Nexus Gaming Magazine

MyAtari gets a baby brother? Editor James Joell is in the interview seat...


They say that imitation in the highest form of flattery... well I don't know about that, but when I heard that this magazine had been the inspiration for a brand new gaming magazine I was certainly proud. Nexus Gaming Magazine (NGM) is being developed by James Cox, James Wills and James Joell. So we invited the editor to tell us more about it.

Matthew: Hi there, please introduce yourself.

James: My name is James Joell. I am 18 years of age and I'm situated at the sunny south coast of Portsmouth, England. I'm currently in my second year of studying Advanced Vocational ICT (Advanced Computing) at college, which is how the Nexus team came together really.

[Photo: James Joell with his Atari]

My interests are backyard wrestling and ten-pin bowling but my main love has been gaming since the age of four. It just so happened that Portsmouth was full of Atari users, so I got my first taste of Atari in 1989.

Shiuming: I notice you mentioned on our forum that you like reading ST reviews. Are you a current or former ST user?

James: I have been a former ST user since the age of four. Hard to believe, but even four year olds can pick up Buggy Boy or a Millipede game. When I first had an ST, the collection was primarily based on menus because there was a lot of underground game trading emanating from Portsmouth and its regions. So we literally had every Automation, Was Not Was and Pompey Pirates menus. I do remember owning a few originals though like Monkey Island, James Pond and Ghostbusters.

I think what has fascinated me so much with the Atari ST (and still does with all of Atari's computers) is that many of the games which were released often appealed to both adults and children. Where do we see that these days?

Now you see console developers bringing out games with 128-bit graphics, 3D worlds and complex storylines. It's almost as if the proper childhood genre has dried up. Not even I can complete these children's games, it's ludicrous!

I think that explains why I still have my Atari ST because modern games cannot match Speedball 2, Nebulus, Xenon 2, Kick Off 2, Pushover and Mega Twins.

[Photo: James Cox RPG/GameCube specialist]

Matthew: Before we talk about the first issue of Nexus Gaming Magazine, can you tell us a little more about the history/background of the magazine? In the MyAtari forum thread you mention that "its nice to get away from the commerical fabricated worlds of IGN, Gamespot and sites like that", was this one of the main reasons you've started NGM?

James: The inspiration behind this new magazine was based on edging away from the corporate big name games web sites that rely on big name advertisement, subscription and deals in order to create money from their e-business.

I wanted a more personal touch, a proper gaming site for gamers. Then I came across, an on-line magazine web site that had been running for quite a few years before I heard about it. I subscribed and had a look through the back issues and it was amazing to see people meeting from all sides of the country and continent to keep Atari events alive. The whole magazine layout issue was also a major factor which brought around the motivation for the beginning of NGM. So thanks to MyAtari for allowing me to imitate the whole magazine structure idea.

So, I rounded up a few people I'd met on the internet and some friends from my college (that all had specialist areas as well as a keen interest in turning our gaming experiences and knowledge into a magazine) and started NGM. Nexus Gaming Magazine has a small dedicated team (for now) that will be writing articles and reviewing what has been in our dusty drawers.

Our concept was never really to talk about a game or a console unless we had experience with it before, I don't believe in putting research into something that you've never played or used before. So hopefully the Nexus team will expand and we can bring in some different angles to the site.

Shiuming: Were you not satisfied with the magazines already out there, in particular, printed publications? Matthew and I started MyAtari partly as a consequence of there being no more English-language printed Atari magazines. The last of those were quite good, so we tried to continue where they left off (minus the paper!).

James: There was one good printed magazine that I had read recently called PSM. It didn't come with any demo discs but it really gave a totally honest opinion and a full insight into the game and would never tear right into a game unless it had to. I just felt it was time to combine all types of consoles, even deceased consoles, into an issue. Let's be honest now, the gaming market competition has been littered with conversions left right and centre so the market isn't as exciting as it used to be.

Matthew: Right, let's take a look at the first issue. At the time of writing, under the rather cool cover, it contains seven articles, a news column and an editor's foreword.

[Screen-shot: Inside NGM]

The articles vary in length from just a few sentences to several paragraphs and include a healthy amount of images. However, my favourite has to be "Sonic's Legacy" by yourself.

How did you find developing the first issue, what did you learn from the experience? Is there anything you'll do differently next time? What do you see NGM featuring in future issues? Will the magazine be mostly reviews or will it contain other material?

James: The first issue was going to be more beefy as it was going to feature an article about Enduro Racer on the Sega Master System vs Super Cycle on the Atari ST. However, I was so determined to push the issue out that I ended scrapping that article and a review of Cyber Tiger. But next time I can carry out these tasks because the team has expanded.

I particularly enjoy designing the covers after playing around with PC graphics programs since I was 12. Improvements will be made to the magazine for the next issue providing a glossary of terms for users who are new to certain consoles and the jargon that comes with them.

Spell checking and stuff would be good as well and hopefully if the site gets its PHP makeover in June, it would cut down the content to site editing time dramatically meaning we could get more done in time. But we are continuing to keep and stay by our promise of a fortnightly edition.

[Image: Covers of issue 2 and 4]

In issue 3 there will be an exclusive interview with Chunkey (Alias) who works as a skinner/artist at the games company Mobius. This is going to be an exclusive as I don't know how much security Mobius have with distributing information but we will be trying to attain as much info as we can about the work environment at a games company and also trying to grab some inside information into Mobius' plans.

In issue 4, the introduction of a new feature to NGM will be launched called, "The Adrenaline Factor" in which we will be testing a few games on some people and recording it all on audio to try and attain some statistics on what sort of genre games people get the most multi-player satisfaction from. It should be interesting especially if we get the odd over-excited person on. There will be a beta test to see if this actually works beforehand though.

In the next issue we have an award ceremony for gaming's most influential characters, the ones we remember most from Pac-Man to Lara Croft. It should be an interesting read!

The magazine will contain a lot of game/peripheral reviews as I said in our first issue's foreword as we want to go away knowing that if we do pass a game on (and get a bad trade-in price) we have some recollection of what we thought of it. It's like keeping a log of things, you get the same feeling when you sell a console. If there is no recollection of the memories you will have to buy it back.

There are a few other introductions coming to the web site which we like to call "freebies" that come with the issues, like Atari magazines had free game demos. We will be providing a photo album of game screen-shots with funny captions and video compilations of games we have played thanks to our Pinnacle capture card. Unfortunately for that we are restricted to certain consoles.

[Photo: James Wills]

Matthew: So if MyAtari readers want to get involved in NGM, what can they do to help?

James: It's simple really... you can e-mail the team at NGM or contact us via our forum. However we would like to encourage readers to subscribe to our mailing list as we'd like to keep notification of how many readers we are supporting (the reason for the name of the town people live in, is simply to gather location statistics).

Matthew: What short/long term plans do you have for NGM and the web site?

James: Ultimately, NGM has only just been released and we are quite shocked to be given an interview at such an early stage in its release. We have a lot to learn, especially about writing our content to the best of our abilities, checking our grammar and spelling would be an efficient start. So for the short term we wish to expand our subscription readership and attain a respectable forum community.

Long term... To still be producing the magazine. There is nothing like an archive to look back on. On-line magazines could be the new medium for the future, who knows!

I don't really see the justification for printed magazines within the next decade as everyone will be on-line and internet speeds will be faster. But you can count on my dead Atari Jaguar that no way would we sell out to the corporate souls on the internet.

Anyway I must go, I've got a hankering for a game of Hollywood Strip Poker those 1980s women really know how to get your juices going.

Matthew: Thanks for taking time out from NGM to answer our questions, best of luck with the magazine (and the poker!).

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MyAtari magazine - Feature #3, January 2004

Copyright 2004 MyAtari magazine