From print to binary

A few years back for me magazines were my only source of gaming related information, be it in the form of reviews, articles, demos and of course news itself. If you wanted to know something about gaming, you’d be sure to find it contained within the shelves of WH Smiths.

Times have changed though, and these days most of my gaming fix comes in the form of various websites and forums, thus rendering magazines all but extinct in my own little world. I honestly can’t remember the time when I last picked up a magazine and read a few pages in and thought to myself “woah, when was this announced?”

Even if a magazine gains an exclusive bit of news, lets say an upcoming release the majority of the time the details end up on those previously mentioned websites and forums first anyhow.

For me its a bit of a shame, I use to love getting a new magazine, along with the random freebie that wouldn’t look out of place in a McDonalds happy meal and of course, and who could forget the coveted demo disk. Times have changed though, and despite magazines still having that “nice to hold and read” feel, they just don’t have that pulling power that they used.

There is however a bit of light emerging from the proverbial tunnel, and that is in the form of features and articles. Whereas the shift of news and demos has made its way to the internet (for me anyway), there’s been quite a few times recently when I’ve picked up a magazine because of the articles or features they are running.

Sure websites could do articles and features, and more often than not they do, but in a strange twist of fate, where as I find news and reviews more enjoyable to read online, print based media is leading the way in terms of well thought out articles and features.

It’s something I’d like to see more magazines put a greater emphasis on, perhaps move away from trying to become the hottest source of news, and put a bit more of a push towards the detailed article or two.

Of course, magazines still remain popular and quite rightly so, they are as much a part of gaming heritage than anything else. Who can remember picking up copies of EGM, Gamesmaster when they were a few feet shorter and a lot more innocent?

Just maybe though, it’s time now to break the mould slightly and to start re-inventing, change is of course frightening and none more so than in the current economical climate, but I for one can’t wait for it to happen, be it tomorrow or three years time – I’ll be waiting.







4 responses to “From print to binary”

  1. Lorna avatar

    Great blog Ben. I adore magazines and always have, since the early days of Crash and Your Sinclair through to C&VG, Super Play, Cube, etc, etc. They are a big part of my personal gaming history and soemthing that I think is still relevant today. I dislike reading huge tracts of text on screen and, like my games (compared to digital downoads), prefer to have a physical product to hold and page through at my leisure…after all, I can’t take my PC on a train or bus. As useful as the net is for up to the minute newsy nuggets, I will always love my magazines! 😀

  2. MrCuddleswick avatar

    Great blog Ben, I share your sentiments, and I’ve also thought that magazines need to move more towards a high quality of essay/article with great depth and originality to fight against the immediacy of the internet.

    I used to buy games magazines second hand at fetes and the like, and read them cover to cover repeatedly, even though I’d never actually get to play the games I was reading about. Different times.

  3. Retro Luke avatar
    Retro Luke

    A couple of years ago I cancelled my magazine subscription and I haven’t looked back since. All of my info comes from the net but I do get a slight pang of nostalgia when I pass the magazine rack.

    A big problem with internet articals and reviews is that people have a shorter attention span. Anything longer than what you wrote and I probably wouldn’t of bothered!

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