Gamepro is over. An American gaming magazine is closing this week. Such a huge bummer for me, since I read a lot of Gamepro as a kid. It wasn't an especially great magazine, but it had a lot of charm to it.
There were a few magazines I liked reading. Tips & Tricks being my favorite, I loved knowing everything about games, e ven if I'll never play them. EGM would do previews, but their humor wasn't really my thing. Nintendo Power was advertainment at its best, which I won't fault them for since all video game press is pretty much advertainment, but Nintendo Power always struck me as super transparent. They only focused on Nintendo products anyway. It was in the Playstation days that I found a magazine with content and a slant that I liked, they featured lots and lots of previews, had a feature section dedicated to role playing games, and occasionally featured strategy guides. Another section had a "watch dog" character who told you wrote a buyer beware consumer report column about games. This magazine was the now defunct Gamepro.
Their rating system was silly. Reviews for video games always have been rather ludicrous, how do you rate something that is entertainment? One guy might like a game just because it stars Bruce Willis, because he really, really likes Bruce Willis. Apocalypse is an actual game, that actually happened. Gamepro had a five point system, rating graphics, sound, control, and fun factor. This makes perfect sense to me, but I'm completely crazy. Fun factor could mean god damn anything you want it to and could weight a score in either direction a person felt. Despite using the Destructoid reviews system for all my reviews, I always boil it down to graphics, sound, controls, and yes, fun factor.
The writers used aliases like Miss Spell
which were silly and dumb. I liked that, obviously. Not that Josh Hayes isn't my favorite gaming enthusiast writer, but randombullseye certainly has a ring to it. I found out from Max Scoville that action figures of these aliases were created, and have began a quest to find a complete series of these dumb figures. Rather than buy them, just like with the magazine, I just look at them online. Maybe now that the magazine is over, I'll buy them, but the simple fact that this actually happened is hilarious.
Having aliases to hide behind made the magazine very easy to follow. Each one had their own cartoon, like Dan Electro or Bad Hare, and as I was always suspicious of, sometimes were the same person. Despite this, their personality and opinion came through in their writing. I sort of like editorialized writing. Adding your opinion and thoughts into something, letting you know where a person was coming from makes me more likely to care what someone has to say. For characters like Miss Spell and Dan Elektro, why wouldn't I like to hear what they think about video games?
My favorite section of Gamepro was the "roleplayers realm." Typically just preview coverage of the booming role playing games of the period. Finding out about things like Jade Cacoon or Legend of Dragoon from Gamepro seemed like a thing worth remembering. Stuff like Guardian's Crusade and Shadow Madness that I never played, but still feel curious about because of a paragraph long article in a magazine fifteen years ago. Where else would you find this sort of information? Information about games just wasn't online like it is today, and a magazine with a feature like this legitimized the genre. This weird strategy heavy type of game with storylines and characters was being talked about openly, by people that seemed to know what the fuck they were talking about. I was always a fan of that section.
Pro Tips are my favorite thing about Gamepro. These little boxes would appear in previews or reviews, with suggestions of masterful things that could help you win at video games. Of course, a lot of them were just bullshit, like this one, blown out to a giant size!
Of course you'll shoot at it until it dies. Why wouldn't you? I love this. This is the dumbest thing ever to give out as advice, right? Gamepro was full of "no shit" advice like that, which I found funny. I found two other ones this morning that made me giggle, so here they are. Hopefully not resized to stupid proportions!
I'd all but stopped reading gaming magazines. Tips & Tricks was over, then it seemed to come back as an annual release like Gamepro said they were going to do, but I've not seen it anywhere in the last year. EGM died. I don't know or care if Nintendo Power is still around. And now Gamepro's over. Video game magazines are done.
There needs to be a moment just for that, I think.
What really bums me out is that I began following what all the major gaming media was putting out. A favorite podcast of mine, "Active Time Babble," from 1up just ended suddenly about a year ago. Some google detective work found that the nice lady, Kat Bailey, who hosted the show, now was working for Gamepro. Sure enough, a revival of her 1up show using the "Roleplayers Realm" name was happening. She even talked about god damn Buck Rodgers on this show. Nobody ever talks about god damn Buck Rodgers, except me and like two threads on the internet buried deep in the darkest pits of hell.
And now that's over and I'll have one less thing to listen to at work. I'm sure she'll do another show somewhere, but losing the legacy of Gamepro and one of my favorite podcasts is a bummer for sure.
I'm sure a lot of people got fired, and unlike something like a crunchy gamer, I actually know what the fuck Gamepro is. I'm such an asshole, I've been thinking it was crunchy all this time, it was Crispy Gamer
that closed. Now I really feel like a dick, but I just never heard of the place until they were closing. I feel bad for them, but I liked hearing about roleplaying games ever week for an hour and I liked how that magazine's content was years ago.
It makes me wonder about game press, since nothing lasts forever. A lot of our beloved writers on Destructoid have gone on to other things. Anthony Burch is writing Borderlands 2 content. Aaron Linde wrote songs for Gears of War 3 and did other things for Microsoft. Hollie just left for Namco. Brad Nicholson over at TouchArcade
and Electric Hydra now. Topher has his cartoon website
. Nick Chester left for Harmonix. Colette's writing a column for CNN
and her blow in the gameslot page
. Dyson is doing something awesome somewhere, that much I'm sure of. Summa, Leigh, and the rest, who knows where everybody else ended up!
Maybe they'll get their own action figures! Just like Gamepro!
Where will Destructoid be in five years? Where will the writers and interns of the site today end up? Where we will end up? To think about things with a finality is a bummer. I'm sure Gamepro will come back with new management, again. It seemed to be a decent magazine last year, then this year things sort of tapered off. I always read it at work, for free, so I'm part of the problem with print magazines. Why bother buying them? I've a box full of Tips & Tricks and Gamepros in the basement, with several EGMS and other gaming magazines mixed in, for what reason? Why can't I throw that out. Why can't I forget about dumb magazines I read that told me all about games I would spend countless hours playing? The brand has no real meaning, save what I've chosen to impose upon it.
If you think about it, how will blogs be remembered in ten years? For example, posts by Leigh Alexander
on Destructoid are full of broken images. And have you tried going back to look at blogs without a search engine? It would take a maniac of a higher degree than myself, cycling through page after page of old content to even begin to sort it. What will that be like in twenty years? Gamepro lasted twenty two, and I'm sure it will come back like EGM or anything else
that is a "name" to be used, reused, used up again, and discarded for profit. Despite how many times something has been rebooted or redone, you can always do it again and again if it worked at least once. This is America after all, if we can't resell it or reuse it, we don't care until we're able to. Which is a shame, I think.
I love you Destructoid!