Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Gamers View on the Death of EGM

EGM has fallen and 1up has been decimated, one issue short of EGM's 20th anniversary. Almost every former and current employee has put there two cents in on the subject, so I figured I would voice my opinion on the subject as an outsider. Simply a fan of the video game industry and everything related to it. Yes I know I'm a bit late to chime in, however now that the dust has settled and emotions have returned to a state of normalcy, I couldn't think of a better time.

I'm thirty years old. I have been a fan of games since the age of four or five. In that time I have seen my fair share of "gaming rags" come and go. Even though EGM was never my favorite gaming mag, it remained a constant throughout. I always preferred and subscribed to magazines like Nintendo power, Next Gen, GamePro (regrettably), Official Dreamcast Magazine, Official XBox Magazine, and last but most certainly not least, Game Players/Ultra Game Players. I was crushed when UGP was killed. I loved the character the writing staff brought to that publication. So I can completely understand readers disappointment in EGM's demise. Though not a lifelong subscriber, I decided to subscribe a couple of years ago, and instantly noticed that exact same phenomenon the EGM staff brought to the presses each month.

The staff at that magazine was as talented as any of the other great gaming magazines ever available on newsstands. Perhaps more so due to numbers alone as EGM had a gigantic staff and a nice stable of consistent freelancers. The articles were all well written, informative and most importantly, the staff was given the freedom to inject there own personality into every page of edit, at least in my short stay as a subscriber. If you want to catch my attention as a reader, that's exactly how to do it.

When a writing staff is allowed to put themselves into there work, reviews and editorials mean so much more. The longer you read that kind of work, the more you get familiar with reviewers tastes. You see, it's not the review score that matters, it's the content of a review. For example, Gears of War 2 received rave reviews pretty much across the board. I don't care what the scores were, but the reviews that told me it was pretty much identical to the original. I completely understand why people love that game, it just doesn't suit my tastes. Perhaps that is a bad example, but I'm insanely tired and it was the first thing to come to mind. Then again, here is another example with more specifics. I can't recall the exact text, but I do remember OXM giving NFS:Hot Pursuit 2 a mediocre to decent review. I also remember the article making note that fans of racing games would probably enjoy it immensely. That part was a 100% correct. Yes that game had flaws, so a mediocre score was completely understandable due to that reviewers objective opinion. It was one of my favorite original XBox/PC games and I didn't enjoy it any less because of a lower score.

I suppose what I was getting at is, if you get a bunch of guys who write tech manuals to write video game reviews with no personality whatsoever, you wont get discernible details that let you know weather or not that game is for you. That's what made the "state run media" of Nintendo Power so drab. That's also what makes game magazines like EGM, UGP and OXM so great.

P.S. My heart goes out to all the currently unemployed folks due to 1up's sale to Hearst, and hope you all create your own, or find gainful employment very soon. R.I.P. EGM and belatedly CGW/GFW.

No comments: