1-up MegaZine!!!!
an interview with Raina Lee

"1-UP is... Adventures in video game culture. A new zine about how and why we play. Not your little brother's game mag: no cheats, codes, or centerfolds of virtual vixens...


READERS! Ever read any video games journalism? Kinda sucks, right? It's all dullsville boy-babble about physics engines, specs, polygons and codes - right? Right! But no more! Because punk rock video games journalism is finally here! And, you guessed it - this revolution (like all the best revolutions) is being bought to you a) in fanzine format and b) by a girl! Hurrah! The world's first video games fanzine, I-Up Megazine, is published in the US by Raina Lee and designed by John Pham. Now on its third issue, past features have included 'How Tetris Saved My Life', Arcade Etiquette For Beginners, a feminist reading of Um Jammer Lammy, a Tony Hawk confessional, and a comic about Game and Watch handhelds, all wrapped up in a delightful bundle of clashing neon silk-screened graphics and 80s video games typography. We talk codes, polygons and physics engines (shyeah right) with zine founder Raina Lee…

What inspired you to launch 1-UP?

I used to work in the video game game industry (I did PR and occasionally wrote for the game mags) and I noted a lack of critical voices about the medium: a lack of anything that talked about games as a valuable cultural experience, i.e. social aspects of gaming, how there is a culture around gaming experience. Until recently games writing lacked seriousness, depth, and critical thinking, and especially a feminist or female perspective. So using my zine/ punk rock philosophy, DIY, I decided to make a publication that would put video game culture as its prime content. Currently I publish personal stories, game criticism, comics, art, and ephemera related to video games and its history, as well as interviews with gamers, bands, etc.

Can you talk about the visual aesthetic of the magazine?

The first 2 issues were hand stapled and silk-screened, and laborious to make. Issue 3 is professionally printed - more like a journal or a book - but we still wanted to maintain the hand-crafted, intimate quality of previous issues, because the content of 1-Up is very personal. So we've filled Issue 3 with illustations from a group of very talented illustrators (John Pham, Jordan Crane, Kozyndan), and tried to maintain a hand-made quality to the printing; fewer photographs, 2-toned printing (inspired by old 2-color Atari game manuals), graph paper, and a lo-fi aesthetic.



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