Well, it may seem a bit pointless opinionating on this now that the magazine's closed, but after the other three reviews ... Good riddance say I. It was a dreadful magazine, which lasted for four issues before everyone else realised how bad it was. It had no idea what sort of audience it was aiming at - "jargon busters" tried to explain technical terms in plain language, but often were more confusing than helpful; they dared to say the Playstation had bad games, thus alienating three quarters of their audience (despite it being true); it was sheap but didn't even manage to be cheerful. It's redeeming feature was that it was only 99p. But that was still too much for a magazine covering month-old news in a patronising and unhelpful way. I hope we never see the likes of it again.
Video Gamer. I personally love reading this magazine. YOU WILL NOT believe the price of it! its only 99p! can you believe that??? if it was £3 I'd still buy it. I like the way its been written and the manner it is composed in. The layout of the magazine is simple and easy to follow. The news section is good and alays up to date and I find its been a great source for news and drooling of what games are to be^_^. The reviews are good. They only reviews games which are going to be available at the time the magazing is in circulation which I think its a great idea, then the reader and just go out and buy the game after the review and not be let down and wait serveral months at times for it to be released. They review all formats which is good and so keeping up with whats coming out on what console is easy. I think the reviews are fair but obviously sometimes hte reviews might clash with your reviews but I find its good. It points me int he right direction and most of the time I read for the news and other features and I hardly ever read all of the reviews as I personally don't like certain games or that they are not on my console. Try ths magazine out its ONLY £1 so why not give it a try?
I had nearly an hour to kill the other night before my bus was due, so decided to go for a pint. Having read my usual papers already during the day and being the proud owner of a brand new PS1, I thought I’d get a games magazine to read during my wait. I flicked through one or two of the thick mags at anything from £2.50 to £5.00 but I only really wanted a cheap read, then I spotted Video Gamer. I say spotted, but to be honest this months issue has got a picture of a buxom lady in a white bikini top and so sort of jumped out at me. Priced at 99 pence, and with just over 100 pages, it was an ideal buy. I settled down with my pint of Guinness Extra Cold and opened the mag. My first stop was the contents page which listed the various games reviews inside in console format, rather than page1 to page 115 as is usually the case. I thought this was quite a good idea because it means if you’re looking for a review of a particular game and want to check if it’s in Video Gamer’s current issue, you only have to flick to this page and you can easily tell. Around the sides of this menu were various other headlines with page numbers alongside. January’s issue, for example, had a couple of features on the Playstation 2, as you might expect, a few more reviews of new games and some other news about various consoles. With my newly purchased PS1 in mind I turned to a review of a game for it, Woody Woodpecker Racing. It had a full page review which consisted of about a half page of writing, with the rest of the page showing four or five screenshots, a diagram showing which buttons on the controller were used and a Video Gamer rating. The control guide and ratings are a standard feature on all the reviews so you could easily compare each game which is a good idea. The ratings gave a brief list of uppers and downers and then marks out of ten in the four categories of gameplay, presentation, value and overall verdict. Woody Woodpecker Raci
ng got an overall verdict of 2, with a recommendation of “This game should be avoided at all costs” and the text was also quite cutting, though all critical comments were backed up with reasons. None of the PS1 games reviewed fared particularly well, with 102 Dalmations, given an overall 5, being about the best rated so I moved on to the rest of the magazine. To be honest I was quite impressed with the rest of the contents. The first few pages were news items, typical of every games mag, and this was followed by a list of the UK top 40 games. After this came tips for bargain accessories for all the main formats and then a couple of pages of answers to readers questions. The rest of the magazine had the game reviews, a page of DVD’s, a fairly extensive cheats and tips section, a few classified ads, letters page and details of next months issue. To sum up I’d say for 99 pence this is a pretty good buy. With all the reviews being in the same style, comparisons between games are easy and each review has a symbol on it to tell you which console format it is on to avoid any confusion. It is certainly not top heavy with adverts, as some mags tend to be, and there are plenty of news and articles to read. I’ve certainly bought magazines costing three or four times the price with less real content. Not bad at all and at this price you're not risking much anyway.
So, another new video games magazine joins the shelves. Given the amount of titles already available, a new title will have to offer something a bit special in order to survive the wild, wild world of computer journalism.... and luckily for Video Gamer it shows a lot of promise. The first thing that will strike you about the magazine is the price - when most of the other magazines are charging at least three quid for the privilege, VG comes in at a lowly 99p. Every month. Yes, I typed that correctly. To allow for this, you'll find that the magazine is printed on lower-quality, less 'glossy' paper than the other gaming monthlies, but this isn't a problem - the colours are still excellent, the picture reproduction is better than in some more expensive magazines and the print doesn't come off on your hands like with some 'newspaper-style' magazines I've read. VG covers all formats of game - this includes Playstation, PS2, N64, Gameboy, Dreamcast and (despite the name 'Video' Gamer) PC. Although this might sound like a lot to cover, they certainly seem to have packed a lot into the first few issues. This mainly seems to be because they concentrate entirely on game news, reviews and previews. They haven't fallen back on the old 'faithful' of other magazines - i.e. filling the magazine up with peurile humour, huge full-page pictures, and 'stories and interviews' with famous people who just happen to own a Playstation and have played on it once. This makes it a dream-come-true for readers like myself, who are purely interested in the games and not the 'lifestyle' aspects of the world of video games. The news, previews and playing tips sections of the magazine are pretty much as you would expect in any mag, apart from some much needed harder criticism in the news and previews (i.e. they don't build up every game to be a blockbuster like some magazines will).
Where Video Gamer really comes into its own is the reviews section. There are several main differences between VG and other magazines which I have noted - all of which will no doubt please gamers who are irritated with the usual game reviews procedures of other magazines. Firstly, they claim to only review finished games, and only games which you will be able to buy in the coming month (i.e. before the release of the next issue of the magazine). This is a big gamble on their part as it means they won't be able to pick up 'EXCLUSIVE!!!!' deals for the front cover, but as far as I'm concerned this is one of the major selling points of the magazine. Time and again I have become irritated to see magazines providing 'EXCLUSIVE!!!!' reviews of games a full six months before they are actually released - how can you review something which then has a further six months work done on it? Surely that's like reviewing a movie by watching the trailer? Hats off to VG for making this bold move, which almost guaranteed my readership on its own. But the thing that clinches it for me are the reviews themselves. Although not entirely different to most other magazine reviews (although better written than most, without any feeble attempts to be 'clever'), the big deal here is that I feel the reviews are honest. Yes, that's right - honest. Down to earth opinions, without any platform or company bias. Whereas most magazines have given the most-hyped games of the last few months huge scores (e.g. PS2 Tekken Tag and PS Driver 2), VG has cut through the hype and given them the scores they deserve. Both score well, both come recommended, but in all cases the reviewers have pointing out both the good and the bad points in the titles and scored them accordingly. Many people may think the scoring to be very harsh, but to me only the very best games should score a 9 or a 10 and the reviewing style suits me perfectly. Being totally unbiased
in a world where magazines seem to be living in the back pockets of the games companies is worth its weight in gold, and it is for this reason that I hope that VG succeeds. There are a couple of niggles, of course, but there always are! There are one or two places, mainly in the news section, where they pick up 'lad mag' style writing (i.e. using 'pretend' characters and 'humourous prose' to present a fairly mundane section). These feel out of place in a magazine which is supposed to be a serious title aimed at adults, but they can be overlooked in a publication which is otherwise excellent. I would heartily recommend Video Gamer to any adult games fan who is interested in all formats and not just the one that they own. It doesn't have cartoons, full page glossy pictures, interviews with minor celebrities, scantily-clad models, huge 'EXCLUSIVE!!!' reviews six months before the game is ready, or artificially high scores based on the game's hype. But it is refreshing, adult, innovative and honest. And that's what we really need on the shelves. Give it a try. It's only 99p, after all...