Retro Gamer

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Retro Gamer
Retro Gamer - Issue 53.jpg
Issue 53 (July 2008) of Retro Gamer - The cover art features Konami's Track & Field.
Editor Martyn Carroll (2004-2005)
Darran Jones (2005-present)
Categories Computer and video game magazine
Frequency Monthly (formerly quarterly)
First issue January 2004
Company Live Publishing (2004-2005)
Imagine Publishing (2005-2016)
Future Publishing(2016-present)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
ISSN 1742-3155

Retro Gamer is a British magazine, published worldwide, covering retro video games. It was the first commercial magazine to be devoted entirely to the subject. Although launched in January 2004 as a quarterly publication, Retro Gamer soon became a monthly. In 2005, a general decline in gaming and computer magazine readership led to the closure of its publishers, Live Publishing,[1] although the rights to the magazine were later purchased by Imagine Publishing.[2]

It was taken over by Future Publishing on 21 October 2016.


The first 18 issues of the magazine came with a coverdisk. It usually contained freeware remakes of retro video games and emulators, but also videos and free commercial PC software such as The Games Factory and The Elder Scrolls: Arena. Some issues had themed CDs containing the entire back catalogue of a publisher such as Durell Llamasoft and Gremlin Graphics.

An article on superhero games from a 2004 issue is credited as the inspiration for the name of indie rock artist Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

On 27 September 2005, the magazine's original publishing company, Live Publishing, went into bankruptcy.[1] The magazine's official online forums described the magazine as "finished" shortly before issue #19 was due for release. However, rights to Retro Gamer were purchased by Imagine Publishing in October 2005 and the magazine was re-launched on 8 December 2005.[2] The magazine is now £1 cheaper, but lacks a cover disc. The website was relaunched with a new forum, which can be found at

The magazine celebrated its 100th issue in March 2012, which included a reprint of the very first issue.

Issue 118 was editor Darran Jones' 100th in charge of the magazine.

Digital version[edit]

Three DVDs with 25 to 30 issues each have been released over the years:

  • Retro Gamer eMag Load 1[3] (containing issues #1 to #30)
  • Retro Gamer eMag Load 2[4] (containing issues #31 to #55)
  • Retro Gamer eMag Load 3[5] (containing issues #56 to #80)

iPhone app[edit]

Retro Gamer is now available as an iPhone app and can be downloaded from both iTunes and an iPhone. The first issue is purchasable for £1.19 with back issues and future issues costing £2.99.

YouTube channel[edit]

Editor Darran Jones has his own YouTube channel where he regularly posts new videos. In addition to a monthly look at the magazine, he also covers Dreamcast, Amstrad, Lynx, and other popular systems. He also has several recurring videos including Same Name, Different Game, Clash of the Titans and It's the Same Bloody Game.

John Romero collaboration[edit]

March 2010 (issue 75) saw John Romero collaborating with Retro Gamer, taking on the role of 'Guest Editor', taking charge of the magazine's editorial and splashing his own unique style to a number of his favourite articles and subjects throughout the magazine.[6]


Highlights[citation needed] of the magazine includes interviews with leading 80s and 90s programmers such as David Crane, Matthew Smith and Archer MacLean. Regular columns also feature such as Back to the 80s and 90s, Desert Island Disks (what games would a gaming celebrity take to a desert island) and From the Archives (a profile of a particular game developer or publisher).

An anthology issue, collecting together articles from the first six issues with new content (including a comprehensive look at the game Elite), was published in December 2004. Further anthologies of material have since been released, along with three eMags.

In June 2004, a tribute to Zzap!64 was included, "The DEF Tribute to Zzap!64", celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Commodore 64 focused magazine.[7]

One of the lesser-known features of Retro Gamer's CD-ROM was the Easter egg, introduced in issue 5. This file was hidden on each disc inside the "adverts" directory, and included a Super Mario Bros. speedrun video and the infamous "Leeroy Jenkins" clip from World of Warcraft.

Issue 48 (February 2008) contained an exclusive interview with Manic Miner creator Matthew Smith, written by freelancer Paul Drury after a visit to Smith's family home in Liverpool.

One of the magazine's most popular recurring features are its 'Making Of's' in which well-known developers are interviewed about the creation and design process behind their games. Classic titles covered in past issues have included Breakout (Steve Wozniak), Dungeon Master (Doug Bell), Smash TV (Eugene Jarvis), Starfox (Jez San), Rescue on Fractalus! (David Fox/Charlie Kellner), Prince of Persia (Jordan Mechner), Berzerk (Alan McNeil), The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Steve Meretzky), Crystal Castles (Franz X. Lanzinger), Tetris (Alexey Pajitnov), Sheep in Space (Jeff Minter) "Out Run" (Yu Suzuki) and Splat! (Ian Andrew)

The magazine is currently run by editor Darran Jones, who has been overseeing the magazine's return since issue 19.

Retro Survival[edit]

Retro Survival is a commercial CD retro games magazine put together by the freelance writers of Retro Gamer when Live Publishing collapsed. The CD was published in November 2005 and contains articles that would have appeared in Issue 19 of Retro Gamer, as well as several extras including a foreword by celebrity games journalist Mr Biffo.


The magazine has an internet forum in which the editor and writers regularly interact with the readership. Certain questions are posed on a monthly basis with select answers from forum members appearing in the magazine.

Games Media Awards 2010[edit]

Retro Gamer overcame regular winners as gamesTM and Edge to win the award for Best Magazine at the 2010 Games Media Awards.[8]


Through imports and subscriptions, Retro Gamer has become somewhat popular in the US.


  1. ^ a b "Live Publishing set for administration". MCV. Intent Media. Archived from the original on 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Imagine acquires Retro Gamer" (PDF). Imagine. Retrieved 2006-09-03. 
  3. ^ Retro Gamer eMag Load 1 at
  4. ^ Retro Gamer eMag Load 2 at
  5. ^ Retro Gamer eMag Load 3 at
  6. ^ "Retro Gamer gains industry legend as guest Editor". Imagine Publishing. 2010-03-30. 
  7. ^ "PRESS RELEASE: Retro Gamer Zzaps Back to the Future!". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  8. ^ Stuart, Keith (15 October 2010). "Guardian triumphs at Games Media Awards". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2011-02-07. 

External links[edit]