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16May/100

EGM Magazine Spring 2010 Review: EGM Returns In Stunning Fashion

I was never a huge fan of EGM magazine.  Its' name was too close to Electronic Games, and it always appeared to be written for a generation of gamers just beyond my grasp.  However, with few options, I subscribed in 2008, only to have the magazine go out of business a couple issues later.

Last year, the original publisher, Steve Harris, bought the rights to the magazine and has spent the better part of a year revising it for relaunch.  If the first issue is any indication, he may have produced the best game related magazine in almost 15 years. Now I wonder what I missed for so long.

Steve Harris has a long history with video games and video game magazines.  He hold several world record high scores for arcade game (including Swimmer, one of my all-time favorites). He founded EGM back in 1989, and was the publisher of the reborn Electronic Games magazine of the 90's.  If anyone could create a modern video game magazine worth reading, it is Steve Harris.

Harris has created two new magazine actually, an online-only publication named EGMi, and the new printed version of EGM.  The Spring 2010 issue was just released, and I picked-it-up at the local Barnes And Noble (while trying to spot my own book in the computer section...it was there!).

I was floored by the depth and sophistication of many of the articles.  This is not a magazine for short attention spans.  Where most recent video game magazines stop when their articles are just getting interesting, the new EGM appears to kick into another gear.

Some examples of the articles that have kept me reading for the past week are:

  • "Critcal Mass" by Evan Shamoon, a 5 page look at the affect of Metacritic on the game industry.
  • "Taking [Motion] Control" by Kyle Orland : a 2-page analysis of what motion control means to the game industry
  • "The Last Word On Games" by Kevin Gifford : a 4-page history of EGM.
  • "Back From The Second Dimension" by Kris Pigna, a 6-page look at "Retro Evolved" (post-retro) games.
  • "David Jaffe: The EGM Interview" by Brady Fiechter: a massive 8-page interview with game designer/developer David Jaffe
  • "The Case Against The Gaming Press" by Dan Hsu : a 2-page indictment of game journalists and their disregard for the industry that keeps them employed.
  • plus several more interesting one pagers...

I used to beg my inanimate magazines for just one article of this scope an interest in an issue, and here EGM Spring 2010 has a half-dozen.  I was shocked to find this much mature, in-depth analysis in a single publication.

This is not all there is to read in the new EGM.  There are the standards as well: the news, the reviews,and the  previews.  While they  also provide some very good reading, my brain has been trained by so many other magazines to scan these with an eye for bias, shallow genre knowledge, and histrionics, that it was hard to consume them the same way I dove into the other articles.  Hopefully I will be able to get past this "cognitive dissonance" because there are some very good people involved with these sections (including reviews editor Mark Bozon from IGN).

I tested EGMi online as well ,and while it was interesting, I was not completely sold.  However, the print magazine was so vastly superior to anything else, that I'm happy with that for the time being.  If the next issue holds-up as well as the first, I will be an instant subscriber.  I encourage you to pick-up copy, and show your support for a magazine that is really trying to do something special.

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