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Arachnophobia #28 Review
by Cactus/Oxyron & Jailbird/Booze Design

Another issue of this steadily released since years disk magazine was brought us in the late April 2003. After loading the main file we can see a very simple intro with a scroller and a converted picture showing the face of a girl. JSL's picture clearly confirms the thesis he's talented logo graphician, but while watching pictures his technique isn't that good... I missed the separate executable file, which takes me immediately to the magazine without watching the intro. It becomes boring to watch the same pictures after loading the magazine another time.

Although this issue is declared as "we are ready for summer" I believe I've heard some christmas sounds in the background. While talking about the soundtrack there's only one exclusive tune composed by Richard. It suits the mag fine. All the rest of tunes are classical oldies composed by Edwin van Santen. I wonder if responsible staff member(s) didn't have more fantasy to provide more variety.

I don't know what kind of routines were used by Stirf, but controlling the magazine in the main menu is a little bit uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to wait a moment before computer realises that a cursor key has been pressed. I have no clue why someone is making something more difficult than it's normally easier to realise. Though there are not only negative sides. However the text can be read in a relatively small window, reading articles gives much more pleasure than in "Scene World". Here we can scroll the text by every single pixel with two available speeds. That is very good and makes reading much more comfortable.

Both logos were painted by JSL, and they are quite nice. Since many issues the same charset is used. It reminds me of old editions of "Arachnophobia".

Before we go on with the content there's a nice feature which I do miss in other magazines. While returning to the recently opened article it's not going to be loaded again into the memory because the system notices it's already there. There are 20 separate chapters , however some of them could be merged into the one. For example why separating "Charts" and "Single Charts"? That's not really necessary and it doesn't happen in any other currently released disk magazine. It could be one chapter and the free room in the menu could be used for another text.

Regarding the texts the usage of the language is good. I can understand everything well so there's no need to complain in this subject. The first chapter I've read was the editorial called "A New Issue". In my view it's a bit too long, but may be the author wanted to explain some points clearly to prevent misunderstandings. Anyway the content of the editorial is quite boring and therefore I would have shortened it. "The News" chapter is edited by Commander and he tried to compile as much new information as possible. Because of the fact that most of us can find those news for example online, this chapter might seem outdated, but it's the same for every disk magazine publishing scene news today. This time the charts based on acceptable amount of votesheets so they look reasonable. I don't know if there were any fake votes like in "Scene World #7" but in that case my deep respect to Lizart for filtering them properly. It's really good to see the group after the demo name, but why not having the group after the nicknames, too?

"Beasts" is a story which has nothing to do with the C-64 scene and is the most useless article in this issue. Regarding "DVD/Movie Review" the situation is similar: pretty useless. If I want to read something about the recent movies, I visit appropriate webpage on the net or go to a kiosk and buy a film-magazine. A C-64 disk magazine is not supposed to be the place, where I'll be searching for the information about "The Day The Earth Stood Still". It's rather "Coding Aid #4", which true sceners might find interesting here...

In "Scene Groups" we can see memberlists of several groups, presented in a very unpleasent way. And still there's a question left: why separating the related memberstatus from the news chapter? "The Web Email" and "The Web URL" seem to be further disk fillers. I would understand publishing such texts once in a while but having them continously in every issue of "Arachnophobia" is unnecessary since it's merely a reprint. The same goes for "Birthdays" fitting into the very same category. Both interviews are nice, but they're not hellishly interesting. "Ex-Sceners Today" is a really good idea. It is always interesting to know what former sceners are doing these days. You surely know how mysterious sceners sometimes disappear and seem to be out of sight for good...

I completely do not understand the idea behind the chapter "IRCamp". It's a long copy of an IRC-session simply copied from an IRC-client logfile. But why? No explanations, no comments, nothing at all to understand the reason and the sense. I did not find the mood to read the whole log, especially when I don't know what can I expect from it. I would understand including the IRC-log as a comment to a certain situation, a point in a discussion etc. But the way it is presented here doesn't make it obvious if anyone will be interested in following this log for more than a few lines...

There are also some other chapters like "Webmasters" inviting you to visit Role's homepage, "Release List" containing information about recent games, "Reaction Section" with some opinions about the magazine and "AdMeAd" with snailmail addresses.

To sum up my review: "Arachnophobia" is an average disk magazine. You can get the impression that it is not developing for years, resting at the same point that it was several years ago. It's good to see it being released on a regular basis, but in my opinion it lacks a little bit more interesting material. I missed the reviews very much. It's sad that they haven't find reliable critics for so long. It would be fun to read some opinions from Dutch and Belgian sceners about recent scene productions.

In the last chapter "Last Words" we can read: "I hope we can still stay in the top 3 charts of other magazines". I take the freedom not to add any comments regarding this...

Rating: 5/10.

CACTUS/OXYRON

And now to give you another point of view on this production, here's another review of this magazine... I hope that presenting two different opinions will cause these reviews become a bit more objective than they would be when made by only one single person.

Okayish intro, nothing special. The converted girl sucks, luckily the fine picture from JSL saves my day.

A magazine that hardly changed since its premiere issue. Same old outfit and same old articles, outdated information (only according to my e-mail address, which I don't use since I left to the army, and dudes that was three years ago - where in the hell you've found it?!) and non-scene related textual. The charts-chapter suffers from the same mistakes as Scene World's, namely it's filled with sceners who are not active for a really long time. The constant ditching on PCs and Windows is a bit childish and quite controversial when in the same time they include an URL list of every kind of C64 related sites (not just the C64 browser-friendly ones). I don't get that IRC #c-64 log rip neither (doesn't contains any important issues, while half is on German and most of it all, booooooooooooooring). For a good laugh I'll rather check the latest updates of Cupid's weirdo #c-64 log collection (www.cupid.de/irc), and convert it to c64 for whoever prefers to read interesting #c-64 logs on the "real thing".

There are some OK articles like the interviews and the coding help, but there are much more that I'd never read to end, or even load if I wouldn't have to write this review. If I compare this magazine to Domination or Vandalism News, well, my head shakes no-no: it's not worth the time guys, and that huge quality-difference is just too friggin big not to notice.

The English is a suffer, sometimes hard to understand, but as I see, it's constantly improving from issue to issue.

I'm afraid that the release of this magazine is just a way to keep a group alive. But guys please convince me about the opposite.

JAILBIRD/BOOZE DESIGN

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