We’ve had quite a few new retrogaming ezines released in the past few weeks. First there was Retromaniac (which we reviewed here, followed by Atari User (which we also looked at here, and now we a new issue of Classic Gamer Magazine. The last issue of Classic Gamer Magazine was released back in 2004. Six years is a long time, an eternity in retrogaming terms, and a lot has happened since then: Retro Gamer has come and gone, and been resurrected. Several commercial, part-commercial and self published magazines/ezines have come and went, with only a small handful still going. So, Classic Gamer Magazine has returned, following a six year absence. That’s good, isn’t it? Maybe.
Yes, it’s fantastic to see the ezine return along with some well written content – it should have, considering the staff on board. The cover feature, ‘The Pac-Man Legacy’, is the main highlight of this issue and looks at the original arcade game right up to the home versions and remakes. One article that we were dreading reading was ‘SNES vs. Genesis’, which is not, as we had feared, a school boy “my console’s better than yours” argument type article, but rather a look at the differences, gameplay wise, of the same game on the two different formats – think Retro Gamer’s ‘Same Name, Different Game’ and you’re there.
On the downside, the design of the magazine is all over the place. The font size increases and decreases from one page to the next. Paragraphing is chaotic throughout, with columns used for one article and discarded, in favour of straight word processing paragraphing, the next. Some of the design work here is actually very good, including an absolutely fantastic cover, so it’s completely baffling to see the ezine look like this. Quite a come down from the relative design high of vol 2 issue 2, which was released six years ago.
Another thing that is missing from CGM vol 3 issue 1 is interactivity. It’s a digital PDF mag, so why not use this advantage to the full? With a huge contents page, filling the entire A4 page, we were expecting each line to be anchor-linked to the relevant article, but no, nothing. Even the URL links haven’t been activated for clicking.
As the website states, “Classic Gamer Magazine is freely distributable under a Creative Commons license” and an optional PayPal payment is available. Despite being slightly disappointed with this issue, considering how previous issues turned out, we would still chip in a couple of quid for this. Here’s hoping that, considering the talent on CGM, future issues will improve. Volume 3 issue 1 is good, but by god, it could have been great.