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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 7:46 pm 
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The problem with Retro Gamer is that no-one knew for sure what it's circulation was near the end. It wasn't ABC rated, and most guessed that it was in the 10,000 – 15,000 region, including subscriptions and unsold issues each month. As for whether Future would be interested in that, you'd have to check Future's own mags' ABCs to make a comparison. I know plenty of Future mags sell in that range, but I generally write for a different market, so I've no idea how Future's gaming mags are doing (bar Edge, which sits around the 25,000 mark). The thing is, if Future's not interested, I fail to see who would be. After all, there aren't that many publishers in the gaming space these days...

As Lee says, future issues of Retro Gamer would be hampered anyway, due to the contributors being burned, although I suspect new contributors could be lured. With the mag being in such a niche area, though, I imagine many of the readers will have been keeping track online of what's being going on and what happened near the end, and it would be very difficult to tempt any of them back.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:24 pm 
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LeeT wrote:
I can't see them doing much with RG considering a) they have pissed off the contributors so much b) the contributors have blocked their work from appearing in any forthcoming issues and


With all respect to the (very clearly wronged) writers, I can't imagine that there's a dearth of qualified and willing writers for this space.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:42 pm 
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jcompton wrote:
LeeT wrote:
I can't see them doing much with RG considering a) they have pissed off the contributors so much b) the contributors have blocked their work from appearing in any forthcoming issues and


With all respect to the (very clearly wronged) writers, I can't imagine that there's a dearth of qualified and willing writers for this space.


Mmm - I'm not sure. You're talking about a niche subject and I'm thinking that a lot of suitable people would have already contributed or would have at least been in touch with RG. Bear in mind that the writers didn't earn a great deal from writing for Live, and that will deter more would-be contributors.

Thats one thing I didn't like about the RG forums - They asked forum members to contribute features. It might sound snobbish and not very nice, but I don't particularly want to pay for a magazine that has writing from complete amateurs (unless it was to be excellent, which I seriously doubt). A lot of the RG contributors either had work published previously and/or had been in the scene for years. I'm sure (by the end) that they had very few decent submissions from the readership (going by the masthead with the same names every issue).

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:33 am 
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LeeT wrote:
jcompton wrote:
LeeT wrote:
I can't see them doing much with RG considering a) they have pissed off the contributors so much b) the contributors have blocked their work from appearing in any forthcoming issues and


With all respect to the (very clearly wronged) writers, I can't imagine that there's a dearth of qualified and willing writers for this space.


Mmm - I'm not sure. You're talking about a niche subject and I'm thinking that a lot of suitable people would have already contributed or would have at least been in touch with RG. Bear in mind that the writers didn't earn a great deal from writing for Live, and that will deter more would-be contributors.

Thats one thing I didn't like about the RG forums - They asked forum members to contribute features. It might sound snobbish and not very nice, but I don't particularly want to pay for a magazine that has writing from complete amateurs (unless it was to be excellent, which I seriously doubt). A lot of the RG contributors either had work published previously and/or had been in the scene for years. I'm sure (by the end) that they had very few decent submissions from the readership (going by the masthead with the same names every issue).


As Lee says, there's a real difference between the number of people who know about retro, and the number of people able to write good articles.

The RG forum came up with a lot of good ideas FOR articles, like the Sharp article eventually written by Craig Vaughan. I actually enjoyed the "retro fan" article Craig also did by asking for input from readers.

In a sense I'm still an "amateur" when it comes to writing. I've never set foot in an editorial office, worked my butt off in a junior position to get noticed or been "fired" in the conventional sense.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:28 pm 
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LeeT wrote:
Mmm - I'm not sure. You're talking about a niche subject and I'm thinking that a lot of suitable people would have already contributed or would have at least been in touch with RG. Bear in mind that the writers didn't earn a great deal from writing for Live, and that will deter more would-be contributors.


I seem to remember a lot of "When is X. ZZap Staffer going to write for RG?" Multiply that out across all the old mags, on all the old platforms (yes, I know there's a lot of overlap, but still...) and it's a pretty big universe--and that's just the "old guard." (sorry, guys.) Then you've got all the Web guys who have done a competent job writing on retro/emulation topics for the past 10 years. And so on.

You're right that the assuredly limited wordrate would take some of them out of the equation, but I still think it's a far, far bigger pool than the people who wrote for 18 issues of Retro Gamer. Glancing at the mastheads I have access to, I don't recognize most of the names in there, and I'm not exactly an 8-bit Mag Staff Completist. Point being, if I can easily name dozens of people who would make perfectly competent contributors, so could an actual editor.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:28 pm 
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I seem to remember a lot of "When is X. ZZap Staffer going to write for RG?"

Several of them didn't, purely because the rates RG was offering were worse than those most magazines were offering a decade ago. I can't see many ex-staffers or pros being tempted to RG unless the rates were higher. Then again, I don't write for games mags, so maybe RG's rates were "competitive", despite being so low compared to other mags.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:37 pm 
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It's less about how much RG paid, more about whether people wanted to re-visit the old days. I know a lot of writers who have moved on and don't want to talk about the old days (and so have many programmers). They'd rather talk about new things.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:38 pm 
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jcompton wrote:
I seem to remember a lot of "When is X. ZZap Staffer going to write for RG?" Multiply that out across all the old mags, on all the old platforms (yes, I know there's a lot of overlap, but still...) and it's a pretty big universe--and that's just the "old guard." (sorry, guys.) Then you've got all the Web guys who have done a competent job writing on retro/emulation topics for the past 10 years. And so on.


To be honest, I can't think offhand of any ZZAP! people (or indeed anyone from that era) who would want to write for RG. I think a lot of them have moved onwards and upwards (and you can see a few examples here).
Keith Campbell (ex-EMAP adventure columnist) did a couple of reviews but I'm guessing he wasn't happy with it, as he disappeared again. As I mentioned before, Live paid below the going rate for writers, and I think thats why they wouldn't get any established 'names' working for them. Also, I think they utilised most of the decent experts in the field (Andrew Fisher, Mat Allen, John Sczepcianek, to name a few). The only other ex-ZZAPers who are involved in journalism seem to work for Future and Highbury (writing about platforms such as PS2, XBox and GC).
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You're right that the assuredly limited wordrate would take some of them out of the equation, but I still think it's a far, far bigger pool than the people who wrote for 18 issues of Retro Gamer. Glancing at the mastheads I have access to, I don't recognize most of the names in there, and I'm not exactly an 8-bit Mag Staff Completist. Point being, if I can easily name dozens of people who would make perfectly competent contributors, so could an actual editor.


But surely (if that was the case) there would have been a lot more people writing for RG? Can you actually name any more people? There are quite a few people across various forums who think they could write about retrogaming because they have a good knowledge of the various platforms, but it isn't easy. For example, I did a few review comments for the 'Def Tribute' and that was hard enough, for me. The thought of writing 10,000 words on a retro topic would fill me with dread! :) [/i]

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 4:43 pm 
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Professor Brian Strain wrote:
It's less about how much RG paid, more about whether people wanted to re-visit the old days.

To be frank, I think it's both, and it also depends what the "writer" is doing these days. If they're in another field and can spare an hour to bash out a quick article for a few quid during an evening, maybe they would. However, if they are still writing, they're likely to compare the rates on offer to other things they could be doing at the same time. I myself have turned down a number of articles on the basis of the rates offered (although, obviously, not for RG). While some would take the "hit" due to loving the idea of taking a quick nostalgia trip (or, for some, writing about a hobby they enjoy), many won't.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:59 pm 
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Well, okay, if the thrust is that "it'll always be so cheap, no established professionals will do it," that's when you go to the amateurs, who will be excited to make pizza money for the chance to see their name in print. Of which there are many many. (Which, from some of the posts I've read on the Survival forum, appears to be what RG largely did anyway.)

Either way you slice it, there are lots of people who can do this sort of work. With achingly beautiful prose? No, not all of them. But "finding people to write content" has never really been a top challenge for technology magazines.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:41 pm 
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jcompton wrote:
But "finding people to write content" has never really been a top challenge for technology magazines.

Oh man, that smarts!

Craig "writer for MacFormat, .net, Practical Web Design, Computer Arts, Computer Arts Projects, et al" Grannell.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:41 pm 
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Except many people I know were unhappy about the supposed "amateur" nature of some of the RG content that they didn't buy the magazine. The retro world is so fickle in the eyes of its followers at times. If you want knowledgable people WHO can write... well the pickings are not great. I think RG got a lot of the Europe based writers fitting that category onboard during its lifetime.

(btw cheers for the vote of recommendation there Lee :P )

Only been doing this shit for 15 years, I knew I'd get noticed in the end heh...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:08 pm 
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Mayhem wrote:
Except many people I know were unhappy about the supposed "amateur" nature of some of the RG content that they didn't buy the magazine. The retro world is so fickle in the eyes of its followers at times. If you want knowledgable people WHO can write... well the pickings are not great. I think RG got a lot of the Europe based writers fitting that category onboard during its lifetime.


Spot on with those comments Mat!

I visit a lot of retrogaming forums and it really pissed me off when there was a thread about RG and someone would always pop-up and say "RG is crap. There's too much computer/console (delete as applicable) coverage" or "The (insert name of computer/console) wasn't covered enough. Why wasn't (insert name of obscure game that two people have played) covered."

Obviously RG had behind-the-scenes problems, but I was generally impressed with the content more often than not. There was only ever a few features that I skipped (about specific games) but mostly I got value for money out of it.

As Mat said, I think anyone would find it hard to get any other writers who can write with knowledge and to make the subject interesting.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:03 am 
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and the layout was boring as heck! :shock:

I talked to Matt Babe (the 'art man') during the DEF Tribute happening, and I asked why they sticked to Quark. He said he felt very unlucky with it as well, "they just as well could give me a box of crayons to do the mag" he said.
Indeed, IMO, it's much easier being 'creative' with the Adobe Suites, although I have to admit that a lot depends on your *own* creativity, motivation ($$$) and the time/freedom you get.

Design-wise it's mostly Edge (and their Retro sections plus specials) who hit the spot. Games TM (retro) is more colourful, but that section looks like it literally was done with a "box of crayons"! :?

Curious what Retro Bytes is going to look like with Mat Babe aboard now!
The logo isn't exactly promising though...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 8:47 am 
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The one with the invader? I actually quite like it.

As for XPress vs InDesign, I guess many designers are just lumped with whatever their organisation uses. Mind you, it is pretty rare to see a major UK publisher using XPress these days.

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