See the old sci-fi magazine that inspired Her Story



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As I mentioned last time, and the time before that, I recently stumbled into a mysterious little shop called "Curios, Rarities, Bibelots & Old Sci-Fi Magazines That Inspired Games From 2015". It was a strange place—a somewhat magical place, perhaps—and while I was there I discovered that a number of PC games from 2015 had actually been based on stories from old pulp science-fiction magazines. This is a real thing that happened, not something I am making up, and I have the incontestable proof below.

Interestingly, the 2015 indie game Her Story appears to have been based on an actual story that was first published in a magazine called Weird Future in 1937. The shopkeeper told me the story caused quite a stir when it was published, and some magazine fans raised a number of objections before the issue even hit the newsstands. Since it was called Her Story, and the story appeared to be largely about a woman, some male magazine readers got incredibly upset. A woman in a sc-fi magazine, they felt, was somehow threatening to them, or represented some sort of terrifying feminist agenda bent on ruining magazines. Keep in mind, this was the 1930's, a very, very long time ago. Can you imagine something like this happening today, in 2015? Ha ha! That would be completely fucking ridiculous.

There were other concerns. This was not a typical story, as you'll see, and some readers complained that since it didn't follow the traditional magazine format, that it wasn't even a real magazine. I think what they probably meant was this isn't my kind of magazine—a fair enough sentiment—but many of them didn't put it that way. At any rate, the Her Story issue of Weird Future was definitely different. Most of the chapters are incredibly short, and appear to be all jumbled up at random:


After examining a tiny chapter, readers could then flip to an extensive index at the back of the magazine to look for a particular word or reference they wanted to know more about. The index would list the pages that word appeared on, and readers could then find and read those chapters. Those tiny, tiny chapters.


Maybe this was what some people were complaining about in 1937 when they said Her Story wasn't a real magazine? Piecing together the story in this fashion, like a detective, each reader learned different things at different times, had a different experience, and drew their own conclusions about what really happened. It was like, you know, a game or something.

Not everything about the 1937 version of Her Story was a success, however. This passage below is bizarre, and it appears several times in the magazine. I think it works much better in the 2015 game, frankly.


By the way, if you're interested in making your own covers of sci-fi magazines, there's a great online tool called The Pulp-O-Mizer! Not that I'd ever create a fake sci-fi magazine cover, but if I did, it's definitely what I'd use.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.