Man, remember when we used to read gaming magazines? Maybe you don't, but I do.
A few days ago, while I was on my way to give a friend an old Xbox DVD remote I wasn't using, I had picked up three old gaming magazines for $5 at a Goodwill: A March 2003 issue of Game Informer, and two early issues of Official Xbox Magazine, still in the shrink wrap with the demo discs inside. That moment made me want to dig out the other old magazines I found while perusing thrift stores, and remember my past with gaming magazines.
I guess I should go back to where I began reading this stuff. My friend had a cousin who had old Nintendo Power magazines. To me, these were an absolute treat, and I snagged a few of the issues. Unfortunately they're all torn due to negligence of my friends at the time, but I had issues that covered games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project and Super Mario All-Stars. A few years later, I had a subscription with Nintendo Power from about mid-1998 to mid-2000. I even looked in a Kmart to get all the 1998 back issues I didn't have at the time. Later, I got one of those complimentary subscriptions to PC Gamer that you signed up for if you did something for Publisher's Clearing House. That lasted from 2003-2004, which covered a lot of games that would later be praised or derided, such as Half-Life 2, Call of Duty, and Doom 3.
This was the shit when I was a kid. Useful, insightful, even if it was filled with excess Nintendo praise. (As it should, seeing as it was owned by Nintendo and all.)
Hell, even when my local CompUSA was going out of business, I snagged old PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World issues from around 2004-05. Nowadays I don't have any print magazine subscriptions -- the internet has usurped that medium -- but I do remember the good old days of reading gaming magazines.
While my game magazine collection isn't huge, it's certainly a sizable collection in which each issue is a snapshot of the era. I collected these magazines as a way to see what gaming really was like around this time. 2001-05 was a time where I was playing video games, but wasn't entrenched in them as much as I am now. I missed a lot of the classics, some of which I went back to play recently, such as Mafia.
Getting these slightly old magazines also show how different gaming was before the days of Call of Duty 4. Here's a few examples: Game Informer praising Counter-Strike for the Xbox as the "king of Xbox shooters" since Halo 2 was still a year and a half away. How about a 2007 Game Informer issue that covered Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, complete with an early version of Elena, looking more like an adolescent kid than looking like voice actress Emily Rose? One of my favorites is Electronic Gaming Monthly that had "Announced: Goldeneye 2!" on the cover. That Goldeneye 2 was actually EA's GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, an absolutely awful shooter. But it's funny to go back and realize things differently than when all this stuff was brand new.
To me, it was also funny to read these gaming magazines to find out the most silly and ridiculous things in them. Like Howard & Nester. Hsu and Chan. Talking about strange peripherals or looking at old dated software like GameScan. Interviewing Darius McCrary of Family Matters to ask him what his favorite Nintendo games were. All these, along with the writing of many famous games writers, some of which would go on to be famous in other mediums like Bryan Intihar, Shane Bettenhausen, Dan Amrich, and many others.
Not only was it interesting for me to still find gaming magazines at a thrift store, it was more fascinating when I found an issue of CUBE magazine, a European-press issue from 2004. Brits will probably scoff at me not having one of their more prestigious gaming magazines instead, but to an American like me, this is a treat to find in a Goodwill for a few bucks. It too shows a snapshot of gaming, not only from a different time, but a different place.
I feel grateful that these gaming magazines existed. They were something we used as our way to finding out the hot new games. We didn't really have the internet to go to, and even in the previous generation, we were just getting familiar with online gaming. Every once in a while, I read these magazines again, just for old times sake. That and to see how far we've come in terms of gaming. Hopefully this blog makes you wax nostalgic and get you reading any old gaming magazines you might have, even if it's just Official PlayStation Magazine's 100th issue.
I remember getting this last issue of this, and being sad in the process. OPM was a pretty good mag.
Writing this blog as well as cataloging my 85-issue magazine collection makes me want to do something like this, but with individual issues of magazines. What say you, Dtoiders? Would you read em? :)