MSX Magazine Project

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By Wavemaker

Supporter (11)

Wavemaker's picture

22-10-2021, 01:36

Hello everyone!

Following up on a FB post where I was gauging the interest on a project of this kind...

I am the managing editor of K&A+, a polish and english Commodore and Amiga paper magazine. However my first computer was a Mitsubishi MLFX-1 which I used between 1985 and 1991 before moving to the Amiga my older brother chose as our christmas present that year.

A few months ago I bought the MSX2+ I wanted to buy instead back then. I remember them listed for sale, imported from Japan, in the spanish MSX Club. Sadly, they were more expensive than a 16 bit machine, and I had to accept the hard truth. But I always missed the user friendliness and the awesome japanese games of this first computer love.

Sad stories aside, now that I am back into this community I was surprised to learn that there is no paper magazine currently being published besides the excellent Clube MSX which I order a bunch of back issues of already. But of course it's in portuguese language which not everyone understands. So I was wondering if I could use my know how to create and publish an english language magazine for the MSX community, and whether there would be enough interest to justify all the sweat and tears that goes behind such a project Smile

In my post in Facebook I got a very positive reception but I have to say it was mostly from native english speakers, so I am wondering if people from Netherlands, Spain or even Japan would buy an english language magazine. Not to forget countries like Italy, France or Germany and others where there's a small but loyal following. Would you? (I'm talking about a price of around 10€ for a quarterly 70 page publication here, shipping included, maybe even a coverdisk)

Besides your opinion I'm also looking for writers for such a project so I invite you to write to me at juan@ka-plus.pl. Don't worry if your english isn't great as there's the possibility of translating articles wich I'm used to do all the time, what matters is having the love for MSX and writing. :)

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By albs_br

Champion (343)

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22-10-2021, 06:27

That would be great! Depending on the shipping fees to Brazil, I would buy this magazine.

By hamlet

Scribe (3744)

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22-10-2021, 08:23

Count me in!
It is nice to read that you are considering publishing an MSX magazine in English.
I am convinced that a large number of users would be interested. Besides a subscription model, we could distribute it at our booths at the regular meetings.
It could also be sold through the shops of the cartridge manufacturers.
I can well imagine providing pictures and illustrations for the articles.
Let it roll, I am sure you will find many supporters!

By raymond

Hero (547)

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22-10-2021, 09:39

Sounds like a nice plan! Do you have an idea what kind of articles you would like to have?

By ro

Scribe (4544)

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22-10-2021, 10:15

Hai, welcome (back) to the scene Smile

There are actually a few paper magazines out there that carry MSX information, but non exclusive. no. The Clube MSX is the only one I know. And, indeed, it is in Brazilian Portuguese. I couldn't help wondering if changing that mag into an English version to have a broader audience.

Reading your suggestion I thought of that again. Perhaps here's a good change to somehow join forces globally with any of those mags. You could, for example, also put energy in getting more MSX information in existing mags. Like Blast Annual or alike. Less separated mags, more collaboration, more *wow*

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9906)

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22-10-2021, 10:31

@Wavemaker

Things have changed since the 80's and 90's. Back then the magazines were the primary source of news. Nowadays, people have internet where news is spread immediately. So showcasing news isn't really the primary goal for a paper magazine, I bet.
Then there could be reviews. But with youtube and forum discussions around these products/releases, I guess a paper magazine wouldn't add that much, other than someone's personal opinion worded in a magazine layout.
Background/informative articles then? Code, music, graphics, hardware etc. Possibly. But then again, these discussions happen in forums as well, or in a wiki like MRC has.

Don't get me wrong, I have all the Dutch MCM/MCCM's on my phone, and when on the sofa I regularly browse through them. Probably due to nostalgia, and because the old MCM was rather funny to read at times. The Dutch scene was very happy to have such a magazine back then, I guess. There are certainly reasons why you'd want to read a magazine, as in: a bunch of info, reviews 'n such in the shape of a magazine. Kind of like writing chapters in a history book. I susepct this last thing is the biggest reason why you'd want to have a magazine in this day and age.

So, I wonder, why do people read your Commy and Amiga magazines? And what's in it? Does it have things that you can't find online? Or do people just want an organized summary of whatever happened during the last few months?

Just an example; we just saw the results of MSXdev'21. Would an MSX magazine, to be released in three months time, report about the fact that the results are in? Added personal opinions about the entries?

Just so that we're on the same page: a magazine is fun, really. But perhaps a lack of relevance can cause a magazine to barely hit the double digits.

By hamlet

Scribe (3744)

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22-10-2021, 10:48

Didn't show our system a lack of relevance anyway, wolf_?
Anyway, we use it regulary. Maybe it is nostalgica, maybe it is gonna die when newbies don't share the same feelings.
Same with newspapers and magazines. Still there is Penthouse to buy no matter how much people surf pornhub & co.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9906)

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22-10-2021, 11:10

I wasn't talking about the relevance of the subject (MSX), but about the relevance of content and news about the subject which would also be readable online exactly when it happens.

As for Penthouse: dunno, I do recall from some years ago that Playboy would stop its paper magazine because of free online skin. Wink

By ro

Scribe (4544)

ro's picture

22-10-2021, 11:34

Well, I certainly agree with the fact that the Online resources are plenty and quick, Wolf. But, on the other hand, it's that same nostalgia that keeps us spending money on physical MSX bits. Like hardware, games on cartridge(!) and, yes, magazines. I'm not talking about content, but only the form factor; physical stuff you can actually touch.

If Clube MSX was in English, I would have subscribed. no doubt.

As always, when starting a project, invest time in colleting information first. So, yeah, is there an audience for a magazine, enough to cover - at least - the costs?

And joining existing mags wouldn't hurt either.
Perhaps https://www.retromagazine.net/ could use some MSX pages :)

By timbru

Rookie (30)

timbru's picture

22-10-2021, 11:45

I really like Clube MSX - well, being able to read Portuguese helps Smile Shipping from Brazil to NL is not great though.

So, yes, I would also be interested in a quarterly english european magazine. The 10 euro and 70 page ballpark you mention would work for me. It's not too expensive and fits well with the fun factor..I would focus less on the latest news as such because that is most likely indeed known by readers through online sources, but more on background / in-depth.

By Wavemaker

Supporter (11)

Wavemaker's picture

22-10-2021, 13:22

@albs_br I believe it would be around 5€ but I have to check.

@hamlet thanks for the offering! can you write to me so I have your address?

@raymond short news, reviews of new games (this makes for over half of the content), a technical tutorial regular column or two, reviews of little known older games ("hidden gems"), reports of meetings. Beyond that, writers can come up with their own ideas for articles. I thought of having a "news from japan" section as MSX Club (the spanish one) used to have. And some beginner oriented tutorials. Oh and ads, if someone's willing to pay for those Smile

@wolf_ I understand what you mean. But many people prefer having all the relevant information in one place. Some people don't enjoy watching videos. I think there's a market for a paper magazine and particularly now. On the Amiga, for example, there are three new ones being published just this year, and the total at the moment is around 5 active magazines: Amiga Addict (UK), K&A+ (Poland, with English edition), Amiga Passion (Italy), Amiga Future (Germany, with english edition), ZZap! Amiga (UK), and I'm sure there's more I don't know about. So, comparing the userbase and the development activity, I think there's room in the MSX scene for at least a couple of them. And I mean a MSX only magazine, without limiting ourselves to a section in a general retro mag. Keep in mind in many countries virtually no one heard of MSX, so magazines are not that interested in covering it.

Why do people read it? Some like having all the info in one package instead of having to find it themselves on the Internet. We review games and cover topics in depth. We help them figure out which games or gear are worth their money and which not. Some have them as a collectible. In the end, is just another element to make the experience closer to what we remember from our childhood, just like using a real machine vs emulator or buying physical editions vs digital Smile

Yes there's loads of information on the internet. So much, in fact, that it's hard to discern what's reliable information and what isn't. So much, it's overwhelming Smile this is the reason why retro is trendy, even among younger people. Because you can comprehend it. You can rub your fingers over that vinyl sleeve, read the lyrics, hear that pop of the needle against the surface when you play it. Because it feels more real than a million anonymous songs on Spotify you can't possibly ever listen to in a lifetime. And this applies to everything in life Smile

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