is Kill! Kill! Gaming?
It's the entertaining games magazine.
What Does It Cover?
Everything to do with computer games, whether spankingly new or venerably ancient.
K!K!G has no snobbery over distinctions such as format, retro vs modern, indie vs commercial, or even budget vs full price.
Good Things are showered with deserved praise, wherever and whenever they're from.
Bad Things receive the shortest of shrift available under modern defamation laws.
Most importantly it contains The Truth, The Funny, and The Not Talking Down To You Like You're Some Kind of Cretin.
It is a computer games magazine in the style of... a good computer games magazine.
Why is it different?
Because, in the sadly immortal words of It Ain't Half Hot Mum's Robbie Williams, its here to entertain you.
We'll provide you with something you can't find anywhere else, fun, personality, good quality debate, ideas and opinion all expressed in a coherent, literate way.
Stony faced seriousness has no place with us.
We're all about finding great things and sharing them with you, things you may have missed the first time round. Stuff that's caught our attention, and should catch yours. And its all original material, written by professional writers, especially for us and never before seen anywhere else. And we'll share it all with you.
We won't rely on previews and rumours you're perfectly capable of finding for yourself on the Internet. No show reports, meaningless games charts or features on which obscure graphics card you MUST HAVE. Or dreary explanations of pixel shaders.
Where we do have normal games mag sections, reviews for example, they won't be lists of weapons or levels. They won't rehash the terrible plot just to fill pages, they'll be full of our opinions, our feelings. Fun, personality and stuff you just can't get anywhere else.
When's it out?
Kill! Kill! Gaming will be available in late 2005. Probably. Quarterly after that.
Where can I buy it?
Subscriptions, single and back issues will be available from our website, posted to your very door by skilled craftsmen.
Sorry, due to distribution being a pain in the arse there's no high street option, unless a Mr W.H.Smith takes out several subscriptions.
So its a fanzine then?
Yes, but no, but yes! and so much more. Our contributors have worked for every major UK computer magazine in existence, and many that aren't any more. That's since before the mags were good, until after they were good, and includes the time when they were good. Which magazines? All of them. That mattered. Go on, name one (except Which? magazine, oddly).
So what's the plan?
To produce a decent, sustainable, entertaining, original, professional computer games magazine.
Contributors and editors to be paid decently and promptly.
Gratuitous filler to be kept to a minimum.
Quality over quanitity.
With a high level of literacy.
How do you do all that cheaply, then?
Contrary to what you may expect, good quality writing is not expensive. God knows why when this is the case there isn't more of it around, but it is and there isn't.
Most of the cost of a magazine is taken up with printing and distributing the damn thing.
So, what with the radical advances in printing and distribution technology of the last few years, we reckon we can slash the production costs while keeping the quality writing. All we do is get it printed, bound and distributed on the high street or a local industrial estate. Its not difficuly, its the same technology used to distribute company brochures, shareholder information and all that. Give the printer a PDF and a list of subscribers, and wallop. Everyone gets their copy.
It'll be mostly black and white, though.
How much will it cost?
This depends on the number of readers, but for starters we have a cover price of £6, with an Internet price of £5. (That's so interested shops have a reason to sell it)
it have a cover CD?
Nope. This is a multi-format magazine, so its more trouble than its worth. Exciting content will either be linked to or uploaded onto our website.
are you going to finance it?
It's not that expensive. Here's the idea:
1) Find some potential investors and writers (done)
2) Get a website up with preliminary designs and information. Finalise design.
3) Produce an issue 0, as an example to readers and advertisers.
Issue 0 will be compiled on the cheap, out of borrowed material and reprints and is just to give an idea of the style and design of the magazine. And to show we're serious.
4) Distribute issue 0 electronically for nowt, to attract readers.
5) If enough readers sign up, investors will be happy and finance issue 1
6) Make issue 1
7) Release issue 1
8) Count up how much it cost to make, how much it made and whether it's worth continuing. If so, back to step 5 with issue 2.
It should cost between £5-10,000 to get to step 8, not counting any money made from actually selling it.
Each issue will have a lush, unique, full colour covers specially comissioned for that issue. It won't attempt to illustrate the contents, but will be lovely to look at in their own right. And to let you see it, we won't clutter it up with too much text as we aren't competing for space on a magazine rack. We've also got enough cover artists/ideas to last us about two years, so we won't be running short any time soon.
Contents to be black and white, and fairly solid paper. You'll want to put this on your shelves and keep it, but we'll have to see how it goes.
For style and entertainment we're going to have a single strong voice for a review. I can't imagine a multiple reviewer system coming up with the kind of (gnngh) 'concept' reviews that made AP such a joy. K!K!G is about being subjective and individual, so that's the best way. There's always room for two completely separate reviews of the same game though. That's the kind of thing you can get away with if the writing's good.
There's a possibility of a Points of View style table, but that's only meaningful if everyone's played roughly the same games. If we're talking about 'old games you might have missed' then chances are low.
Also we can make a virtue of being quarterly. It deliberately sets us up against the traditional, crazy, high-speed high-tech race to get the latest thing. That's what the Internet does well, after all. We may not being the first to review this or that game, but we can produce definitive reviews. We should be encouraging the longer term outlook.
I'm not sure we'd want to be too informal and fanzinish (fanzany?) as that would be selling the quality of the work short. I'd like to make 'proper' mags say 'why aren't we this good?' That's why I'm against the sweary. It instantly marginalises you and smacks of gimmick. We can produce better than existing games mags on their own terms, and don't need it. Having said that, I'll now completely contradict it by pointing out that 'Crap' and 'Bugger' are inherently amusing words and should always be included.
Many of the potential writers also have an established and well known voice that we'd be mad to mess with, and the subjectivity suggests letting people tell things in their own voice as much as possible.
Hang on, somebody's already written a wonderful language/style manifesto - It's on the wonderful AP2 website. Although that's not a licence to drown everything in APs in-jokes and special phrases. That would be too exclusive, y'see. Oh, and the swearing page is here. See, its ungentlemanly.
We could have some guideline:
- Be entertaining and fun to read
- No talking down to people - there's no need to simplify your language.
- No po-faced seriousness - serious points can be made in unserious ways
- No photographs of programmers
- Nothing in the issue you wouldn't want your mum to read. Or more importantly, my mum to read.
- No formulaic writing
- Don't overdo in-jokes and in the style of... old magazines.
- Ignore any guidelines
- Write what you feel
I don't want to over define a target audience. (Hey, advertisers, its people with more money than sense that believe everything they read! Honest!)
However, its always good to have someone in mind. Probably yourself.
If not, why not picture:
- Disaffected ex-computer mag readers (Who may have given up at the end of AP or Zzap! ).
- Disaffected ex-computer mag writers (Who may have given up at the end of AP or Zzap! ).
- Game developers
- Games forum readers (WoS, WotR, Rllmuk, YakYak etc Lets face it - these are the people most likely to actually hear about it)
- People who love games that are good
- People who love writing that are good
- People who like Top Gear.
I'm not being very precise simply because I don't want to exclude people.