I’m probably the wrong person to be reviewing a fanzine concerning all things RPG. I have never been the biggest fan of the genre. Nevertheless I will do my best to be objective and look at this through the eyes of an RPG fan so here goes…
When the fanzine arrived on my doorstep I was hit by a sense of nostalgia. This is a proper old-school fanzine, similar in looks to the music fanzines I used to subscribe to back in the 80s, but in this case not photocopied and unlike those fanzines of old, this one is legible! Presented in monochrome this 40 page ‘zine covers “all retro RPGs and any-bit Nintendo” and is currently the “world’s only retro RPG print fanzine” (so stated on the cover). I must say, in these days of PDFs, online media and expensive glossy magazines, to hold a true fan-made tribute to a niche gaming genre in your hands is a real treat.
Inside HyperPlay RPG
The fanzine itself is attractive with a nicely illustrated cover, with inside pages clearly numbered and indexed on the inside front cover, making it easy to find the section of the magazine you wish to read. Regular sections include the obligatory reviews (big and small), a news section, readers letters, book review, readers review, play tests, tips for collectors and more besides.
Each section is packed with information – this ‘zine is not something that you will read over a lunch break. A lot of time and effort has clearly gone into editing and research and this results in some very meaty content indeed – something you will be picking up over and over, finding sections you have yet to read. Reviews are in-depth and well worded (a certain mainstream magazine could take a few lessons here) and the interaction with readership is obviously important to the editorial staff, which is after all, what makes a fanzine work.
The attention to detail and the obvious care with which this ‘zine has been crafted are what makes it stand out for me. And although I am not the biggest fan of the genre, I have to admit to having a lot more respect for it now, having read the ‘zine from cover to cover. So much so, I am considering subscribing just to keep abreast of all things RPG, at the very least so I know what I am talking about when someone broaches the subject in conversation! I can’t think of a better way of doing it either. My only gripe – I read the ‘how to win big at eBay’ article – and still haven’t.