Though for the last decade or so I’ve slowly moved away from reading physical magazines, books and comics – mostly due to the fact that the media in question is always instantly available, can be carried around in my pocket without any fuss (thanks to my smartphone allowing me access to my entire library – with a few swipes and presses), as well as the fact that the cost is usually lower, I do still make time to pick up and read magazines in a few cases.
Though the rise of the internet and the speed at which news can now fly around the globe makes magazines a somewhat outdated medium for video games updates, I still read Retro Gamer and Tabletop Gaming, along with the odd venture into Judge Dredd Megazine territory (along with the specials that Rebellion release throughout the year). Retro Gamer has quite a unique position in the market, being a very widely available magazine that isn’t trying to keep up with the latest trends; instead, it focuses on games from yesteryear, often looking at the way that they were created or how they’ve stood (or not) the test of time. Tabletop Gaming covers board games, which – the brilliant and very comprehensive BoardgameGeek aside – don’t have as much of a presence online as video games do. Regarding Dredd and other Rebellion-published comics, there’s still no Comixology-esque app that you can read them on – and navigating comics via PDF, without a dedicated panel-to-panel reader, is an absolute pain.
To add to all of that, there’s something about the look, feel and even the smell of physical media that just seems right. There’s a real pleasure in having a tangible object in your hands, being able to flick back and forth, browsing the pages at your leisure, that digital content can’t properly replicate.
It’s a pleasure that Andrew McMaster, the creator and editor of Pixel Bison, clearly understands. If, like Andrew, you’re a retro gamer, you’ll know that having the original physical game media to hand, including the packaging and the manual, is one of the greatest pleasures of the hobby. So the move to creating a physical magazine, complete with freebies such as a badge and a poster, seems like a no-brainer.
And it really is a wonderful creation. It’s clearly been produced with care and attention, not to mention lots of hard work (and Andrew even personally signed each of the issues!). There’s an awful lot of content from Andrew himself, as well as contributions from some very notable and potentially familiar faces from the retro gaming community that’s built up on social media (disclaimer: I’m in there too!).
Along with excellent features, interviews and reviews by Andrew, the section featuring more personal reflections and insights from prominent gamers, writers and collectors such as Simon Jennings, Andrew Dickinson, Stewie, Emmett and Danny is a wonderful inclusion.
The first issue of Pixel Bison really feels like a premium product in terms of its quality and design. For its size, there’s so much packed into its pages – and it’s all killer, no filler.
I genuinely can’t wait to check out further issues. Pixel Bison has undoubtedly been a labour of love for Andrew and is something he should quite rightly be proud of. Great work!
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