[Magazine vet Kevin Gifford peeks inside the latest video game mags, this week taking on a Harmonix-led Edge, a nostalgia-fueled Nintendo Power and a redesigned PlayStation: The Official Magazine.]
It's October -- 10/10, if you will -- and just now it's starting to become bearable to stay outside for more than half a minute per go. I'm celebrating by, well, staying inside and reorganizing my magazine collection. I'm a bit incorrigible by this point.
The mags coming out right now have a lot to cover for the coming months, but in this column, many of them seem to be turning backward instead. Case in point:
Edge October 2010
Cover: Rock Band 3
Although we're near the busy holiday season, this month's Edge does a lot of looking back.
The Rock Band 3
piece is more a history of Harmonix, and how their latest game is the natural conclusion of their 10-year-long music gameography.
The Rare piece touted on the cover is pretty excellent, devoting an interview paragraph to games from all across their history, from Wizards & Warriors
forward. Even the longform interview with Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later, mainly talks about the evolution of storytelling in video games over the past decade.
And all that's before I even got to the making-of piece on the original SNES Harvest Moon, too. Yowza.
PlayStation: The Official Magazine November 2010
PTOM gets a a bit of a cosmetic facelift in this issue. A lot of a one, actually, in part to unify the look of the mag with the British version Future also publishes (similar to what PC Gamer did a while back).
If PCG's redesign made the mag look busier and more packed, PTOM's seems to make it a little looser and cleaner to my eyes. That white-background, simple-design look, the style that's been all the rage in Europe and has since seeped into US mags over the past few years, looks quite nice -- you could say it seems elegant and smart, the same sort of traits Sony is trying to associate with the PS3 itself at the moment.
Even if I hated this design, though, I'd still tout this issue to the hills for the Twisted Metal
feature, simply because David Jaffe is never uninteresting.
Nintendo Power November 2010
25 years of NES
You can't deny the charms of this cover, not to mention the poster inside that depicts World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros
. in its entirety. It's plain that NP's aiming for the exact sort of nostalgic-adult audience that'd appreciate this sort of thing.
The accompanying feature could've been a basic sort of retro-gaming piece, but NP's definitely gone the extra mile here, having devs themselves write game retrospectives instead of the editorial staff. You therefore have folks like Warren Spector discussing Zelda
, Atsushi Inaba talking about Dragon Warrior III
and the producer of Cave Story
espousing the charms of The Goonies II
(of all things), and it works really, really well.
There's also an interview with Shu Takumi, creator and writer of the Ace Attorney
series -- the first one I've seen an English-language mag do, and it's lurvely.
Official Xbox Magazine November 2010
Cover: Fable III
For a change of pace, OXM is focused strictly on the present and the future, what with the huge Halo: Reach
review and a similarly enormous hands-on account of a run through Fable III
-- both worth reading.
Also back, much to my delight, is the "humorous filler feature" you see a lot of in OXMs of the past. This time around, the editors take $100 and try to get as much as possible via three different routes: retail game shops, online sites, or local private sellers. The results are oddly thought-provoking.
Retro Gamer Issue 81
Cover: Laser Squad
Julian Gollop is not a man I know very much about. I didn't know he's the main guy behind the creation of the X-COM
series (which PC gamers of a certain age still rave on about endlessly), for example. This issue does a lot to rectify that, and it's a fair bit eye-opening -- X-COM
was only the cherry on top, it turns out, compared to all the 8-bit strategy games he already had under his belt by 1990.
The Wizards & Warriors
piece is similarly full of discoveries for me, mainly because I never realized that IronSword
-- the game with Fabio on the cover -- wasn't developed in-house by Rare at all. It was made chiefly by the Pickfords, who've had a long and illustrious career in the UK development scene, and they've got a lot to say inside this issue.
[Kevin Gifford used to breed ferrets, but now he's busy running 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 of publishers and game companies.]