Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thoughts While Sorting Gaming Magazines

So, I've been having another go at sorting out the few to keep from among the many to get rid of from among the boxes of gaming magazines. I used to be an avid reader of such magazines, back when there were such things as rpg magazines, before I distanced myself from the industry after I left Wizards for the third and final time. It's been interesting revisiting that lost time when rpg magazines stalked the earth, reading reviews of then-new releases, some of which are now revered as classics, others long since forgotten.

Looking back over the array of rpg journals -- some of which had long runs, others here and gone -- it amazes me just how many journals there were. Each major (and many minor) rpg companies had their own magazine. DRAGON MAGAZINE was always the dominant one: it had an extraordinarily long run and for much of its run was by far the best journal out there, the standard against which all the others were (and shd be) judged.

But it wasn't just TSR's DRAGON* (and its later spin-off DUNGEON, not to mention the RPGA newsletter POLYHEDRON, both of whom had high-quality content, circulations, and longevity that most of DRAGON's rivals wd have envied). Chaosium had DIFFERENT WORLDS. Metagaming had SPACE GAMER. GDW had CHALLENGE. Steve Jackson Games had PYRAMID. Games Workshop had WHITE DWARF. Even Flying Buffalo's TUNNELS AND TROLLS had its own dedicated magazine, SORCERER'S APPRENTICE. There were some rpg magazines that grew into full-scale rpg companies, like WHITE WOLF (White Wolf) and SHADIS (Alderac) and KOBOLD QUARTERLY (Open Design). Sometimes a single game had a whole journal to itself, like MYTHUS MASTERS MAGAZINE, the short-lived MYTHUS newsletter.**


Have to give a special shout-out to a few though, any of which wd be worth revisiting in a post all its own: ARCANE (one of the finest rpg journals ever to see print), INTERACTIVE FANTASY (smart, thoughtful, always looking for boundaries to push, albeit a bit too self-important, prizing innovation above everything else), and THE GAMER (in which editor Scott Haring managed to produce the closest thing to a truly independent rpg magazine -- a feat all the more impressive considering some of the fractious talent he had as regular contributors).

And of course there are a few I simply have a personal fondness for, such as ADVENTURE GAMING (which successfully continued the DRAGON MAGAZINE experience for a time and, more importantly, provided a home for FINIEOUS FINGERS). And then there's GYGAX, the recent attempt to see if the old-school' revival cd carry over enough to support an old-style gaming magazine as well (the answer turns out to be no, not so much).

That said, if anyone out there wd like the first four issues of CASUS BELLI or an assortment of five random issues of SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, let me know and I'd be glad to see them off to a good home).

--John R.
current reading: the two adventures in the new 7th ed. C.o.C. core rulebook.



*of which I have a large, but unfortunately not-quite-complete, run.

**I played an inadvertent role in its demise, but that's a story for another time.

1 comment:

John D. Rateliff said...

The French magazines have now been spoken for, and I'm withdrawing one of the SORCERER'S APPRENTICE ones because I've decided to keep it (it had a piece in it by the Rahman brothers about the Cthulhu mythos). The other four issues are still up for grabs, for anybody who didn't get enough (or more than enough) TUNNELS & TROLLS back in the day.
--John R.