Every month, we give you a spoiler-free run-down of what’s in the current (for the United States) issue of Retro Gamer magazine, letting you decide whether or not it’s worth buying.
My local mag-monger calls me every month when Retro Gamer comes in, and today I actually made it in same-day to collect it! So what’s shakin’ this month?
- This month’s cover story is certainly worrisome for American games. The best of the BBC Micro. Great… Most everything else on the cover looks less-than-attractive to me, too. That Super Famicom up in the corner looks promising, though.
- There’s a full-page feature about the Retro VGS, which is really just an interview with creator Mike Kennedy. It’s basically just him talking about how they’re going to re-work things to make the console a success after the failure of the IndieGoGo campaign. Nothing new here if you’ve been following the story online. I still doubt that this thing will ever see the light of day.
- The very next page is a full-page feature on Stuart Ashen, better known as “Ashens” on YouTube. Again, it’s just an interview, but unlike Mike Kennedy, Ashens is awesome. If you aren’t subbed to his channel, go check it out. It’s like Zero Punctuation reviewing mostly-shitty products, which is entertaining as hell.
- Their retro stuff “pick of the month” is the vinyl release of the Shenmue and Streets of Rage soundtracks. As a lover of vinyl and a lover of video game soundtracks, you’d think that I’d be all over this. But I fail to see the point of putting digital music onto an analog medium. These are cool for a collector, but there’s nothing to be gained by listening to these soundtracks this way. And they’re pricey.
- The “All-Time Greatest BBC Games” feature is 10 pages long. This is an unfortunate side-effect of Retro Gamer being an anglo-centric mag. I’m sure that this is an awesome article to my 38-year-old British equivalent. For me it’s completely uninteresting.
- They have a little 2-page spread on Warlords and the paddle controller for the Atari 2600. This is actually pretty cool. My only problem is that Warlords is a 4-person game and I don’t have 3 friends.
- The first “Making of…” feature this month covers a game called “Get Dexter”. Unfortunately this game was released on the Amstrad CPC, which once again is really only of interest to Europeans. Too bad, because this game actually looks kind of cool.
- The second “Making of…” feature covers “Digger T. Rock: The Legend of the Lost City”. This was a little-known NES title that was only released in North America and Europe, and was developed by Rare. I’ve never played this game, but this article makes it look awesome. I’ll have to load this one up on my Everdrive.
- “Ultimate Guide: Gunstar Heroes”. 6 pages detailing the classic Mega Drive/Genesis Treasure run & gun. If Retro Gamer were an American magazine, I have to think that this article would have been the cover story. Or at least would have been mentioned on the cover.
- Check that. The next article is a 10-page spread celebrating the Super Nintendo on it’s 25th birthday. This should have been the cover story. Without going into specifics, this is a really cool article.
- “Ultimate Guide: Karnov”. While this doesn’t have the draw that the Gunstar Heroes article does, it’s actually pretty cool in that it makes me want to go play Karnov now. The article mostly features the arcade version, rather than the NES port (which has been my only real exposure to the game).
- “The Making of: Command & Conquer”. Not a fan of build/kill games, so this article is not of interest to me, but I know that the series has lots of fans.
- “In the Chair: Charles Cecil”. Cecil is not a household name in the gaming industry, but he was responsible for amazing adventure games like Beneath a Steel Sky. Nice to see him getting some recognition.
- The “Retrorated” section includes a review of Ghost Blade, the latest Dreamcast release by Hucast, who previously released Dux and Redux. They don’t much care for it. I myself have not played it.
- They also review Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 for the Xbox One/PS4. “One of the worst games we’ve played in recent memory.” Ouch. I used to love these games on the PCX/DC/PS2. This one has a level editor! Too bad Activision mucked the game up.
- No juicy letters in this month’s Mailbag section.
- World Heroes 2 (Neo-Geo) gets some love on the last page. Nice!
Even with the cover story being what it is, this was still a decent issue. I’d recommend picking it up, even if only for the Super Nintendo feature.