Jaz has caught the Twitter bug
By James O'Neill - 25 May, 2010
One of the reasons that Mean Machines is so fondly remembered by retro gamers, is because at its heart it had a staff base who did not shy away from expressing their personal viewpoints. They voiced their gripes honestly and clearly articulated their gaming passion. Its pages were packed with personality in a way which is missing from today's multiformat gaming mags and can only really be found in the pages of magazines like Retro Gamer. Retro magazine fans still remember each staff member twenty years on. Mention Rich Leadbetter, Radion Automatic, Oz Browne and Gary Harrod to any Mean Machines reader and they will know exactly who you are talking about.
In the same regard, Mean Machines's editor Julian 'Jazza' Rignall will always be remembered for his sincere review style and his enthusiasm towards promoting console gaming. With a career history stretching back to the '80s editions of Zzap!64, it would not be an exaggeration to label Jaz 'The Daddy of Retro Gaming Mags'. He was active when Mean Machines was a mere fledgling idea as a specialised section in the back pages of C&VG. He was also one of the first people to push the concept of a console centric publication to EMAP, through the magnificent Complete Guide to Consoles's dedicated books.
Just last month Mean Machines Archive reported that Rich, Gary and Jaz were tweeting away on Twitter, alongside infamous guardian of all letters, the seemingly affable, yet fierce Mean Yob. However, this fantastic Twitter based news keeps on rolling in. On Friday 21st May 2010, Jaz popped up on Twitter and announced that he had set up his own @jazrignall profile, so that he will be able to tweet more about the history of gaming magazines. This in turn will compliment with his current contribution to gaming, alongside his World of Warcraft Twitter profile (@Jaz_WoWMagazine).
His exact words were, "Account activated so I can start separating my Warcraft stuff from the other kinds of retro-fun-nonsense I'd like to be able to talk about!" He has kept to his word too, and tweeted a number of reflections based upon gaming 'back in the day'. Within just four days of activating his profile, he has already discussed the bane of sprite flicker, the challenges inherent in the iPhone's C64 virtual joystick and displayed a nostalgia towards Atari's 1987 RoadBlasters. He has also shed light on snippets of information from the EMAP days. These include how Gary Harrod munched on the bag of skips made famous by the Complete Guide to Consoles: Volume 1's PC Engine size comparison photograph, as well as detailing exactly where and when he finally snipped of his mullet (Irvine, California, he was in his late twenties).
Perhaps most exciting of all is the enthusiasm he obviously shows towards chatting about the classic days of gaming, from the '80s and '90s. He has already mentioned that he has old magazines and review cartridges which he has "kept for posterity". On Monday 24th May he tweeted an awesome comment revealing that he has the entire Mean Machines magazine content fully bound up as book. Jaz tweeted, "EMAP made 3 per year, a full run of MM's properly bound into a book, kinda like an encyclopedia!"
This is big news for Mean Machines fans! We have a golden opportunity to tweet our questions and memories at the Mean Machines editor, an opportunity which has not been possible since gamers wrote into the mag back in the early '90s. We all love retro gaming. Golden Axe was our God of War, Smash TV our MadWorld and Sunset Riders our Red Dead Redemption. However, we could never get an insight into what it was like to be embedded within the industry, without legends like Jaz sharing their experiences.
Jaz Rignall lived and breathed gaming in the '80s and '90s, he was writing about retro gaming at a time when it was next gen. We may have all been reading the mags and playing the games at the time, but we were obviously not previewing and reviewing early copies of games, or attending Las Vegas's CES Show to play the first copies of SNES Street Fighter II in 1992 (Mean Machines Issue 17, p.10-12).
Therefore in that regard, "You don't know, man! You weren't there!" However, Jaz was there, he was part of gaming's first charge and he took his place on the front lines. Most importantly, thanks to his new @JazRignall twitter profile, retro gamers are lucky enough to be able to receive insights into what it was like to work in the magazine industry. Each tiny nugget of information Jaz tweets, and each piece of specialised knowledge he shares, will build into a solid gold storage of retro bullion. A stockpile of tidbits which rival Scrooge McDuck's stash of treasures...
... and the great news does not end there! Mean Machines Archive have also heard that the one and only, the authentic, the 'real deal' and prime 'Mean Yob' beef is making his triumphant return to the retro gaming scene. He will be tweeting faster than After Burner's F-14 Tomcat, so make sure you are there to post him a comment @MeanYob and potentially receive a torrent of justifiable abuse. You know you love it, we all do! Mean Machines taught us to appreciate quick wit and sharp put downs. Gamers knew how to take it on the chin, way back in the early '90s, basically because we appreciated the quality of the information that EMAP's mags provided.
Jaz's Sheep - 26 May 2010, 13:50 GMT