[Gamasutra contributor and video game magazine critic Kevin Gifford takes a look at what's going on in the print magazines this month -- the pre-E3 period he calls "the most awkward time of the year".]
Welcome to Mag Roundup for what's always the most awkward time of the year for print magazines -- that period in spring just before and right after E3.
Game mags always have the disadvantage when covering this event. If a publisher or developer is saving some big secret for E3, then print editors won't be able to talk about it until the next issue comes out, long after the fact.
What's left until then is to talk about...well, less exciting stuff. It doesn't help that May and June are traditionally pretty dead times for new game releases, either. (No offense meant to the games discussed below, of course. But you know it's true. Wa ha ha.)
Be that as it may, here's the new mags I've received over the past two weeks, starting with:
Game Informer June 2011
Cover: Assassin's Creed: Revelations
GI goes Ubi-mad this issue, with Creed
taking the cover and Rayman Origins
-- the latest in a series that Americans have aggressively refused to care much about for nearly two decades now -- getting the follow-up feature. Both pieces are mainly text, which serves the Creed
article well (all those odd story and background details to talk about), but not even Michel Ancel showing up in the Rayman
bit keeps it from seeming a little overlong.
Otherwise, there isn't a ton to this issue that really sticks out in my mind. There's a spread talking about the games that tormented GI's editors as children (Super Pitfall
makes an appearance, which is good), and I sort of wish it had a bit more real estate in the mag.
Edge June 2011
Cover: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft still hasn't gotten a shower. The feature backing up this cover is nice enough, filled with dev comments and the like, but I'm not sure it really adds a whole ton to what's already been known about the game -- it just sort of reinforces the "rebooting this series is hard" theme that's been the core of every other preview of Tomb Raider
It's backed up by features on Trackmania
, the new Driver
, and Matias Myllyrinne, CEO of Remedy, who's able to give a lot of opinion while freely discussing what his company's succeeded and failed at. Even more interesting is a profile of Epicenter Studios, an indie developer that crashed bad despite no lack of innovative ideas. (I must admit to not having heard of any of their games, which may've been part of the problem.)
The next issue of Edge will feature a full-on redesign, only the third they've done since debuting in 1993. I'm looking forward to it, especially since I can't find too much fault with the current design apart from how the commentary columns are way in the back and easily overlooked.
Cover: Dragon's Dogma
Capcom's new RPG gets regular preview treatment in all the other mags this week, but GamesTM is the only one to give it the full-on cover. The feature inside ain't bad, though it doesn't say a whole lot that online folks couldn't get a couple weeks ago. More interesting: The feature devoted to making "good" and "bad" decisions in games, which prominently features the producer of The Witcher
-- an RPG where that was pretty much all you did, all the time. It's a very cool read.
Beckett Massive Online Gamer July/August 2011
The last Beckett MOG of my subscription! Hooray! There's really not much else I can say about it, other than I hope I never read anything about Wizard101
for the rest of my life.
[Kevin Gifford owns over 8000 video-game and computer magazines. Despite this, he is capable of sustaining a conversation with a woman for at least three minutes per go. He runs Magweasel, a really cool weblog about games and Japan and "the industry" and things, and in his spare time he does writing and translation for lots of publishers and game companies.]