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triverse

Gaming on Batteries Magazine Now Available

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Just wanted to let everyone know about the release of Gaming on Batteries Magazine #1. GoB Mag is a new take on the way gaming magazines present their content. We don't have columns of text, minuscule pictures of the games (or worse, very few pictures). We don't waste pages on page after page of editorials by the staff, we focus on the games and displaying them as well as we can within the confines of a page.

 

The contents of the first issue are:

 

Reviews:

Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS

Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D on the 3DS

Kid Dracula on Game Boy

Virtua Tennis Challenge on Android

Rayman Origins on PS Vita

 

and the following Features:

8 Essential Game Boy Games

E3 Focused on Portable Gaming

 

I think the magazine is attractively priced at a buck for the digital and $4.99 +shipping for the print. The physical print copies use 80# Text Paper Stock, the same as the old 90's Gamefan magazine. The pages are sturdy and will hold up quite well to the deluge of ink on each page.

 

The staff of Gaming on Batteries Magazine are:

 

Myself, Carl Williams, my professional publishing work includes Copy Editing Classic Video Gamer Magazine (#1, #2 and #3), Managing Retro Editor for Gamefan Magazine (reboot, issue #6) and owning/operating the Gaming on Batteries website.

Nick Abrams was one of the retro writers for Gamefan #6 and is co-owner with me on Gaming on Batteries.

 

Ryan Janes and Carl Burton are our resident UK writers.

 

Dustin Vogler is a member of the Classic L337 podcast and staff writer for GoB.

 

Kevin Sousa is co-host of The Paranerds podcast and staff writer for GoB.

 

Copy Editors and debuting in future issues are:

 

Eric Bailey, better known as The Nintendo Legend.

Michael Crisman, former writer for Gamefan magazine (issue #6, see a pattern yet?)

 

Jason Fanelli, dude is all over gaming and a former writer for Gamefan magazine (nope, not issue #6 but #7 and, I believe, #8).

 

We are interested in hearing what fans think of the magazine, what they would like to see more of and what they think we did wrong. Fans can write to [email protected] for now.

 

Gaming on Batteries Magazine is available on Magcloud at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/416376 Gaming on Batteries can also be found at http://www.gamingonbatteries.com

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Hi Triverse,

 

I purchased this a few days ago, and although not a writing guru, I do have a few comments that may help out for future issues, if you are interested in hearing them?

 

If you prefer not to have them public I can always PM you?

 

Regards

Simon_G

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Ok, firstly, please remember that this is constructive......(some people take these things waaaaay to personally!)

 

Although it generally looks ok for the most part, some of the background images blend in with the text overlaying them making it difficult to read. In fact this was evident in most of the pieces now I have second read it.

 

Making boxes around text is understandable, but when you are left with the space at the bottom of the Zelda review for example, it looks, well, not good. Better to fill up the space with more text or remove the box.

 

I am not sure what you are using to create the mag, but I would suggest the use of grids for alignment next time (I assume you did not use them for issue 1). If you look at the Zelda article, the box at the top of the review may well be in line with the box front of the game to its right, but the picture below is a few pixels wider and looks out of place. Simple grid work will allow everything to be in order and will make it look much better, and will also help with things such as the gaps between the pictures in the second page of that same review.

 

The Icarus piece needs some paragraphing, there is far too much text bunched together throughout it.

 

If you are going to drop shadow stuff you need to do it to everything, like in the Transformers piece the top two pictures have a drop shadow but the information box doesn't, and again looks like it doesn't belong there.

 

Generally the alignment issues tended to divert my eyes away from the important stuff, the content….

 

The Zelda review was good, although I always feel that a third person viewpoint works better for this type of piece.

 

The Kid Icarus piece, although full of information seemed to be very stop/start and was hard to digest because of this.

 

The 8 Gameboy games piece was as good as you are going to get with limited space per game, however it suffered from the blank space at the bottom of the boxes issue. Also a title for each box so you knew exactly what game you were reading about would have helped visually here too.

 

There are some typos (formulat - in the Virtua Tennis piece for example) but you get these in commercial mags so I would not worry too much about those, although I personally feel the whole thing could have done with more "proof reading" just to make it flow a little better.

 

Overall its a good start, just needs a bit of layout tweaking to get it “working” correctly.

 

Its always difficult to get going on these things, and yes the first release is never the way you actually want it most of the time but if you are thinking about a long term project (and I hope it does become this) I would suggest getting a real "direction" to the content and ramping up the production values, after all you are charging for this thing, and to be totally brutal, right now, visually, its not worth what you are asking for it.

 

Nothing that cannot be addressed mind you.

Edited by Simon_G

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Thanks Simon, comments like yours help make future issues better. I will look into all of your points and see what we can do to improve on them. Are you the Simon that purchased a copy through Paypal recently? If so, I will shoot you a digital copy of issue #2 as a thank you for so much help you have given here. Much appreciated.

 

I agree, my Virtua Tennis piece could have been better. The empty space on the Game Boy piece was a victim of formatting problems that weren't caught in the final product (even three copy editors may not be enough).

 

The price we are charging is quite low compared to our competition who are at least double for their digitals, we hope to be able to change your mind, and others, with future issues about the value we are giving the fans. We could have simply went with columns of text on a white background with one or two pics on each page but we feel that is a disservice and well, there are plenty of mags that do that style already.

 

Again, thanks for the comments.

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Yep, same guy who emailed you a day or two ago about not receiving the copy.

 

Not saying I am the oracle when it comes to things like this, but I do have a little previous in the field and a good eye for detail, so if you ever want any help or advice, please drop me a line. I have no problems in offering a little help if it is wanted and needed.

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May have a paid position for you if you are interested (I believe in paying people for their time/effort/dedication/help). If something is broke, wrong or out of place, I want to know about it so I can fix it. Without constructive criticism we cannot make a better magazine which more fans will want to purchase and our staff can make more money (everyone involved is a paid staff member of Scenic 7 Media Group, not volunteers).

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Issue #2 is now available on Magcloud - http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/433708

 

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This issue features:

New Super Mario Bros 2 on 3DS

Mario Tennis Open on 3DS

Naked Gun I.C.U.P. on iOS/Android

Magic 2013 on iOS

Major Mayhem on iOS/Android

The Enchanted Kingdom: Elisa's Adventure on Android

Mortal Kombat on PS Vita

 

If you are a site owner and interested in working with Scenic 7 Media Group and it's magazines we offer a paying affiliate program. We only work with select sites and participation is extremely limited. Contact me at [email protected] for more information on rates, availability and special offers we can prepare for your readers.

 

We bleed ink.

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Just purchased issue 2 (I like to keep buying these things as it keeps them going longer!) If we dont support these projects then they simply vanish, which is a shame, especially after all the effort put into them.

 

Anyway, just a few thoughts on the issue if I may?

 

Overall this issue is much better than the first, which was to be expected. The background bleeding into the text problem noticed in the first outing has all but vanished, which made it easier to read. There are still a few typos and the odd piece of missing punctuation but much better than previously, although the full justification of the text led to separated words at the end of paragraphs (re: Naked Gun review & others)

 

Some of the articles, the editorial piece for example, was very stop/start and didn't flow very well from a reading standpoint. I don’t want to sound like I am trying to teach you how to suck eggs, but the whole thing needs more articulation as well as basic grammatical changes. A further read from someone else other than the writer / editor would not hurt either in that respect as, if I can notice little things, I am sure others can too. The SMB review was working well until the intricacies of the game were being mentioned, then it seemed to became a bullet list of features but was recovered in the rest of the review. Again some more fluidity would have helped out here.

 

From a production point of view, there is definitely a change in font (bold?) in the SMB review to the other pieces and a larger font also in bold type seems to have been used in the Enchanted Kingdom review, although if this was intentional I am at a loss as to why. On a separate note I am not a lover of the main text being in a box (should be left for boxouts and additional information IMHO), nor do I see the value in full justification in large blocks of text, however, if nothing else it is consistent throughout.

 

So yes, much better than the first issue. The reviews are pretty good, although some could do more detail, and the publication definitely needs something else to balance the whole thing out (maybe more editorial / articles about the state of gaming / how to’s & guides etc) as right now it comes across like a pile of random reviews with little cohesion.

 

There are so many things that could be done with this tyep of idea, I just hope you have at least some o them planned for future issues, otherwise it might go down as a missed opportunity.

 

Looking forward to issue 3.

 

Oh and I will have my own little sample issue to show the world next week at some point and I hope to get the same level of critique from you guys :)

Edited by Simon_G

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Thanks Simon, tell you what, since you are one of the few that is actually giving us criticism that helps, don't worry about buying the future issues, I will include your e-mail in the press list we send out as a thank you for going over the mag like you do. I haven't forgotten the offer I made to you, just have to work out a few kinks on our end before I can fully explain it (basically it is doing what you are already doing but getting paid to do it).

 

The editorial you mention, I take it you mean the New Super Mario Bros 2 review (since it was the cover piece). That review didn't get the attention the others got from our copy editors (it was my fault as I gave it the okay as it appears in the mag). In future issues, we will be leaving the text in the oven a little longer so that the copy editors and writers can work out kinks like what you mentioned.

 

The font/boldness change in NSMB2 and The Enchanted Kingdom pieces were done to change things up a bit (NSMB2) or to have the text more properly fill the allotted area (Enchanted Kingdom). I kept the same font throughout in the first issue and when bugs were noticed in the Game Boy feature and subsequently fixed, it left the text boxes looking misused as far as space was concerned. I tried to avoid that with this issue while keeping the page filled with pics (since there were so few actual background images used throughout). I will make sure to pick a single font and go through the whole mag in the future with it. I remember the days of old Gamefan when they would, seemingly, use a different font for every review (and sometimes yellow text on an orange background- looking at E-Storm/Dave Halverson's writeup on Shinobi III for instance) and how it was so jarring to try and read sometimes. I wanted to avoid going too far from the basic font we use throughout, but still something slightly different to break things up a bit.

 

The justification is something I fall back on from years ago working on other mags where it was apparently evil to not use justification in the text layouts. I will definitely offer the copy editors two versions in the future and see which they prefer.

 

The content situation is something we are working on fixing. Right now, we are self limited to 20 pages per issue due to the cost that Magcloud imposes per page ($0.20) so 20 pages and a 99 cent profit (to pay staff and keep the mag running) comes to $4.99 per issue for print. So far, we have seen a sales rate of 3 (print) to 2 (digital) which is surprising to us since we were prepared for digital to outsell the print by a large margin. It is, after all, 1/5th the price.

 

Why the self imposing of a page limit? I simply don't believe gamers will spend $10+ a month for a gaming magazine that is 40 to 48 pages.

 

This does cause a problem with the content and is why we dropped frivolous stuff like each editor getting his own page (EGM did this regularly in the last year or so of regular issues) or full page pieces of artwork/retro ads that ad nothing to the magazine or the article they are associated with, other than fill up pages. We also had to cut previews, news items and any kind of calendar page (would be old news by the time readers got it anyhow).

 

As you can see, being someone that has purchased the first two issues, we do take into account criticisms and try to implement them accordingly. A handful of people didn't like the overuse of the background image in issue #1, cut a lot of that out of issue #2. People mentioned not liking the lack of direction as to what the content on the page was about so we added "Review" and "Featured Freeware" to the corner so readers can, at a glance, get an idea of what to expect on the page. The titles covered are all quite a bit newer, the first issue was plagued with games being EXTREMELY out of date and came off as a "look at what we can do" release than a serious magazine- the fans spoke and we listened.

 

The content situation is being worked though, we are working on eliminating the lack of cohesion between content and will be moving in new directions away from the content presented in the first two issues. Issue #3 will be our first major push in that new direction so I am looking forward to seeing how it is received by the fans.

 

Again, thanks man for the critique work you have done. Much appreciated, keep it coming- we can take the heat so to speak. In learning what the fans think is wrong, and implementing those changes, we can create a better magazine over all.

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I have no problem buying issues, but thank you for your offer none the less, it is appreciated.

 

The editorial you mention, I take it you mean the New Super Mario Bros 2 review

 

I was referring to the actual editorial itself.

 

we will be leaving the text in the oven a little longer so that the copy editors and writers can work out kinks like what you mentioned.

 

Would it help if I, as someone detached form the production of it, offered my services?

 

The font/boldness change in NSMB2 and The Enchanted Kingdom pieces were done to change things up a bit (NSMB2) or to have the text more properly fill the allotted area (Enchanted Kingdom).

 

Sorry to say, but for me it didn't work. This is where layout comes into it. You can have 100+ plages of the same text type and size but every page can look different if you play around with the layout. Can I ask what program you are using to create the mag with?

 

I will make sure to pick a single font and go through the whole mag in the future with it.

 

Try and play around with different fonts "within" an article, for example the title, sub title, body and boxout fonts can all be different, as can the font used for any quotes etc. Look at how the commercial publications do it and take some inspiration from them. You can use the same font, but it only really works with a good layout structure. Have a look at this crop from my sample due next week :-) ...

 

ninja.png

 

Thats the same font, with different colours and sizes.

 

The justification is something I fall back on from years ago working on other mags where it was apparently evil to not use justification in the text layouts. I will definitely offer the copy editors two versions in the future and see which they prefer.

 

Again, look at any commercial publication and you will see than none of them full justify. There is a reason for it.

 

The content situation is something we are working on fixing.

 

Thats good to hear, like I said, it would be a shame to miss out on an opportunity as I truly believe a decent handheld gaming mag is definitely needed. There are millions of things you could and should cover, however after listening to your issues regarding the print situation, it looks like you will be held back from doing them. This will be a shame if this is the case. I have my own views on the whole print / digital thing and whether payment should be made etc, but thats not relevant here, what is relevant however is the fact that unless you get to 48 pages plus on the digital side per issue, I have a feeling GoB might not be taken so seriously. I can see a time coming where you will have to decide between the possibility of offering a printed publication and the need to expand over the 20 pages you have at the moment. I just hope if and when that time comes you make the right decision for the sake of the mag.

 

Why the self imposing of a page limit? I simply don't believe gamers will spend $10+ a month for a gaming magazine that is 40 to 48 pages.

 

No they wont, thats correct, but they WILL pay 2-3 dollars a month for a 80-100 page PDF, assuming the content is good, this is where you will have to make the decision regarding the print mag and whether the cost of printing will hold back the development of the title.

 

This does cause a problem with the content and is why we dropped frivolous stuff like each editor getting his own page

 

That's not frivolous. No editorial content can be called frivolous. It's original content that cannot be found elsewhere, it's the mags selling point and what makes it different from anything else. It's just as important as the reviews. Personal opinion written as an editorial, as an article, as a review as whatever is what all mags thrive on and something I feel GoB needs sooner rather than later.

 

Anyway, im rambling. Just dont want a good opportunity to go to waste I suppose.

Edited by Simon_G

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Issue #3 of Gaming on Batteries is now available.

 

Contents:

Tribute to Dead Portables Part One (Atari Lynx didn't fare too well)

The Walking Dead on iPad Review

PSP Horror Titles Feature

Carnival Comics History Article

 

This issue is our first in "digest" format which offers a couple of benefits versus the full size releases of the first two issues. First, the print is now small enough to fit in most 7 inch tablet protective cases and should fit in any 10 inch tablets protective case (why have a gaming magazine about portables if it is not portable itself?). Second, on 7 and 10 inch tablets, each page will display full screen without requiring the reader to pan left and right or up and down to read a full page (scrolling is still required to switch pages).

 

Issue #3 is also 40 pages long versus the previous versions being 20 pages each. We also have removed all ads from the magazine, they weren't adding anything to the content and weren't paying enough to bother with anyhow. Print ads were placed based on ad sales on the site, we have decided to take those pages and put content on them instead.

 

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http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/443123

Edited by triverse

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