orthicviper

what were your favorite game magazines in the 90s any why?

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Here's my story of my experience with different game mags:

I started with Nintendo Power since it was advertised in my SNES console box, then a year or two later picked up a GamePro since I had a sega genesis. I checked out other mags at the time but I subscribed to GamePro because it was the only one I remember that specified if a game had battery backup or password saving or not and I hated short games or games that made me start all over after running out of lives. I experimented with EGM, Video Games, and Die Hard Game Fan and they were good too but I never subscribed, though I would have if i had enough spare money. Around 1994 or 1995 I subscribed to Game Players because they became the funniest game magazine I ever saw. I think it was when the editor became Phil Donahue that the magazine started getting more humorous. I stopped subscribing after 1-2 years as they became Ultra Game Players and lost their humor. I guess they got too controversial and were scared to not get more serious. But I am just now wondering why GamePro was so popular. I may skim through a lot of game magazines here one day that I never read and see which one really was the best (maybe GamePro did deserve its huge success).

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I know I always sound like a curmudgeonly asshole, but I stand completely by my opinion that the only reason any of those mags are popular around here is pure nostalgia.   Any adult picking up an issue of Nintendo Power, GamePro, Game Players (or what have you) for the very first time in the year 2019 is going to see it clearly for what it is - a publication aimed at kids and teens, and not particularly interesting or insightful to read.

I'm NOT insulting those mags by saying this!!!  The entire reason most people visit this site is out of nostalgia for the games and mags of their youth.  If those mags hadn't been written for kids, none of us would have been interested in them back then, and this entire hobby likely wouldn't exist.

Embrace nostalgia, but recognize it for what it is.  Careful examination of the things you loved as a kid may reveal that they weren't as amazing as you remember (oh Transformers, how could I have ever remembered you fondly?).  If you can't accept the fact that everything you remember is likely tinted with rose-colored glasses, it's perhaps best to leave things in the past where they're still as good as you remember, rather than be disappointed by evaluating them from an adult's point of view.  So if you're going to try to find the best video game magazine, keep in mind who their target audience was lest you judge them unfairly.

Personally, of the mags I used to read, I can still appreciate Nintendo Power and EGM out of nostalgia, and I can still appreciate various PC game mags completely on their own merits.

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Agreed. I still like to look at an issue of Amstrad Action now and again as the CPC464 was my first computer and the mag was, well, my first computer/gaming magazine I purchased. But yeah, compared to later magazines it lacks polish and is clearly early in the whole computer magazine scene (it was Future PLC's first ever publication after all) as far as content is concerned. That doesn't worry me though as I have a fondness for emulation of the CPC series and it's nice reading about the games from the perspective of the early 1980's again. They were simpler times and it's great reading about one man band software houses of the day. Much more interesting than reading about the likes of EA nowadays that's for sure.

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The two magazines I really enjoyed in the 90s were GamePro and EGM. I was subscribed to both but I tossed all of the physical copies once I saw retromags had them all preserved :-).

GamePro was my first gaming magazine and I got the first issue because they were being given away at Toys R Us as an introduction special. I've always liked the GamePro preview/review layouts and the section at the end for cheats.

EGM I was introduced to in grade school. I was impressed with the Japanese and arcade game news that GamePro did not cover very well. This was especially important when new revisions of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were being introduced to the arcades.

All the other magazines I had during that time were newsstand pickups when I was bored. Nintendo Power I appreciated for their walkthroughs but because it was Nintendo-focused only, I felt like it was lacking.

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On 3/27/2019 at 8:03 PM, kitsunebi77 said:

I know I always sound like a curmudgeonly asshole, but I stand completely by my opinion that the only reason any of those mags are popular around here is pure nostalgia.   Any adult picking up an issue of Nintendo Power, GamePro, Game Players (or what have you) for the very first time in the year 2019 is going to see it clearly for what it is - a publication aimed at kids and teens, and not particularly interesting or insightful to read.

I'm NOT insulting those mags by saying this!!!  The entire reason most people visit this site is out of nostalgia for the games and mags of their youth.  If those mags hadn't been written for kids, none of us would have been interested in them back then, and this entire hobby likely wouldn't exist.

Embrace nostalgia, but recognize it for what it is.  Careful examination of the things you loved as a kid may reveal that they weren't as amazing as you remember (oh Transformers, how could I have ever remembered you fondly?).  If you can't accept the fact that everything you remember is likely tinted with rose-colored glasses, it's perhaps best to leave things in the past where they're still as good as you remember, rather than be disappointed by evaluating them from an adult's point of view.  So if you're going to try to find the best video game magazine, keep in mind who their target audience was lest you judge them unfairly.

Personally, of the mags I used to read, I can still appreciate Nintendo Power and EGM out of nostalgia, and I can still appreciate various PC game mags completely on their own merits.

All solid points kitsunemi. While i'm not disagreeing, let me point out my perspective.  Personally, i live within my nostalgia.

I love flipping through old Nintendo Power mags, while still admitting that they were 100% written for kids. I feel like as long as you can accept something for what it is, not what you think it is/remember it being/etc., those things can still be appreciated.  The games that NP pushed heavily tended to be some of the better games, so even looking past the cheesiness, it did separate the cream from the crop somewhat. 

As for Transformers, i LOVE '80s cartoons, despite the (many) flaws looking at them through 2019's eyes. TF and GI Joe are still in regular rotation in my household. As is Captain N: The Game Master, if that tells you anything!  😝

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G.I. JOE is still awesome.  It truly is an excellent cartoon with fantastic characters and writing, and I will defend it to my death as a show that is just as good now as it was then.  But Transformers has nowhere NEAR the same level of characterization or narrative complexity.  Perhaps it was intended for an even younger audience, but it just isn't as good.  The movie is great, though.  Love the soundtrack!  Some of my most prized possessions - limited edition Botcon-exclusive CDs:

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And to be fair, later Transformers shows are much better.  Beast Wars is still quite watchable (if not as good as it seemed the first time I saw it), and the recent Transformers Prime was also pretty good.  And of course, Bumblebee was a pretty great entry in the otherwise execrable film series.

But for 80s cartoons that still hold up, nothing beats G.I.JOE.

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On 6/17/2019 at 12:02 AM, twiztor said:

All solid points kitsunemi. While i'm not disagreeing, let me point out my perspective.  Personally, i live within my nostalgia.

I love flipping through old Nintendo Power mags, while still admitting that they were 100% written for kids. I feel like as long as you can accept something for what it is, not what you think it is/remember it being/etc., those things can still be appreciated.  The games that NP pushed heavily tended to be some of the better games, so even looking past the cheesiness, it did separate the cream from the crop somewhat. 

As for Transformers, i LOVE '80s cartoons, despite the (many) flaws looking at them through 2019's eyes. TF and GI Joe are still in regular rotation in my household. As is Captain N: The Game Master, if that tells you anything!  😝

My favourite was GamePro, mainly because it's the first one I ever read, and the one I could find every month in our small town. I would pick up EGM whenever we went to the city, and while I liked that they seemed to get the jump on news and games a month early, and were generally thicker than GamePro, GamePro was still my favourite.

It will always be my favourite, but I recognize that it wasn't the best written magazine, especially in the early days. If you read through the first year or two of issues, the writing is bad, sometimes very bad. I can understand why knowing now that the staff for the magazine was insanely tiny back then. but it doesn't stop you from cringing while reading it.

A magazine I only really read through as an adult from being on this site is Video Games & Computer Entertainment. If I had to rate the best 90s magazine to read (and enjoy) as an adult, VG&CE would be my top pick.

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