Sign in to follow this  
kitsunebi

Your top 5 gaming mags

Recommended Posts

I'm sure there's probably a similar thread somewhere lost in time amongst the archives, but the people who commented there all died long ago from smallpox and the bubonic plague because they hadn't yet invented science, so we're starting a new one.  Please feel free to specify specific eras for your choices, if you like.

  1. PC Gamer (USA) I'm going to have to limit this to issues from the 90s, particularly from launch in '94 through around 1998 or so.  These were golden times for PC Gaming.  With the advent of VGA displays, PCs finally leapt ahead graphically from consoles and never looked back.  Every year saw huge leaps in both presentation and game design as gaming transitioned into 3D and dedicated graphics cards eventually became a fact of life.  Also, Coconut Monkey!
  2. Sierra News Magazine / InterAction These mags are almost advertisements more than anything, seeing as they were published in-house by Sierra, covering their own products.  But since Sierra graphic adventures were pretty much my favorite things ever since I first booted up Space Quest 1 in 1987, these mags never left my side from around 1990 through 1995 or so.
  3. Game Player's PC Strategy Guide / Game Player's PC Entertainment These are more or less the same magazine, and were essentially the prototypes for the American version of PC Gamer, which carried over much of the same staff.  These started in 1988, but the first issue I ever bought was from January 1991, so for me I'm going with 1991-1994.
  4. Nintendo Power  From 1988 through 1992 or so, this was a magazine I lived and breathed.  Looking at it as an adult, I can see that it's vapid and bereft of any meaningful editorial content - you won't find any well-written reviews or interesting articles anywhere within its pages.  But as a kid, all that mattered was all of those beautiful maps and screenshots that let me get a sense of the game from start to finish, allowing me to play along in my mind to games my pittance of an allowance would not enable me to afford.
  5. EGM I didn't pick up my first EGM until April 1997.  That was when I decided to purchase a PlayStation, the first non-Nintendo console I ever owned.  Since I already owned an N64, I decided a mag that covered all systems would be worth picking up.  The issue I bought had a preview of the Japanese FF7 which probably sold me on it.  From 1997 through 2003 or so, this was the only multi-format console mag I could read with any amount self-respect (although I can't find anything to enjoy about early issues of EGM covering the 8-16 bit era.)  Nowadays I would be remiss not to add Next Generation to the list of video game mags worth reading as an adult, but while it was being published I only ever owned a handful of issues.

Honorable mentions go to Computer Gaming World and perhaps even PSM, which didn't quite make my top 5, but I enjoyed nonetheless.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be, in order by date:

  • CVG - the second real multi-format magazine I owned after Computer Gamer which I actually preferred but it died after a couple of years (these mags were from the photo the screen age)
  • Amiga Format - sure there were dedicated Amiga games mags but they just weren't as good as this as far as I was concerned
  • Computer Gaming World - started getting these after they went PC only. Absolutely loved them until I found .....
  • PC Gamer (USA) - I bought the first 80 or so issues when Imagine were publishing them. The Future versions just don't cut it compared to those early issues.
  • PC Format - WTF you say? I hear you but having won an auction with lots of early issues I am really getting a kick out of reading the game reviews from a retro perspective. They are great and the magazine feels like the spiritual successor to Amiga Format in every way that counted compared to it's cousin PC Gamer (UK)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.) EGM - This magazine had great previews for up and coming games, including a fair bit of news from Japan. It also had a great tips/codes section and generally interesting writing. It was also really convenient to read because of the square spine. I used to sit in the car reading this while my mom wasted time in the store shopping for several hours. This was not as common of a magazine in my area compared to GamePro or Nintendo Power, so it was a treat to find one in the magazine section and use my allowance to pick it up.

2.) GamePro - I actually remember getting the first issue of this magazine for free at Toys R Us when they were promoting it. This was the first gaming magazine that I subscribed to, so I have a lot of fond memories of it. The only aspect I think it did particularly better than the other magazines were its game reviews which could be multiple pages rather than a paragraph with a score. Who can forget the colored face review system :-).

3.) Nintendo Power - I didn't own a Nintendo console until the SNES came out (My parents bought an Atari 7800 instead, #first world problems). When I read this magazine I daydreamed about how the games worked and played out. I also really loved the old strategy guides they put out, such as the Super Mario Bros. 3 issue that had images of all of the enemies and level layouts. At around 5th grade I stopped reading Nintendo Power and went into GamePro and EGM to get a broader news feed and less biased reviews.

4.) PC Gamer (USA) - I came in a little later into PC gaming because I did not think a PC did anything particularly well vs console games until Doom came out. For PC games, this was the magazine to get. I loved the disc that came out each month with demos and additional levels for games like Doom.

5.) Everything else - Tips & Tricks, GameFan, Flux and the other random magazines that were available in the 90's.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Ethereal Dragonz said:

I came in a little later into PC gaming because I did not think a PC did anything particularly well vs console games until Doom came out.

A bit misleadingly phrased, but I think I see your point.  Especially back then, there was a huge divide between consoles and computers, and the PC did TONS of things well that consoles didn't.  Actually almost everything PCs did well was something consoles didn't.  However, the reverse was also true.  So if you were looking to play the types of games the 8/16-bit consoles excelled at (action/arcade/platformer/fighting games), then the PC didn't have much to offer.  Even though I was a PC/Nintendo player simultaneously as a kid, I remember wondering why my much more powerful PC couldn't play something as simple as Super Mario Bros. despite being able to play far more complicated and technically impressive games.  But it taught me to appreciate how different and exclusive PCs and console games were from one another and enjoy the different types of games that each did well without expecting one system to do everything.  Nowadays there's far more similarity and many people look at a PC (for gaming purposes) as merely a supercharged console.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) GamePlayers - Under Chris Slate, this magazine became increasingly "adult" and edgy in the mid-90's with jokes everywhere, curse words, and a weird, elaborate inside joke about a winged ape and his apocalyptic entourage. Fun to read as a kid, and they hold up even now, in my opinion. Until I found this site, I would literally dream of finding back issues online or at a garage sale.

2) Next Generation - Lots of interesting editorials or interviews that you would normally only see in more adult-oriented PC magazines, except in an adult-oriented multi-platform magazine. Features on game development, predictions about technology, and retrospectives digging into the history of gaming really quenched my thirst for un-biased, in-depth information in a proto-internet world. Informative and relevant even today.

3) Nintendo Power - Biased as hell, but definitely set a standard for me that other magazines often failed to meet. This includes cover stories that were always more than 2 pages long, in-depth strategy sections for brand new games, and some nice subscriber perks like cards, an expanded January issue, and discounts on the tantalizing merch catalog.

4) EGM  - I've always really liked the review format that gives multiple (and sometimes vastly different) opinions about new games, as well as the classic "Good, Bad, and Ugly" takes. The addition of the humorous "Hsu and Chan" illustrations and features was icing on the cake for me.

5) incite - Super short-lived magazine with an overly-subjective review feature that I liked (would list similar games that are better and worse than the game being reviewed) and some entertaining features and interviews with celebrities or models that gave me a wider view of the expanding gamer culture.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard to tell, but I can list 3 for sure :

1) Tilt (France) : best French computer and video game in its time, hands down. No competitors. Too bad they started to appeal to younger audience in 1991 and make their quality drop until their demise in 1994.

2) Joystick (France) : because of their humor (sometimes no far from Zero / PC Zone), their layout and their tone, and lots of good articles. The generation of PC gamers who grew up with Quake, Half-Life and Age of Empires will probably consider their golden age started in 1996, with the stupid videos on their CD-ROMs and the penguins, but as an older gamer whose interest in PC gaming faded in 1996, I'll stick to the 1990-1995 era.

3) Computer Gaming World (USA) : discovered around 2011 or 2012 with the CGW Museum, and one of my biggest shocks since I'm involved in a retrogaming website and dig computer game history. Not only it's extremely serious (something you couldn't expect from French mags), but it gave me a whole new vision of computer games and helped me understand why the US computer gaming market was like it was. It also taught me a lesson : you can't seriously understand the video game culture and history of a country if you haven't taken some time reading old magazines and books of this country. Unvaluable.

After that, it depends on countries :

France : Génération 4 was OK, but certainly not as good as the two aforementioned magazines

USA : PC Entertainment / PC Gamer and Strategy Games contained some good stuff, from what I read.

Germany : I'm not very good at German, so I can't really appreciate the texts, but I enjoy PC Joker : good layout, not very generous on the ratings (something common in Germany), and the interview of a game developer in each issue. PowerPlay is historically important and contains some very interesting reports and interviews, but I'm not fond of the teenage-y tone of the reviews. PC Player and PC Games looked good too.

UK : too many mags of various quality to mention, but I appreciated Zzap!64 and Crash, ACE, The One (until 1991, I think), PC Format (much better than PC Review), some stuff in Amiga Power, and (not always) the trashy humor of Zero and PC Zone. CVG was good until 1987, I guess; after that, it was dreadful. Some great stuff in Egde, but tries too hard to be edgy to my taste.

Spain : maybe not as good or reliable than other mags abroad, MicroMania is still an institution, and it was a pleasure to browse through these issues, especially because I understand Spanish better than German.

Australia, Italy, Greece : nothing really impressing.

Japan : hem, someday. Hopefully.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this