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Your favorite video game magazines, memories of them, and have they aged well?


newtmonkey
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Video game magazines were a big part of gaming for me, growing up.  They were often the only way to get information on upcoming games, and many of the mags also included serialized walkthroughs for games.

 

I ended up subscribing to a few:

 

Nintendo Power

This is the one magazine I most closely associate with my childhood.  I spent so many summer nights poring over each and every screenshot, making lists of games I might want to get, etc.  The magazine introduced me to a lot of "hidden gems" I wouldn't have otherwise been interested in: Legacy of the Wizard, Willow, Crystalis, The Adventures of Lolo all come to mind.  I subbed to this up until 1995 or 1996, as I didn't like their attempt at trying to be hip/edgy.

Did it age well?  Surprisingly, yes.  It's a great looking magazine with lots of good info, though the writing was quite poor during the first year or two.  It's not really a magazine you want to read for reviews or writing.

 

Game Player's

I remember that I bought an issue of this off the rack one day because it covered PC games in addition to console games.  I remember being extremely impressed with the screenshots from games like King's Quest V and Wing Commander; I simply had to get a PC after seeing those.  I ended up subscribing to this also, and I had an almost complete run back in the day.

Did it age well?  Yes!  I've been reading through these lately, and I'm pretty impressed.  The writing is usually pretty good, and the reviews often make good points.  One of their regular features was to provide a screenshot-heavy tour of their games of the month (one console game, one computer game).  These are basically just a bunch of screenshots with captions, but they give a good overview of the games in question.

Even more impressive is their PC-dedicated mag, Game Player's PC Strategy Guide, which is clearly meant for an even older audience, with great writing and detailed strategy articles.

 

EGM

I can't remember why I subscribed to this magazine, since most of the content was useless to me (I only had a NES and SNES for consoles at the time).  Even so, I really liked this mag, and it was very exciting towards the end of 1993 to get these massive issues (100s of pages!) in the mail.  The writing was pretty poor, but that wasn't why you got EGM; you got it for the pages and pages of previews and screenshots.  I stayed subbed to this mag up until 1995 or 1996, as I had mostly just lost interest in mags by then.

Did it age well?  Yes and no.  They are a ton of fun to flip through even today due to the sheer amount of games covered in each issue.  However, their reviews are just really awful.  They're way too short to be of any use, and the general rule with these guys is, if the game is any more complicated than "move to the right and punch or shoot enemies" then they are gonna moan about it being boring, etc.

 

---

 

Anyway, I'd like to read what everyone else has to say.  Which mags did you like back in the day?  Any cool memories?  Have you revisited any of the mags (or even other mags from back then you never got), and if so, what do you think of them now?

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Back in the day I started out due to warranty registration getting the run of...

 

Nintendo Fun Club: Which was pre-Nintendo Power.  Notably started as a dumpy back and forward stapled bit the first couple of them, but what started out more as some rote paragraphs and minor imagery turned into a taste of the future once issue 3 rolled out and blew the mind seeing that epic Legend of Zelda art on the cover, and what rolled out inside... truly Nintendo Power (beta) in every meaning of the word.  It started to open your eyes to what you just didn't know, only so much kids knew of for what was out, but what wasn't, mind blown of the tasty mini nuggets there given they only had so many pages, usually around I think 20 give or take as even the insides of the covers had something slapped in there.

 

But of course that leads into...

Nintendo Power Magazine: The elephant in any room of the 80s through the 90s and into the 00s, even after the internet really started taking off around 2000 in a more mass market level off dialup, it still had a few tricks in its bag.  But before that point, we're talking 80s and 90s the cart based era for them since well...n64 and Sony shenanigans, it held onto some standards that were great.  The thing is Nintendo Power did so much at so many levels it's hard to dump on them even if they were, partially, a propaganda magazine pushing product, largely those they did, second party, and the favorites due to mass sales or kissing the ring of sorts, yet even the C and under tier stuff got a paragraph or two, a shared page or page, that's something, more than the other guys did.  What really really stood out, go fire up those PDFs online, and look at the 8-16bit console/handheld era specifically, they were surely magazines, but they also were outright amazing strategy guides, full guides mostly in the earlier times, then large chunks of a partial guide, pictures of everything, or nicely drawn to detail art with pop boxes explaining things.  It was just so damn well done it was like as a kid being able to almost play the game and experiencing it at some base use your imagination level than forking out $30-50 for a game new.  Throw in the hot tips, pak watch for the upcoming farther out, tech and fluff pieces, contests, neat letters and fan art/envelope art they'd feature, it was a win after a win.  Well into their waning years of the Gamecube and GBA they had kept things pretty solid and very helpful, and around that you even got splinter stuff.  Early on the 2 issue 1/2 and 1/2 SMB2 game guide, going off bi-monthly in a creative sneaky way with the full on game guide only approach with FF1(badly needed it), SMB3, Ninja Gaiden2, and the 4player carts etc one ...to then like over a decade later the 4 issue spread of Nintendo Power Advance that went back into 80s style full game guides which was fantastic and utterly helpful.  Hard games and those with the easily missed like Circle of the Moon, Advance Wars, Golden Sun and more had full on end to end spreads.  It's a disgusting evil crying shame they got to where they had to farm it out  because FUCK Future One they ruined it in the very very first issue they took over in the Wii/DS era, canceled it outright and got a refund, a lifer I was until then.  It still bugs me like 15 years later, having idiots come in removing most the old staff who openly in print and online whined about having to come off Sony and MS magazines bitching and moaning making snide comments in their intro and in the actual game review coverage too.  It was like being spoon fed the bs that the next magazine was notorious for did which is...

 

EGM:  Or as I largely considered them Exaggeration Gaming Monthly, largely they took sides, picked favorites, and made up a LOT of stuff, some periods of time, if you looked up biased in a dictionary, I think one of those words down the list for it was EGM. :)  That said, they did some great work over the years too when they weren't trying to fanboy out utterly over kissing Sega, then later Sony's collective asses.  I mean it was great if you were a fan mostly of theirs because their own print offerings were spotty, inconsistent, and never hit the level of quality NP did for Nintendo, so EGM was an amazing piece of print for those decades they jumped on one, then the others bandwagon to get more subs.  EGM had some great dives into the import scene for a long time, even a good year plus before stuff made the US market which was great.  I had Nintendo, but I also in the mid 90s moved into some light sega and deeper so into Turbo Duo, and they never took a collective dump on them so it was a good resource just holding the nose for Nintendo reviews where they'd fantasize up some shitty lower score despite reality as I'd have the game, usually on both systems, and know it was crack pipe hit editing at its finest....yet when it came to the machine they enjoyed they did some really great writing.  I used to like getting a little clue what to snap up second hand for the genesis and game gear from them, but more so the info they'd dig from the Turbo side of things as it was sparse as NEC USA defined gross incompetence.  I had paid for a sub for them for 2-3 years, but what got me, I got fed up with them and stopped it renewal, and I have no idea why but I got the thing for years and years after, at one point a break of maybe a year or close to that, then it started showing up some more then... weird eh?  That's how I kept up, free of charge. :P

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I didn't really have any favorites, but 1 memory stands out to me.  On the school bus in the AM, checking out this new magazine I picked up the night before called "Gamepro."  Before that, I'm not sure if I ever owned a magazine about video games.  And in it, I saw an article that sold me on this new system that was coming out soon called "Genesis"

 

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EGM, Joystick, Video Games, and the How to Win at game X books and guides by Consumer's Guide. I loved all of those as they were my window on what was up and coming. They were essential flavors in the culturalization of budding gamers. Loved the colorful ads and certainly (now in retrospect) the 70's and early 80's style.

 

We would read them in-between games while awaiting our turn. And of course we'd trade and borrow them around in school. I loved reading them during the cold winter nights after-hours, in my makeshift blanket fort tents. They fueled many flights of fancy and wonder about the future of electronic entertainment. One of them may have even given me the idea of an All-in-One console - of which I have now.

 

They inflated my ego as I learned all about totally irrelevant bits of trivia. Made me feel smarter than I already was and that was part of the feel-good read'em again urge that I had. I often read them in conjunction with many other pulp pubs of the day: Discover, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Radio Electronics, Popular Electronics, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Apple Orchard, Apple, Byte, Nibble, Cider, A+, Kilobaud, Creative Computing, Compute, Hardcore Computing & Computist, Interface Age, Amiga World, and of course Omni. So yes they were integral (all of them were) to this kid getting a solid foundation of what the technological landscape of the era was. Or at least how a consumer electronics hobbyist was supposed to behave. At least how Madison Avenue wanted us sheeples to be wowed into tech consumerism even more. Free energy, hypersonic air travel, flying cars, undersea ecologies & hotels, space colonies & space travel for the masses, personal robotic butlers.. Pfft! All nonsense pulpy crap we're still waiting for.

 

In 1986-7 I kinda stopped buying most magazines except for Astronomy and Sky & Telescope. And the occasional issue of Byte, PC Magazine, and Computer Shopper. It would be these later three publications which would help elevate me above and beyond the doldrums of the 16-bit world.

 

In the 2000's I'd take multiple steps backward with Maximum PC. That rag taught me how to spend the most money to get the worst price/performance I'd ever experience. I wouldn't get back on track till many years after I canceled my subscription.

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My favorite from back in the 80s was "Electronic Games" magazine with the editorial team of Arnie Katz/Bill Kunkle/Joyce Worley.   I liked the coverage, the art and layout in the magazine and the writing, it always conveyed a sense of fun and excitement.  I'd read each issue cover to cover.   There was no sense of elitism where they turned their noses up at the audience taste-  they came off like gaming enthusiasts like the rest of us.

 

But then they left and a new editorial team came in.   You could sense a different tone immediately.   Some elitism started to creep in.  Their layouts started getting more bland, the magazine soon changed its name and shut down a few issues later.

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The magazines from the early 1980's have aged well because they had in-depth articles that stand the test of time for many gaming historians.

 

The ones from the 90's?  "DUDE....Like Totally Where's Poochy!!!!"  Not so much...

 

From 2000's onward, they're ok but definitely replaced by better web sites.

 

My favorites from each era where Electronic Gaming (pre-Crash), GamePro (which did cover Atari systems equally with the Nintendo & Sega ones), Next Generation (only interested in industry news, their reviews were pathethic) and PC Gamer (magazine is still good, but the web site is run by snowflakes).

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been ever so slowly working my way through a few mags in chronological order, usually late at night when I'm the only one still up and don't really feel like playing a game or watching a movie.

 

When I read through a mag, I try to read everything with a few exceptions:

- Level-by-level strategy guide sections

- Sections that are just listing cheats for games

- Gaming news sections (basically just ads/PR, pretty useless when reading something from 1989 or whatever)

- Topic/genre overviews... These were very popular with VG&CE and Electronic Games. They would just select a fitting genre ("horror games" for the Oct issue), and spend several pages just giving the most superficial single-paragraph description of a dozen games.  AFAIC, this is just ads/PR.

- Goofy celebrity profiles (mostly from Nintendo Power; I don't care what Kirk Cameron's favorite NES game is)

 

With that out of the way, here are some thoughts on what I've been reading.

 

Nintendo Power

Still a great-looking mag that's fun to look through, but actually reading these can be a drag.  Early NP played a crucial role back in the day as basically a subscription-based strategy guide, and the strategy/hint sections are still very good.  The letter section is actually also pretty fun to read.  I remember back in the day really looking forward to the previews each issue, but in hindsight, there's really not much to them; usually just a single paragraph that reveals nothing and one screenshot if you're lucky.

 

It's still a good mag, even this early on, and I know that it eventually gets better (in terms of writing) while retaining the excellent layout/graphics and strategy stuff as the SNES comes out and becomes dominant.

 

Video Games & Computer Entertainment

I never subscribed to this back in the day, but I would pick up an issue if I happened to come across it at the local magazine shop.  Reading it now, it's really quite a mixed bag for such a highly regarded mag.  One point in its favor is that it covers both console and computer games.

 

Sadly, the console coverage is pretty dire, with most "reviews" simply regurgitating the contents of the instruction booklets to you.  It is amusing, though, to read some of the older editors complaining when some NES game requires you to both jump AND attack at the same time.

 

There's also a lot of page-filling trash content.  I mentioned the "genre overviews" above, but you also have laugable multi-page articles about garbage like the Power Glove that are clearly just unmarked PR.

 

On the other hand, the computer game coverage is like it's from a completely different mag.  The strategy sections (mostly text) are full of good tips, and the reviews are insightful; it's obvious in most cases that the reviewers have completed the games.  I might hang onto these mags even after reading them, just for the computer stuff.

Edited by newtmonkey
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On 1/11/2023 at 12:40 PM, newtmonkey said:

I've been ever so slowly working my way through a few mags in chronological order, usually late at night when I'm the only one still up and don't really feel like playing a game or watching a movie.

 

When I read through a mag, I try to read everything with a few exceptions:

- Level-by-level strategy guide sections

- Sections that are just listing cheats for games

- Gaming news sections (basically just ads/PR, pretty useless when reading something from 1989 or whatever)

- Topic/genre overviews... These were very popular with VG&CE and Electronic Games. They would just select a fitting genre ("horror games" for the Oct issue), and spend several pages just giving the most superficial single-paragraph description of a dozen games.  AFAIC, this is just ads/PR.

- Goofy celebrity profiles (mostly from Nintendo Power; I don't care what Kirk Cameron's favorite NES game is)

 

With that out of the way, here are some thoughts on what I've been reading.

 

Nintendo Power

Still a great-looking mag that's fun to look through, but actually reading these can be a drag.  Early NP played a crucial role back in the day as basically a subscription-based strategy guide, and the strategy/hint sections are still very good.  The letter section is actually also pretty fun to read.  I remember back in the day really looking forward to the previews each issue, but in hindsight, there's really not much to them; usually just a single paragraph that reveals nothing and one screenshot if you're lucky.

 

It's still a good mag, even this early on, and I know that it eventually gets better (in terms of writing) while retaining the excellent layout/graphics and strategy stuff as the SNES comes out and becomes dominant.

 

Video Games & Computer Entertainment

I never subscribed to this back in the day, but I would pick up an issue if I happened to come across it at the local magazine shop.  Reading it now, it's really quite a mixed bag for such a highly regarded mag.  One point in its favor is that it covers both console and computer games.

 

Sadly, the console coverage is pretty dire, with most "reviews" simply regurgitating the contents of the instruction booklets to you.  It is amusing, though, to read some of the older editors complaining when some NES game requires you to both jump AND attack at the same time.

 

There's also a lot of page-filling trash content.  I mentioned the "genre overviews" above, but you also have laugable multi-page articles about garbage like the Power Glove that are clearly just unmarked PR.

 

On the other hand, the computer game coverage is like it's from a completely different mag.  The strategy sections (mostly text) are full of good tips, and the reviews are insightful; it's obvious in most cases that the reviewers have completed the games.  I might hang onto these mags even after reading them, just for the computer stuff.

Oh man, I love VGCE mags! In fact, it might be my favorite gaming periodical.  I find their reviews not so bias as compared to say - EGM. 

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54 minutes ago, schuwalker said:

I find their reviews not so bias as compared to say - EGM. 

I'm not a huge fan of the console coverage in VGCE, but I do agree that the reviews are better than EGM.

 

EGM has got to have the worst reviews out of any of these classic mags, outside of some of the totally ridiculous UK mags.  I can't count the number of times they would have someone that hates sports games or RPGs review a sports game or RPG and say, basically, "just another sports game" or "rpgs are boring" or whatever.  What's the point?  I never liked their review format (which they stole from Famitsu, where it was also bad).

Edited by newtmonkey
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Electronic Gaming Monthly.

 

Mostly the 1992, 1993, and 1994 issues when the Genesis and SNES were in heated competition and the games were pouring into the market.

EGM had the best layout, reviews, and images of the 16-bit games and hardware.

I still have mine from those years and look back at them periodically and have been motivated to try games I never played before.

Here's a few images...

 

 

Road Avenger  EGM Review.jpg

Sonic 2 and Wonderdog Cheat Codes.jpg

Sonic 2 EGM.jpg

Sonic 3 EGM.jpg

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There were a few early off-mainstream computer & micro magazines such as Apple Orchard and Hardcore Computing/Computist. Their heydays were pre-1986.. And when I got burned out on gaming (very possible because the intensity at which I played could be high at times) I'd take a break and segue into those.

 

They made me feel professional and grown up with ads for things like parallel, serial, and clock cards. Winchester drives, powerful mail merge and business software packages, printer utilities, programming tools. Job cost analysis and word processing software. And everything not-games. As a side benefit it made my parents think I was doing something worthwhile and serious.

 

Hardcore Computing was neat because it told us how to break disks. Though I didn't understand anything one iota after the table-of-contents page. I read it for the occasional game hint/cheat. And of course the occasional type-in and review.

 

Have any of them aged well? They're actually timeless. Good snapshots of the era and what it was like to be exploring games and computers. Far better in detail and accuracy than any modern millennial-made youtube video. Magazines were written with the flavor of their time. I'll happily argue all day long that OEM manuals, books, and other printed documentation, are pristine windows on the past. That's golden!

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I mentioned this in the defunct magazine thread, but this one fits here more.

 

Super Play, the best SNES magazine that there ever was. Big on style and substance, the brits really hammered this home. They even had a correspondent in Japan to report all the weirdness there and did a lot of import reviews. Damn, I wish I had all the issues. A great read still to this day. Here are some snippets:

http://www.outofprintarchive.com/catalogue/superplay.html

 

They even had a dedicated artist doing all the covers and stuff:

Super Play - Video Game Magazines - Page 2 - Retromags Community

 

Edit: forgot to mentioned that we had a similar SNES magazine here called Super Power, which was an inferior translation of the swedish version of Super Power, which in itself was kind of a sister magazine to UK's Super Play. I grew up with Super Power but discovered Super Play only about 15 years ago and was blow away by the awesomeness of it.

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Super Play is another great one!  I never knew of this mag back in the day, but learned of it from the old RVGFANATIC site/blog and was able to track down scans.

 

I dunno why the scans are so hard to find now.  They used to have a full run either on retromags or Internet Archive, but I guess the copyright holder had them taken down, which is absolutely ridiculous.

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10 hours ago, newtmonkey said:

I dunno why the scans are so hard to find now.  They used to have a full run either on retromags or Internet Archive, but I guess the copyright holder had them taken down, which is absolutely ridiculous.

 

If  find something online that I like (magazines, videos, etc.), I take a few minutes to grab my own personal copy. I encourage everyone to do the same. 

 

I have, for example, an almost complete run of EGM (missing only a few issues from the very last years of the publication). No single website has all of these issues, and some are no longer available online anywhere. My copies are stored on an external hard drive that remains offline unless I need to access it. They are secure from copyright claims and whatever else may happen to online content. 

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@jhd I am starting to do the same with magazines as well.

 

My favorite mags from the day?

 

Joystik: the first gaming magazine I ever read.  In 6th grade my parents got me an Atari VCS with a bunch of games but no manuals.  Most were all arcade stuff I was familiar with except one: "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  I could not figure that game out to save my soul!  I went to the library and looked up any video game books they had.  In the adult section they DID have gaming books with a lot of Hoyle how to's, board games, a couple Choose your Own Adventure style (like "Murder in Irliss", which was really cool) and then a few beat up issues of "Joystik".  In there I found out not only how to play RotLA but how to potentially BEAT it.  It took a couple tries but I did beat the game.  Years later I'd download the JPGs of each page but then further along in time I'd eventually complete the issues, probably half of which were brand new.  How does it hold up? Pretty good actually.  The artwork is fun, with many instances of a Tron-like look to make it seem futuristic.  The photos of games were usually top notch, sharp and colorful.  The writing was decent and it had a little bit of everything-a little news, what's coming down the pike, a thought provoking story from time to time.  Still good stuff to read today.

 

Nintendo Power: I had a subscription to "Nintendo Fun Club News" starting with the Zelda issue and then got the Power.  The had some pretty good pictures and it was really well rounded for the Nintendo player of the era (young).  The subscription lasted a year and I let it lapse until around the Gamecube/DS era where they were giving away free stuff like a DS T-Shirt and that Zelda collection disc for Gamecube.  How does it hold up? As an adult I found it didn't really grab my attention much any more and again let my subscription lapse.  I did buy two copies of the last issue-one to read and one to keep sealed.  As for how it aged-like mentioned before with this and other mags, it's a good snapshot of the time.  The articles aren't overly long and it makes for a quick read.  It's neat to look at from time to time but I mostly skim through it as more of a nostalgia trip than anything else.

 

Note on the comment about reading about celebrities playing games: I think Nintendo was still building up the acceptance of video games in a market that essentially rose from the ashes.  At least in my neck of the woods during my middle school years (1986-1989), if you played/openly talked about/seemed to be a fan of video games, you were a nerd and thus targeted by ridicule.  I think a magazine showing popular celebrities that play games might have been an attempt (as purely marketing but still, intentions were good) to show that it's fun for everyone.

 

Game Player's Magazine: The first issue I bought from a Mills Fleet Farm in Plymouth, WI when I was spending the weekend with my grandparents.  It contained not only video game info but computer stuff as well!  Computer stuff I had no real interest in as I was a Color Computer user.  It had a lot more info in it than "Nintendo Power", like industry news and of course coverage on other game systems.  It was a good gateway to start looking at other consoles to possibly play.  How does it hold up?  It's a flipping dry read.  The photos of games are usually grainy, due to not only the quality of the picture but also the lower quality of the paper.  Like many mags of the time, they had decent tips and walk-throughs of games each month. I tried reading what I have but it can get a bit boring.

 

Electronic Gaming Monthly: I foolishly never got a subscription but bought the first year off the news stands.  I don't know why I never asked my parents to write a check.  I think I liked the ritual of going to the store and buying it, having the choice to skip an issue or not (which I would as the 90's grew).  I probably got this from the local K-Mart.  I really liked this magazine!  The writing was fun and I liked the different folks in the Review Crew as I could get a good average of how a game was.  How does it hold up? IMHO, pretty well.  Yeah I could see the bias over the years but I don't blame them.  There's a lot of info in this mag, especially as the years went on.  I have to take some time to flip through an issue-I still have the first year after the first "Great Magazine Purge".  Quartermann's section is a fun read of what he thought the future would hold based on industry schnutterings and then knowing what really happened.

 

Video Games and Computer Entertainment Magazine: This magazine, hands down, is what made me want to play IBM PC Compatible games.  One particular issue had "Wing Commander" on the cover and thanks to the great photos and the article, I wanted a PC clone.  Followed by a VGA card and monitor when I had no idea what the heck those were yet.  And thanks to that it got me down the path to working with computers.  This magazine was my favorite that I again did not get a subscription to.  After the editorial, news and such, about half of the magazine was devoted to video games (and arcade) while the other shifted to computer coverage.  The middle of the mag typically had a strategy feature of some game or games.  The computer section was headed up by the Electronic Games team of Arnie Katz and Bill Kunkel with news typically covered by Joyce Worley.  It was a strong magazine with a lot of content (and a LOT of ads) that changed through the years.  At first reviews had no scores but then suddenly as 1990 rolled on, it did and sometimes the scores didn't really match the text.  To make it stand out more (and I think desktop publishing got easier thanks to advances in computers and printing) the art in the magazine started to get superfluous, like odd little squiggles in between columns like they were trying to make it all "modern" or "hip".  How does it hold up? Dang well.  There isn't really a magazine today that I'm aware of in the US that covers EVERYTHING in electronic gaming like VG&CE did.  Britain probably still has mags that hit all the formats (Edge I believe?).  I don't have my magazines anymore (a regret from "The purge" as I just don't have room to store all this stuff as I had the entire original run of the magazine) but I still read them in PDF form on a regular basis.

 

One thing I will say about magazines THEN compared to NOW is that, unless you count strategy guides, you didn't really get "spoilers" of games in reviews.  Granted many games were different then, especially in the video game realm but you got to know how the game played, how hard it was and how well it was made.  You rarely, if ever (that I can recall) learn of a pivotal moment that would be considered a surprise (unless you read a strategy guide, which you could avoid should you wanted to).  I don't think even computer games that were more narrative had "spoilers" that I can recall.  In today's mags, at least since the mid 00's, you read about a game (which many are about the narrative now) you might read about a situation in said game that would be really awesome if it were kept a surprise.  I think Game Informer killed the opening sequence in "Metroid Prime 3" when you entered a battle against Ripley.  Reading the review/article told me exactly how to beat him, what to expect and what neato thing came after.  When I played it, I felt a bit robbed, like learning from a friend that Darth Vader was Luke's father.  Maybe that's me but I hated that and now am wary when I read any review of a game that has the narrative as a driving force to play the game.

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Gamemoose said:

 

 

Video Games and Computer Entertainment Magazine: This magazine, hands down, is what made me want to play IBM PC Compatible games.  One particular issue had "Wing Commander" on the cover and thanks to the great photos and the article, I wanted a PC clone.  Followed by a VGA card and monitor when I had no idea what the heck those were yet.  And thanks to that it got me down the path to working with computers.  This magazine was my favorite that I again did not get a subscription to.  After the editorial, news and such, about half of the magazine was devoted to video games (and arcade) while the other shifted to computer coverage.  The middle of the mag typically had a strategy feature of some game or games.  The computer section was headed up by the Electronic Games team of Arnie Katz and Bill Kunkel with news typically covered by Joyce Worley.  It was a strong magazine with a lot of content (and a LOT of ads) that changed through the years.  At first reviews had no scores but then suddenly as 1990 rolled on, it did and sometimes the scores didn't really match the text.  To make it stand out more (and I think desktop publishing got easier thanks to advances in computers and printing) the art in the magazine started to get superfluous, like odd little squiggles in between columns like they were trying to make it all "modern" or "hip".  How does it hold up? Dang well.  There isn't really a magazine today that I'm aware of in the US that covers EVERYTHING in electronic gaming like VG&CE did.  Britain probably still has mags that hit all the formats (Edge I believe?).  I don't have my magazines anymore (a regret from "The purge" as I just don't have room to store all this stuff as I had the entire original run of the magazine) but I still read them in PDF form on a regular basis.

 

One thing I will say about magazines THEN compared to NOW is that, unless you count strategy guides, you didn't really get "spoilers" of games in reviews.  Granted many games were different then, especially in the video game realm but you got to know how the game played, how hard it was and how well it was made.  You rarely, if ever (that I can recall) learn of a pivotal moment that would be considered a surprise (unless you read a strategy guide, which you could avoid should you wanted to).  I don't think even computer games that were more narrative had "spoilers" that I can recall.  In today's mags, at least since the mid 00's, you read about a game (which many are about the narrative now) you might read about a situation in said game that would be really awesome if it were kept a surprise.  I think Game Informer killed the opening sequence in "Metroid Prime 3" when you entered a battle against Ripley.  Reading the review/article told me exactly how to beat him, what to expect and what neato thing came after.  When I played it, I felt a bit robbed, like learning from a friend that Darth Vader was Luke's father.  Maybe that's me but I hated that and now am wary when I read any review of a game that has the narrative as a driving force to play the game.

 

 

 

 

You sum up it very well... VGCE covered the whole oeuvre of gaming. Late '88, I really got into the DOS gaming scene and by '89 I was sucked in. Mind you, I was still heavy into the console gaming scene. That's why I give this certain periodical a step above the rest...

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I'm currently reading through the first issue of...

 

Computer Game Review and 16-bit Entertainment

(Aug '91)

 

I never even came across a single issue of this back in the day, so this is all new to me.  I do remember it being advertised in the pages of EGM, as it's published by the same company.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a very similar layout to early 90s EGM... it even has a similar review format, which honestly works even worse for PC games.  I was making fun of EGM a bit in a previous post about having editors review games in genres they hate or just don't get, so I got a good laugh at the review of Castles in this issue, where one of the reviewers basically says "I only like action games, this game is boring."  LOL

 

Having said that, this mag is pretty cool.  The writing is a bit better than EGM, but you get a similar layout with lots of great screenshots, and some very nice 1-2 page mini-strat guides for various games.  It's pretty bizarre to be reading a two page strat guide for a super dry war sim like UMS II, but with the typical EGM-style layout!  I definitely recommend giving this mag a look, if you are a fan of early 90s EGM and computer (mostly DOS) games.

 

Internet Archive currently has nearly the entire run of this mag uploaded, and is missing only half a dozen or so issues.  However, the individual PDFs are massive (some are over 800 MB!!!!!!).

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Nintendo Power--I liked it because it was Nintendo, but it was never a particularly great magazine content wise...just a big ad for the company basically. 

 

EGM--Fantastic mag, loved it all through the 90's, they did a big format change in the Xbox era that completely ruined it for me, have never read it since. 

 

Strategy Guides--Used mid 90's to early 2ks, made irrelevant by the advent of the internet, but i'll still buy maybe one every five years or so if I love the game enough to read about it when not playing it. (Skyrim, Zelda's, etc.) 

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7 hours ago, Rick Dangerous said:

Nintendo Power--I liked it because it was Nintendo, but it was never a particularly great magazine content wise...just a big ad for the company basically.

Completely agree. Atari had AtariAge in the early 80's. Apple had one for the Apple II. Imaginatively title "Apple". But to their credit they did say "The Personal Computer Magazine and Catalog" on the cover.

 

7 hours ago, Rick Dangerous said:

EGM--Fantastic mag, loved it all through the 90's, they did a big format change in the Xbox era that completely ruined it for me, have never read it since. 

I'm alright with small evolutionary changes in a magazine. But when they redo the entire thing, the very reason I subscribed has likely morphed into something I'm not interested in anymore.

 

7 hours ago, Rick Dangerous said:

Strategy Guides--Used mid 90's to early 2ks, made irrelevant by the advent of the internet, but i'll still buy maybe one every five years or so if I love the game enough to read about it when not playing it. (Skyrim, Zelda's, etc.) 

I loved them. And I always thought of them as a secondary manual. Or sometimes THE manual. And in that case, the manual that came with the game becomes a reference card.

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egm, videi games and conputer monthly?, nintendo power (love the posters inside but always felt wrong to rip them out. the mail in cards.. the contests i never won. 

 

read them cover to cover.. i still have a ton of them.. not the originas ones from my childhood, but the gamecube era.  and nintendo powerd for thr n64 era which i missed so i got thru those sometimes.

 

bringing them to school was alwayd a great way to spark up some social interaction too i remember.

 

edit.. missed gamepro. that WAS the best one. the little face boxes in different colors as scores is burned in my brain 

 

Edited by NeonSpaceBeagle
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