing a Platformer to match the juggernaut that was ‘Mario’.
I guess platform games are not my cup of tea, mainly because I sucked at them.
But also, I didn’t see the incentive for them to score 90% every time.
Nintendo 64 blew me away, with games like Goldeneye and those AKI / THQ Wrestling games just changed the game for me, moving away from button mashing and bringing in a fresh, almost tactical gamestyle.
And ‘Zelda; Ocarina of Time’ completely destroyed my social life! N64 magazine was big, colourful and although (mostly) aimed at a younger audience than me at the time, it was exciting to read about games like ‘Turok’ And ‘Banjo Kazooie’
I became a SEGA guy, from owning a Sega MegaDrive, (Genesis to the US) It was special to me, because it was bought with my own Pocket Money and it was something I could play, while at a residential college, that I practically lived at for three years.
Sega still ruled the Arcade scene and I just wanted to feel close to that.
I had an Atari ST, the games were still great, they had their own unique library (‘Rick dangerous’ BitMap Brothers ‘Speedball’ ‘Xenon’, ‘GODS’ ) but I feel (even today) owning a Console, was a whole other experience, to owning a computer.
As disappointed at not having a Streetfighter Port, I could only play it on my Brother’s ‘Super Nintendo’ – But you can’t imagine my excitement when it was announced in an Issue of ‘Sega Mean Machines’ – That I would be playing ‘Special Championship Edition’ for my Sega MegaDrive!
I was just a hardcore Sega Fanboy and I just went right through those consoles, even down to the ill fated ‘Sega Saturn’ I loved the ‘Panzer Dragoon’ Games and the Capcom 2D Fighter Ports just looked great on that console. I was reading ‘Mean machines Sega’ right up to ‘Official Sega Saturn’ Magazine.
I didn’t buy a Dreamcast until recently. It was a missed opportunity first time around.
‘Official Playstation Magazine’ Came around with their Demo Discs.
I did remember playing the Demo Cassette Tapes, that came with ‘Amstrad Magazine’, I don’t know if it was a smart Marketing gimmick to push certain games into the public consciousness, from 1st party releases, to the Indies, but boy, did it work!!
I lapped it up, I wanted to play em all!
CD was such a new concept for gaming by then, because up until that point, I associated CD’s with Music.
But it blew my mind that a Music and Tech company, released a Games Console to compete with (Then) Sega and Nintendo.
Admittedly I originally sneered at em “They’re a music Company, what do THEY know about gaming?”
Soon after playing ‘Tekken 3’ and ‘MetalGear Solid’ I changed my mind.
I was playing games that were really making use of the controller.
‘Ape Escape’ and ‘MetalGear Solid’ were one of the more original games I’ve played.
Pushing the Thumbsticks DOWN to sneak and catch cheeky little monkeys? Swapping a CONTROLLER by putting it into the 2 Player port, to beat a BOSS in ‘MetalGear’? Hey, now THAT’s original!
Admittedly some of the Demo Discs I remember playing, were in some ways, better than the Full releases that came after.
There were some games that were so popular, that they took up two whole Spreads on pages in magazines!
My taste in gaming publications changed as I got older.
I was looking at more MultiFormat games that spoke with a more ‘Grown up’ tone (And admittedly less Biased.)
I was at last owning a Pentium PC and wanted IN on that world, even if most of the releases were impossible to play on the earlier models that I bought. I couldn’t even get decent credit, mainly based on where I lived, so owning a £1,000 Computer, was a ‘No Go’
I was just getting by with a Used Pentium 2 and then later things got a little better with a Pentium 4.
I started taking more of an interest in things ‘behind the scenes’
From the technology, to the developers and the inner workings and structures of game companies.
I felt like I wanted to put a ‘face’ to the games that I was playing.
‘GAME’ was a great publication that delved into the Industry in more depth, it even covered games of Yesteryear to appeal to my Nostalgia.
‘EDGE’ Magazine was no different, always going for the jugular of industry news and covering new tech, that I craved to know more about.
Retro gaming is a scene close to my heart, more mainly for the Nostalgia, and mainly because there are some days where I just want to go back and play something that isn’t so complicated and just appeals to the kid inside me. There are some games now that are missing that important ingredient in some games released today and it’s called ‘FUN’.
‘Retrogamer’ Magazine is a magazine close to my heart (And of Course, the publication you are reading right now ‘GamesyouLoved’)
Because they speak to me on a personal level.
It’s just something that goes full circle for me. I’m reaching a point in my life where I’m just happy to go back, just as much as forward, with my gaming.
Gaming Magazines have given me a window into a world, to a HOBBY, that even to this day, I’m STILL obsessed about.
And now, because of this thing called ‘The Internet’ I’m attending Game Cons and meeting new friends, with that same shared interest.
But I will never forget the day that my childhood friend ‘Adam’
Put a Game Mag in my hands.
Article By CheekyCrissy
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