As an indie game developer myself, I like to keep up with what other people are doing in the industry. The tools they're using, development methods and design styles they're experimenting with, and of course the games they're making. The big games coming out of AAA studios are properly marketed and receive a lot of interest from journalists and such organically, but there are a lot of small independent game studios and hobbyist developers out there making really interesting things too, that sadly don't get much exposure at the moment.
I recently heard about Debug, a new magazine that aims to change this. Debug issue #1 was only launched in April and immediately received a lot of positive feedback, so I subscribed to it too. They offer subscriptions for both digital PDF and physically printed versions, with the PDF obviously at a lower cost and better for the environment so quite a nice option. You never know which magazines are going to one day become valuable collector items though so I didn't want to miss the opportunity to start a subscription from an issue #1, and there's something about flicking through an actual paperback that just feels nicer.
Debug is a UK publication and I've seen reports from some European subscribers that their copy took a while to arrive, presumably because of the import and export complexities that arose with Brexit, but I'm pleased to confirm that this wasn't an issue for me as a UK resident. I think I subscribed on a Tuesday evening and received on the Saturday, so that was basically an immediate dispatch.
The magazine arrived in a cardboard sleeve, internally wrapped in opaque plastic so well protected from the weather without being horrifically over-packaged. True collectors might prefer it to have arrived in clear plastic to keep unwrapped for future value, but for the rest of us who want to actually read this thing, that's no downside.
I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly, but on initial handling the magazine felt surprisingly high quality. Perhaps I expected a first edition print from a new publication to be sub-par, or perhaps just because the focus is on the indie scene which to be blunt is probably more comprised of amateur developers than professional, I maybe expected the quality of this magazine to reflect that. Whatever my expectations were and whatever level of consciousness they were on, I was pleasantly surprised by what arrived anyway. I've worked with a lot of print companies over the years - our first office as QWeb Ltd was shared with a very respectable print company and our biggest clients are merchandise and uniform suppliers, so I know my print qualities, and this is right up there with the best!
Content-wise I'm impressed further. Without giving too much away and ruining anything for those waiting to receive their own copy, I can at least confirm that the Debug team have managed to populate a 78 page magazine with nothing but high quality, genuinely interesting game concepts. There's nothing amateur in here - at least not in appearance. The point of this magazine is to give exposure to indie developers and I'm sure some of the developers it features think of themselves as small fish, but from what I can see all of these games have earned their place between the covers and wouldn't look out of place in a high street computer store.
I like to think that when my own game, Argentauria, is ready for some press we'll be able to get a feature in here too but in the meantime I'm just looking forward to what issue #2 brings. It's actually fantastic that a publication as high quality as this one is choosing to focus solely on indie titles, and I do hope it's a successful enough magazine to keep going for years to come. There are so many great looking, clever games out there that deserve to be found, and very few mediums to give them proper exposure.
If you're reading this, presumably you're interested in games or you're an indie game dev yourself. Either way, I can genuinely recommend this one!
Welcome Team Debug, to the indie gamedev scene.
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