Spending a lot of time on other things, you tend to miss out on stuff. Free PDF ezines, or instance, or to be more precise PCGZine, 360Zine, P3Zine, et al, at http://www.gamerzines.com/. All published under the same company, these magazines are free and require no registration of any kind. And, apparently, they’ve been publishing these ezines for some time, judging by the back issues page. I can’t understand how I haven’t noticed these before. Maybe I had noticed, but ignored them because they cover modern platforms – no retro ezine amongst the publisher’s catalogue.
I’m currently looking through PCGZine (sub-40 pages and coming in at 22MB), and it’s certainly a flash PDF production – as you’d expect from a professional publication – and I suspect the whole range of titles from the publisher are of similar design. And when I say looking through, I mean trying to. For a start, it’s extremely irritating when the ezine automatically accesses the net for external Flash files. Surely, the whole point of downloading a magazine is so you don’t have to access the internet to read it – unless you’re purposely clicking on an external link, of course, which are easily identifiable. Then there’s the navigation controls used, which occupy the top and bottom areas of the magazine (TOP: website home page, contact us, tell a friend, cover, contents, previews, interview, reviews, subscribe. BOTTOM: close issue, print issue, search issue, zoom in zoom out, toggle full screen, previous page, next page). Highly annoying and surely any decent PDF Reader offers such functions without intruding in on the magazine? Give me the old bookmarks, anchor links method any day.
And finally, despite the ezine being free, there’s a faint whiff of commerciality amongst the game content. The game reviews and previews are, erm, how can I put this… well the emphasis is definitely on the screenshots – massive images overshadow the text itself and you feel obliged to look at the images (as good as they are) and gloss over what’s actually being said about the game.
Don’t get me wrong, there is obviously a lot of talent behind these publications, but, unfortunately, they are stifled by the magazine’s stance on content and aesthetics, which is a shame, because otherwise the ezines are very good efforts. If this is your kind of magazine, and you can put up with the navigation system, or annoying external access of flash files, then this will be a good read.