Jess Ragan


Jess Ragan (Project:Ignition, Concept, The Gameroom Blitz)
Benjamin Leatherman (Video Game Monthly, Fanarchy)
Russ Perry, Jr. (Slap-Dash)
Tom Donoho (Above and Beyond)
Al Riccitelli, Jr. (The Dark Side)
Chris Kohler (Video Zone)
Rick Florey (Overkill)
Jared Jones (Video Vision)
Lance Rice (The Subversive Sprite)
Jonathan Ratcliffe (Game Mag)
Edward Finkler (The NAEGE Journal)
Aaron Buckner (Video Scope, Mindstorm)
Michael Palisano (The LASER, Escapist, MMCC)
Chris Dyer (Sub-Zero, Fanitsu)
Matt Lotti (Hyper'zine)
Todd Lintner (MASTERminds)
Jeremy Statz (Matrix3)
Patrick Reynolds (GameLord, Fantazine, Vendetta)
Brian Pacula (The Good, The Bad, and The 8-Bit)
Tabitha Indigo Paige (Counterpoint)
Eric Longdin (Super NES Gamer, Super Gamer, Splat!)
Scott Boehmer (Porta-Play, Random Access)
George Wilson (Video Universe)
Alan Lanoie (Cheaply Produced Video Game Newsletter About What Sucks, Infestation)
Ara Shirinian (Spectrum)
Chris Johnston (Paradox)
Sean Pettibone (In Between The Lines)
Greg Wilcox (Continue?)
Nathan Hauke (Sensory Overload)
Jeff Bogumil (Concordant Opposition)
Joe Santulli (Digital Press)
V: The Video Game Experience (Dan Thomas MacInnes)


Andy Saito
Casey Loe
Ulrich Kempf
Noah Dziobecki
Brooks King
Jeffrey Daniels
Tim Duarte
Lester Welsh
Kevin Cline
Darren Krowlewski
Chris Larson
Jeremy Parish


What are fanzines?

Fanzines are newsletters, published by fans of a particular hobby. There are fanzines devoted to everything from Japanese animation to heavy metal music, but On-File deals specifically with video games. Generally, fanzine editors trade with one another, creating a publishing network called a fandom. The communication between other fans in this network is what gives fanzines their flavor... there's nothing more entertaining than an intelligent discussion (or heated debate!) between two fans with differing opinions.

When was video game fandom created, and who created it?

This is subject to some debate, but most people agree that this fandom was sparked by a column in a 1990 issue of Video Games and Computer Entertainment. Professional writer Arnie Katz suggested that fans of video games should express their opinions by publishing newsletters... VG+CE's readers agreed, and flooded Mr. Katz with their first efforts. Many of these first fanzines quickly fell by the wayside, but others, like Mindstorm, Cyberbeat, and The Subversive Sprite flourished thanks to the talent of their editors, creating the foundation for the first nationally recognized video game fandom.

It would be foolish to assume that, given the extreme popularity of video games in the early 80's, that an electronic gaming fandom of some sort didn't exist before 1990. Indeed, Ken Uston published a newsletter for fans of his series of video game books, and this in turn may have inspired other fanzines. Still, there's no proof of their existance, so one must assume that Arnie Katz is the father of video game fandom.

How'd you come up with the idea for the On-File Project?

One day, I was digging through my enormous box of video game fanzines, just as I'd done every day, looking for a review of a game I'd never played but wanted to know more about (I think the game may have been Fighting Street for the TurboGrafx-16, but that's really not important). After taking a few heavy stacks of fanzines out of the box, I wiped my brow and said to myself, "Self, isn't there a better way to keep all this information organized than throwing it in a ratty old cardboard box?" My thoughts then turned to everyone who hadn't joined fandom the moment Arnie Katz mentioned it in Video Games and Computer Entertainment nearly a decade ago. They'd missed out on a lot of great things, like Pat Reynolds' intricately detailed Fantazine covers, Brian Pacula's side-splittingly funny opinion columns, and Josh Lesnick's slightly warped but always engrossing observations in Video Apocalypse. It was then that I decided to take everything I loved about this fandom and make it accessible to everyone, at no cost.

I quickly surmised that the Internet would be the best place for such an extensive fanzine archive, and got right to work, contacting every fan-ed I knew with form letters and personal phone calls. Nearly everyone I'd talked to loved the idea and gave me permission to use material from their fanzines on the web site. After much searching, I even managed to track down old school fan-eds like Lance Rice and Ed Finkler, who were just as supportive of the project. The ball was rolling... all I needed to do was stake a claim to a web site (preferably one named and retype the articles in each fanzine, adding my own material whenever the need presented itself.

Two years (and much procrastination...) later, the On-File web site was born!

What does On-File have in common with old fanzine organizations like NAEGE and GEA?

Practically nothing. First, the On-File Project is a not for profit organization and as such doesn't charge membership fees. Members don't even need to contribute articles, because they've already written them... since the burden of responsibility is on Ben and myself, it takes almost no effort to join On-File. Secondly, On-File's purpose is different from either the NAEGE or GEA... the NAEGE was meant to unite fandom, and GEA was designed to get fandom noticed by bigshots in the video game industry. On-File is simply an effort to preserve and archive the history of video game fandom.

What can I do to help?

If you were or currently are the editor of a newsletter with a focus on electronic games, just give the On-File Project permission to use articles from your fanzine in the On-File fanzine archive. It's that simple! There's no further obligation, no embarassing health questions, and no salesman will visit you (sorry, I couldn't resist). Even if you don't edit a video game fanzine, you can still be of assistance. See the list of people at the top of the page who haven't yet become On-File members? If you know them, or can find their E-mail addresses, please contact either Ben or myself. I'm also giving some thought to running ad banners on this site to pay for the server name, but I need to run this by Ben before I make a final decision about it.

Hey!  What's with all the editing?

This is a question I expect to hear from a lot of fan-eds, so I might as well address it now. Some of the features in the On-File archive have been edited for a variety of reasons... the most common of these is to improve the overall readability of each article. For example, several fan-eds have a habit of using a lot of abbreviations in their reviews. Those familiar with this fandom will know exactly what they're talking about, but this would probably just confuse those who aren't "in the loop". Hence, some of these abbreviations were replaced with complete names in order to keep the reviews accessible to all readers. I will also replace overused words with synonyms, streamline run-on sentences, or clarify muddled points at my discretion, but one thing I will NEVER do is interrupt an article with an editor's note or change the context of an On-File member's work. If you see an editor's note in any of the articles featured in On-File's fanzine archive, you can rest assured that the comment was in that article before it was reprinted here.

If you're an On-File member with a moral objection to your work being edited, you have the option of editing the articles yourself and sending them to my E-mail address (that's [email protected]). You can mail them as an attachment or include them in the message itself... either way is fine, as long as they're not preformatted (this make them difficult to include in HTML documents).

What are those icons doing in front of some of the articles?

They're part of a rating system I've developed for On-File. As with any medium, video game fanzines range wildly in content... some are suitable for all audiences, while others push the envelope of good taste with irreverent material that isn't always appropriate for younger readers. To address any complaints sensitive readers may have about the content in On-File, we've given each article one of the following ratings:

This is an implied rating; if you don't see anything above the article you're reading, that means it's appropriate for all audiences. Columns like these may have a few mild swear words, and possibly some bathroom humor, but it's nothing to call your local PTA about.

Articles marked with the yellow 'Zine 13 rating generally contain profanity and ribald jokes, but nothing you'd call mature content... in fact, it's usually the exact opposite! Think of this as the Beavis and Butthead alert if you're into that kind of thing.

This is where we get into a bit of deep water. The red 'Zine 18 rating is very rare and only applies to columns that explore some very adult territory. I won't go into any detail about what I consider this to be, for obvious reasons. If you're easily offended, please heed my warning and DO NOT read these articles.

Where's Digital Press?

It's coming soon!  Editor Joe Santulli recently joined On-File, so you'll be seeing his articles on this site in the future.  In the meantime, you'll find a huge archive of content from past issues of Digital Press on Joe's web site.  Check it out... and visit the Digital Press forum while you're at it!





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