Monday, 29 January 2007

Boo and Hiss - MindGames mag cancelled

Disappointment of the week is the hugely annoying news that the BBC's MindGames magazine has been cancelled after only 9 issues. The past 6 or 7 months have really got me back into puzzles (possibly to the not-so-beneficial impact on reading and working...), and this magazine had the largest, most diverse monthly set of puzzles I could have hoped for (rather than concentrating on Sudoku, or Japanese logic).

Still, it was admittedly a brave (but beautiful) move on behalf of the BBC. The sudden and surprise rise of Sudoku (and the emergence of other puzzles, such as Hutosiki in the Guardian and Brain Training games) was cause for some hope in the never-ending effort to get people thinking. While there any many magazines exploiting this fact, it was only the BBC that really took on the possibilities. The opportunity to introduce logic puzzlers not just to new variants, but also to cryptic crosswords, general knowledge rounds and all other codes and quests was adventurous and inspired.

But perhaps it was just before its time. The world likes little distractions, maybe, and MindGames was a fair undertaking within the limited time of a month. The true puzzlers are still relatively few and (importantly) far between, so its hard to tell how much of the inability to sell was merely a lack of advertising support.

Or maybe it simply tried to do too much. Cruciverbalists have their Times and Guardian daily dosage. Similarly with Sudoku fans. And pub quizzes provide a ncie social setting for those wishing to show their general knowledge prowess.

Still, I think there is a niche out there for a magazine like this. There seem to be plenty of people putting together puzzles, running blogs, and discussing the latest fashions. Perhaps a smaller magazine would be plausible. Perhaps even, in this day and age, some kind of community-run version would be a possibility. (Although, while the Net is great, I do like my puzzles printed - but I don't like printers... Paradox!)

Anyway, while we wait to see what the future brings for the puzzling world, raise a glass to toast the passing of another fine magazine.

3 comments:

Neil said...

I've been trying to hunt down a new issue of Mindgames for days - I had no idea it had been cancelled. Thanks for the post - the only bit of information I could find about the cancellation anywhere on the web!

ruan said...

If anyone knows where i can get the back issues of mindgames please let me know,I bought one issue and thought now theres a magazine that does more than eat time,but alas it was only a dream.


metaldrumsupyourass@gmail.com

Scribe said...

Hi ruan, unfortunately I tended to do most of the puzzles in my issues, so the ones I have left are generally onyl good if either a) you like the puzzles I don't ;), or b) you only want the articles.

2 things that spring to mind: 1. Maybe post to the We Love Puzzles forum, as I'm sure a few people on there got the magazine. 2. Get in touch with the people who produced it. An old e-mail newsletter I have for the magazine has "mindgamesnews@bbcmagazinesbristol.com" as its sender, so you could try that. Otherwise, you could try getting in touch with the company via www.bbcmagazinesbristol.com, see if they have any old copies hanging about perhaps.

Sorry I can't be of much more help. I was in WH Smiths today looking at puzzle magazines, so might try and do a quick review/round-up of what;s available over Christmas at some point. Not quite the same, though...