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Have you been Spliced today?

I had the honour of interviewing Pippa Tshabalala, the Editor of Spliced Magazine. It’s the new, sizzling hot kid on the e-block and if you haven’t yet gotten Spliced then that’s the explanation for the gaping hole in your soul screaming for more on life, pop culture, tech and yes yes, gaming. Did I mention it's also very, very sexy?

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Join me as I recklessly jump into the fascinating, inked, multidimensional mind of the Pippa.

All about getting Spliced

Describe the heartbeat of Spliced Magazine

The heartbeat of Spliced is everything to do with "geek chic". It's the things we think are cool, the people we think you should know about and the places we think you should check out.

What sets Spliced apart from other publications?

Spliced brings together a variety of different genres. Most other magazines focus on one specific topic, and that's great, but this is a magazine that brings together all the things we love about geek pop culture. When we first conceptualised it, we were discussing the fact that there was no one place that brought together all our pop culture content and discussed the things we love, so we decided to make one. Spliced is not about targeting or portraying the stereotyped geek. We know that many people who love these things don't fall into that category.


At what intervals will Spliced be published?

We've made a decision to publish bi-monthly at this point, so our next issue will be December, then February, April and so on.

With 150 pages, Spliced packs a heavy punch. Why did you decide on so much content per issue?

For two reasons - we're not limited in terms of page count because we have no printing costs so we could rather spread each feature out beautifully and focus on making the design look amazing. Additionally because we're publishing bi-monthly it made sense to give our viewers extra content.

What would you like Spliced to accomplish?

We'd like Spliced to bring together everything we love about pop culture. We're all gamers, we all read comic books, watch movies etc, and to be able to have a platform to showcase these things in one place is awesome for us. In terms of accomplishments? Well, the response so far has been overwhelming, and it's good to know that it seems like we're on the right track. I think that in itself is a huge accomplishment. We've been tracking our stats and surprisingly our audience isn't just South African, we've had a large number of hits in the UK and United States as well.

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Why did you decide to hit the Internet market only, with Spliced being an e-magazine?

There were a variety of reasons we decided to launch online. Obviously there are always things such as printing costs to take into consideration, but for the kind of content we want to produce it made sense to go digital. The fact that we're able to hyperlink to almost everything we talk about in the magazine is a big plus for us, because it means readers can immediately click through and find out more, which makes the entire experience an integrated one.

The plan ultimately, would be to embed video directly in the magazine, but that's something we need to investigate further as obviously that would affect loading times etc and we want to make sure our readers don't have to sit and wait for things to load - there's nothing more irritating than long loading times.

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You describe Spliced as a pop culture magazine, why limit your scope to that which is preferred by the mainstream audience and how do you decide what falls into pop culture?

In this case we're referring to geek pop culture. The majority of the team all have interests that cross over between what is stereotypically considered to be "geeky". We cover comic books, movies, games and tech, but there's also a solid lifestyle section included. The lifestyle section in particular showcases events and places that we think are cool. Just because we have these "geek" interests doesn't mean that we don't have an interest in fashion, music and events for example.

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Is there anything you consider as taboo, which you won’t cover in Spliced?

We haven't identified anything at this point. As I said in my Ed's Note from Issue 01, we're not setting out to be controversial, but we also won't shy away from topics that we think are taboo just because it's not mainstream. We're a diverse group, and we think this is a magazine that should unite people in their love of the content.

Do you take requests for topics to cover?

Of course! Obviously we'll need to make editorial decisions along the way to see if those requests work with the content, but if you have a cool idea and would like to see something about it, email Chances are it's already something on our long, long list of topics!

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Some thoughts on gaming

How would you describe the current vibe of the local gaming community?

The current vibe is one of excitement - there's so much new content, and so many things happening in gaming at the moment that there's something for everyone. The local community is also generally very supportive of each other.

What do you think local gaming needs/lacks most in?

That's a difficult one because I think the standard is actually pretty good. I guess it's probably coverage of topics - there's coverage of e-Sports and there could be more. There's coverage of indie games and there could be more. There's coverage of gender issues and there could be more.

As an industry we focus on reviews and previews primarily, but I like to see more opinion related content as a part of that. On a different level when it comes to activations and the like, a major issue is that budgets are almost always tight for the gaming arena which is prohibitive, but people are pushed to be creative about how they approach the things they want to do.

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A peek into Pippa’s journalist heart

What is good/bad journalism for you?

I dislike sensationalist journalism. You might get people clicking through to look at your story, but ultimately if the content is overshadowed by a sensationalist headline, then people aren't going to really take you seriously. I also dislike this need to be first off the starting block. I would rather wait for a well-researched, well written review than the first one that's out there. Good quality content is much more important.

What is your opinion of the local video games websites?

There are some great ones, and there are some poor ones. It's like that all over the world, I don't think that's limited to SA. If you can make a valuable contribution to the industry then you'll find people reading your work.

What tips would you give to video games journalists starting out in the field?

Give your honest opinion. There will always be people who don't like what you have to say, but don't let that deter you. Your writing can always improve, learn from criticism.


Any shoutouts?

The amazing team that helped us put this together, who gave of their time, their energy and their skill in order to make this happen, and to the people in the industry who supported us when we asked, especially when we had no product to show them!

Closing thoughts: A hybridity of creativity

Spliced will exhaust you. It will recklessly grab your attention, drag you mercilessly through its showcase of not only the best of what South Africa has to offer in gaming, fashion, tech, lifestyle, EVERYTHING, but it will also bombard your senses with:

overwhelming, exquisite, beauty

We are proud that Spliced originated from the vibrant, multifaceted heartbeat of Africa.

Be prepared to be Spliced: Twitter | Website | Facebook


Han’s Twitter | Blog / MWEB GameZone Twitter | Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd    

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