19/09/2021

๐Ÿ“š A Profound Waste of Time ๐Ÿ“š @APWOTmag

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Described on the website (www.apwot.com) as:

‘an award-winning independent magazine that celebrates games as an art form. Each issue plays host to a rich variety of voices from inside and outside the videogame industry, interwoven with stunning bespoke imagery from leading illustrators and artists. Editorially discerning and beautifully designed, the magazine serves to celebrate gaming culture and discussion.’

My article could pretty much end here, as A Profound Waste of Time very much delivers on the above, it is a plush and evocative collection of interviews, essays and articles that are tightly edited and cover a lot of ground – all the while backed up by some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen in a book that covers the gaming medium.

We were sent issue 2 for coverage – both issues are available on the site in both standard and special editions – and I was initially struck by the gloriously busy Katamari Damacy-influenced matte cover (courtesy of Doug John Miller). At almost 200 pages in length, the 14 main articles really have room to breathe and get hips deep into the topic on which they are focused.

From the founder of a localisation company based in Tokyo talking through his approach of using games as a means of escapism and covering his personal history with the Dragon Quest series of games – to a photographic essay on Tokyo (these pages of the magazine are presented on gloss paper for maximum impact) and interviews with the creators of Katamari Damacy, Rez, Space Channel 5 and even in-depth dives on dev studios such as HAL Lab Inc. there’s a lot to take in here, both in terms of informative content but also in that it is a real feast for the eyes.

The art styles range from minimalist and expressionistic to sculpture via penwork and graphic-novel-esque fantasy. The design choice of mixing up the accompanying style of art for each article keeps things fresh right through the magazine – quite frankly, with the heft, quality and content here, it feels more like a book than a magazine! – and I found myself really settling into each section.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received A Profound Waste of Time for coverage, I had no idea if it would be news-focussed or perhaps a collection of reviews etc. but the finished product, an extremely well put-together tome that shines of some of the best art direction I’ve seen combined with thought-provoking, relatable, informative and well-written articles really took me by surprise. Admittedly, the spread of writers means that some articles and styles will resonate with the reader more than others but that’s to be expected in such a format. 

Whilst this is primarily a book that has the overarching intent of looking at video games as an art form, what really pulled me in for a passionate embrace on a Ferris wheel was the personality in the writing and how horizon-broadening I found it in terms of looking at the medium I’ve enjoyed for decades through the lenses of other creative parties.

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