2005 A.D. less than a handful of brave ST disk magazines have
avoided extinction. Beside some fellow-workers - who kicked out
great releases within the last few months - only CIH and Moondog
are left as allies, fighting against the void on our sacred
Thinking about possible topics for the Alive issue you are
reading right now, I am wondering, which role disk magazines are
going to play today.
News is good News?
Due to the long time to complete all articles disk-magazines
certainly are no longer a platform for zero day news. There are
much better channels to provide the latest scene information.
Beside well known scene sites like DHS and several bulletin
board systems, we share the latest news on our beloved #atariscne
channel. So if zero day news are no topic for a diskmag, what
remains? Perhaps non urgent news, which are somewhat hard to
obtain, can make a difference. Stuff like the scene news Lotek
used to dig out in the past.
A huge percentage of the last issues consisted of reviews. Even
if I added some stuff myself in that category, I honestly don't
know if a review of an already released and spreaded demo is all
that great. It could be really boring for most people, since
they already have seen the demo or whatever product the review
was covering. Of course it could be fun to produce some scathing
criticism and even more to read them but there is no point in
slagging off the few people which still keep on producing stuff
on the Atari platform. So reviews might be ok, if they offer
something interesting in itself, a simple description of a
product is surely not enough. It has to be presented in a
special way because most people already know the products which
are being reviewed by a disk magazine.
On the other hand the scene is suffering a bit from lacking
feedback on releases, which can easily lead to demotivation of
the still active sceners. So some qualified and fair feedback
will at least serve the purpose to keep people motivated.
However this is certainly doesn't apply for hardware or software
which isn't free. It could be quite interesting to read a
hardware or software review before you need to pay for it. So, if
you have purchased a new device for your favourite machine tell
the world about it :)
Being old news or well known products surely doesn't apply for
previews. These make sense since its always interesting to see
which products are forthcoming. And since pre-release versions
of products are normally not spread, this could be a good
starting point for an interesting article. Unfortunately most
coders rather like to make a big secret out of their current
project, than to supply press previews. So the stuff to write
about seems a bit rare. The other downside of previews is the
fact that a lot of projects tend to be delayed or even worse
cancelled. So people might not take those previews serious and
perhaps they will even start to ignore them.
Another thing that was quite common with disk magazines was
tutorials. Most of the time they will even outlive the magazine
itself because the stuff described in a tutorial can be useful
when most of the magazines info could be categorized as
outdated. However a Magazine consisting only of tutorials and
hints would be very boring. And perhaps a web based database
would be a more fitting media to share this knowledge.
Unfortunately one of our best tutorial writers (guess who)
retired and this kind of article really consumes huge amounts of
time for preparation and research.
What else comes in mind when thinking about a disk magazine?
Interviews, these might actually be entertaining depending on
the questions and answers given. Interviews work quite well if
you ask the right questions, if you manage to find these
questions the interviewed scener will produce a lot more text
than the guy who asks the questions. This can only be achieved
by good research in front of the interview, which wouldn't have
hurt in lots of cases in the past. It's absolutely boring to go
through the same questions again and again, a standard set of
questions is helpful but it's surely a good idea to add more
personal questions to make it more special.
Another trend seems to be to interview the same people over and
over again, which might add some new facets each time but gets
boring after a while. Perhaps this effect is caused by the small
size of the active scene itself. Well, I guess you would agree
that it is more fun to read something new.
Reports from scene-events like demo parties etc. are very
important and surely a vital part of any scene related magazine.
Well these have always been an important part of Alive and with
CiH on the bridge there is surely no discussion if we should
keep them. Also I am pretty sure that a lot of readers only read
these parts, skipping the technical stuff because they are no
coders or whatever.
What about a look beyond of our noses? Other things in life,
this surely applies to all kind of movie, console, DVD or
hardware reviews outside the Atari world. Also any other topic
which doesn't fit the above categories can be placed here. Does
Alive need such articles?
What is the ultimate aim of a disk-magazine? Can I really get a
conclusion here? Certainly not! Since Alive is made for all the
sceners out there, it's especially made for you. So perhaps it's
a good idea to ask you for your opinion. What would you like to
see in Alive in the future? Which kind of Articles do you
prefer? We will set up a website to vote for those categories in
a few days. It will be announced at the Alive and DHS website.
So take your chance and vote or preferably help us to create the
next issue of Alive with graphics, music or articles.
Cyclone / X-Troll for Alive, 2005-01-23