My kind of zine

Hey cHEwY gum gums

Confession time: I didn’t touch many novels when I was in high school, but I was still reading heaps. How? I was still into magazines. They kept me going as a reader, especially during my teenage years.

Do magazines count as reading? They should. When I was a teacher, I allowed kids to have magazines and comics during silent reading time.

I think magazines are special because they target your passion and interest. Being a massive gamer, most of my magazines revolved around gaming consoles. I used to be an Official Sega Dreamcast magazine reader, before that it was the Official Sega Saturn one. I would rush to the newsagency after school and check if the latest issue had arrived. There was something special about checking the front cover and seeing what new games were being featured. Yes, my childhood was mostly spent in the pre-internet era, where news came in monthly clumps. But that was all I needed to feel up to date.

I would also read other magazines based on sports, like Inside Edge (cricket) or Big League (NRL), or even humour ones like MAD magazine. Then there were the mags based on TV shows like X-files or South Park or hobbies like collecting cards. My sister would also collect magazines based on her favourite boy bands or TV Hits, which was full of music news. I was allowed to read them in one sitting before I handed them back to her, as good as new.

When you read magazines, you’re using some kind of visual literary skills as you make out the combo of text and pictures. But it was more than what was on the page. Magazines helped me be part of a community. Loyal readers would send letters and artworks. They would debate review scores or rant about something. Over the years, you got to know the staff members and their interests. There were regular features to look forward to, like a Top 10 list or a comic. Magazines were comfort reading for me. I would pore over each issue countless times, reading and re-reading things about games to get me hyped.

Then there was the collecting thing…it was satisfying to see a shelf full of magazines, and being able to pick out certain issues.

I didn’t realise how much I loved certain magazines until they disappeared.  I remember when one of my favourite magazines, Sega Megazone was closing down back in 1994. I was in Grade Six and was so traumatised, that I wrote a letter and begged them to keep making issues. Alas, I moved onto Hyper Magazine, one of Australia’s longest gaming magazines, which is still going.

That’s the thing, print magazines are an endangered series, so it didn’t faze me as much when magazines such as Official Nintendo Magazine (both the Aussie and UK editions) or Gamesmaster ceased to exist. It makes me cherish the ones that are still around, ones like EDGE magazine and Games Informer. I’ve just found out that the local Australian branch of Game Informer has been shut down, which is sad, because they had some great articles about gaming in Australia.

Gaming magazines have had to evolve over time in the Internet era. No more cheats guide. No more ad-classifieds. But there are still extensive insights about upcoming games, deep-dives into certain issues and retrospectives on genres. Gaming is a part of our culture, so I’m glad to see it being treated that way, which is why I’m glad Hyper Magazine, EDGE and Game Informer is carrying that flag. They may not have the latest news, but they still write about things that matter to me.

So when a kid is reading Fortnite or Minecraft magazine, be thankful that they’re reading something printed on PAPER…and honestly it’s still counts because they’re reading about one of their interests. Yah I know there’s YouTube or websites and you can even download the e-edition of any magazine on your phone or tablet to read. But there’s something special about flicking through the pages of an actual printed magazine. It is an art form that I hope never, ever goes away.



About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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