RPM: The Unofficial Retro PlayStation Magazine is the latest creation by Sandeep Rai, a name you might be familiar with if you're a fan of the PlayStation Vita or the PlayStation 3, as he has previously written tomes about those consoles. With RPM, however, Mr Rai has chosen to focus on the wider gaming catalogues of every Sony console from the original PlayStation to the PS3, as well as Sony's handhelds. Funded via Kickstarter, the well packaged first issue arrived in a timely manner, so let's have a look at what he's offering.
The first feature is a round up of the launch titles for the PS1 for both North America and Europe. Each game is given space for a brief write up, a handful of screenshots, and a couple even get case art too. This is followed by a short history of Gran Turismo over the generations, with twelve pages dedicated to the racing sim. There are plenty of screenshots, and the text isn't just a puff piece - criticisms of the series are noted.
Syphon Filter gets some time in the spotlight next with an eight page interview with lead designer Richard Ham, followed by a two page review of the first title in the series as it's available on the PS+ service. The interview is really interesting and provides some great insight into not only the trials of a games developer in the 1990's, but also the hazards of developing a title in a specific genre when a bigger name is also due out. It's a series worthy of a re-master/re-make, although to be fair, the controls would probably be an area requiring improvement. But I digress.
There are four more PS+ reviews, covering The Legend of Dragoon, Killzone: Liberation, Rain, and God of War: Ascension. A good mix of genres and periods, each is scored out of ten. It's not all older titles though, as a Retro Revival piece brings Ratatan to the fore. A spiritual sequel to the Patapon series, this new release is due out in April 2025 following a very successful Kickstarter campaign.
The Five Times Table feature covers the most notable games from five to twenty five years ago on the various Sony platforms. Great for those who wish to reminisce, less so for those who are reminded that Metal Gear Solid hit the PlayStation 25 years ago. Pass me the Seven Seas cod liver oil and Ibuprofen!
A second interview takes up six pages as Nagato, one of the developers for Sony's online community Home, details the origins of the project. This is also an extremely informative interview and more than justifies its inclusion in this issue. To finish off the magazine, we have two retrospectives: Ultimate Spider-Man and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe.
As an extra, a Photo Mode booklet was also included, twenty eight pages of rather excellent captures from Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It's a nice add-on.
The physical quality of the mag is faultless and the design is spot on too - not too busy yet not leaving massive amounts of blank space either - credit to Jason Maddison for that. As for the magazine as a whole, this is a cracking first issue - varied in topics and well written.
Fans of the printed word should rejoice at RPM. I look forward to seeing what Sandeep and team have in store for future issues and I will be happily backing future Kickstarters. You can pick up your own copy of RPM from Sandeep's Etsy store here.