Tuesday 7 September 2010

More Imagine Issue 1

I've been flipping through the first issue of Imagine and have to say, mostly for nostalgic reasons, I'm really enjoying it.  It's got a lot of editorial features which in 1983 I probably wouldn't have even read, but now they give the reader a fascinating insight into the hobby.  

The opening editorial from Don Turnbull welcomes the readers to the magazine and talks a little about the state of the hobby.  It also reassures readers that whilst Imagine will have a lot of D&D it will also cover a wide range of other games.  Reading it convinces me that he genuinely wants to produce a great games magazine rather than a house publication for TSR.

Above Turnbull's piece is a message from Gary Gygax which I have to say I find a little obsequious.  Some of the langauge is archaically overblown eg, "Gentle Reader" and "Kindly Editor".  Reading between the lines though I think Gygax was sending a clear message to show that it's really his magazine and the UK staff shouldn't forget it.


  1. There's a long interview with GG (somewhere on the web) in which he was critical of the efforts of the writers working on Imagine to be gaming journalists rather than mere TSR PR men. He said something along the lines of 'they should have remembered who paid their wages'. This, in the context of criticising their honest reviews of poor TSR products - note that he didn't attempt to argue that some of the stuff TSR churned out wasn't crap - and justifying closing Imagine.

    I have to say that I lost a lot of respect for GG when I read this.

  2. I've read a few of his interviews and that certainly fits the image I've got. I can understand his viewpoint, somewhat, from a business point of view. In the mid 80's, AD&D exploded in the UK, and kids would buy up any and everything that TSR put out. Unfortunately, in satisfying that demand, a smaller subset of customers got left behind and now, thanks to the OSR, we're back.

  3. Oh, I can understand GG's point of view, from a business point of view. And we all have to make concessions at work, especially professional writers. It was just the unreasonableness of a bare-faced expectation that journalists would find ought to find it unproblematic presenting an extended advertorial to their readers under the guise of a magazine.

    And it seems even more strange when I think of the criticism he made of the people actually running TSR at the time, especially their habit of announcing products before any work had begun - essentially just a title - and then rushing out products in order to keep the release schedule ticking over.

    Didn't Imagine become - or at least its key staff founded - Gamesmaster?

  4. I would guess that TSR UK was essentially a sales operation, and the 'creatives' were then brought in to produce Imagine and the UK modules. But you're absolutely right about them wanting an advertorial product in the guise of an editorial one. Something was bound to give in the end. It would be great if we could get copies of some of the faxes GG must have sent to the UK office, after he got a copy of Imagine, and saw that it had hammered one of the Company's own products in the reviews section.

    Think you're right about the link with GM. I did have a few copies years ago but I've not been able to locate them.

    I'm also planning write about White Dwarf and how the changes at Games Workshop took it from an almost independent games mag, all the way to what is now little more than a miniatures catalogue.

  5. I was surprised when re-reading my late-1980s / early 1990s editions of Dragon. While TSR product orientated, they carried the very occasional article on games such as Shadowrun and CoC, were fairly generous in their reviews of other companies games, and I remember reading some pretty critical reviews of TSR-licensed computer games.

  6. Looking for any ads in Imagine magazine which shows the superior models Starfleet Wars miniatures. circa 1978-82, thanks