Can Anything Save Gaming Magazines?

Nintendo Power is dead. GamePro left us not long ago (and MPG looked back at issue 1). GameFan, Play, and more struggled and faltered. Who could be next?

At some point, we need to enter a preservation mode. A letter in the latest EGM has a reader lamenting the loss of Play magazine and what it brought to the table. Most people probably wrote it off as another magazine with outdated information compared to the internet, but that mindset is terribly shortsighted.

Content is king, and on the internet, content tends to be rushed out the door in the race to be first. With magazines, articles tend to simmer. They’re built better than 95% of what’s available exclusively on the web and certainly more thoughtful. Magazines tend to look beyond previews or reviews and push out features with unique angles. Not that this type of material is lost from the web – it’s out there – but lost to time as the front page squeezes the articles onto the dreaded page two.

It’s easy to forsee a generation of kids growing up without gaming magazines, and I think that’s almost tragic to this industry. What began mostly as a collection of news, tips, and codes morphed into a fleshed out collection of materials worth reading. They have the chance to stand out as internet pessimism grows.

I’d like to think a lot of the vile hatred and cynicism grew from the internet community. We’re just not impressed anymore, or rather, we can’t be before someone else brings us down. I can remember going to the grocery with mom as an excited 8-year old, not for the groceries, but the chance to soak up new information from genuinely enthusiastic writers who were stunned at the sight of games on CD-ROMs. Magazines still tend to convey those feelings, and that they’re slowly being pushed out of their own market is disheartening.

They have their place, and if it’s a necessity, making strides digitally may be the savior. The perseverance of e-books and the devices that play them may be home to future issues (GameStop and Game Informer are certainly trying to make that push), but digital reads like the internet. They become disposable and not remnants of an era if we ever want to look back.

Sometimes, technology truly is a bitch.