Left Cartridge

This zine, a portrait of the Learning Games Initiative, is the first of a series of photographic portraits of games preservation archives. The series is part of a larger documentary project that will present in-depth portraits of each archive, display a pan-archive view, and manifest in a different form.

As with No Loitering and the unnamed.pdf zines, download and view Left Cartridge on screen (3MB – this looks much better downloaded rather than just viewed through Dropbox) or download, print (duplex, or organize pages back-to-back), and bind your own (12MB). The DIY file is sized to print on 8.5×11″ paper.

Because this zine is of a length for which printing and assembling in a standard pamphlet binding is challenging, I made up a new hybrid binding that I’ll call dual-signature, no-cover pamphlet binding. Instructions are below:

Recommended tools: an awl, a hammer, scissors, binder clips (buffered with folded paper so as not to create dents in your piles of paper), a needle and thread. I prefer to use linen binding thread because it’s simple in aesthetic and physically strong. Any thread with some strength should work.

Binding Instructions:

  • Download the DIY Print version of Left Cartridge. Print duplex, or collate back-to-back, in two batches. Make sure to print at Actual Size not Fit to Page, or the margins and alignment will get thrown off.
  • First, print pages 1-26. Set this pile aside. I’ll call this Part 1.
  • Second, print pages 27-46. Set this pile aside. I’ll call this Part 2.
  • Fold Part 1 in half through the middle, so that the zine is the width and height of half of a US Letter sheet of paper. Unfold the pile, and use binder clips on either side of the pile to keep the pages from getting mis-aligned.
  • Using the awl and hammer, create holes that are evenly spaced down the center fold line. I typically place 1 hole halfway through both the top and bottom margins, one at each edge of the image, and then evenly space through the center. The more holes you have, the more stitches that you will have to connect the two sections and the tighter the binding may be.
  • I typically start sewing at the bottom, holding on to approximately 2cm of thread. I’ll wrap through the first two holes twice, still holding on to the thread edge. I’ll then proceed up to the top. At the top, I’ll circle back down, so that there is consistent stitching on both the inside and outside of the document.
  • Your last stitch should bring you to the inside bottom, where you can tie off the start of the thread with the end using a simple double knot. Then cut the thread down to as close to the knot as possible without cutting the knot.
  • Release the pages from the binder clips and repeat the process with Part 2. In order to align the holes between the sections, either estimate Part 2 holes’ consistent placement to Part 1 visually or log measurements with a ruler. One trick is to align the top and bottom of the folded Part 1 and set it on top of the right side of an unfolded Part 2; this alignment can serve as an approximate visual ruler.
  • Once both parts are sewn, hold them together with the tops and bottoms aligned. Rethread your needle with enough thread to tie off a significant number of knots. Hold on to the end of your thread then wrap the thread under and around aligned stitches twice or more, then tie off the beginning of the thread with the end in a double knot. Repeat across all stitches to bind the two pamphlet/signatures together and cut the spare thread to as close to each knot as possible without cutting the knot itself.

Typically, signatures would exist within a covered book, but we’re making a zine. So this binding might be a little raw, but it should make the creation a bit easier than attempting to pamphlet bind a nearly 50 page piece.

The inside of a single signature should look like the image on the left, and the finished binding should look something like what you see on the right.