The Screaming Colors Of Childhood: Thoughts on Retro Magazine

1The title of Notes From The Conquistadork was originally supposed to be Aged Gamer.  I have always felt that my age plays a special role in my appreciation for gaming and nerd culture in general.  Now, those of you who know me know that I’m not a fan of youngish people bitching about being old before their time, so know that I’m not heading in that direction here.  At the time of this review, I have experienced 31 winters–far from long in the tooth, but at the same time no flighty whippersnapper.

In the end, I went with Notes From The Conquistadork for lots of reasons (the fact that I didn’t want to limit myself to games being one of them).  However, I feel that the attitude of Aged Gamer remains.  This has a lot to do with the generational surge that has hit this industry in the past decade or so.  Young gamers have always been the norm, but now we have gamers of every stripe, some of which remember blowing into our Castlevania cartridges until we passed out due to lack of oxygen.

So while I embrace the latest gaming consoles and companies, deep inside I’m just an over analytical little nerd who wants to play Bubble Bobble.  This background paints the way that I look at all games: the old and the new.  And while I’m far from an old fogey whose interest in RPGs peaked with Secret of Mana, every now and then I just want to turn off the lights, pull the sheets up to my eyes, and daydream about the way things used to be.

That’s where Retro Magazine comes in.

Kickstarter-sparked and nerd-fuelled, Retro already has the potential of becoming my favorite magazine (watch your back, American Theatre).  As an initial backer, I received my first issue in the mail this week, and I’m pleased to say that the Retro team has done everything right.

First and foremost, it’s just a damn pretty magazine.  It’s glossy and gorgeous–chocked full of nostalgic tidbits that any old-school nerd would adore.  There are articles on rare games and where to find them.  Tips on maintaining old consoles and arcade cabs–how to keep from getting swindled by unscrupulous salesmen.  Shining through all the old-fashioned goodness is a level of earnestness that moves this magazine from terrific to truly great.  This shows in the sheer caliber of writers they’ve brought aboard.

Some stand out articles include an interview with EGM titan Ed Semrad, details on Keiji Inafune’s retro-fashioned Mighty No. 9, and a massive retrospective on the 8-bit adventure The Battle Of Olympus.  Even a laugh riot list of bizarre plotline conflicts from Cracked.com’s own Seanbaby.

But in this internet-addicted age, retrospection is pretty easy to come by.  So why Retro?  Why should you go ahead and pay for a subscription?  What sets Retro apart from other hipster-chic blogs and magazines is that Retro is nostalgic without being stuck in the past.  Want to hear about 1994 splatterfest Killer Instinct?  They’ve got you covered.  Want to hear about the 2013 reboot of Killer Instinct and how it compares to the original?  Also done.

I really enjoyed my first venture into Retro Magazine‘s warm embrace, and I can say with certainty that if you grew up in the eightites, plugging away at gamepads and joysticks like your life depended on it, you will too.  The grumpy, unofficial authority of Aged Gamer approves.

Subscriptions and sample pages for Retro can be found here.

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