In an era where we demand information and content almost instantaneously, printed material has struggled compared to its online counterparts. For years magazines have struggled when faced up against the myriad of websites offering similar content that often more up-to-date and offering a larger amount of material at no cost to the reader. While the majority of this is ad-funded and isn’t *always* to the same editorial standard as their print rivals, it’s a compromise many have been willing to accept as they’ve made the switch for their source of reading material.
However, Chris Wilkins of Fusion Retro Books, publisher of countless Kickstarter funded titles including The Commodore 64 In Pixels and the revived Crash! and Zzap 64 annuals believed that there *was* room for a new magazine and set out to create Fusion – a games magazine spanning everything from retro to modern, handheld to tabletop devices – everything that would appeal to the typical gamer and gathering together a team of new and familiar writers to make it happen.
Issue 1 arrived in the post packaged in a sturdy card-backed envelope (a good start) and inside was the magazine itself, a flyer for the second issue and subscription services and a bonus trading card. The magazine itself is a full colour glossy publication in A5 format spanning 52 pages with a release schedule planned for every two months.
Normally for a magazine of this nature that proclaims to offer “something for everyone” you’d expect it to focus primarily on one aspect of gaming and then have token coverage of everything else pushed into a separate area to the centre or rear, but at the very least isolated from the rest of the content but nothing could be further from the truth where Fusion is concerned, Right from the start the philosophy is clear – all types of gaming are treated with equal respect and moving through the magazine takes you on journey of exploration, leaping from era to era with ease as we’re taken to the racetracks of Wipeout VR on the PS4 one moment to the delights of the classic tabletop arcade shooter Astro Wars the next, while cruising past Commodore 64 and Switch gaming along the way. It doesn’t matter what era of gaming you are drawn to, whether it’s console or computers, home or arcades, Fusion truly does manage to offer something of interest to every reader and I was genuinely surprised at the variety on offer.
The features, interviews and reviews are all well written and lavishly illustrated throughout with an ample supply of screenshots, box art, all lavishly presented. There were one or two instances where background artwork obscured some of the text and made it difficult to read but hopefully this won’t be too prevalent in future issues but that was just a minor issue and didn’t detract too much from what was undeniably fantastic and thoroughly entertaining content from start to finish.
Fusion isn’t without its faults though. It does seem as if some more time was needed on the proof reading as a number of typos and mistakes are present. This could – in part – be attributable to the fact that part of the design team have doubled-up as proof-readers and I can say from experience that when you’re close to material in that way, it’s easy to overlook mistakes without realising. Overall these errors don’t spoil the magazine but it did give the feeling that it was slightly rushed to get it to print, especially being the debut issue where first impressions were going to be critical.
The magazine has been a hit amongst readers and the creative team alike and has exceeded all of their early expectations when it came to its sales figures and it’s easy to see why. There’s plenty of variety in terms of content and there is truly something for everyone, it’s well written and despite its size compared to newsstand publications offers superb value for money. and is certainly of a much higher print standard throughout and it clearly shows how much care has been given in wanting to give readers the best quality magazine possible for the asking price.
Fusion can be bought directly from the publishers for £3.99 (plus postage) from https://fusiongamemag.com. Digital versions of the magazine are on sale for £1.50 each and subscriptions are also available.
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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