Games Meet Metal: The Rebirth of EGM

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Friday, May 7, 2010

The Rebirth of EGM

EGM was a staple of my childhood. It was the first gaming magazine I read that didn't treat gaming as simply a kiddie thing. The reviews were alll done by adults, and the articles had a more mature theme. Compared to the main gaming mags of that era for me, Nintendo Power and Gamepro, EGM just seemed to have it's head in a better place when compared to the other mag's overly kiddie tone. My favoritism for EGM even extended to silly fanboy-dom, as I fiercely defended it. Myself and GMM contributor Amebix still get into spats over whether EGM or Gamestop-owned Game Informer was the better publication.

Like thousands of gamers world wide, I was sad, bummed, and pretty pissed when Electronic Gaming Monthly was officially given the heave-ho early last year. Thanks to the selling of it's online component to a new company that didn't want a magazine, EGM became a sign of the times. Press magazines just aren't making as much money as they used to, as most of their advertising revenue is running to the internet or geek-based tv channels to hock their goods. To earn a living, many gaming journalists have followed, leaving the newsstand periodicals in their wake.

And then, there was hope. Steve Harris, original editor-in-chief of EGM, bought the rights and all trademarks for the magazine, with the intent of bringing it back to the masses along with a hefty online component. Now, EGM, and it's internet counterpart, EGMi, have finally made their debuts on newsstands and the web. After taking some time to digest both ends of the new infrastructure, I can safely say things are looking pretty damn sexy.

To start, the main print magazine is printed on pretty hefty stock, as the cover feels like one of the most durable I've ever held. The original EGM also graces the cover, thus giving old fogies like myself fond memories of wasted weekends spent gaming and flipping through the mag. Steve Harris himself returns to the editorial column to welcome everyone to the new beginning. The letter section follows next, and then the articles kick in. Gaming aggregates and the Playstation Move are all given critical analysis. Then a brief history of EGM follows, with their successes and a few flops. A blast from the past follows, as the reviews section gets moved way up front and also brings the return of original reviewer Sushi-X!! By this point, I knew that my gaming mag of old had returned.

After flipping through the main feature (a retrospective on Street Fighter), a profanity-filled interview with David Jaffe, a hefty previews section, and the Game Over commentary section (Shoe and Seanbaby are back!), I gave the online component a look-see. EGMi plays like it's pulp-made counterpart: an online magazine that you "flip" through. It actually mirrors the main magazine pretty well. EGMi has it's  own table of contents that you can click through. Instead of Street Fighter, it's a Final Fantasy retrospective. It has even more previews, commentary, and another Game Over section. In all, it feels like an extension of the main magazine, but now you have the addition of a digital element. Video interviews, animation, and the occasional bit of dlc greet the reader, thanks to a code tucked away in each newsstand magazine.

I have a sneaky suspicion that, in time, the main magazine will move 100% online as the periodicals market continues to shrink. But if Steve Harris and company can keep up this appearance and quality of reading material, then I won't mind one bit. For now however, Electronic Gaming Monthly is back, for both the young and old fogeys like me. Now I patiently await what the April Fool's Joke for next year's gonna be.

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