['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]


Apologies if this seems a bit sudden, but I'm looking to offload nearly all of my 8000-volume magazine collection.

Wait! I can explain! Don't get the wrong idea!

My basic stance -0 that print magazines can and do produce deeper, better researched, more entertaining reading about games than online sites (though not as much as I'd like them to) -- hasn't changed a bit. I still subscribe to every US mag and a couple UK mags, and I plan to keep that up until the last print title shuffles off this mortal coil. There's too much good stuff that I'd miss otherwise.

However, I'd definitely like to get rid of a lot of the older magazines in my collection. The reason: now that I've got an iPad, I'm at the point where storing them digitally is far more convenient for my needs.

By now, I have a fairly large collection of old video game and computer magazines in digital format on my computer. They've come from assorted sources over the years -- some official releases from the old publishers, some from sites like Retromags and zzap64.co.uk, and many from some random place or another that's long slipped my memory.

For many years, this repository has rested on my hard drive, growing to a fairly vast size but only rarely getting much actual use. The reason? Reading digitized print media on a computer just isn't fun, for the same reasons reading longform articles on game websites isn't fun -- you're sitting uncomfortably at a desk or in some similarly awkward position in front of a laptop, reading text off of a screen that seems intent on causing you eyestrain until the end of your years.

The iPad I got a few months back, along with the PDF/CBZ reading software you can get for it (CloudReaders is free and good enough for my needs), changed all of that. Loading mags onto the thing is a breeze, and a great big chunk of my collection is right there, in my little tablet, ready to pick up and read at a moment's notice -- just like a print magazine, in other words, except with a distinct portability advantage. (I know I'm far behind the curve on realizing this, but cut me a break. I've spent about five years advocating print media on this weblog, after all.)

With all the old mags I could want on my iPad (not to mention a possible move coming up in my future), I'm suddenly finding myself a lot less attached to a pretty hefty part of my physical collection. But what about the part of my collection that hasn't been digitized yet?

That's a sticking point, definitely, and so I'll make this offer to whoever's interested: If there's a magazine printed before 2000 that hasn't been digitized yet, you're welcome to them for free if you're willing to scan the issues in. It doesn't have to be right away, of course -- automated scanning devices ain't cheap, after all -- but I'd be more than willing to help out with any project to get old game or computer mags in digital form as much as I humanly can.

Give me an email if any of this sounds interesting to you -- or, for that matter, you're a museum or library or some other nonprofit who'd like to receive a donation of mags. You can write to me via the mail form on Magweasel, and I'll send off a list right away. Let's see if this goes anywhere, eh? I'd reckon mags like Byte, Creative Computing, Game Players, Softalk, Next Generation, and the old GameFan could all use some help along these lines.

(PS. Hey, EGM, didn't you tease an iPad version of the digital magazine a while ago? As shown above? What happened to that?)

[Kevin Gifford owns over 8000 video-game and computer magazines. Despite this, he is capable of sustaining a conversation with a woman for at least three minutes per go. He runs Magweasel, a really cool weblog about games and Japan and "the industry" and things, and in his spare time he does writing and translation for lots of publishers and game companies.]