Friday, August 19, 2011

Someone really needs to make Famicom Gamer and Mega Drive Gamer magazines, too

As much as I love PC Engine Gamer magazine, I really wish someone would follow in publisher Sunteam's footsteps and produce similar online magazines focused on the Famicom, Mega Drive and every other 8-bit and 16-bit system, too. While I wait for such 'zines to materialize, though, I'll continue flipping through the latest issue of the aforementioned PC Engine-focused publication (the cover of which can be seen below).

Those of you who are at all interested in NEC's little white wonder, as I like to call the PC Engine, should read it (here), too, as this issue includes a "final countdown" of the system's 10 best continue/game over screens, a quick peek at a trio of in-the-works homebrew titles and reviews of Atomic Robo-Kid Special and Ys Book I & II.


Sean said...

I totally agree! That PC Engine Gamer magazine is really good and a Famicom or Mega Drive themed one would be awesome.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Wouldn't it? Sadly, I think the Sunteam folks are only interested in the PC Engine. Maybe a Famicom or Sega site should follow in their footsteps?

Sean said...

It would indeed be nice if a site did follow those footsteps. I imagine it must be a ton of work, but eventually somebody will probably get around to it!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, yeah, I imagine it is a ton of work, Sean, and probably with little reward.

Unknown said...

I'm a brat, and I have to say... I think it's paradise that this is dedicated to PC Engine. Reminds me so much of some of my favorite gaming magazines of the early '90s, also dedicated to the platform -- that same spirit really isn't present in Super Famicom or Mega Drive.

I'd say the reason why it's possible to lavish so much attention on the PC Engine, after the fact, is because so much attention was lavished on the console itself, overseas. The passion sparkles through with a ripple of devoted fans years after the fact.

Visit Pink Gorilla with me soon and you'll see a disproportionately large section of import PC Engine games -- HuCards, Super CD, CD... Arcade Card -- look how long that quirky little platform stuck around and iterated on itself.

If you look at Mega Drive, a similar number of upgrades and platform extensions were issued, but they were not similarly supported by developers.

And the Super Famicom never really successfully iterated.

From that perspective, both the competing platforms were much more shallow.

ANYWAY! Thanks for introducing me to the awesome fanzine! I totally loved them and had no idea this existed before your post!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Well, I can't say I disagree with you, Curtis, especially since I've loved the PC Engine since I first laid eyes on the damn thing as a kid.

What I meant by the headline and first few lines of this post is that I'd love to see similar fanzines for other systems that I also love.

That said, I think you're right that there's a certain, seemingly never-ending passion aimed at the PC Engine that likely isn't aimed at the 8-bit and 16-bit systems competed with in its time -- with the exception of the Famicom.

I think you already touched on part of the reason for that: The attention NEC, game devs and fans lavished on the system. I think another reason is that the system was kind of the "little console that could," if you will. It dared to come out and compete with the Famicom and Super Famicom, and although it didn't "beat" them it certainly competed ably with them for a time.

As for joining you on a trip to Pink Gorilla -- yes, of course! I'm guessing you mean the downtown location, right? I've never been... The U District one that I went to a month or so ago was great, but I'd love to see the original location.

Let's set a date for this little gay gaming journey soon, OK?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, and one more thing: You're very welcome about introducing you to PC Engine Gamer. That was the whole point of the post, of course :)

Darwin said...

This is a goldmine of a find! Bryan, I totally agree about a Mega Drive and Famicom version. I would love to see that.

Have you heard of Scroll magazine? It's an ezine started by a former 1up editor. It's actually well done, and touches on the right nostalgia bits.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Glad you liked this find, Darwin! Be sure to check out the mag's past issues, too, if you're at all interested in the good ol' PCE.

As for Scroll: I know I've heard of it/seen the cover of its first issue, but that's it. I will now check it out in full, thanks to your recommendation :)

sunteam_paul said...

Hi there.

Thanks for mentioning Gamer and the great response to it :)

I'd love to expand PCE Gamer into other formats...of most interest to me would be Master System, Mega Drive and ZX Spectrum. Writing something like PCE Gamer is difficult and takes a lot of focus and time to keep the quality.

I'd be afraid of watering down the quality if I started some new ezines - but I really do want to do them!

Another tricky part would be thinking up original sections for different zines, without just copying the 'vs' or 'Final Countdown' sections.

But who knows? I've still got the idea int he back of my head...

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Paul -- and thanks for the comment!

Oh, a Master System and/or Mega Drive 'zine a la PCE Gamer would be great. That said, I understand why you've yet to create them. I'd esp. not want you to do so if it meant the quality of your site or PCE Gamer would falter because of it.

If you ever find a way to do so in the future, though, please let me know about it! In the meantime, keep up the awesome work :)

sunteam_paul said...

I suppose a good compromise would be to combine them into a single retro-zine. The downside of that might be that it loses the identity of a system-specific magazine, but it might increase readership and help spread awareness of lesser known systems like the PCE/TG16.

I'll have to think about that.

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's not a bad idea at all, Paul, although I agree that it could result in the loss of identity and maybe even readership. Like you said, though, it also could increase your readership and help spread awareness of the PCE/TG16.

Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how you address this issue in the future -- if at all! If not, I'll very much continue looking forward to future issues of PCE Gamer, of course :)

sunteam_paul said...

I've been giving it some thought. While a single multi-format zine would get more readers, I think it's ignoring the best thing about the internet - being able to directly aim something at a specific audience.

*If* I were to attempt multiple zines, the main problem to overcome is to formulate content other than the obvious reviews.

So if anyone has any ideas...

Bryan Ochalla said...

I'm honestly happy you've come to this conclusion, Paul, as I think you're doing a great job as is and I would hate to see PCE Gamer be watered down or otherwise lose its identity.

When I first wrote this post, the idea that was floating around in my head was that some other entity would produce mags that are similar to yours but focus on, say, the Famicom, the Master System or the Genesis.

I'm not sure which entities would do it, though -- maybe the guys/gals at Segagaga Domain could put out a Genesis/Mega Drive mag, or the crew at VideoGameDen could put out a Famicom-focused one?

Really, it was just me thinking aloud. Please don't take it to mean that I'm unhappy with your product or that I want you to branch out at the expense of that lovely magazine :)

sunteam_paul said...

Well for years I've been thinking how I;d love to do a 'software bible' style site for the Master System, but have always know that was too much work to make it worthy.

An ezine seems an ideal compromise, and I hope the writing style of PCEG could be appreciated by other system owners (I know Spectrum owners will lap it up as it's written very much like the classic Your Sinclair magazine).

If I knew I had time, I would do these in a heartbeat. Talking about it is just getting me all excited at the fact even if I don;t have the time, I will probably just do it anyway because I want to!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha! Well, I certainly wouldn't mind if you did make such an ezine, Paul. If or when you do, please let me know so I can both read it myself and mention it to others :)

sunteam_paul said...

Speccy magazine is now available!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Wow! You must have been *really* inspired! I can't believe how quickly you put that together! I just flipped through it, but I'll give it a much more thorough read-through in a bit. Oh, and of course I'll mention it on this blog :)

Are you still considering a Master System magazine, by the way? Not trying to push you -- just curious!

sunteam_paul said...

I'll see how this goes, how much time it all takes up and how many other projects I can clear before I put any sort of consideration to another new mag. It could be a year or two though.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Well, I'll certainly be interested in it should you ever make it happen. In the meantime, I'll thoroughly enjoy this first issue of ZX Spectrum Gamer and any and all issues of PC Engine Gamer you put forth in the future :)