Nov 4, 2007

Gaming magazines of the pre-Internet era living happy online lives

Retro Gaming MagazinesWell, ok, not necessarily pre-Internet gaming mags, but definitely classifiable as retro. Or at least of retro gaming interest. Or, well, you get the point don't you? Anyway, sod it. This is a post about freely available digitized computer & video gaming mags of yore and where to find them. Sadly, it lacks an interesting and/or witty introduction.

So, let's begin at the ..uh.. beginning with some much-deserved Atari love, courtesy of the Atari Museum. You can grab 11 issues of Atari Age here, 6 issues of the Atari Club Magazine here and (re-)discover what the Atari 2600 and to some extent 5200 were all about.

Compute!, a rather more serious take on the then-emerging digital scene, was first published in 1979 and featured content mostly on the Commodore PET and the 6502 processor. The complete magazine archive from 1979 to 1994 is available here. Yes, all 168 issues of it!

ZZap 64!, the everlasting pride of the Commodore 64 community and one of the best gaming mags ever, is available in its (almost) full glory here. Though you wont get every article of every issue, there’s more than enough scanned and html-ed (?) content to keep every misty-eyed 8-bit connoisseur off the streets. Besides, content is being added regularly.

Just as C64 replaced the PET, an time came when the 16-bit powerhouse that was the Amiga replaced the C64. Tons of magazines were published, gamers were having multiple orgasms and the utterly amazing Amiga Magazine Rack is the place were everything is kept safely for your free retro pleasure. 70 classic mags are covered!

Computer Gaming World, a PC favorite that's still going strong, has recently opened the gates to its virtual museum. Visit it here and download the first 100 issues in glorious PDF.

Mean Machines along with Mean Machines Sega and delicious bits of other classic British gaming mags have their very own, very retro archive right here. Visit it and find out exactly how the best console magazine ever to grace our puny planet looked like.

Old Computer Mags is a nice clean site with interesting content, sporting a fantastic selection of Italian magazines and quite a few issues of some classic UK and US ones. Oh, and 36 issues of Your Sinclair is quite an impressive offering.

Oh, and as Erik suggested, don't forget to register and have a look at Retromags. You'll find quite a selection of UK and US mags and an utterly impressive archive of Nintendo Power issues. Official Saturn Magazine groupies won't be disappointed either.

[UPDATE]: Wise reader/blogger JohnH suggested you grab some pretty digital copies of arcade focused gaming mag JoyStik here and/or here and I couldn't agree more. It's an impressively designed publication and quite a read. Thanks John!

Related @ Gnome's Lair: Retro Gamer eMag review, Wii retro gaming, Team 17 Amiga games for free, free PDF & e-book archive

33 comments:

  1. I atill have around 40+ copies of Compute! magazine around here somewhere. Still have a working Vic-20 and C64 as well. Somewhere.....

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  2. Great post, Gnome.

    Yehuda

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  3. There's was another mag... forget the name... but it had "kid" in the title. They used to put BASIC program listings for games on the last page of every issue. One of them was a mining game for the TRS-80 Model III that had the player jumping over monsters while grabbing diamonds. Another listing (also for the TRS-80) had the player moving a dragon (actually a 'v') through a "cavern" (asterisks on each side of the screen) killing 'goblins' (g's I think) and avoiding something I can't remember. Good times. I wish I could remember the name of the mag though.

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  4. Off to download old CGWs. Thanks for the lovely find again, gnome :)

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  5. Did you add this one?

    http://www.retromags.com

    I'm looking for old Computer and Videogames pdf's myself.

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  6. A lucky Blue Gnome indeed! Never touched a Vic-20 myself. Nor a Compute! magazine now that I think about it...

    Thank you very much dear Yehuda!

    Ahh Brian, don't think I can help you there, as I just can't remember anything with kid in its title. Then again I was mostly into UK and obviously Greek mags, so I might have just missed it. Still, the game described sounds like an early action-RPG. Ah, the days of the listing... brilliant...

    Your very welcome dear Roys! I was afraid them 100 pdfs were lost forever, but thankfully CGW decided to make them available again.

    Thanks a ton Erik! I'll add it asap. Really appreciate the help. Cheers!

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  7. Excellent post as usual, gnome!

    I too love digitized retro magazines, specially when it comes to Saturn, Dreamcast of PSX ones.

    By the way, although you already posted a link to the meanmachines site, here's a direct link for some Sega Saturn UK issues:

    http://www.meanmachinesmag.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?s=1bd6c8387f30359e49255f14c1686073&t=183

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  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you :)

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  9. 36 issues of your sinclair... lol.. your kidding me.... lol.. .click!

    ..your not kiddin... wow!..

    you've updated your wand i see!!

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  10. Anyone come across any scans of the old 'Rainbow' magazine (it's not gay)? It was for the old Tandy Color Computers -- just pages and pages of BASIC programs that you would enter by hand. (Unless you were lazy and got the subscription that came w/ a floppy disk!) Was always so satisfying to finish typing a program only to find it full of errors and typos!!! :)

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  11. I'm still amazed at the power of internet. I mentioned retromags.com, someone took digged/dug this blog posting and now Phil, the retromags site owner was wondering why his traffic went up 50 fold!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I don't think Ziff Davis/CGW has anything to do with that web site - it's fan-based.

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  14. Need to be convinced this was a pre-internet era? I remember the shock this caused...

    http://www.old-computer-mags.com/Magazine/TGM%20N.7/TheGamesMachine0700069.jpg

    ...although lookin at the state of viewing on TV on a typical night maybe the doom sayers where correct to warn us that our collective moral standards where being inexorably degraded.

    I mean x factor... I would of gladly sacrificed all the internet porn to never ever have to of seen a single episode of that.

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  15. My wand? Oh, that Mr. Elderly.... But it's no wand and this nice gentleman over here is a witch-hunter you know...

    Sorry dear anonymous, haven't run into a Tandy mag, though if listings are what you're after you'll find tons of them.

    Oh, and anonymous 2 (?) you might just be right on the CGW thing...

    Ahhh, yes, Strip Poker II Petesk. The days, the days... Admittedly though I always preferred the French cartoon style of Teenage Queen. X-Factor? Almost saw it once, but was cunning enough to avoid it. Tehe.

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  16. Oh, and eric, don't be amazed.. be shocked :)

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  17. Hey now, don't forget about Joystik, one of the earliest, and best, magazines devoted to arcade games from the classic era. Its art design is pretty amazing (even though it often makes the text hard to read with luminous, day-glo artwork), and throughout its short life it consistently maintained its focus on actual game strategy in a way that not even Nintendo Power, in its early days, could match.

    http://arcarc.xmission.com/Magazines%20and%20Books/Joystik/
    http://www.highscoresarcade.com/joystik.htm

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  18. Thank you very much JohnH! I never knew such a lovely thing existed... Brilliant! Oh, and that's an impressive number of blogs you're writing for mate :)

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  19. a witch-hunter... wait I'll get my autograph book... (ederly runs out of the room and returns....)

    which one? is he gone..?

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  20. Didn't know witch hunters were that popular around your parts Elderly...

    (tsk, tsk, what a weird person)

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  21. Thanks for the collection. It brings back memories from when I was a kid and couldn't afford the games. Wait a sec....things havn't changed much in adulthood either :/

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  22. Anyone remember Compute's Gazette? A definite C64 mag. I think I have every issue. Damn.

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  23. A soul brother then dear Faz. Lovely :) Care to rob a bank or something?

    Xpodx if you could be so kind and scan them... Please?

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  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  25. ZZap64 and Crash magazine, now that brings a tear to our eyes. Newsfield created some quality reads. In later years The One was a steady read to! Some great links in there!

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  26. Glad you enjoyed them oh Retro Brothers. And let me admit I'm also very fond of the classic Newsfield mags, though the early PC Zone is my all time favourite closely followed by Retro Gamer.

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  27. It's funny that the one magazine that got bought by a big publishing organisation has already had the on line history deleted. Hence Computer gaming Worlds Museum is no more. Must have been costing the billion dollar company running it $100,s a year!

    When you have small fan sites they stay. When big companies get involved things always go downhill quickly.

    But it brings up another point. PC gaming history is being lost at enormous rates! Go to Metacritic and find a 5+ year old PC title, now click on each review link for it.... Notice how the majority are now dead links? Some have changed their web address and can be found, but many have just gone, and they have taken their 1999-2007 articles, reviews and interviews with them. How many historic articles have been lost? 5 years from now will there be any original reviews of, say Planescape Torment or the original Command and Conquer? Let's not even talk about all the coverage of early 90's PC gaming!

    If you talk about 'The history of gaming' you will be shocked at how many people (not even just gamers) who now think that means console gaming history.

    Go to You Tube and on average a console gaming Top 10 is just called 'Top 10 games', PC gamers already feel an endangered species by virtue of the fact that a Top 10 PC games list will always be called just that 'Top 10 PC games'

    PC gaming is being written out of history, and I find it terribly scary for my favourite gaming format.

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  28. I think you make a fair point. I also think we should try and remedy things and am already working (secretly) on a partly solution. Yes!

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  29. Good luck Gnome. 3 years ago I contacted the Software Publishers Association in Washington D.C. They said what you said, more or less. Obviously they haven't done any thing in the last 3 years (that we've heard of!), so I hope you have better luck.

    There has been a console gaming tsunami since the arrive of the 360, PS3 and Wii 3-5 years ago, and PC gaming is getting drowned, with, in my experience, very little PC orientated action coming to the surface.

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  30. Well, I can't say it'll be an action-oriented thing, but it will (almost 100%) be PC and computer gaming focused. Hope you'll like it. Oh, and thanks!

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  31. Wrong choice of words - didn't mean action-orientated in terms of a genre, I meant specific PC gaming news that relates to PC gaming and gives coverage to that format in meaningful way. Not the fake coverage and support some big 'multiformat' sites give it.

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  32. Right, I see. BTW, I do believe you're aware of the excellent "Rock, Paper, Shotgun", right?

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  33. Yes I am aware of Rock Paper Scissors. But there is more and more console infiltration into that site, especially via the forums.

    The question is, other than becoming one more site that concentrates on the smaller indie/casual titles market, without PC titles what do sites like RPS write about? It is already a retro PC gaming site to puff it out.

    I have a 1997 Xmas issue of PC Zone. It had 47 reviews and 28 previews within it's pages. In 2009 Gamespot only reviewed 72 PC games FOR THE WHOLE YEAR, and the average review score was 68%, so both quantity and quality of PC games have been declining so long, and recently so fast, I find myself quite cynical..... :(

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