In-Depth: What The (Game) Papers Say - Jan. 2010, Pt.1

Game magazine veteran Kevin 'Magweasel' Gifford continues his 'What The (Game) Papers Say' round-ups, this time looking at the official WoW mag's debut and the month in other major publications.
[Game magazine veteran Kevin 'Magweasel' Gifford continues his 'What The (Game) Papers Say' round-ups, looking at the month in major game magazines from Game Informer to Play and beyond.] After a bit of a difficult birth (it faced delays and changed editors-in-chief before anything had been published), Future's heavily hyped subscriber-only World of Warcraft mag is finally hitting mailboxes in the US. The verdict? Well, like with EON for the EVE Online MMO, it's a little hard for me to gauge, since I'm not particularly familiar with the game in question. One thing I can say with reasonable confidence, however, is that WoWOM (is it safe for me to call it that?) is generating remarkably positive buzz among WoW players on Twitter and the relevant forums -- and Future can't be sad about that, 'cos it seems like that was just what they were aiming for. Like EON, this mag is meant for dedicated enthusiasts to its core subject. I hesitate to use the word "hardcore," but this sure ain't for newcomers, either. It's straight-on content for the fanbase from start to finish, from the requisite interview with Blizzard's CEO to tactical articles on this battleground or that player type. There's also a fair bit of community content, but not so much that it seems like the focus of the mag, a pitfall Beckett MOG can sometimes fall into. Design-wise the mag is top-notch. Future's obviously spending a lot on printing this mag, going for fancy paper and a book size that's identical to the one Edge uses. The articles inside are all immaculately designed and illustrated, and the only real quibble I can find is that features seem sprinkled willy-nilly throughout the mag instead of being organized into themed sections. Either way, it's a great effort, and now all that remains is to see how many WoW fans get hooked on it. PlayStation: The Official Magazine February 2010
Cover: Gran Turismo 5 Mr. Steinman hasn't been leading PTOM for too long, but already you're beginning to see his mark on the mag. The streamlined, exremely Sony-like visual style is still there, but many pages -- particularly the look at Uncharted 2's online play in the back -- are packed with little box-outs and sidebars and other little diversions that you didn't see much of before. It's not like there was a lot of excess waste in PTOM before now, but in a 100-page mag, every inch is important. The content itself is pretty nice. Features on racing games have a reputation for being really boring (especially when they're cover stories), but the Future-y design on the GT5 bit keeps everything bite-sized, avoiding GI-style text narratives that outlast your attention span. The best-of-'09 feature that dovetails it is also engaging, thanks to its refusal to give out awards in any of the usual, boring, VGA-style categories. PC Gamer February 2010
Cover: Crysis 2 PC Gamer has a typical sort of "top games of '10" preview roundup occupying a few pages. If you're expecting a Crysis 2 blowout, prepare to be disappointed -- the content inside involves a simple two-page preview spread with a couple of detailed but unexciting screenshots. The "Top 100 Games of All Time" feature that follows, meanwhile, is a lot more fun. A combo effort between PCG's US and UK editions (along with a few people from Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it manages to stay succinct and readable while saying something palpable about all 100 of the games profiled. Retro Gamer Issue 71
Cover: After Burner I recently had the honor of renewing my subscription to RG, a feat made a fair bit cheaper by the current exchange rate and the still-valid "YOUTUBE" discount code. (If that doesn't work for some reason, you can type in USA instead to get 13 issues for $80 instead of £80.) I'm glad I did, because the cover piece is brilliant -- the way the RG editors disassemble arcade games is one of the best running things they've got going right now. Tips & Tricks March 2010
Cover: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Poster maniacs be alert -- this issue of T&T has the second half of the Halo Legends poster, the partner of the first half included in the February '10 issue. "Use a butterknife or similar utensil to open up the staples in the center page," the editors write. "It should come out pretty easily. But don't forget to bend the staples back to their original positions after you remove the poster, or you might end up with loose Codebook pages all over the house!" Something about that paragraph gave me the oddest flashback to late-'80s Nintendo Power for some reason. The strategy guides inside are more '90s NP in style, of course, and you can't complain about that, eh? It should also be noted that the eight-page guide for Ubi's C.O.P. The Recruit inside is arguably the most coverage that DS game has ever received in any game-media outlet. [Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a really cool weblog about games and Japan and "the industry" and things. In his spare time he does writing and translation for lots and lots of publishers and game companies.]

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