Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Day The Sick Muse Died...

Last month marked the end of the monthly publication of Games Workshop's 'White Dwarf' magazine, a magazine which I and many others were so inspired by in the late 1970s and 80s, but which sadly lost it's way at the end of the 8th decade of the 20th century, when Games Workshop decided to concentrate on promoting it's own tunnel vision-like product range, which, whilst probably a source of enjoyment to those who came after us, left us cold and indifferent like a spurned lover.

I confess that I did my best to learn to love this new magazine, but over the years I have probably only purchased two dozen copies and each time, although I tried to look upon it with enthusiasm, it left me with the same sense of emotionless detachment that you might feel upon meeting a friend after an absence of twenty years, only to find that you both have little in common.

'White Dwarf' had metaphorically become that friend for me.

Today, Games Workshop launched two 'new' magazines;

'White Dwarf Weekly' is 32 pages and at £2.40 per week means that Games workshop is effectively making twice as much as they did from the old magazine, and, whilst it appears to have less  blatant advertising, it is simplistic, almost insulting to a mature reader or even a literate youngster. Frankly, I have seen 'fanzines' that have made a better job of making the reader immersed in a fictional world. getting to the end of the magazine, it left me with a feeling akin to having purchased an adult magazine, only to find the centrefold removed. It was titillating, but did not give satisfaction. Indeed, I was reminded of a poor Sunday news supplement.

'Warhammer Visions' a 226 page 'B5' format magazine in full colour, seemed to promise so much. But again despite being packed to the covers with photographs of Games Workshop 'figure porn', some of it very competently executed in the style of the long lamented 'Fantasy Miniatures' books from the late 80s and 90s,  there were no literary 'money shots'. I had hoped for commentary and insights along with each gallery, but instead the reader is treated like a mental defective with descriptions in English, French and German which are redolent of the type of thing that 5 years olds were given to teach them to read in the 1970s.

A prime example can be found on page 54, with 'Gandalf The Grey is a wise and powerful old wizard.'

You see what I mean?

I half expected to turn a page and read 'See Faramir kick Gollum. See Faramir kick, see Gollum cry.' In fact, this would have been a distinct improvement, but is probably a little too advanced for the editorial team to risk themselves with.

And so it is with a sense of loss and regret, that I announce that indeed it is the end of an era in gaming journalism, without hope of another rising to take it's place.

It is the gaming equivalent of the political turmoil in Egypt... Alas, alas.


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