PC Engine Gamer Magazine…
After creating two superb podcasts (PC-Engine City and wibble • Classic Chiptunes), the venerable sunteam_paul (of PC Engine Software Bible) shifted his focus from music to print, and thus PC Engine Gamer Magazine (PCEG) was born.
Later, Paul would expand his scope and create yet another fanzine, ZX Spectrum Gamer Magazine (ZXSGMXZ). Clearly, the PCE, Speccy (and other UK microcomputers) occupy a special place in Paul's heart, as revealed in the exquisite detail of his work.
PCEG ISSUES: Thus far, seven issues of PC Engine Gamer Magazine have been released:
- PCEG Magazine #01 (20 pages, July 2010)
COVER: The Kung Fu.
- PCEG Magazine #02 (24 pages, October 2010)
COVER: Ninja Spirit.
- PCEG Magazine #03 (30 pages, December 2010)
COVER: Out Run.
- PCEG Magazine #04 (26 pages, March 2011)
COVER: Wonderboy III Monster Lair.
- PCEG Magazine #05 (40 pages, August 2011)
COVER: Ys Book I & II.
- PCEG Magazine #06 (34 pages, February 2012)
COVER: Golden Axe (CD).
- PCEG Magazine #07 (50 pages, July 2012)
COVER: Star Parodier.
THANKS: A great big Thank You! goes out to sunteam_paul (of PC Engine Software Bible) for creating PC Engine Gamer Magazine, allowing us to re-host it and providing invaluable information/assets. Also, this page would not exist if it weren't for the support of the fine folks at pcenginefx.com forums.
FURTHER DISCUSSION: There were many things that PCEG Magazine provided the PCE/TG-16 community, but one of its most unique contributions was simply documenting (and raising awareness of) PCE homebrewery.
PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS: A trailer heralded the release of each and every issue of PCEG Magazine...
- PCEG Issue #1 Trailer (YouTube)—VIDEO: Re-purposed opening cinema from Download II.
- PCEG Issue #2 Trailer (YouTube)—VIDEO: Re-purposed opening cinema from Last Armageddon. MUSIC: Chiptune from Dungeon Explorer.
- PCEG Issue #3 Trailer (YouTube)—VIDEO: Re-purposed opening cinema from Shubibinman 3 (Shockman 3). MUSIC: Chiptune from PC Genjin (Bonk's Adventure).
- PCEG Issue #4 Trailer (YouTube)—VIDEO: Re-purposed opening cinema from Red Alert (Last Alert). MUSIC: Chiptune from Ninja Warriors.
- PCEG Issue #5 Trailer (YouTube)—VIDEO: Re-purposed opening cinema from Sorcerian. MUSIC: Chiptune from Kato & Ken (JJ & Jeff).
- PCEG Issue #6 Trailer (YouTube)—MUSIC: Redbook song from XXX.
- PCEG Issue #7 Trailer (YouTube)—MUSIC: Redbook song from Star Parodier.
PRINT EDITIONS: Regular publication of PC Engine Gamer Magazine has ceased. Paul has explored the prospect of releasing a print edition of the existing issues, but high costs associated with low print runs have dampened the feasibility of the venture. Cross your fingers. Of course, in Issue #2 he warned that it was unlikely that we would ever see an official print version of PCEG.
NOTE: Out of respect to Paul, I stuck with his (proper) use of "PC Engine", despite the fact that I wanted to throw a hyphen in there and make it "PC-Engine". The temptation remains strong…
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #01 (20 pages, July 2010) ▲
NOTES: 20 pages. As one flips through the pages, one can't help but notice that each and every square millimeter of this fanzine is oozing with style and is written with a refreshing, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour (British). Dig past the humour (British), however, and you will discover that Paul's analysis includes a discussion of the more subtle, often-overlooked aspects of a game. For example, Paul argues for an appreciation of the oft-derided China Warrior (The Kung Fu).
IN DEFENSE OF CHINA WARRIOR: Since I, myself, have championed this game, I cannot resist the opportunity to defend China Warrior against critics who dismiss it as merely a "broken tech demo lacking substance" (as some naysayers have expressed it). No, comrades, Paul and I suggest otherwise—that China Warrior is a proto-rhythm game begging for a tender touch and an open mind.
FLAVOUR: Aside from some silly British spellings (namely "pyjama" for "pajama"...hilarious!), there is nothing to fault in this debut issue of PC Engine Gamer Magazine. ALSO: Don't miss the Top Ten Player Deaths.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #1 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. REVIEW: The Kung Fu (1987, HuCARD).
- 08. ADVERTISEMENT: Babel (1989, CD).
- 09. RANDOMONIUM
- 10. REVIEW:
Wonderboy in Monster LandBikkuriman World (1987, HuCARD).
- 14. GAMING TONGUE: Wardner (1987, Arcade), Attack Animal Gakuen (1987, Famicom), The Sentinel (1987, ZX Spectrum).
- 16. FISH & TIPS: The Kung Fu.
- 18. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top Ten Best Player Deaths.
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #02 (24 pages, October 2010) ▲
NOTES: 24 pages. The second issue of PCEG follows the structure established in the the first issue. Starting with this issue, Joe "Baldwin" Redifer authors the Gaming Tongue column. A true veteran of video game journalism, Joe employs a trusted formula when writing (10% insight, 90% trash). This formula serves him well.
SHOOT-EM-UPS: I was happy that the shoot-em-up genre was well-represented in the Top Ten Best Level One Bosses. Speaking of shoot-em-ups, I had forgotten about the hidden shoot-em-up in Mesopotamia (Somer Assault). Sure, this game is a no-frills affair, but it is the sort of easter egg that I love. Sadly, if you are not a shoot-em-up junkie in desperate need for your next fix, you will probably be bored to tears by the primordial state of this shooter. That said, I dig it for what it is.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #2 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. REVIEW: Ninja Spirit (1990, HuCARD).
- 08. ADVERTISEMENT: Builderland (1993, CD).
- 09. FISH & TIPS: Mesopotamia (Somer Assault).
- 10. REVIEW: Dragon Spirit (1988, HuCARD).
- 14. GAMING TONGUE: Kenseiden (1988, SMS), GI Joe (1992, Arcade), Neo Turf Masters (1996, NEO GEO), Ys Seven (2010, PSP).
- 18. ADVERTISEMENT: Bonanza Bros. (1992, CD).
- 19. INTERVIEW: Feena (Ys Book I & II).
- 20. FEEDBACK
- 22. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top Ten Best Level One Bosses.
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #03 (30 pages, December 2010) ▲
NOTES: 30 pages. Recognizing that the PCE homebrew scene continues to be a vibrant, yet lesser-known element of the larger PCE community, Paul documents its progress in the Home Cookin' column. PCEG is one of the few places that has presented a cogent summary of PCE homebrew (whose history is scattered about the realworld and etherworld in tiny bits and pieces). One of PCEG's accomplishments, in my eyes, was to prominently feature homebrew software (and hardware, such as the AbCARD and Flash HuCARD) in four issues (#3, #5, #6, #7). In this issue, no less than six pages are devoted to Aetherbyte's efforts to develop and publish new PCE software (namely, Insanity—a Berzerk clone—and Pyramid Plunder—an inventive clone of the venerable Pac-Man).
SHOPKEEPERS: One of the best "Top 10" lists to be found anywhere, this one focuses on a motley crew of shopkeepers from various games. Not all of the games are PCE-exclusive (that's a separate list for another day!), but each entrant is charming in his/her/its own special way.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #3 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. REVIEW: Out Run (1990, HuCARD).
- 08. ADVERTISEMENT: Starling Odyssey (1993, SCD).
- 09. FISH & TIPS: Wonder Momo (1989, HuCARD).
- 10. REVIEW: Override (1991, HuCARD).
- 14. TOP BANANA: Who would win in a fight? Tiki (the Kiwi) versus Guy Kazama.
- 15. DR. BAKUDA'S HAPPY HOUR: Of Passwords and Save States.
- 14. GAMING TONGUE: Thunder Blade (1988, SMS), Mike Tyson's Punch Out (1987, NES), Super Adventure Island (1992, SNES), Granada (1990, Mega Drive).
- 20. HOME COOKIN': Interview with Arkhan of Aetherbyte.
- 26. FEEDBACK
- 28. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top Ten Best Shopkeepers.
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #04 (26 pages, March 2011) ▲
NOTES: 26 pages. Guest columnist Joe "Baldwin" Redifer discusses an intersting medley of games in his Gaming Tongue column this issue.
MUST-HAVE: It seems that Paul and I are kindred spirits in that we both share a disturbing passion for all things Wonderboy—even the black-sheep of the series…Wonderboy III: Monster Lair. You see, Monster Lair is a challenging, forced-scrolling horizontal run-n-gun/shoot-em-up (a hybrid formula that was never mainstream), whereas most Wonderboy fans seek a platformer/action-RPG. In an effort to foster more appreciation of Monster Lair, Paul praises the intriguing cast of bosses, the exceptional music, the arcade-esque caliber of the PCE port, etc., etc. I would simply add that, as one of the earliest PCE/TG-16 CD-ROM titles, it holds up remarkably well today. I suppose Monster Lair was always destined to have a niche audience—hopefully you will give it a chance to warm your heart.
HAVE-NOT: The almost universally-despised Rastan Saga II is critiqued in this issue. It serves as a counterpart to the unabashed praise heaped upon Monster Lair earlier. It seems Paul and I are at odds in our evaluation of Rastan Saga II—years ago, in a drunken stupor, I actually penned the first (and only?) tracts defending the sad little sequel.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #4 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. REVIEW: Wonderboy III: Monster Lair (1989, CD).
- 10. NEWSTOPIA: Hudson dies, again.
- 11. FISH & TIPS: Necross no Yousai (1990, HuCARD).
- 12. REVIEW: Rastan Saga II (1990, HuCARD).
- 18. TOP BANANA: Who would win in a fight? Tyris Flare versus Opa Opa.
- 19. DR. BAKUDA'S HAPPY HOUR: Disney.
- 20. GAMING TONGUE: Ys The Oath in Felghana (2010, PSP), Pilotwings (1990, Super Famicom), Space Harrier (1985, Arcade), Kangaroo (1982, Arcade).
- 24. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top Ten Best Player Smart Bombs.
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #05 (40 pages, August 2011) ▲
NOTES: 40 pages. Not surprisingly, Paul's undying praise for Ys: Books I & II results in an eight-page review (and an unprecedented score of 999/1000). No other game, in the entire history of PCEG, will earn a score of such high caliber. But Paul doesn't stop there—he knows he must inform readers about lesser-known games that lack the esteemed provenance of Falcom's Ys series.
UNDER-APPRECIATED: Some folks may be interested in the coverage of Hyper Japan 2011, but I was far more captivated by Paul's noble attempt to convince readers that Atomic Robo-Kid Special was worthy of their time. Too often, Atomic Robo-Kid Special is prematurely dismissed as a generic, mediocre shoot-em-up before its subtle, unique implementation of horizontal shoot-em-up conventions are fully appreciated.
Speaking of under-appreciated games, I must admit that Joe's light-hearted review of Crash 'n Burn—a goofy 3DO racing title—piqued my interest as well. I will have to play it now. I must play it.
GAME OVER/CONTINUE: I love the theme for this issue's Top Ten list. Brilliant. And, speaking of under-appreciated games, #8 should have earned a spot in the top five (the raw brutality depicted in its Game Over screen is enough to turn Jean-Paul Sartre's stomach sour). Seriously.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #5 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. HOME COOKIN': Homebrew...Mysterious Song, Jungle Bros. (Frozen Utopia); Retrocade (Aetherbyte); Monolith (Epanosoft).
- 06. REVIEW: Ys Book I & II (1989, CD).
- 15. FISH & TIPS: Mr. Heli (1989, HuCARD).
- 16. REVIEW: Atomic Robo Kid Special (1990, HuCARD).
- 22. TOP BANANA: Who would win in a fight? Samurai Ghost versus Rick (Splatterhouse).
- 23. DR. BAKUDA'S HAPPY HOUR: Blu-Ray.
- 24. GAMING TONGUE: Virtual Hydlide (1995, Saturn), Crash 'n Burn (1993, 3DO), Hard Drivin' (1990, Genesis), Blaster Master (1988, NES).
- 28. CULTURE CLUB: UK's biggest Japanophile convention, 2011.
- 38. THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: Top Ten Game Over/Continue Screens.
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #06 (34 pages, February 2012) ▲
NOTES: 34 pages. This issue marks the first and only appearance of Alternate Reality, where a realistic mock-up of a PCE port for an arcade game (Rastan Saga, in this case) is presented (the technical limitations of PCE hardware is fully accounted for). Paul openly laments Taito's fateful decision to ignore Rastan and port its subpar sequel instead.
In his quest to raise public awareness of lesser-known PCE titles, Paul reviews the horizontal shoot-em-up P-47 (HuCARD) and the humble puzzle game Spin Pair (HuCARD).
ABOMINABLE: The PCE port of Golden Axe is truly an embarrassment. Paul documents its many shortcomings and fantasizes that FEKA orchestrated the fiasco in an elaborate plot to discredit a marketplace rival, but the truth is far more tragic than any conspiracy theory he can concoct. True story.
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #6 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. HOME COOKIN': Homebrew... Ultima II (Aetherbyte); Neutopia III (Frozen Utopia); Monolith, Metro Blaster, Xymati (Epanosoft); Karate (TOUKO); Lock 'n' Chase (BFG), Nyan-cat demo (CABBAGE).
- 08. REVIEW: P-47 (1989, HuCARD).
- 12. REVIEW: Golden Axe (1990, CD).
- 20. ALTERNATE REALITY: Rastan (Arcade) with PCE color pallette.
- 22. REVIEW: Spin Pair (1990, HuCARD)
- 26. TOP BANANA: Who would win in a fight? F-14 Tomcat versus Bruce Lee clone from China Warrior.
- 27. DR. BAKUDA'S HAPPY HOUR: Final Fantasy VII.
- 28. REVIEW: Tatsujin (1992, HuCARD).
- 31. FISH & TIPS: Tatsujin.
- 32. PIXELLENCE: Mystic Formula (1993, SCD).
PC Engine Gamer Magazine #07 (50 pages, July 2012) ▲
NOTES: The most ambitious issue of PCEG (and not simply due to its sheer length of 50 pages): three reviews, a 12-page original comic, an interview with a former Hudson employee, PLUS all of the regular columns = PCEG at its finest!
STARS & BOORS: Elsewhere in the issue, Paul shifts to familiar territory as he catalogs the myriad of details he cherishes in Star Parodier, but then perfectly complements this review with an interview of an ex-Hudson employee (Tadayuki "Footloose" Kawada) who was directly involved in designing the game! Both pieces complement each other nicely, with Paul's review providing a fresh context to better appreciate Tadayuki's comments. ASIDE: I hereby decree that this format should be employed by all publications, always and forever. Amen. Paul then tackles a title that most PCE fans are unfamiliar with—Titan. Folks familiar with this bland game are rarely motivated to write a serious review of it, but Paul does so. This is the sort of "thankless review" that needs to be written, if only as a public service to the PCE community. Paul is quick to point out that the main concept behind Titan is not neccessarily flawed (indeed, I find it intriguing—promising, even), but the execution of Titan is abominably banal. I concur.
CHEW MAN FU: It is with a heavy heart that I report that Paul missed a wonderful opportunity in his review of Be Ball (Chew Man Fu). The second paragraph (page 43) would benefit from an additional sentence: "Fortunately, Rin Rin is not entirely defenceless. A swift kick in the balls will send them flying; this will not only hurt or destroy enemies, but can also crack walls and eventually break them completely. Clearly, Rin Rin has chutzpa and can, at times, be a real ball-buster.[9.5] This can mean new avenues of escape..." Missed opportunities. Nonetheless, throw in a 12-page comic (the first and last to appear in PCEG) based on Legendary Axe, and Issue #7 was quite memorable!
For more information, read the original PC Engine Gamer Magazine #7 thread at the pcenginefx.com forums.
- 04. HOME COOKIN': Homebrew titles released or in development, including... Karate, Billyboy (TOUKO), AbCARD & Protocade, Atlantean, Pyramid Plunder (AETHERBYTE), Fractal Engine 2 (CHRIS COVELL), Elansar (ORION), Shooting Watch (CABBAGE).
- 07. FLASH HUCARD: A low cost solution.
- 08. CCAG 2012: Arkhan of Aetherbyte provides the scoop on the Classic Console and Arcade Gaming show.
- 10. REVIEW: Titan (1991, HuCARD).
- 14. TOP BANANA: Who would win in a fight? Dobkeratops versus Shielder.
- 15. DR. BAKUDA'S HAPPY HOUR: The sad state of current video game music.
- 16. REVIEW: Star Parodier (1992, SCD).
- 25. THE LEGENDARY AXE: Exclusive 12-page comic.
- 38. STAR TREKKIN': Interview with Tadayuki Kawada (ex-Hudson employee).
- 42. REVIEW: Be Ball (1990, HuCARD).
- 47. FISH & TIPS: Marchen Maze (1990, HuCARD).
- 48. PIXELLENCE: Sol Moonarge (1994, SCD).
This page is a WORK IN PROGRESS…
To follow the ongoing discussion, please consult the "Would you buy a printed version of PC Engine Gamer Magazine?" thread at the pcenginefx.com forums. Thank you for visiting!