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Mort, one of the kind and dedicated folks at zzap64.co.uk, has finished scanning yet another complete run of an old British game magazine. This time around it's TV Gamer, an obscure title that has the honor of being the UK's first mag devoted entirely to game consoles...or that was the original idea, anyway.

Launched in the summer of 1983 by London-based Boytonbrook Ltd., TV Gamer began as a quarterly buyer's guide for the 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, and so forth, its pages filled to the brim with capsule game reviews and tiny little black-and-white screenshots.

This lasted three issues before the title expanded to a full-on monthly in March 1984, adding a slew of features on arcades, portable games, and computers. In this incarnation the mag took on a noticeable resemblance to Electronic Games, the US title that pioneered game mags worldwide -- both shared an affinity for long, text-heavy articles adorned with lots of original artwork and surprisingly few screenshots for a mag covering such a visual medium.

The formula was there for TV Gamer, but the audience arguably wasn't. Consoles were largely seen as a luxury item in the UK back then; for most gamers, the hot platform was the cheap, versatile Sinclair ZX Spectrum, which launched in 1982 and was easily Britain's number-one "game system" by 1984, the year TV Gamer ramped up to monthly printing.

The mag responded by upping its computer content, but by then it was too late, as the audience was used to consulting other mags for that sort of coverage. Eventually TV Gamer merged with multiplatform mag Big K (itself a very obscure title) before closing entirely with the March 1985 issue.

It reportedly took Mort a good three years to track down all of TV Gamer, even though the thing only lasted 14 issues. Funny, it feels like it's taken at least that long for me to find any issues of JoyStik, much less the whole set...but regardless, if you'd like to know how the UK handled console game coverage during the "golden years" of gaming, you could do far worse than to order the DVD from Mort or track down the scans on the net somewhere.

[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.]