So, who remembers reading video game magazines? I do-- I spent most of my life reading them, up to the point that the internet has all but eliminated them, and I have a pretty good collection of them as well.
That's why I figured I'd throw this topic out there and see if there are any other like-minded PA goers who fondly remember them as well. Pretty much anything goes, of course: Favorite covers, favorite articles/moments (like the first time you laid eyes on a certain game), favorite magazines... or heck, even least favorite of any of the above.
Here are some of my favorite magazines I read over the years.
Of course, how could this one not top the list? I'm not sure I'd be as big a fan of Nintendo as I've ultimately become were it not for getting this magazine every other month, and then every month once they went to 12 times a year. My collection is still missing the second issue, though, after a callous and uncaring act saw many of my old magazines thrown out when I could do nothing about it. I've managed to rebuild the rest since, but I think the one with Simon Belmont holding Dracula's head up to the horror of children everywhere is the one hole in my collection.
I remember this one being a lot of fun. I read the first issue over and over again excitedly as I waited for Super Mario Bros. 2 to come out. It's also largely responsible for how I became a fan
of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
For a time in the early 90s, they also ran some cool comic serials as well. Super Mario Adventures and Star Fox were my favorites, while Super Metroid was lacking (though it did present us with Samus' Chozo origin for the first time), and-- unpopular as it is to say-- A Link to the Past was okay. That said, I'd love to see these rounded up and re-released in trade paperbacks again. I already have the SMA and LttP trades they did release through the magazine's Super Power Supplies catalog, but SMA is missing the last Mario & Wario comic, while Star Fox and Super Metroid never got the same due.
I could go on and on, but I'll just close by saying that one of the biggest and happiest moments in my life was actually getting to write for the magazine. Unfortunately, it wasn't for long as the magazine came to its end soon after (just shy of 300 issues and 25 years-- it sucks that it missed two milestones like that).
SEGA does... what Nintendid, by creating their own magazine, SEGA Visions. I had every issue of this (thanks in part to it ending a lot sooner than NP), but see above. It wasn't quite as good as Nintendo Power, but still had its own charms.
I don't know what it was, but early on in its life, EGM felt like the "professional" magazine to me. That is, it was easy for me to imagine them assembling the magazine in a large office full of cubicles and whatnot that looked like the Daily Planet newsroom from the Donner Superman movies. Maybe that's an odd comparison to make, but that's how it stood out in my mind.
One of my favorite issues (I'm not sure if I still have it or not) was one with a big screenshot of Super Mario World
Bros. 4 on the cover, proudly boasting coverage of the new Super Famicom months before Nintendo Power even acknowledged the system's existence. I told the people at school that Nintendo was making their own equivalent of the Genesis, but they just laughed at me! Laughed!
But who had the last laugh?!
Anyway, besides some nice early coverage of Mega Man X, other fond memories came with getting some of the giant, supermegahuge issues they had back around that same point in the early 90s. Almost like a phone book for a small town, they were. Sure, a lot of it was ads, but hey, at least they were video game ads. And I think there was a fair bit of content, too.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was GamePro. To me, they always felt like what one would expect a video game magazine to be. Kind of casual, but not too relaxed. The first issue (pictured above) gave me my first look at Super Mario Bros. 3 in a nice double-page feature, and there was some other neat stuff in there, too. Heck, it was where my mind was blown by discovering there were Mario games on systems that weren't
I think Game Players was a pretty big influence on how games were covered. At first, they were as serious as anyone, but in the early to mid-90s, things got crazy
. Gazuga, the Cleansing, Skullbats, Bill Donohue... it was often madcap and irreverent, and I think it led the shift to other magazines being more humorous in their coverage.
So what happens when everyone tries to be like you? In GP's case, they tried to differentiate themselves by being more serious as Ultra Game Players, which didn't go so well. Then they became Game Buyer for a few issues before the whole thing was dropped. Sad times.
Though newer than GP, Next Generation read like its big brother. More serious and industry-focused, with creator, marketing, and other such interviews and news. I read a number of them for a time, but the ones which stood out the most to me were their massive features on the then-unreleased Super Mario 64. The first screens I'd seen of the game failed to impress me, but reading their articles really helped sell me on the experience being offered.
PlayStation Magazine, or PSM for short, was sort of like Game Players' little brother, an unofficial magazine focusing solely on the then-new PlayStation. A lot of guys from GP moved over to this mag, before and after that one came to an end, so it had a sense of familiarity.
They also featured cool extras for a time, too, like stickers for your controllers and system, and inserts for your games' jewel cases. I used the Mega Man X4 one a lot, primarily whenever I wanted to use the Ultimate Armor or Black Zero. I think that insert may still be in the jewel case, come to think of it.
PSM also had a lot of neat covers early on, including a cool Castlevania: Symphony of the Night picture and a neat one of Zero and MegaMan Volnutt for their X4 and Legends coverage.
Diehard GameFan was kind of a niche magazine, focusing more on Japan-centric fare, as I recall. I only sporadically kept up with this one, but I seem to recall it covering anime as well, and featuring ads in the back which included a place selling Bandai's Rockman X model kits. I think I once bought an issue for that ad alone.
Publication was spotty, as I think the guy running it, Dave Halverson, ran into money troubles over the course of it. He also started up some subsequent magazine, such as GMR and Play, which I know less about.
Ever have that one magazine you'd flip through or read at the store, and while you liked it, it never quite enticed you to part with your money? That was Video Games for me, kind of regrettably so. I remember it being a decent but not great magazine which occasionally had some cool features (I remember a Street Fighter anniversary article where I first learned of Ryu's red hair and sandals from the first SF), but never quite enough to get me to part with my then-limited funds.
Also: Yes, that is an official CG model of Mario, courtesy of Rare around the time of DKC 2.
Before GameFAQs, there was Tips & Tricks. Truth be told, I don't remember this one too well, but I did get the above issue for the nice, blown-up image from Mega Man X5 on the cover (before we had high definition image archives online), and the art inside as well.
Finally (for my part in this post), there's a more recent magazine: Retro Gamer. I enjoyed this one while working at a bookstore which stocked it, but being an import, it sadly proved too costly for me to keep up with after.
So... I hope that's enough to start a discussion.
Edit: Spoiled some of these covers for size-- I didn't realize how big they actually were. Google Image Search lied to me! =P