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Missing Magazine - Gameliner


RetroDefense
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If you have any further information regarding this magazine, please chime in so it can be added to the RetroMags database and properly preserved!
 
Gameliner was the official house-organ magazine of Gameline, an online subscription service for the Atari VCS/2600 game system.  The service delivered temporary game downloads - essentially game rentals - via a proprietary 1200 baud modem.  (Quaint now but fairly high tech back in '83.)
 
I'm not entirely sure of the service's pricing structure but aside from the modem package itself, a subscription was required along with per-game download fees.  Issues of Gameliner magazine - despite its $2.00 cover price - were provided free to subscribers and - if the 1st issue's editorial is to be believed - exclusively to subscribers.  The first issue may have been bundled with the modem.
 
The magazine contained very little in the way of advertising.  Along with typical magazine features (interviews, letters page, editorial, etc) Gameliner essentially acted as a means of delivering 1) a "master menu" list of online games a subscriber could reference when selecting something to download and 2) a collection of manual pages so subscribers would understand how to actually play the games they'd downloaded.   :)  These pages were intended to be removed from the 'zine and added to a 3-ring binder packaged with the modem.

 

The magazine technically lasted only two issues before succumbing to the Great Crash.  A newsletter was published sometime during the holiday '83 time frame, billing itself as a stopgap measure, explaining issue #3 of the magazine had been delayed as a result of "printing complications."  Issue #3 would never see the light of day.

 
Name: Gameliner
Website:  Web... site?  What's a web site?
Country of Origin: USA
Number of issues: 2 (3 counting the "bridge" newsletter)

Dates of each issue:
 
1:  September '83
2:  October '83

 

Some interesting trivia.  While digital-only downloads are an unfortunate norm today, Gameline may have been responsible for one of the first (perhaps the first?) in the home console realm.  A 2600 title named "Save The Whales" was available exclusively via the service.  Luckily, a prototype of the game was discovered and preserved by the gaming community in 2002.  I don't recall the game receiving any coverage in Gameliner proper but it is mentioned in the newsletter.

 

Gameline was actually a product/service provided by Control Video Corporation.  Following its demise, the founder eventually re-purposed the tech into a new company named Quantum Computer Services.  QCS eventually begat America Online, the online service we loved to hate.

 

"You've got mail!"

 

Gallery:

https://community.retromags.com/gallery/category/457-gameliner/

 

Magazine:

https://www.retromags.com/magazines/category/usa/gameliner/

Edited by RetroDefense
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