|Born||6 March 1965|
|Subject||Video games and gaming|
Julian "Jaz" Rignall (born 6 March 1965, London, England) is a publishing veteran with experience launching and managing numerous video game magazines and websites. A writer and editor, Rignall has also produced content for corporate websites such as GamePro Media, publisher of GamePro magazine and GamePro.com, marketing collateral and advertising campaigns.
Early 1980s: Teenage gaming journalist
Rignall's career as a gaming journalist began in London in the early 1980s as a student competing in video game tournaments. During his teenage years, Rignall held the UK and World Record high scores on video games such as Defender, Pole Position and Crossfire. He also won Computer and Video Games magazine's 1983 UK Video Arcade Game Championship, beating more than 500 of the country's top arcade players to win the title. Rignall's success at winning international video game tournaments launched his career as a video game journalist writing gaming hints and tips for magazines such as Computer and Video Games and Personal Computer Games.
1985–1988: First magazine launch
In 1985, the former editor of Personal Computer Games, Chris Anderson, invited Rignall to join the launch team for Newsfield Publications' Commodore 64 magazine, Zzap!64. Rignall admitted that when asked about Commodore 64 games he described his experience of playing the Atari versions, as he had no experience of the 64 at the time. As a staff writer, Rignall continued to display his gameplaying abilities as he repeatedly emerged the victor of the monthly ZZAP! Challenge, where readers challenged the magazine's reviewers to one-on-one gaming contests.
In December 1987, Rignall became editor of Zzap!64, a position he retained until August 1988 (Issue 39).
1988–1993: EMAP publications, media appearances
In 1988, Rignall joined Computer and Video Games magazine, an EMAP publication. Upon his promotion to editor, Rignall changed the magazine's editorial direction focusing more on the newly emerging Japanese video game consoles instead of the fading 8-bit generation of computers.
In 1990, recognising the console market was large enough to warrant a magazine of its own, Rignall launched Mean Machines. Covering the top-selling video game systems of the time, such as the Super NES and Mega Drive, Mean Machines became the largest-selling multi-platform publication in the United Kingdom. At first the print run of the magazine was kept limited, to create demand. In 1992, Mean Machines was split into two separate publications: the officially endorsed Nintendo Magazine System, now known as Official Nintendo Magazine, and Mean Machines Sega.
In late 1993, Rignall launched his final British publication, the officially endorsed Sega Magazine.
During this period, Rignall appeared regularly on TV as a games reviewer on the British TV programme GamesMaster, and made numerous appearances on BBC Television and BBC Radio as an industry commentator and field expert.
1994–1997: US software development
In 1994, Rignall transitioned from magazine publishing to software development, joining Virgin Interactive Entertainment in Irvine, California. As vice-president of design, he was responsible for product design and licensing acquisitions from other game developers and publishers. While at Virgin, Rignall contributed to such titles as Agile Warrior F-111X, NanoTek Warrior, The Lion King, The Jungle Book and the highly anticipated, but never published, Thrill Kill.
1997–2002: IGN expansion
In 1997, Rignall left Virgin and moved to San Francisco, California, to join the Imagine Games Network (IGN). As editorial director, he led the expansion of the online network guiding it to its market leadership position. In 2001, IGN was awarded a People's Voice Webby Award. The editorial tone and style Rignall helped establish in IGN's early years still continue to this day.
2002–2007: Online retailing and marketing
During 2002, Rignall shifted from the games business into online retailing and marketing. He became editorial director at Walmart.com responsible for the content of the world's biggest retailer's online presence. Rignall has stated that he did not enjoy the experience but "did learn an unbelievable amount from [it]." In 2004, Rignall moved to Haggin Marketing, a San Francisco advertising agency where he created print advertisements and other marketing vehicles for Dell, Inc. In 2006, Rignall became the vice-president and editorial creative director with Bank of America's user-centred design and research division where he developed consumer, business and marketing content for the company's 22 million website customers.
2007–2010: Future Plus Custom Publishing
In August 2007, Rignall rejoined Future US (formerly Imagine Media) to help launch the US branch of their UK-based custom publishing division, Future Plus. He spent three years at Future Plus creating consumer content solutions for Fortune 500 companies such as Best Buy, Kmart, Apple, Blizzard-Activision, Toys "R" Us and Research in Motion/BlackBerry. Future US's custom content portfolio included publications like Best Buys @gamer magazine and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: The Magazine. In 2008, Future Plus was awarded a Pearl "Gold" Award by the Custom Publishing Council for its Guide 2 Gaming produced on behalf of Best Buy.
2010–2011: GamePro Media
- "The History of 8bit Gaming in the UK " July". Zxsoftware.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Julian Rignall: The Definitive Interview / Mean Machines Archive". Meanmachinesmag.co.uk. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Mean Machines Issues 1 – 24 – Mean Machines Archive". Meanmachinesmag.co.uk. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Julian Rignall". MobyGames. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Imagine Games Network Re-Launches Its Popular Site; Largest Computer and Video Game Destination on the Web Takes on a Whole New Look. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 8 September 1998. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "2001 | The Webby Awards Gallery + Archive". Webbyawards.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Best Buy Launches @Gamer, A New Magazine for Gaming Enthusiasts " Future US, Inc". Futureus.com. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Future partners with Blizzard Entertainment for World of Warcraft®: The Magazine " Future US, Inc". Futureus.com. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "CUSTOM MEDIA TAKES CENTER STAGE AT 5TH ANNUAL PEARL AWARDS | Custom Content Council". Custompublishingcouncil.com. 14 November 2008. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "IDG's GamePro Media Appoints Julian Rignall to Vice President, Content : Page 1 of 2 : Publishing Executive". Pubexec.com. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "In the chair with... Julian Rignall". Retro Gamer (106): 86–91.
- Ogden, Gavin (19 September 2009). "Jaz Rignall interview". Computer and Video Games. Future Publishing. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Cifaldi, Frank (5 August 2011). "GamePro's Last Stand: How America's Oldest Game Magazine Will Be Its Newest". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 12 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
Media related to Jaz Rignall at Wikimedia Commons
- Interview with Julian Rignall, The Mean Machines Archive