Been looking forward to the future But my eyesight is going bad And this crystal ball It's always cloudy except for When you look into the past (look into the past) One night stand (one night stand off) ONE NIGHT AND ONE MORE TIME THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES! . . . . .
Those are some fitting lyrics, don't cha think? Indeed it's much easier to look to the past, because hindsight is all 20/20 as they say
NAUGHTY OR NICE
Ah, the holiday season. There's nothing like it. The mad rush to the malls. Black Friday. Last minute gift shopping. Endless football games on the tube. Getting into the pool with ole Uncle Fred (not that kind of pool...) -- just something about it that warms the soul, ne?
When I think of the holiday season, a part of me will always think fondly of EGM and GameFan. Their holiday issues were freakin' legendary, plain and simple. EGM and their readers used to joke about how their holiday issues had to be bigger than a small town's phonebook! And you know what, they were right
Although the Christmas trees and lights have long been put away now, it's never too late to blow off the dust and look back on those legendary holiday issues... and remember the good times...
IT BEGAN WHEN....
In '94 at the end of each month, or beginning, I can't quite remember, I'd literally rush home after the final school bell. Now usually I was running home to catch the opening of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. But on these occasions, I couldn't wait to rip open my mailbox to see if it had came or not. It being, of course, ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY, or more affectionately known as simply EGM. Seeing that brand new, pristine magazine lying in my mailbox was enough to make my day. For those of you who may have missed out on those times, you may be thinking how sad. Well, if your only base of reference is going off today's issues, then yeah, it'd be sad. But back then, oh it was a whole 'notha beast! Sit with me a while, son, and listen to the tale of the elders...
This was about as good as any present you could find under the Christmas tree. In those days, this was like finding a large box under the ole tree with your name on it, it really was. You could spend a solid hour with an issue, marking down which games you had to rent, which ones to buy, and reading through it with your best friend. Those were the good old days, as they say. There was nothing like finding the latest EGM in your box
It's been many years since my brother and I have been subscribed to EGM. My brother, for the hell of it, signed us up for a free EGM subscription earlier this year. I recently received the 2007 holiday issues in the mail.... and the horror that I saw inspired this feature...
OLD SCHOOL VS. THE NEW
Been a while since I thumbed through an EGM issue from today. Remembering how legendary the issues were every holiday season, a part of me got excited just a little bit when these issues arrived in the mail
Could it possibly be... a return to form?!?!?
Seeing this reminded me of ole times...
But wait-a-sec... some thing was.... off. As I held the issue in my hand, it felt lighter than my 15-page final... a holiday EGM issue not thick and heavy? Impossible! The mere thought defies logic and all that is good and right in this crazy mad world!
But would you look at that? The issue barely reached 100 pages, and the Ryu cover one, only 104. What in the BLUE HELL? Issue 65 is FOUR times as big!
104 vs. 400+ . . . wow
Check out their current review style. BLAH. The good ole 1994 version blow the doors off this sucker
Granted, I admit I have a bias. As someone not really into today's games, I naturally will look down somewhat on the magazine. But I can tell a good mag when I see one, and these current EGM issues are a far cry from their glory days. Even if I had little interest in the 16-Bit age, if I were to view the mags as a non-gamer, I could still tell you it was a quality mag. Today's crop? Not so much
Kind of ironic that the latest EGM is featuring Street Fighter IV. For years, EGM lived off the cash cow that was Street Fighter II. It was a golden era for games and for EGM itself. Now many years later we see how much life can be a cycle some times, whether or not they're successful in recapturing some of that magic is unknown, but like EGM itself, I doubt Capcom will. It's not a slant on today but rather a testament to how good it was back then
And whatever happened to COLORand LIFE? It all seems so cold and dry these days. Maybe I'm just being an old fart but don't you remember the days of previews and articles in EGM that had color and spirit jumping off the pages? Shoot, some may call it kiddy, but I call it freakin' good stuff
And not only was the overall quality superior back then, but so too were the pages. They weren't flimsy; rather they were nice and sturdy, glossy as hell. You can almost eat off of them. OK maybe not but damn were they sweet on the eyes
Of course, after browsing through the '07 EGM holiday issues with a certain disappointment, I dragged out my old issues to remember their greatness. The holidays meant Santa Claus, Christmas lights and 400 page EGM issues, oh yeah. Let's start at the beginning...
November and December '92 saw two MONSTERS unleashed. #40 weighed in at a whoppin' 276 pages. It was topped the very next month -- 292 pages. It was a trend that would follow in the years to come...
The very next year, 1993, EGM did not let its loyal readers down. They delivered their biggest issue (yet!) in November -- 324 pages! The very next month shattered that record with 388 pages! What spectacular reading they provided for, too. I can recall reading the Eternal Champions ish at a friend's house Christmas of '93. We talked excitedly about which games we had to rent, buy and borrow from one another. I tell ya -- it was truly a golden age and a part of me misses it to heck. With these things, sometimes, you look back through it with your older, more mature lenses and you see the horrible truth... that they really weren't all that great to begin with. But as I read through these issues recently, to remember what had been and what once was, I can tell you with a straight face that these issues have not only stood the test of time, but that they truly captured those innocent, halcyon times. All the hot games worth playing, including the ones that you might have otherwise overlooked standing there at the gaming aisle, to all the rumors and the passion that filled everysingle page of the magazine... and there was a lot! ... Of both!
And if you thought EGM were going to rest on their laurels the very next year -- 1994 -- you couldn't be further from the truth
November and December '94. The two issues that I firmly believe are the absolute crown jewels of EGM's entire library. These were also the last two issues my bro and I got in the mail back in the day. Kev subscribed in Jan. 94 so we ended the sub with quite the bang. Issue 64 I have such fond memories of, it even helped made me some benjamins (see The Bet). It was absolutely massive -- just shy of 400 pages. And just when you thought EGM had truly outdone themselves this time, you only had to wait 30 days or so for issue #65 to crack the magical 400 page barrier and kill about a trillion trees in the process. It's the biggest EGM issue of all time... maybe the biggest US game issue ever for that matter as well. It's always a blast flipping through these two. Has it really been 13 years now since Kevin and I ripped opened the plastic bags containing these two BEHEMOTHS? Time flies. They have withstood the test of time. It pains me to compare these glory day EGM holiday issues to the current batch. It's not even close
And it wasn't just the Nov. and Dec. issues that were huge. The January issues were beasts in their own right. #42 packed 276 pages, #54 308 pages and #66 292! On a side note, Jan. '95, though still very good, to me it marked the beginning of the decline of EGM's glory days. I say this tongue in cheek, but hey, who knows, I think EGM sold their soul for December '94's issue. It was simply legendary, and they were at their absolute peak. Making an issue like that would drain anyone. And of course the games and times were changing as well. Many factors to be taken into consideration. But the famed magazine brand was never the same, for my money, after that record-breaking monster of an issue.... ish #65 December 1994. In general, it also seemed to have marked the decline of the 16-Bit age, as in '95 32-Bit talks became ALL the rage. Issue 65, in my book, was the ending of many little different things... and it wasn't just my brother's EGM subscription either..
I'd be remiss if I didn't cast the spotlight on GameFan as well. They gave EGM a good run for their money throughout the 16-Bit wars, as well as their holiday issues. GameFan was right there. December '93 was 220+ pages while November '94 clocked in at 188 pages. There was nothing like being a kid in the early-mid 90's, reading through the holiday issues of both EGM & GameFan
Their December '94 issue was 228 pages of sheer goodness. January '95 considerably less at 156 pages. Ironically, I also consider December '94's GameFan issue to be one of their finest, if not THE finest, and the mag too was never the same afterwards. The issues just took on a different feel in '95. Many were thin as toothpicks and the spirit wasn't there like how it once had been. Again, one also has to consider the changing of the market, and one's feelings toward those changes. Obviously anyone more embracing of the 32-Bit era would be more apt to enjoy the issues '95 on, but again, a great magazine is a great magazine. Like EGM, it just was never the same after December 1994...
I love reading the opening statements in these old mags. Here are some of my faves pulled from the holiday issues. Enjoy
November 1992 EGM issue #40
THE BIGGEST AND BEST JUST GOT BETTER!
What you now hold in your hands is the largest video game magazine ever produced in America! Weighing in at 320 pages (sure, I know 48 of them comprise Electronic Boutique's new catalog, but they're cool too), this mega-gaming monstrosity is packed to the rim with all of the explosive color, hot news and secret info only EGM can deliver.
I know I speak for the rest of the EGM staff when I tell you that we've had an absolutely awesome time working to deliver the best video game mag around. As the size and scope of the magazine (not to mention the industry that it serves) change, you can count on us to be there with the first look at whatever the latest games, tips, or technology may be!
I hope you get into this issue of EGM as much as we did when we were making it! The holiday season is shaping up to be a blast and I'm glad that you've turned to the Biggest and Best Video Game Magazine for all your gaming needs. And don't forget to hold onto this special collector's issue -- after all it's the biggest mag the states have ever seen!
At least until next month!
-Steve Harris Publisher
November 1994 EGM issue #64
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN' . . .
As we approach the end of yet another year, Ed (Semrad) and I were sitting back looking at the wall in his office. As you can probably tell by the immense size of this issue, we weren't daydreaming. On Ed's wall is the front cover of every magazine that Sendai has ever published. Up until a couple years ago, there was plenty of open space left, but now Ed, along with the rest of the EGM staff, have made their way into new digs on the other side of the building, partly as a result of the walls that are now covered with magazine covers.
As we traded jabs back and forth about which covers we felt looked the best (issue 63), which looked the worst (issue 8), and which sold the most (issue 54), we changed the subject of our conversation to what EGM would be covering in the months and years to come.
Just exactly which systems will everyone be playing next year at this time? Which new platforms will be getting the most buzz? Which machines will carry us forward into the later half of the final decade of the final century in our second millennium?
The answer, some would say, is easy: the one that plays the best games. But as we witnessed during the most recent battles between competing game systems, there are now other important factors that contribute to the success or failure of a game system. Little things like price, licensing and, yes, good quality software. 3DO proved that a superior game machine with liberal licensing policies could attract plenty of industry attention, but its $700 initial price tag was just too steep for a machine that played games on the old family TV. Especially when there were other systems that did almost the same thing for only 88 bucks.
So will the next generation of gaming systems spell the end of gaming, or a fantastic new step? While Ed and I had our differences about what kind of price tag the new game machines must wear for widespread acceptance, we both agreed that PlayStation, Ultra 64, Saturn, Super Genesis, and countless hand-helds will succeed in ushering in the next generation of game players into worlds that we could only have dreamed of six years ago when the pages of EGM were filled with articles on the 8-Bit systems. My how the times have changed!
-Steve Harris Publisher
PS- A personal tip of the hat to the staff of EGM for putting together one of the biggest video game magazines in the history of planet Earth! Plenty of hours went into making this issue of EGM, like all issues before it, the very best that it can be. We hope you enjoy it!
November 1994 Volume 2 Issue 11 GameFan EDITORIAL ZONE
I can't believe it, one more issue and it's another year gone by! The difference this year? That's apparent. Gaming has definitely grown up. We're staring at the fourth quarter that we've always wanted, but man, is it confusing!
I can remember, not long ago, when good games were hard to come by. But it seems that the experimental phase of the industry is behind us now. When I went over this month's Viewpoints, I couldn't believe it. I've never seen so many high scores! I called in the writers and they confirmed it, "It's been a great month, we didn't have to review any bad games." That's a first. My question is usually, "Was it really that bad?"
When we hit the aisles this holiday season, every major category will be represented with multiple good games. 16-bit is at a high point, especially in the action platform area, which has been lacking for years. There are even a few good RPG's out there, but still not nearly enough.
If gaming hasn't gone from the 8-15 year old demographic to the 8-35 year old demographic yet, it will now. It'll have to. Whether you've got a hundred, or a thousand to spend, you can walk away with one helluva home entertainment system, no matter what your age. It's about time.
-Dave Halverson Editor in Chief
For me, the holiday season means a lot of things. Among them, as sad as it may seem, I will always associate (the memories of) EGM and GameFan with the holiday season. Re-reading these glorious November-December-January issues every winter has become as common for me as the next guy re-playing Christmas NiGHTS every Christmas morning. It's even more awesome when you see how well they have stood the test of time, as well as their ability to transport you right back to those exciting times of '92, '93 and '94 and all the warm, fuzzy memories that (hopefully) go along with it
Indeed, the holiday issues of EGM and GameFan were legendary all right... and they will never be forgotten
Ed Semrad, Steve Harris, the whole EGM/GameFan crew from the early-mid '90s... wherever you guys are out there in the vastness of cyberspace... hey -- thanks for the memories