Retro Gamer is a fantastic magainze, because it offers retro gaming lovers like myself a chance to get a current, freshly circulated magazine filled to the brim with opinions, news and features about the games and machines we love from days gone by. The writers do a bang-up job of hunting down the ex-employees of <insert defunct 8/16-bit game studio here> or waxing lyrical about a blockbuster title from when the Intellivision was the newest kid on the block.
But it’s not exactly the same as reading a gaming magazine from the 80s or 90s. For that, you’ve got to dust off, well, a magazine from the 80s or 90s. Luckily I have a box filled with them, so tonight I decided to drag them all out and have a flick through the pages of these colorful time capsules of video game goodness. It’s a treat, really.
Oh sure, Retro gamer will put out an amazing feature about the Mega Man franchise and how it rose to fame and glory on every console, but it’s almost too easy to write about retro gaming because you’re afforded a wealth of history and irrefutable opinion to back up anything you say. You can comfortably talk about the amazing titles and the woeful flops because it’s all there on the record, written about by hundreds of people before you.
It’s something else to read a fresh review – well, fresh back then – of Mortal Kombat II, or the impending arrival of the Sega Saturn. There’s an excitement surrounding these pieces that can’t be replicated by any nostalgic look back through time. Every game and console accessory is new and sexy, while gaming journalist are rife with speculation and conjecture as they examine some Nintendo oddity or handheld wonder-contraption. If you dig your old games, the only way to really immerse yourself in the vibe of the times is to hunt down as many old mags as possible and start reading. It’s a journey into gaming legend that’s far more satisfying than I can put into words here.
So do yourself a favour, and be on the lookout for old copies of CU Amiga, SEGA Megazone, ZZap 64 – whatever you can find. It’s worth it, trust me. If you’re lucky – like me – you’ll even come across some publications that still have crisp, awesome posters inside featuring all your beloved retro gaming franchises. I’ve just found a kickarse Mortal Kombat II poster inside an old issue of SEGA Megazone that’s just begging to be put up on the wall.