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The BIT magazine chef editor's open letter

Let me begin this letter a bit philosophically. Everything in the world has its beginning and end. Nothing lasts forever no matter how much we wish it did. The BIT magazine was first published in October 1991. We reckoned that December 1994 is the best time for it to finish. In the following lines, I'll try to explain what led us to this decision.

 

As already said, recognized as the first coloured game magazine in the former Czechoslovakia, the BIT was first released in October 1991, i.e. not even two years after the Velvet Revolution. Before it, there were only two regular magazines with a similar content, more particularly Excalibur in the Czech Republic and FIFO in Slovakia. Both of them were published, however, as monochromatic magazines with weaker paging. Obviously, the BIT immediately found its stable range of readers made especially of 8-bit Didaktik and ZX Spectrum computer owners. As months passed by, not only the magazine's look was subject of changes but also the readers range. The most significant changes were registered with releasing Issue 10/92 when its price was reduced from Kčs 29 to Kčs 25, then with Issue 5/93 when its internal design was considerably improved in overall, and finally with Issue 6/94 when the number of pages was extended to current 48 and the magazine printing was increased to 15.000 pieces. The range of readers was continuously changing from 8-bit computer owners to 16 or 32-bit machine owners, especially PC and Amiga (rest the later one in piece ). The trend was to an extent given by the review and walkthrouth ratios moving towards these kinds of computers. Well, the redaction was after all massively criticized by puritan owners of ZX Spectrum, Didaktik, C64, and Atari 800 computers for it. I definitely do not want to excuse for this step that of course took away a portion of our readers community unable to cross the 8-bit border shadow (even nowadays we can find few of them ). However, this step was inevitable. As I mentioned in the foreword, everything must end one day. The 8-bit computers have passed their horizon almost ten years ago and no new gaming software is being made for more than five years (I don't fully agree, there've been commercial titles still released in 1992 in the West). We cannot write about old games till forever. Contrarily, PC owners have warmly welcome this new course, based on dozens of their letters sent to us.

 

These were, however, things which an attentive reader might have seen on the outside. Now I'd like to sink a bit under the surface into things very poorly known or unknown at all to a common reader. What s/he might have probably yet known was that the BIT was published by the Ultrasoft Comp. (observable for instance from the magazine's masthead). Since it was founded, this company conceived foremost developing and distribution of computer games. This indirectly implied a need to let interested buyers know about their new products. And because we didn't find any of former media satisfactory enough, we decided to start publishing our own magazine. The goal was reached. The BIT became very popular and reading it people got to know world game production as well as ours. Launching a magazine was far from being a cheap deal. At the beginning, the Ultrasoft Comp. suffered from every issue with a sum exceeding Kčs 100.000. Later on, this balance narrowed, however the magazine never reached a profit. The latest issues were "financed" by the Ultrasoft Comp. with SK 50.000 minimum, in fact implying that each single piece of the magazine was subsidized with SK 3.30. If you multiply these sums by 39 representing the total number of months of publishing, you get to a nice round seven-digit number.

 

The fact that the BIT magazine was ceaselessly subsidized from the Ultrasoft Comp. money wasn't, however, the only reason for its ending. The second reason was some sort of natural evolution of things. It can't be considered a healthy state if a company develops games and publishes a magazine in which these games are in turn reviewed (with nicely exaggerated ratings). Although we tried to be to our games at least as critical as to the games of others (ha, ha, ha), it might have provoke objectiveness uncertainty to our readers. I already explained why we got to this uncommon situation – it was foremost due to the absolute lack of quality computer magazines in our country. These times are gone now, and we reckoned that the BIT magazine met its objective. Computer game magazines recently spring up like mushrooms. I think there's even too many of them in the Czech-o-Slovakian territory. It's obvious that only the best and most popular will survive on the market. We therefore come to an end that it doesn't make any sense to compete against each other if it's possible to cooperate resulting in everyone's benefit – be it computer magazines, game developing companies, or you, readers and players. We were hesitating for a while being uncertain whom to make an collaboration offer until we finally decided to support those who were first here and which we reckon they do a great job – the P.C.P. Company, and Excalibur and Level magazines (someone may be surprised now, but there really were times when both of them were part of the same publisher). We experienced a great deal of interest from publisher Mr. Ludvík (not surprisingly if getting rid of a competitor ) and our meeting resulted in a proposal of stopping the BIT magazine publishing and providing the best bits to the Level and Excalibur magazines. This will give a rise to some sort of Czech-o-Slovakian magazines taking up only the best and spreading all across the Czech and Slovak territory. Though, not only the former BIT magazine readers won't drive one's pigs to a fine market but moreover they will be able to choose between two above-average magazines. Those of you already got used to the regular advertisement of new games by the Ultrasoft Comp. and English companies will keep on finding it on pages of the mentioned magazines (bluntly speaking, the ads weren't there for a long time though ). This change will bring a lot of benefits to Excalibur and Level current readers as well, among other even more interesting content and wider selection of original computer games for affordable prices.

 

Finally, I appeal to all BIT readers to take this change with understanding and support the Level and Excalibur magazines. This regards also all external contributors whose articles, maps, and suggestions are welcome and definitely appreciated accordingly in these magazines. All current BIT subscribers will receive a personal letter with a possibility to subscribe to one of the mentioned magazines or eventually get their money back (pie crust promise – I received a single Excalibur issue never seeing the rest of the money in my life). On Level and Excalibur pages, the BIT readers will also find out the yearlong contest results including winner names. Results of the December inquiry won’t be thrown away neither – they will be considered during further improvements of both of the magazines.

 

Well, to wrap everything up, I'm addressing all core readers with the very last sentence. Don't show any sorrow. The BIT is dead, long live Level and Excalibur (also dead by now ).

 

Ľudovít Wittek
BIT magazine chef editor

 

 

I kinda fancied the BIT so it's really a pity it ended so suddenly. Based on this reason, I decided to make public this open letter by the former chef editor Ľudovít Wittek on these sites, explaining what steps led to it. I also think that even nowadays there's a lot of people who were buying this magazine and who may not know why it ended. I highlighted in italics those bits that express my personal feelings which I simply couldn't have forbear .

 

Publikováno: 27. 7. 2003 | Zdroj: Excalibur 3/95 | Vložit nový komentář...

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