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gamesTM Issue 13


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It's actually not that easy to criticise a design in a constructive manner, especially when you don't have experience in doing so.

If it was little problems like the logo was too big, or needed to shift a little to the left, then I could just about manage a criticism of it.

However, when the whole thing just looks wrong, or bad, as in Game TM's case, it then becomes much harder. It's easy to say which aspects need to be changed, however in Game TM's case, the whole design needs to be changed.

Also, if I had a copy infront of me, I may find it a little easy to give more specifics as to what it is I don't like about it, however, at the moment I don't.

Maybe instead of just saying we're not being constructive, you could instead get your designer to knock up a few concept designs and ask us which ones we'd prefer (assuming of course we are you're target audience, if not, and if the design isn't intended to attract us, then there really is little point in this at all). Be proactive about it - don't sit around expecting us to do your designer's work for her.

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The reviews now look the part, and I like the boxouts, maths and Better Than things.

The videogame maths things are the first thing I'd get rid of if I ran the show.

I hate them with a vengeance.

I quite like other bits and pieces though.

There, that was constructive.

Tim ™

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It's actually not that easy to criticise a design in a constructive manner, especially when you don't have experience in doing so.

If it was little problems like the logo was too big, or needed to shift a little to the left, then I could just about manage a criticism of it.

However, when the whole thing just looks wrong, or bad, as in Game TM's case, it then becomes much harder.  It's easy to say which aspects need to be changed, however in Game TM's case, the whole design needs to be changed.

Also, if I had a copy infront of me, I may find it a little easy to give more specifics as to what it is I don't like about it, however, at the moment I don't.

Maybe instead of just saying we're not being constructive, you could instead get your designer to knock up a few concept designs and ask us which ones we'd prefer (assuming of course we are you're target audience, if not, and if the design isn't intended to attract us, then there really is little point in this at all).  Be proactive about it - don't sit around expecting us to do your designer's work for her.

Now this I can use. Thanks very much Luke :)

Needless clutter on the front seems to be the biggest bone of contention at the moment.

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No, not at all.  I'd hate to think that Cackyfuckus had been wanking over the cover before it hit the shelves.

:) that's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

The funniset thing you've read all day. Not heard. Read. You read it. Wow, call yourself a journalist?

Anyway, it's only funny because it's true.

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No, not at all.  I'd hate to think that Cackyfuckus had been wanking over the cover before it hit the shelves.

:P that's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

The funniset thing you've read all day. Not heard. Read. You read it. Wow, call yourself a journalist?

Anyway, it's only funny because it's true.

yeah, ok my bad.

still I did find it hilariously funny :)

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Needless clutter on the front seems to be the biggest bone of contention at the moment.

If I was forced to give examples from memory of what I thought the main problems with the design were, I'd go for the amount of clutter and the colouring (and it's not just the cover that's the problem).

But then this is just from rather hazy memory of having flicked through a few issues a while back.

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Call me greedy, but the one thing about GamesTM that frustrated me was that I came away wanting more.

To clarify, the only issue I've bought was the one that had the CPC464 feature in it, but I felt short-changed. In fact, I could have filled another 10 pages with stuff on that subject alone.

Now I know you're limited by space, but I want more detail, more depth to the coverage. I remember reading the Ocarina of Time review in Arcade and it just went on forever, juicier screenshots and tidbits on each subsequent page. Similarly, I loved the recent NGC MK:DD review, not because they liked it as much as I did, but because they really got stuck into it, with comparisons with the other games, maps etc.

I'm not sure how this fits in with the direction you want to take, but I think I'll pick up the latest issue on the way home, to see if I feel the same way.

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Call me greedy, but the one thing about GamesTM that frustrated me was that I came away wanting more.

To clarify, the only issue I've bought was the one that had the CPC464 feature in it, but I felt short-changed. In fact, I could have filled another 10 pages with stuff on that subject alone.

Now I know you're limited by space, but I want more detail, more depth to the coverage. I remember reading the Ocarina of Time review in Arcade and it just went on forever, juicier screenshots and tidbits on each subsequent page. Similarly, I loved the recent NGC MK:DD review, not because they liked it as much as I did, but because they really got stuck into it, with comparisons with the other games, maps etc.

I'm not sure how this fits in with the direction you want to take, but I think I'll pick up the latest issue on the way home, to see if I feel the same way.

God we'd love to give stuff more coverage, unfortunately our hands are tied.

Take the infamous Amiga lookback for example. The Retro editor and myself had initially planned to have this spanning 6-8 pages, unfortuntatly this wasn't allowed and it was cut down to two.

As for the Mario Kart review, do you want them too be spread over more pages, or simply to contain as much info as is humanly possible?

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As for the Mario Kart review, do you want them too be spread over more pages, or simply to contain as much info as is humanly possible?

Well, I haven't seen your one yet, but ideally both!

I like having a review split into different sections so that each can be given appropriate attention. For example, NGC had a whole page devoted to the multiplayer modes, detailing the rules, saying which they preferred, and why. There were specific screen shots for each, and although the layout was boxy and colourful, it didn't look cluttered. That way, when you're reading it you think "Cool, two pages just on the tracks in the game" or "So this is how the new multiplayer modes work" so you can really settle down and get your teeth into that aspect of the game. It's...juicy!

At the other end of the scale is Edge's "It's fun" comment, which asssumes that the reader knows what to expect. Probably the laziest thing I've ever seen them do.

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The videogame maths things are the first thing I'd get rid of if I ran the show.

I like GamesTM, but not these. I guess they make the point, but they feel a bit childish, if you see what I mean.

Is there a better way of expressing this? I'm not sure without thinking about it properly. Personally I'd get the team together & come up with some ideas to see if you can do it another way.

However, it's not a huge thing. I think you're doing a good job (hope that doesn't sound too condascending).

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Ok, design wise, it's too busy. Looking through the news section at the front of the mag. There's simply too much stuff. Too many images overlapping articles (it's hard to figure which image is for which article sometimes) and there is little focus to the pages. It's very easy to start reading something, your eye gets dragged away by a picture of Kirby or some such which leads into another article and then you see something else and so on and so on. You end up reading nothing and just go round the page reading the odd sentence but nothing in full. Tone it down slightly, IMO.

And to be honest, this goes for the whole mag. I do like the magazine, have every issue so far, but it can lead to a bit of eye strain. It just needs a little streamlining, I guess.

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I have bought 2 issues of gameTM. The debut issue and last months. I noticed a significant improvement between the two issues. Things like quality of research, writing, direction, layouts.

I like the review scheme used by gamesTM and find it reflects my own thoughts on the games I have played. The review scores for this month look like they will continue this trend.

Keep up the good work, I will be buying this issue. If you continue in a similar vain you might just make me a regular.

In regard to Edge, the mecha article in the current issue is very poor. There was a similar article in OPS2M when ZOE was released. This was better researched, more informative and gave a better context. Considering that the mecha theme was meant to be the cornerstone of this issue, it was dissappointing that I should have read a better article about the history of the genre in another magazine. It just goes to show that the magazine isn't infallible.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
Amped 2 - XB 5 /10

grrrrrr. rawrrrg.

I agree with them. It's just another bloody snowboarding game. Same old crap. Or at least in my book.

Where's the innovation? ;)

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I suppose I should chime in... I'm a fan of both mags, and pick up both of them each month.

The main reason I felt like replying is due to all the design talk. I do design magazines, although I doubt that makes my opinions any better. ;)

I've been reading GamesTM since issue 8, so I didn't see any earlier examples of design. However, at the moment, it's looking pretty good. Reviews and previews are looking good: they're both got a specific template, they're colour-coded, all the relevant info is slotted in; I don't see much to improve here. I saw above there were complaints over the videogames maths boxout - whilst I wouldn't miss it if it was gone, it does give me a chuckle every so often.

The retro section, really busy and colourful, reminds me exactly of Your Sinclair and the like - except on higher quality paper! I would wager the design team took a long hard look at that era of magazines, and they really captured the style of the times well. The squint headlines and coloured backgrounds look so much like YS it's like a handy nostalgia trip every issue!

In issue 13, I liked the look of the import feature a lot. An eye catching design, nice background... although I think, in the headline, I would've lined up the vertical lines of the 'h' and the 'd' (Christ, I'm sad ;) ).

The only problem I have with the current design was already mentioned above, the style of the news pages. I think they're really just too busy. Perhaps if the design cut down on the number of small images, and stuck with a smaller number of larger images, with less overlap between different pieces of text. Although I wanted to avoid comparisons to Edge, perhaps their method of splitting news between the more serious stuff, and then the odd, quirky news, with corresponding designs for each, is worth considering. I'm also wondering if the news section is the ideal place for features such as 'the hard sell', 'the players' interviews, and 'community' interviews.

Also, I wouldn't mind seeing the covers a little less cluttered - more along the lines of your issue 11 PGR2 cover, which was pretty sleek looking, without too much information, rather than the busy issues 12 and 13 covers. Of course, I appreciate that sometimes you're trying to draw the readers in with the wealth of content inside, so sometimes this can't be avoided.

Okay, I suppose that's enough rambling for now. I hope all this stuff proves to be a little useful for the design team - basically, keep up the good work! :D

Ric

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Alas, no big ones. Still, it would be nice designing a videogame mag in the future. ;)

It's Reader's Wives isn't it!?

Heh, now that sounds like a fun publication. Well, unless you happen to live in Edinburgh, you won't have seen the mag I design. But I'm not long graduated, so watch this space, I suppose. Or don't, y'know, which ever...

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No, not at all.  I'd hate to think that Cackyfuckus had been wanking over the cover before it hit the shelves.

:o that's the funniest thing I've heard all day.

The funniset thing you've read all day. Not heard. Read. You read it. Wow, call yourself a journalist?

What do his posts on some internet forum have to do with the magazine? :lol: Typical post of a bitter Edge mod.

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See mate, that's absolutly perfect. :o

I totally understand where you're coming from with the Edge comparisons and you're right, the quality of writing month on month is very, very good.

We're trying to improve with each issue and always knew that we'd always be judged against the mighty Edge, however, that's something we're gonna have to put up with. All we can hope to do is produce a mag that our readers (and hopefully others) will find enjoyable to read.

If we can manage that, I'll be happy :lol:

That's cool mate. Like I said, I hope I get to the stage where I'm struggling for cash because I'm buying both.

Oh, and like I also said, your score of PGR2 was much more deserved than Edge's, heh.

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Bear in mind that I haven't read it for a couple of issues...

Things that bug me in Games TM:

The "columns" always seem to have been written by a writer who isn't very profecient. Also why have 2 pages - when the top half of both is a picture. Usually unrelated to subject matter. 1 column, 1 page. Much neater - something Edge does better than you.

Some reviews read "like a kids diary". Others are great - I don't have examples to hand unfortunately. I've written enough reviews to know that they aren't plain sailing of course...but the quality seems to vary. Ditto articles.

Art is hit and miss - that 2D periodic table, was great. A front cover that is a photo of some Star Wars figures isn't. Basically photo's in Games magazines bug me as they are largely inappropriate for games. New sections obviously require them - but some articles just don't seem to fit...Some well drawn art is much nicer generally - see Computer Arts.

The retro section. I love the idea - like many do. But I honestly think the magazine would benefit greatly from either tripling it in size or completely scrapping it. It never does the subject matter justice.

Generally most of those have a flip side - it is the second best magazine out there as far as I'm concerned. Reviews, look, style - all not quite as good as it's obvious competitor - but better than the majority.

Basically - a good magazine. Not perfect - but what is?

PS. Any jobs you've got going....let me know! :lol:

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That's cool mate. Like I said, I hope I get to the stage where I'm struggling for cash because I'm buying both.

Oh, and like I also said, your score of PGR2 was much more deserved than Edge's, heh.

I don't know how much Edge is too subscribe to, but gamesTM works out at 2 pounds a month.

PM me if you're interested and I'll get a subscription form sent to you.

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The retro section. I love the idea - like many do. But I honestly think the magazine would benefit greatly from either tripling it in size or completely scrapping it. It never does the subject matter justice.

I'll get some feedback about your comments on monday, however, as I help the retro editor, I can answer this now.

If you tripled the size of it, Keith would have a heart attack (as would I) the retro section is one of the most time consuming parts of the mag, due to research and high word content.

It's being slightly increased (along with something else really cool), but it isn't going to be tripled.

With regards to content, are you saying that you want a more indepth look at individual games (like the Edge versions) or that you want better quality?

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With regards to content, are you saying that you want a more indepth look at individual games (like the Edge versions) or that you want better quality?

I would say that the retro section could do with looking more in-depth at whatever it is about (games, developers, a certain console etc.). At the moment, there is too much breadth and not enough depth, IMO.

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Heh, now that sounds like a fun publication. Well, unless you happen to live in Edinburgh, you won't have seen the mag I design. But I'm not long graduated, so watch this space, I suppose. Or don't, y'know, which ever...

I live in Edinburgh!

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Guest Penguin_Lad

The problem I have these days with Multiformat mags, is the fact that you don't get enough info on the games.

But chances are there's not that much that can be done about this. With the amount of reviews that are needed, surely there's not enough time to get really, really in depth with a game?

Or is there...you tell me journos!

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Hmm, you know the fact that a lot of people are saying that GamesTM is better than Edge because it gave some games the "right" review scores worries me a little.

One of the best things I've always felt about Edge is the fact that their reviews seem to be the true reflections of the reviewer. So if their views go against what everyone on the internet is saying, so be it.

GamesTM's, however, appear to be written for the audience. Of course lots of magazines do this (I remember I flicked through PC Gamer once and immediately discounted everything it said when I read that Medal Of Honour was "the definitive FPS experiance"), it's just that GamesTM's demographic is the type of gamer who's more educated.

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Hmm, you know the fact that a lot of people are saying that GamesTM is better than Edge because it gave some games the "right" review scores worries me a little.

It worries me more that people think there is a "right" score! :)

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