If you're old enough to remember the days before the internet took over everything then you may recall the vibrant and active video game fanzine community. Before the web arrived the only way for non-professional writers to get their words in front of others was by making black-and-white photocopied magazines and distributing them to other like-minded individuals by post. While the web has now allowed these same people to reach a wider audience, we miss the good old days of monochrome magazines put together with unbridled enthusiasm, two staples and not much else.
HyperPlay RPG is aiming to recreate the feel of this almost forgotten era. It's a modern-day fanzine with a focus on role-playing titles and Nintendo which takes inspiration from the legendary UK SNES publication Super Play, which blazed a trail in the early '90s by giving heavy coverage to import games, in particular RPGs. It also featured extensive anime and manga reportage, which was something of a first for British magazines at the time.
Issue zero of HyperPlay RPG has been produced to give people a taster of what the magazine will be like, and we were lucky enough to receive a copy ourselves. 40 pages of retro, RPG and cultural coverage are contained within, including features on buying games in Tokyo, a history of Super Play (or SuperPlay, if you prefer) magazine, a guide to getting a bargain on eBay, reviews of classic RPGs and much more besides.
The creators of this publication have made it clear that they're not in this to earn a bucketload of cash - the money pledged by readers will go into production costs alone, which means the more successful the fanzine is, the more issues they can make. Refreshingly, the magazine is being sold on a "pay what you like" basis - it's up for £1.80 an issue on eBay (plus £2 postage) but if you feel that base cost is too high you can make an offer and it will be accepted.
Like fanzines of yesteryear - which are highly collectable these days - it is hoped that the print-only nature of HyperPlay RPG will make each issue a desirable object in years to come. From what we've seen, this is a venture that is well worth supporting, and we'll be keeping an eye on the progress of the magazine in the future.