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1-Up MegaZine #3

Raina Lee introduces issue #3 of 1-Up thusly:

Welcome to 1-Up MegaZine, Issue #3. For those new to 1-Up, our publication represents the ghost of video game future; a world where secret golden coins and power-ups emerge out of the ruins (broken blocks), and everyone can live as many lives as they earn.

It’s a good introduction, encapsulating the dreamy-eyed intellectualism of the zine as a whole—and, for that matter, shedding light on the wherefores of this very website’s title.

1-Up is targeted at, we suspect, a particular kind of gamer. She is a cradle-to-grave gamer, to be sure, but because of the videogame industry’s current climate, she is cornered into that horrible niche called “casual” (or in Nintendo’s lexicon, “latent”) gaming. She intellectualizes and externalizes the videogames of her youth precisely because they are so internalized: her individual videogame experiences are woven into her earliest memory.

We deliberately say she, because not only does 1-Up MegaZine—for all its universality, gender-neutrality and cosmic synchronicity—focus on its many female readers and contributors, but the zine itself seems strangely feminine. It is sensitively written, meticulously constructed, and wholly lovely.

In many ways, the zine reminds us of PekoPeko: a Zine About Food. Both have gorgeous screenprinted covers (and until issue 3 of 1-Up, they were bound similarly); both feature intelligent, sensitive writing; both are labors-of-love that have effectively ceased to be published; both are tough to find, and purchasing an early issue is pretty much a matter of chance. If memory serves, both also have featured articles by Wired’s Chris Baker.

1-Up Issue #3 is loosely, thematically bound by Street Fighter 2, and each issue comes with a funny little “trading” card attached, which depicts one in a series of “Imaginary Street Fighter Characters.” Issue #3 also includes interviews with Scottish rockers Bis and legendary gamer Billy Mitchell, as well as a revelatory piece by cartoonist Martin Cendreda.

We regret that the zine is so difficult to get ahold of (after a failed attempt at online purchase, we picked our copy up at Giant Robot’s SF location), but you’ll likely find 1-Up MegaZine well worth the search.

Inside 1-Up

Inside 1-Up

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