One of the things I’ve looked forward to with the iPad is the rebirth of print media in the new format. Well, we now know that ain’t happening. You can’t force an old product to suddenly change ways and be just as successful.
Videogames, on the other hand, seem like a natural fit to be focused on for the device. As an already interactive medium, it’s a surprise that there hasn’t really been a dedicated gaming imagazine yet. That is, until Atomix launched.
Atomix is the brainchild of Oscar Yasser Noriega, and brings together several gaming industry veterans. Along for the ride is Area 5, which supports the magazine both editorially and in other functions. The first issue, just 99 cents, already has a good amount of original content; it’s 14 major articles are about what you’d find as features on several current websites and publications like EGM and Nintendo Power.
There’s a smattering of interviews and opinion pieces, but what I enjoyed most were sections that were more “nerdy” like the looks at touch controls as a major input method and how to get classic gaming consoles to look best on modern televisions. I think it’s these kinds of articles that will make me come back to the mag. Heck, there’s even an article about what games may be great on the 3DS, in the same vein as the one we posted recently — we starving 3DS gamers must think alike.
The user interface is very flashy, with multiple layers that remind me of 16-bit Super NES background and foreground movement mixed with some light touch controls and audio & video added in. Though there is a “tutorial” about how and when to use certain touch controls, it’s easy to swipe just too far and send the screen going bonkers. Also, because there’s a lot of motion involved in the pages and articles, it’s easy to feel as if the movement is a bit laggy as images need to “snap” to catch up to the words on the page.
The general graphic design of the magazine is very beautiful. From the choice of images, to the typefaces and fonts, to the overall layout and proportion of text to images on the screen, it’s super-sexy. I found myself taking iPad snapshots whenever I cam across a new page, as they’re almost poster-like in their presentation. It’s clear a lot of work went into the first issue.
Another feature I liked was the reporting on iOS games. For a device on the iOS, it would be a complete oversight to NOT spend time on the platform’s games. It was also a nice feature to include the ability to purchase the iOS games right from within the device — or, rather, it kicked me out to the iTunes store, but at least the option was there. I only wish that there were more videos (or even embedded demos!) of the games.
As a first step, the Atomix team did a great job. There are plenty of growing pains that we can expect, and the first issue is far from perfect, but it’s a valiant effort. Do I want more out of my iPad reading than just glorified PDF files? Yeah. And if anyone can buck that trend and deliver a product that is as enjoyably interactive as it is informative, it’s people who know what they’re reporting on and translate that fluidly to the final product.
I’m excited for what Atomix could become. It’s not there yet, but it’s the closest I’ve seen in a long while.
You can pick up Atomix for the iPad from the iTunes store here: iTunes Link
[Editor's Note: As pointed out to us, there are several other video game magazines in iTunes, such as @Gamer and GamesTM. These are, however iPad versions of existing print magazines. Atomix is the first magazine created specifically for the iPad about videogames... at least that's how they're billing themselves. Thanks, Rob!]