Tap! magazine: so long and thanks for all the fish

It was September or October 2010 when I got a call from Christopher Phin. I’m not sure where he was, but it was very loud and I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying. Still, I did manage to hear something about “iPhone” and “magazine” and “Would you like to edit the games section?”.

A couple of weeks later, I popped over to Bath (home of Future Publishing HQ), we bashed heads, and we set about crafting that part of the magazine. I was very keen to ensure the games section covered big hitters but also indie software, and was entertaining and fun to read. I wanted to bring back some of the irreverence that I used to enjoy so much when reading games mags of old. Wonderfully, Christopher totally agreed—I recall many of our notes being almost identical—and off we went. Issue one arrived, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite so excited to receive a copy of a publication I’d worked on.

As the issues flew by, we fashioned a little team of fantastic games writers, and we really invested in everything we covered, spending far too many hours immersed in digital touchscreen-controlled worlds. Some of our reviews decidedly bucked the trend, but they were always honest. Often, they were also brilliant fun to read. Additionally, we got the chance to round up some of our favourites in our ‘if you loved…’ articles, which Apple’s just started doing itself on the App Store. It was so much fun.

If this all sounds like a memorial, that’s because it is. Tap! magazine is no more, and issue 32 (August 2013) is the final edition. Needless to say that I’m gutted, but also immensely proud of what the team managed to do. I’d therefore like to sincerely thank Christopher for giving me the opportunity on the mag, Matthew Bolton for his help and enthusiasm over many issues, and Christian Hall for being a brilliant editor when Christopher was installed as the new head honcho over at MacFormat. Also, thanks to Tom Harrod for making sure my words were in the right order, and also to everyone who contributed to the games pages. You were all fantastic, and I shall miss working with you so much.

So, here’s to you, Tap! You were brilliant. And if anyone out there’s thinking “man, we right now totally need some British guy who used to edit a games section to write about iOS games for us, at least if he can tear himself away from Impossible Road for five whole seconds,” drop me a line at craiggrannell@googlemail.com.


July 19, 2013. Read more in: Tap!


This is why we can’t have nice things

I yesterday wrote about Tap! magazine, largely about the editor’s belief that you can’t just review iOS apps in a few minutes. However, he also showed off the accelerometer-aware cover. Sure enough, one of the commenters got all angry about this:

It’s “accelerometer aware”…. who actually gives a **** about this? It “organically appears” … please, just show the damn content! What a bunch of pretentious bollocks.

One of the best things about Tap! is the manner in which the team has experimented with a new medium. Sure, you don’t need to have an accelerometer-aware cover. Similarly, last issue, the in-house guys didn’t need to animate my Plants vs. Zombies How To Win feature and Graham Barlow’s cover feature on apps and games for kids. But these things are nice-to-haves (similar to—although not identical to—layout flourishes in print magazines that go beyond pure readability), and Chris Phin in the video comes across like a proud craftsman, showing off his team’s work, the result of their trying new things and experimenting with a nascent medium.

Sure, the video could have just flipped through every page, which would have been boring as hell, much in the same way Tap! could have reformatted itself as ‘Instapaper with pictures’, which wouldn’t have been nearly as appealing as a magazine that begs to be interacted with and that’s trying to do something new rather than remain rooted in the past of magazines and newspapers.

July 13, 2012. Read more in: Apple, Tap!


It really annoys me when I see people reviewing iOS apps badly

Editor Chris Phin previews the latest edition of Tap! magazine on YouTube, but along with showing what’s inside, he also provides some thinking on iOS reviews in general:

It actually really annoys me when I see people reviewing iOS apps badly. It’s easy to just read an App Store description and tag on a mealy-mouthed, not very definitive verdict at the end of that.

This is something that I’m finding’s becoming increasingly common. I’ll often see reviews of iOS games and apps that make judgment calls that only relate to a few minutes’ use. In Tap!, Chris notes that we don’t do this (I’m the games editor, as regular readers here will know), spending hours with games and apps, to make sure we provide a verdict that comes from extended use, not just a quick look. In some cases—*cough*Hero Academy*cough*—we perhaps spend a bit too much time on a single product, but there you go.

Still, this isn’t the only thing that annoys me from a Tap! perspective. People still bang on about magazines being rubbish on the iPad (something I wrote about in March) and, more recently, argue the iPad’s corner in terms of content creation. Bizarrely, Tap! almost never gets a mention, despite being a magazine designed specifically for the iPad and that’s actually put together on an iPad and in the iPad simulator on a Mac. (More on Tap!’s creation can be found in this YouTube video.)

It frustrates me that Tap! isn’t more well known, but delights me when I receive feedback from readers, which is almost universally positive. If you own an iPad and fancy checking out Tap!’s reviews, features, and the developer section (by the amazingly talented Matt Gemmell), grab a copy from http://tapm.ag/appedition. Individual issues are three quid, but there are a also a few previews that let you try before you buy.

July 12, 2012. Read more in: Apple, Tap!


Tap! magazine 5 iPhone, iPad and iPod gaming special

Regular readers of Revert to Saved may remember that I’m Contributing Editor to Future Publishing’s rather fab Tap! magazine. The title is dedicated to iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch, and I’m responsible for its games section. For issue 5, editor Christopher Phin tasked me with writing a cover feature about iOS gaming, covering the best available games, what games designers think about the platform, exploring kit, and offering the odd nod to retro-gaming. Designer Chris Hedley then created one of the best covers I’ve seen on a consumer tech mag, featuring a ton of iOS gaming characters.

Tap! 5

The magazine of course also includes all the usual iOS news, reviews, tutorials, features and columns. If you’re a UK subscriber, you should get your copy within the next couple of days (if it’s not already arrived). Alternatively, the magazine should be on newsstands (WHSmith, Tesco and other stores) some time during the next week.

June 6, 2011. Read more in: Apple, iOS gaming, News, Tap!

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Tap! magazine for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad goes monthly

As regular readers of Revert to Saved probably know, I’m Contributing Editor to Tap! magazine, Future’s spiffy bi-monhtly iOS publication. (I plan the games section and write quite a bit of it, too.) But today there’s some big news from the Future mothership:

Tap! is now going monthly.

Issue 4 will arrive in stores on May 12, and then subsequent issues will follow every four weeks. Personally, I’m thrilled at the development, because I know how much passion and effort goes into every page of the magazine. I’d like to publicly thank editor Christopher Phin for his faith in giving me an entire section to play with; also, thanks to each and every person who’s bought a copy of the mag so far, enabling us to now get you twice as much Tap! goodness every year.

April 5, 2011. Read more in: News, Tap!


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