things.jpg

I'm in Japan right now and therefore don't have much interest in sitting down and writing a full column about esoterica game magazines right now (forgive me, Simon, there's just too much beer to drink and it's not going to drink itself!), but I thought I'd at least share a few of the things I've procured while I'm here.

In this picture you can see two items that you probably wouldn't be able to find in your typical used bookstore. On the left is the first issue of Famitsu Comic, a magazine that compiled and expanded upon the assorted manga that Famitsu printed in its mag circa 1991. It lasted a whopping two issues before getting relaunched as Fami-Comi, which enjoyed existence as a seasonal title for a year or two afterward.

On the right is issue number 13 of Game Freak, a fanzine about video games from the early 1980s that was chiefly edited by Satoshi Tajiri with illustrations by Ken Sugimori. This, of course, is the same Game Freak that later became a developer and invented the Pokemon series -- Tajiri designs/executive-produces the games, and Sugimori drew all 151 original Pokemon himself.

Game Freak the fanzine lasted from 1981 (when Tajiri was just beginning college) to circa 1986, by which time both chief contributors had enough professional magazine work to quit the doujinshi scene.

The 28-page zine, mostly written longhand in Tajiri's loopy handwriting, offered advanced strategy and tactics for arcade games; this issue I found teaches me all about getting high scores on Gaplus, the overlooked (and extremely difficult) Namco arcade shooter.

Otherwise, I'm mainly taking my parents to all the touristy bits of southern Honshu until next weekend. See you later!

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also executive editor at PiQ magazine.]