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The State Of U.S. Videogame Magazines 97

Posted by Zonk
from the games-on-dead-trees dept.
simoniker writes "Wonder how video game magazines are still alive and kicking, in the age of the Interweb? Here's 'a quick tour of all the game magazines you can find in U.S. bookshelves right now', with plenty of commentary and cover scans, from Nintendo Power to EGM: 'The output isn't quite what it was ten or even five years ago, but there's still a remarkable amount of print getting churned out each month -- and what's more, nearly all of it these days is written for 'core' gamers like you and me.'" I enjoy most of Ziff's magazines (EGM, CGW). I also happily pay through the nose for the British Mag Edge, which is the finest gaming magazine in the world.
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The State Of U.S. Videogame Magazines

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    • Newspaper and magazines are dying, not books.

      So, print is dying, not dead.

    • Not exactly.

      Magazines are great for long trips, bathroom breaks, reading in bed, etc. and tons of other places a laptop is not very comfortable in (I've tried on the john, gets to be a pain in the ass when wiping). They are alot easier to scan too and find what i want instead of a .pdf or a website that is obnoxiously choked with ads and demanding I sign up to to be a member and get more spam. they definitely are lacking in current news, though. But how can you beat the internet?!

      I'm an avid EGM subscri

  • The magazines now are more than 50% advertising.. It's like reading a bloody infomercial...
    • Yes... but the other 50% is content. Does print advertising really have such substantial negative value that it outweighs the value of content?
      • In a nutshell, yes. There used to be a lot more content and a lot less fluff.
      • The fact that the average cost of a magazine is $6-$7 off the shelf, I would expect to see less than 50% advertising. It's quite rediculous to think that with the hundred of thousands, if not millions, of subscribers paying $5 per issue (typically discounts given to subscribers) couldn't cover the cost of a magazine.

        Maybe it's the fact that all of these are owned by a select few publishers and they are subsidizing the cost of their failures by raising the cost of their more popular mags as well as putting
        • But would a magazine with 100 pages of editorial and 5 pages of advertising be better than a magazine with 200 pages of editorial and 200 pages of advertising? Would a magazine with 4 pages of editorial and no advertising at all be even better?
          • Yes, in a way it would. I don't buy a magazine based on it's girth.

            $6-$7 is charged due to the fact that they print hundreds of glossy pages of crap that I never read, don't care to read and often choose not to ever purchase the magazine again.

            100 pages of content is something I'd be willing to consider paying more for than 200 pages of content and 200 pages of advertising. At least my $3-$4 for the 100 pages of content (averages,averages...assuming 200 pages costs $6-$7)...is better spent in my mind.

            I do
          • What's even worse is that some magazines are portraying advertising like actual articles and columns. It's getting really difficult to discern between them until you're half way through and find out that you're reading an advertisement for the latest Whizbang!2006 Elite Gizmo of the Week...

            blah.
          • Since I prefer to carry a magazine around with me I'd rather buy the 105 pages one than the 400 pages because that means less weight to carry.
          • A magazine with 4 pages of editorial and no advertising would be perfect. Cut out all the bullshit, tell me whether you think the games coming out are worth anything, and close up. Put an ad on the back cover and send to print.
    • Try flipping through a few at you local magazine rack, I'm sure you'll find quite a few that have a lot more than 50% advertising. With a lot of magazines topping 200-300 pages, they aren't doing it by adding lots more content.
    • by iocat (572367) on Monday June 05, 2006 @12:02PM (#15472924) Homepage Journal
      Newsflash: US magazines are ALWAYS 50% ads. That's the goal of the magazine. I used to be the editor of a videogame magazine, so I know something about this subject.

      In the US, magazine distribution is really inefficient -- there are hundreds of thousands of places to buy magazines, and to reach the realtively small number of people interested in a nich publication (games, fishing, knitting, etc), you need to print way more copies than you can possibly sell. Selling through 20 or 22% of your newstand copies is considered good, and hitting 30% or higher is fantastic. That means you're wasting the cost of 70% of your newstand distribution, which is a lot. At best, your newsstand sales might break even.

      Then you have subscriptions. The $12.99 or $19.99 you pay for a year of a magazine doesn't come close to paying for the printing and shipping. It's a total loss leader. What it does, however, is ensure a certain level of readership for the magazine (vs. the uncertainty of newstand/retail sales).

      This number of readers -- the guarenteed circulation -- can then be shown to potential advertisers, along the lines of "hey, look, a quarter-million people subscribe to this magazine! Our research shows they each spend $600 a year on software! You should advertise, because this is your core audience." And then (hopefully) you sell some ads. Advertising is the *only* place a typical US magazine makes any money at all. This means the magazines have to be advertiser focused. Not by giving good reviews to advertisers' products (in six years in the biz, I never saw that kind of influence from advertising happen, even once -- editors typically have no clue what ads will be in the magazine until the see it come back from the printer), but by trying to appeal to a broad audience that makes their numbers look good to advertisers. Different magazines have different ways to accomplish this (EGM by being very broad and inclusive, PSM by being hardcore, etc), obviously, but the goal -- at some level -- is to being pretty advertising friendly as a product.

      The size of the magazine, monthly, is basically set by the number of ads. You have a minimum book size (say 96 pages), and if you sell more than 50% ads (say you sell 60 pages), you may go up a form (usually 12 or 16 pages, depending on the printer) to say, 112. But the goal is to keep the ad/edit ratio pretty close to 50%. In lean months (like the summer), you may be at the minimum size, but have many more edit pages than ad pages, and in the fat months (leading up to Xmas), you may have way more ad pages than edit pages (although you'll likely have double or triple the total editorial pages you had in the lean months).

      In the UK, by contrast, lossy subscriptions are less well known, and the smaller total size of the market means that newsstand sales can be managed much more effectively. A magazine may sell 80-90% of its retail issues, making newsstand profitable. This reduces the reliance on advertisers, and means magazines don't have to try to be "mainstream" to be as advertiser-friendly as possible. This means magazines that are much more niche than could be successful in the US (such as Edge, RetroGamer, Scootering) can do very well.

      That all said, magazines are a fanastic bargain, and given that the ads are really very targeted, I don't mind seeing them in games mags, the same way I enjoy looking at the ads in car mags or other technology magazines.

      • Newsflash: the reason only 20-30% of magazines sell is because people don't want to waste their money on crap that is over 50% advertising.
        • Actually, the value proposition that most normal people make is "is the amount of editorial content contained in this magazine worth the purchase price," not "omgwtf ads... in a MAGAZINE! someone call the cops!"
          • Wait, you are using the term "normal people" when refering to consumers of videogame magazines??

            Yes content is great, but if you can't find it stuck in between all the ads it is worthless to me. I would much rather pay more for a magazine I could actually read then one I had to filp 10 pages of ads between the "content". I don't object to advertising in mags, I object to there being more advertising than content. 5 years ago this wasn't a problem and guess what - I had subscriptions to 3 vidoegaming magaz
        • Newsflash, you need to take a basic economics course. I also worked for a couple of video game magazine publish houses, and the parent post is spot on. The reason only 20% of the magazines sell is that video game magazines by there very nature tend to be impulse purchases. Its not like newspapers where you can get a pretty good meassure of how many are going to be bought at a specific place on a specific day. For those buyers that aren't so dedicated they'll subscribe, the only way to reach them is
          • What happens to all the unsold magazines?
            • Recycled to wood pulp for the next batch of magazines, I'd wager.
            • For the newstand/bookstore: they rip off the covers and send them back to the publisher for credit. They throw away the rest of the magazine, which may or may not make it to a recycle facility; depends on the owner I'd suppose.
              • I'd take the coverless mags off their hands each month for free! I'd even pick them up! OMGWTFBBQ!
                • In fact, many paperback fiction books (which are also "stripped" for credit) will have a disclaimer alluding to the fact that if hte book is coverless it was stripped and is therefore illegal.

                  That said, when I was in college, I worked for a bookstore that allowed us 20 stripped books and 13 stripped magazines per month. (Paperbacks only, no mass market or hardcover)

                  Great perk, almost made up having to straighten up (haha) the gay magazine section. We had tons of mags, and those were the only ones worse f

          • When did this happen? Because I really can't conceive of it always having been that way. My memory, and historical reading of the '80's tells me that the magazine market in the 'states in the '80's looked much more like you're describing in Britain.

            Additionally it's very interesting that you should talk about Scientific American. I was a long time subscriber to SA. However, around 2000 or so I noticed a very disturbing trend. The content was noticibly dumbed down (equations were almost totally remo

            • I'm not sure; I started in '93 and so most of my knowledge comes from then. I know I worked at a smaller, less profitable magazine first, and it was well under the ratio monthly (maybe 33% ads), without going under, so you also have to figure bigger magazine companies, that want lots of profits, probably expect their books to perform better than smaller companies, which are content to make less dough per magazine. As the game industry got bigger, the magazines got more professional, and the ideal edit ratio
          • I need to take an economics course?? I'm not currently manufacturing a product I am wasting 80% of the total.
      • I find it hard - very hard - to believe that printing and shipping 12 copies of a magazine costs $20, especially if you are getting a good rate because you're buying in bulk.
        What really shocks me is that I get tons of free magazines from publishers (the only magazine I still pay for is national geographic and there aren't all that many ads in that anymore) who want to bump their subscriber numbers. I'm sure the freebees get factored in to the subscriptions costs.
        • Depends on the magazine, but it can cost $1 or more to print one, and shipping might be .50 or more -- it changes per month. That's $18 right there and you haven't accounted for the cost it takes to acquire the subscribe, or send out those millions of "renew now!" letters, never mind the customer service department, sending out new copies when peoples' get lost or mangled in the mail, etc. It adds up.
      • Review bias doesn't come from advertising so much, as you explain above. The primary influence is from publishers refusing to give magazine early access to the games unless they gave a good review to the publisher's previous game.

        The only real way to end the corruption of the review system is to get a set of trusted critics. The movie critics have Roger Ebert and a few others (David Ansen?). Once a critic is trusted enough by the movie-watching public, the critic is able to tell off the studios. If a st
    • That's for sure. The worst IMO, is 1and1 Internet, 12 pages in a row of freakin ads. WTF? Because of those 12 pages alone, I will never use their services.
    • REalize that this runs contrary to the idea that the mags are dying.

      There is no bigger indicator of a magazine's success then the count of 'ad pages.'

      Your comment on the ratio of the magazine being 50% ads is also flawed. Imagine the same amount of content but half as many ads - so now it's just 33% advertising. Is it a better magazine? Actually, no, because with less ad revenue, the content is lamer as they can't afford better/more writers.

      • On the other hand, yes it is a better magazine because you can find the content you'd like to read without having to search. Once you go beyond a certain threshold, which is closer to 33% than 50%, you find ads not articles. If I can't find the index in 20 seconds, the magazine's not worth the effort to read.
        • Ah but we aren't talking about what makes a GOOD magazine. A GREAT magazine would have zero ads (though I often prefer ads to content, myself - particularly in triathlon magazines where the articles are mostly garbage).

          What I am talking about is a financially healthy magazine. Someone earlier mentioned that mags are doing badly Because they have so many ads, and I was saying it was quiet to the contrary.

          usually when a major magazine sees it's ad pages drop, it is a sign it is struggling and possibly going

    • I am subscribed to EGM, and it is not uncommon to find a 5 page ad layout in the magazine.
  • Too commercial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Monday June 05, 2006 @11:04AM (#15472374) Homepage Journal
    The reason I don't bother with any of them is because they mostly look like game publisher advertising. Just like I wouldn't bother reading an opinion piece about Microsoft in a Microsoft-published magazine, I don't want to read about the PS3 in a magazine that appears to be published by a Sony subsidiary. Almost always, if I flip through one of these gaming magazines, they rate every game 3, 4, or 5 out of 5. As if no games suck. These rags appear to be flooded more with commercial interests, not real gamer interests.
    • truthsearch writes
      Almost always, if I flip through one of these gaming magazines, they rate every game 3, 4, or 5 out of 5.
      Sounds like Slashdot book reviews...
    • Gaming rags, whether online or dead-tree, have always been promotional tools for game publishers. And the truth is, there really are very few truly 'bad' games. Pretty much every game that makes it to release appeals to someone. There are no 'grass roots' in video games, because the price of entry into the industry is so high (if I recall, the average game development cost is around $10 million.) Anyone who can afford to be in the game industry can afford their own astroturf and viral advertising. It's all
    • I thought that too. I only read one of the "official" magazines - the Xbox one - but on reading the reviews last night I was surprised to see several in the 2 or 3 out of 10 range. The reviews were disparaging to say the least, which actually gave me a little hope for the objectivity of the other reviews. Or maybe that's the plan :)
      • OXM's editorial staff has 100% liberty to write whatever they want. I think they may still have their 'complete' ratings list in each magazine and you can see how many bombs there are.
  • I can't believe people still buys these? I'll take a look at few when I'm browsing Borders or B & N But I would never waste 5 to 10 bucks on them. The news is alwasy one month out dated. I know some of them come with a demo disc but seriously MS/Nintendo/Sony should be giving those out for free without the magezines.
    • And MS is now giving these out free without the magazine, through XB Live and their downloaded demos, trailers, etc.
    • The news is alwasy one month out dated.

      I don't find that at all. I pick up Game Informer occassionally and find it very current. Game Informer was the ONLY magazine to have inside information on the Revolution(Wii) with details of the Red Steel game. Online sites were ripping and sharing scans of the magazine to provide online content. On the other side of the coin, they still referred to it as the Revolution long after we knew of its new name. While some areas of magazines will be behind due to pr
    • Well, due to the law of advertising (if it gets a glance, your money was well-spent,) it really doesn't MATTER that you didn't buy the magazine.. I mean, if you leaf through it for 20 seconds, thats like, a 5% chance you'll see my ad, if I was a company who put an ad in that magazine. Think billboards, people rarely look at them for more than a couple seconds, and they still are somewhat effective. Since most people never buy from newsstands in the U.S. you have to realise that the thumbed-up copies are ge
  • I remember back in the day... There were two major Atari ST magazines that got progressively thinner and less shiny. One disappeared, and the other (ST Format if I recall) went on for a few more months. I remember the very last issue stated in no uncertain terms that there was no chance of them closing down, and that they'd be going strong for a long time yet. I still wonder whether the staff knew how bad it was or whether they were as surprised as their two readers.
    • You remember wrongly.

      I have ST Format's last issue. The headline is "All good things" and they made a big thing of it being the last issue.
      • So maybe it was the penultimate issue, or maybe it was ST User. Anyway, the point was that these mags were clearly fading away, but the editorials kept insisting everything was fine right up until the waves reached their hairlines. I found it amusing at the time, but I was only 14 then, so there you go.
        • Do you expect them to tell you that they're having financial difficulty and that they might not exist in a few months? Even if they are in a bad way finanically, they still need to sell as many issues as possible. Making customers think they are financially sound is a good way to keep circulation up as high as possible.
        • Possibly.

          Commodore Format did the same. But 1995 it was effectively being run as one magazine with Amstrad Action. In mid-1995 they closed Amstrad Action very suddenly (ironically leaving the last issue with the headline 'Publish and be damned!') and the next CF insisted they could survive. Given it shared every staff member with its long dead brother and was by that stage a 24 page magazine for £3.25 we were not surprised to see it die itself 2 months later (although unlike AA it got a farewell is
  • PC Gamer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elbenito69 (868244)
    I used to get PC Gamer (US), from about 1996 through 2002. I remember one issue, somewhere around '99, was 444 pages! Even taking into account that gaming mags are half advertising, that's still a lot of content. PC Gamer these days is barely a pamphlet compared to its heyday. Also, the magazine's quality has gone downhill each time the management/ownership has changed, and IMHO, isn't worth reading anymore.
    • I was surprised the first time the "newer" PC Gamer came out at about 25% the previous size. I don't agree with you that hte quality has gone down, however. I still enjoy reading the reviews (I enjoy them more than IGN or Gamespot) and they tend to scoop some games better than what's online. The columnists are touch and go, with Desslock being one of the better ones, and I think their mod coverage is pretty comprehensive too. The new organization of the magazine is a bit confusing, however. I can never
    • Have to agree with you on this one. TheVede becoming EIC was the last straw for me... He used to be restricted to the hardware section, and all of his Goddamn pictures too! The EIC seems to have changed alot recently.
  • by Ghoeb (979235)
    Even though many of the people on here obviously get their news and especially video game news off the web, for many people print is easier to pick up and just read. Nothing beats having a tangible magazine to pick up and read in your living room while watching TV even if the information is diluted with more ads than actual writing in it.
  • I found it unfortunate that they didn't dwell into the fact that PC Gamer US has a british counterpart.

    To be honest, I used to be a great fan of PC Gamer US: a great thick volume of gaming information released each month. But in and about 2001, they drastically cut down their page count (from 200+ to sometimes 50-ish.) That didn't matter all that much. What did bother me, however, is when the editorial staff started producing reviews that reflected more personal taste for advanced graphics and action tha
  • The Brits! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Monday June 05, 2006 @11:11AM (#15472430)
    Why is it that the British magazines are so superior to the American ones?

    This goes for just about any type of magazine, be it Maxim, Linux Format, or Edge. The British magazines are of such a higher calibre, it's scary.

    There must be a simple answer out there.
    • yeah and don't forget The Sun, Daily Mirror, The Inquirer...
    • There must be a simple answer out there.

      Readers
    • The page 2 nudity doesn't hurt.
    • Re:The Brits! (Score:4, Informative)

      by payndz (589033) on Monday June 05, 2006 @11:40AM (#15472696)
      Having worked in the UK games mag field, I think a lot of it comes down to UK games journalists having less 'fear' of advertisers. If British journos think a game is a steaming pile of shit, they'll say exactly that, because editorial and advertising generally work as separate entities. The journalists don't get any commission from the space that advertising sells, so they don't see any need to pull punches if the product sucks. (In fact, I'd say there's often a degree of mutual dislike between editorial and advertising, because editorial see advertising as interfering in the content of their magazine, and ads think that editorial's big mouth will cost them money if they annoy clients.)

      Because there's so much competition between the UK mags (the lower cost of entry to the market means we have a lot more of them than the US), any mag that regularly bumps up its scores to suck up to advertisers will be spotted pretty quickly and lose trust with its readers. Giving a 9 to a game that the other mags are giving 6 or 7 can be forgiven as personal preference on the part of the reviewer - once. If it happens four or five times an issue, it'll be noticed. (Except where the mag in question is an 'official' one, where people still buy it no matter how inflated the review scores are...)

      • Re:The Brits! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by radish (98371)
        I agree, advertisment is the big difference. The biggest difference I noticed when moving to the US was the price of magazine subscriptions. In the UK you're lucky to save 30%, making a typical magazine subscription something like 20-30gbp. Over here, I can get the US edition for $6 a year. The only way I can understand the economics behind that is that the advertisers pay much more because they have a larger say in the content and get more information on the demographics.
    • As a non-English speaking veteran gamer, I always found British journalism to be simply better. American editors write their articles in a very simplistic manner, even amateur in some cases (the US Videogames magazine just plain sucked), but not so in the 51st state. Even GamesMaster when they sold out in the mid-1990's retained a dignified reputation among gamers worldwide. Can't say the same about ad-infested Gamepro or EGM.
  • Does anyone remember GMR magazine from a year or two ago? Ziff-Davis put it out of business when they decided it was competing with EGM, despite the fact that it was so many miles ahead of anything else out there. Actual reviews (not disguised advertisements), and way fewer advertisements than anything else. Plus, the layout was much nicer to read as well, and the section Retro/Active was really fun to read.
    • The way fewer advertisements was a predictor of GMR's doom. In the news business, a publication's health is measured in ad pages. When the magazine or paper starts getting thin, it's never a good sign. Lots of wide-open pages with no ads is great for readers, but only until they have to pay for the newsprint and don't have the ad support to do so.
  • Main problem (Score:2, Informative)

    by daranz (914716)
    I think the main problem with the printed game magazines is the magazines are usually very behind, with whatever content is available online. People tend to want games soon after they come out, and that's when they can read reviews and articles about them online. With magazines, on the other hand, you often have to wait 1-2 months before a review comes out. For this reason, I stopped bothering with printed game mags a long time ago.

    Besides that, there's the multimediablitiy (if that's a word) of online cont
  • "There was an era when GamePro was the perennial second-runner behind Nintendo Power in circulation. There was a time when other mags couldn't even touch it." (FTFA)

    I remember being a huge fan of GamePro. I had a subscription and everything. Then one day they did the review that made me stop reading them forever. They reviewed "Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition" for the Sega Genesis. Every other mag on earth claimed that it fell flat on its face when compared to the SNES version (Street Fi
    • GamePro on the other hand goes on and on about how it's better than the SNES version.

      That's because it was better than the SNES version. I owned both the SNES and Genesis back in the day, loved both consoles for different games, and rented/played SFIISuperUltraHyperMegaEtcEdition for both consoles. The SNES version looked and sounded better, but ah, yes, as no one seems to understand in these days of graphics masturbating fanboys, that doesn't matter. The Genesis version was smoother and played better,
      • If you were comparing the Genesis version to the non-Championship Edition SFII on the SNES, I'd agree with you. The regular SFII on the SNES always seemed sluggish and poorly controlled IMHO. However, comapring SFII:Turbo to SFII:SCE, I've never noticed a difference in actual gameplay and the only place smoother is noticeable is when you jack up the speed all the way to crazy psycho speed (which after its initial novelty wasn't done all that often by most players). I too had both consoles and I'm supreme
        • Nah, comparing apples to apples here. SFIITurboHyperetc on both systems (or whatever they were called... I can't bother to look up which crazy name was applied to each). SFII (the original) on SNES was sluggish, but intentionally so, and actually made it a decent game since it felt almost just like the arcade. The newer versions, however, felt sluggish on the SNES while the Genesis version seemed to run full speed, thus I preferred it over the SNES version even though the Genesis one was definately uglie
  • Game magazines died with PC Accelerator...
    • Game magazines died with PC Accelerator...

      I hear you! After PCXL went away, I started looking at consoles more for gaming. I miss PCXL's craziness and often hard edged commentary. These days, I read EGM, but it really isn't the same, though it is a good mag.
    • I wish I had mod points to give you. Pcxl was the finest gaming rag made. I even now enjoy looking back through the old issues.

      Wish there was one out there that was even a third as good as it was.
  • With the content coming out of 1up and The Escapist and the shear number of reviews coming out of all the other gaming sites, it's a wonder that any of the print magazines still exist. I can understand if the gamer has no computer to read the online resources though; that's got to be the bulk of all the information they recieve of games. Of course, who could possibly resist buying something shiny?!
  • Vat is theez "magazine" you zpeak of? Paper with printed picturez? And you muzt pay for theez inconvienent and unzearchable zing? Bah...you muzt zhow me theez "magazine" before I comment - I cannot believe zuch a thing exiztz!
  • I wonder if the different percieved quality of US vs UK mags has anything to do with the different subscription methods used? As I understand it, US mags can be subscribed to with huge discounts, 80% or so, gaining the publisher larger circulation. Compared to UK mags, which give a discount of around 10-20%. If that is the case, theres perhaps little wonder that there are less ads in UK mags, even with the different number of subscribers.
  • I go online to get reviews in a timely fashion, but prefer to read mags like Game Informer and Edge 'offline' while on the exerbike. The articles tend to be more in-depth and better written than the online stuff (not always, certainly) and the screenshots are often better quality. And of course it's a better use of time than sitting in front of the computer and paging through horribly designed websites (Gamespot and IGN, I'm looking at you).

    The price is nothing to be concerned about unless you're paying sto
  • These days I only read Gamer's Quarter [gamersquarter.com] and The Escapist [escapistmagazine.com] for well-written in-depth nostalgia, and a bunch of gaming message boards for the news.
  • Computer Gaming World is still my favorite, but I'm a big fan of Computer Games Magazine as well, which the reviewer couldn't even find a copy of. I admit that I don't read PC Gamer as often, but they were nice enough to do an interview article with me, so I suppose I owe them some dap!

    Bruce
  • As someone who studies videogames, I feel like I have to read the gaming mags to stay current and there occasionally are some interesting articels in them. However, if it weren't for magazine subscriptions on ebay, I wouldn't dream of subscribing to them. When you can get a year of EGM for less than $10, why not?
    For any magazine subscriptions ebay is definitly one of the first places to look.
  • by DoctaWatson (38667) on Monday June 05, 2006 @06:26PM (#15476028)
    Next Generation magazine was the first publication to make me see our dinky little hobby as a legitimate medium for expression. Until that point, magazines were the same as they are now, focusing on pimping the latest and greatest and also giving hints and cheat codes.

    Then Next Generation hit the scene, not just talking about games, but about the ideas behind games. And the people who had those ideas.

    The Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo Power was a cartoon character who's name happened to get associated with Zelda and Mario. The Shigeru Miyamoto of Next Generation was a brilliant gamesmith, a master of the art and craft of games. Richard Garriot wasn't just some nerd making D&D clones, he was a philosopher exploring ethics in this wonderful new and interactive medium.

    The topic of graphics in other magazines had some base instinctive appeal (OMGz polyg0nz!). Graphics in Next Generation were high art at the bleeding edge of technology.

    In short, Next Generation magazine made me the gamer I am today. Or rather, it didn't make me a gamer, it helped me understand *why* I'm a gamer. And it did so with top-notch production values and a high quality presentation.

    I'll never forgive IGN for watering it down and then turning it into NextGen->DailyRadar->kaput.
  • I read Retro Gamer [retrogamer.net]. It's from England so it's kind of spendy, but I did see an ad for Video Game Collector [vgcollector.com]. It's an American mag of the same ilk, so it ought to be cheaper.

    Retro Gamer gets all the interviews of the old-timey developers from UK and the rest of Europe. I'm an old time ST user, so most of the games I used to play originate from that part of the world.

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