Gaming magazines of the 1980s in free-to-view retrospective

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The Independent Tech

An English film company has released a web-only documentary about the early days of videogame magazines in the UK, plotting the rise and fall of the publishers behind Zzap!64, Crash, and others.

The Newsfield Years is a candid retrospective on several well-known and influential titles as told by publications' founders and writers, Roger Kean, Franco and Oliver Frey, and Matthew Uffindell.

Originally a mail-order company started up by a few friends in the early 1980s, Newsfield soon saw an opportunity for a vibrant, exciting videogaming magazine for the then cutting edge ZX Spectrum.

Their mail-order catalogue, Crash, was re-launched as a full-blown print magazine. By 1985, it was joined by Zzap!64 for the Commodore 64, and Amtix for the Amstrad CPC.

Bold young writers won popularity with readers but caused problems with advertisers and games manufacturers, such were the magazines' influence.

By the early 1990s many Newsfield titles were struggling, as big money publishers caught on to the trend, though one multi-format title survives to this day.

Originally released as a paid download in February, The Newsfield Years is now free to view at