Friday, June 30, 2017

V - The Videogame Experience (Issue 1, 1993)

Here is one of my earliest published works: a videogame-themed fanzine that ran from 1993 to 1996. V: The Videogame Experience. Video game zines flourished in the early 1990s, inspired by Arnie Katz (one of the pioneers of video game journalism) in the pages of Video Games & Computer Entertainment. A vibrant underground community emerged and grew, writers and editors creating their answer to the commercial "prozines" of the day.

Our scene had a wild punk spirit, and it was tremendous fun to create our own publications, finding other like-minded peers, receiving official recognition in the prozines themselves. Eventually, the fanzines were accepted to the Consumer Electronic Shows as official press, and this, in turn, led to many professional careers in the video game industry. For example, Chris Kohler, the editor of Wired Magazine's Game|Life, began as a "faned" ("fanzine editor") called "Video Zone." Other writers who found professional work include Chris Johnston (EGM, and now Adult Swim Games), Ara Shirinian, Tyrone Rodriguez...and myself. I wrote game reviews for GamePro and NewType Gaming magazines - my first paid writing jobs.

For me, the style of my zine changed radically during its run. I began writing exclusively about video games, with articles, editorials, reviews and strategy guides. With the fourth issue, I began to incorporate more artistic themes, including hand-crafted artwork for the covers, music reviews, and personal poetry. Sound familiar? Lately, I've been wondering if I'm caught in a 20-year fractal time loop. But I must admit that I've looked back to those later issues for inspiration lately.

I'm really happy to share this first issue with you. I worked so hard to create this zine, and felt it was a personal breakthrough as a "solo" artist. It's funny how your dreams consume you at such a young age, isn't it? I didn't have any formal training or education in editing or publishing. I loved writing and felt I had a talent for it, ever since early childhood. And so I just went out and created something. Reading Arnie Katz' zine articles inspired me greatly; I owe my entire writing and publishing career to him.

Back in 1993 and 1994, I would print out 100 copies of V, and would feel ten feet tall. I was so famous! Today, the internet enables instantaneous global distribution...for free. Thanks to Ghibli Blog, I now reach more visitors in one day than I ever reached with ten years of fanzines. What a miracle! Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you that "blogging is dead." You can become a world famous publisher in one hour or less. Dead, my ass.

After the jump break lies V issue #1, in its entirety. The cover was printed on thicker paper stock, and colored. Everything was created on Microsoft Publisher on desktop PCs at the University of MN-Duluth computer labs after classes. Beth Partin, who's listed in the page-two masthead, was my college girlfriend at the time. I wonder what ever became of her? Where have the last 20 years gone? My head is spinning. Enjoy the fanzine and the glimpse into my 20-year-old self.

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