Review: RetroManiac issue 1

Sep 032010

Hearing about and reading RetoManiac was like a rollercoaster for us. First we were up with the excellent points of this new ezine, the next, we were zooming back down with some of the lesser good points. Let us explain ourselves here…

First things first, RetroManiac is a new Spanish retrogaming ezine, produced in glorious PDF and available to download for free. It contains some great articles on classic video games, including a retrospective on the Streets of Rage series, the Spectrum, Retro Gamer ‘Retro Revival’ style articles on the likes of Toki, Bruce Lee, Dune 2, and lots more. That’s excellent. It also reviews new games released on the current generation of consoles. That’s not so good.

The contents page and reviews index page have anchor links to their respective pages. That’s very good (we haven’t seen that since, well, Retroaction). However, the page format chosen is a weird one. The front cover is a normal A4 portrait, but as soon as the content page kicks in, the format changes to an elongated landscape style. Nothing wrong with that you might say – Retroaction does something similar – but this seems to be designed as two pages joined for printing, rather than designed as a digital page for the screen.

The writing, what I can make out, looks very good. Detailed when needed and less when required. Good. In amongst the new games reviews are Monkey Island 2 Special Edition and, erm, some other, supposedly, retro styled games. Not too good.

The design of the RetroManiac is brilliant. The layouts, overlays, text boxes and images are all put together with some real professionalism here. Bravo to the designer. By the time I got to the latter pages I noticed there was no bookmarks available – I couldn’t jump back to a particular page. This means the delightful contents page, with its superb anchor links directing the reader to the relevant page with the click of a mouse is made redundant. But we’re really grasping at straws for faults at this point and the guys who produced RetroManiac must be congratulated on their first issue.

So with a group of passionate writers, contributors and a designer, you can produce a free ezine that would not look out of place sitting next to Retro Gamer. Other publishers of similar ezines take note.

And it must be said that it is just their first issue. Improvements and additions to the format will no doubt take place for future issues. Maybe an English version as well? I’m sure I can say for all that we are looking forward to issue 2.

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