In case anybody missed the news, GamePro is dead. The november issue is the last one ever. Despite what you think of the quality of the magazine, it can't be denied that this is definitely the end of an era. GamePro has been such a staple here in the US for decades, it's kinda a shock that it's gone. As a testament to its popularity and influence, the term "protip" has entered the common lexicon even amongst those who don't play video games. Protip: the "pro" in "protip" stems from gamePRO.
It seems that, today, GamePro is mostly known for "terrible" reviews which no one cares about. I put terrible in quotes because, myself, I haven't really read a gamepro in years so I don't know if they're actually terrible or not, that's just what I've heard. But during GamePro's golden years, it was so much more than simply a consumer guide magazine. When I was younger, I didn't read gamepro for reviews - they were useless and full of fluff. The reason I read gamepro was three fold - first: Strategy guides for games which never, ever saw official, full strategy guides released. Back in those days, only the biggest of games got full guides, but luckily gamepro would pump out incredible guides, usually filled with great maps. Their guides really were unrivaled by their peers; EGM and gamefan rarely did guides, and gameplayers didn't really do them either.
Second, SWATpro. Beyond Gamepro's excellent guides, SWATpro (That's SECRET WEAPONS AND TACTICS, yo) was a fucking gift from god. Filled with codes, cheats, and game genie sections, the section proved to be so great that it spawned an entire spin-off magazine (called SWATpro, of course) and a professional imitation: Tricks and Tips (which, admittedly, bested SWATpro and gamepro in just about every way).
Finally, the third reason to read gamepro was for sneaks at upcoming games. Most people say that gamepro was during the time before the internet... not true. I had internet since '88. However, the internet was massively different back then, and while you could get some good info and discussion on games on a BBS, you didn't get the pictures of hype you got from gamepro. I loved winter time because it meant gamepro would do a couple of issues dedicated to CES coverage, and the back 1/4 of their magazine was usually deadicated to quick PR blurbs about upcoming games. It was easily the best way to keep up with what was going to be big soon.
The peak of Gamepro was winter of 1994. That is when the magazine was at it's absolute best, highlighted by 3 particular issues - November 94, December 94, and January 95. For whatever reason, the magazine's size tripled for those three months, as all three issues ditched their usual stapled-style and instead game in thick bound style. Each of those issues averaged at about 300 pages each, when the usual gamepro issue tended to be 100 pages. Also, given the games released during that time, those 3 issues were completely PACKED with content.
I haven't bought an issue of gamepro in... well, over a decade at this point. I stopped buying them basically once they ditched swatpro and the strategy guide section, and once the internet started providing better coverage of upcoming games. At that point, the magazine relied solely on it's weakest element - it's reviews, and it lost my interest. But I'm still definitely sad to see Gamepro go. I had subscriptions to EGM, and EGM2, and Diehard gamefan, and gameplayers, and tips and tricks. But Gamepro was MY magazine, the very first video game magazine I ever picked up, back from the days when they covered NES, SMS, Turbo Grafx, and Sega Genesis. I have tons, and tons of back issues of gamepro still stored away in my closet - I had subscriptions to both Gamepro and, while it ran, Swatpro throughout the 90's. When I'd go to a magazine rack, I'd always, like clock work, pick up the latest GamePro and Mad Magazine.
Though the magazine lost its soul over 10 years ago, it will still always hold a special place to me.
So... does no one really care that one of the oldest gaming mags in the US is dead?