From many of my prior posts, it's probably pretty clear that I am a great admirer of The Space Gamer magazine that was published by Steve Jackson Games in the early 80s. Over the course of the magazine's lifetime, it changed hands no fewer than four times, but it is the Steve Jackson era that stands out as a particularly high point for the magazine.
During the Steve Jackson era, The Space Gamer was THE magazine where gamers could find reviews covering the breadth of the gaming hobby. They had review and news columns covering rpgs, miniatures, and play-by-mail games. Key among the reviews was the magazine's "Capsule Reviews" section where gamers could find thoughtful reviews of dozens of gaming products in every issue. This magazine is one of my favorite resources when I am looking for archival information about the history of the gaming hobby. Reading The Space Gamer one quickly sees that the "current" animosity that some gamers feel toward Wizards of the Coast -- the current owners of Dungeons and Dragons -- is nothing new. Back in the 80s, during the Gygax era, TSR (the owners of D&D at the time) had huge layoffs on a regular basis and were as sue happy as modern gamers claim Wizards is today.
In addition to rules and news, The Space Gamer issues often featured fully playable board games. Kung Fu 2100, Globbo, Battlesuit, and Necromancer were all games that originally appeared in the pages of TSG. The pages of the magazine also featured regular articles by people who are now giants in the gaming industry. People like Allen Varney started their game designer careers as contributors to the Letters page of TSG. Lord British wrote articles discussing his designer notes for Akalabeth and its origins.
For years, I have been collecting back issues by scouring eBay on a regular basis. Some of the issues are more expensive than others, and I have had to wait through several auctions on a couple of key issues. eBay, garage sales, used games sections, and used book stores used to be the only places one could legally acquire copies of TSG. Now that has changed.
Steve Jackson Games has finally made the first three SJG issues of The Space Gamer available on their e23 electronic publication store. Potential readers can now find issues 27, 28, and 29 at the website where they cost a mere $2.99 each. For these, and for any TSG issues, this is a bargain.
Go. Buy them now. Read them. Enjoy the in depth look at the early days of our hobby.
You can even get a free preview of issue 29 here.
Let's hope they keep adding new issues for us to purchase.