Whilst reading this month’s Games TM, I was surprised to notice my favourite gaming magazine recommend Scroll – a high quality videogames publication that features retro musings and industry feedback. Having never heard of the magazine, and considering that Games TM referrred to the project as something more akin to a fanzine, I decided to check it out and visit its website.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the magazine in question is a little known project by a former 1UP journalist called Ray Barnholt. And with the first issue piquing my interest with its cover of Nintendo’s all conquering Super Nintendo, I decided to find out more about Ray Barnholt’s project, and discover as to what motivated him to start Scroll.
Why did you opt to make Scroll a print-on-demand offering as opposed to having it in the shops as a fully fledged print magazine? Alternatively, why not just publish the articles on your blog/website and get readers that way?
I’m just one person, and I’m in no position to start up a whole enterprise that prints and distributes magazines. This is a zine in spirit. But I was still attracted to the challenge of doing a print product.
What sort of preparation and planning went into the first issue, and how did you go about designing the layout and securing contributions from other writers?
I took a couple months to just freely lay out pages as closely as I imagined them. And there are no editorial contributors except a good friend of mine. I had all the existing software, so it cost nothing extra to do.
How do you think Scroll differs from other gaming publicaitons on the market, and who is the magazine’s target audience?
It’s all about covering gaming subjects that interest me and hopefully interest others, with a heavy lean on history. I like to go deep into game history and pull out interesting items and facts. In general, I want to be a huge annoying know-it-all.
What inspired you to form your own magazine and blog, and did 1UP’s decision to lay you off have any affect on this? If so, what are your plans for the website blog and magazine, and do you have any plans for www.scroll.vg to become a media rival to 1UP, much like how Jeff Gerstmann intends www.giantbomb.com to be after he was fired from Gamespot?
I started the project after getting laid off, but I had the idea long before that, so I would get it off the ground sooner or later. This is a very personal project about my own gaming passion(s), and I have no desire to grow it into anything beyond a thin magazine and a rarely-updated blog. I want a place to scratch my proverbial itches, but I don’t hate the “real” games writing field, either. Which is why I just took a job at GamePro.
Considering the saturated presence of internet websites and blogs, what tips would you give to aspiring content creators and media moguls who want to carve out a successful niche on the internet?
I don’t consider myself a success at that sort of thing, so I probably don’t have any advice you haven’t heard before. I did SCROLL because I thought I could, and because I wanted it to be different, however slightly. The only advice that comes from substantial experience is if you can write for a popular website and get a couple thousand people to remember you, that’s a great way to go!