- I didn't notice for a whole month (the publisher sent an email announcement that wound up in my junk folder), but Hardcore Gamer magazine is lowering its frequency from monthly to quarterly:

"Due to the massive shift in the video game journalism industry to a more online-focused strategy, we have decided to also shift our main focus for Hardcore Gamer to a a model that better takes advantage of our website, HardcoreGamer.com.

That means we are going to start posting our reviews, previews and features to our web site as soon as they are ready instead of waiting for the print version to hit street as we used to.

At the same time, we will be providing unique content within the printed version of Hardcore Gamer so that the two no longer conflict with each other."

All current subscribers will get extended to the Winter '08 issue, which is nice. Not so nice is the fact that subscriptions still cost $24.95, meaning that if you subscribed last month expecting to receive 12 issues, well, you're getting four instead - sorry! Don't like it, here's a refund!

Of course, subscription fulfillment houses are like this for every magazine in the US, so I can't complain too loudly. What I'm wondering about is what the editors will do with the quarterly issues -- they haven't said much publicly, other than they'll concentrate on non-timely things and really, really hope the paper quality can remain the same. How's that for optimism?

Now, HGM has been an anomaly for its entire run, starting up in 2005 at a time when print mags were just launching their current shrinking contest and offering up a design/writing formula that went out of style when the GameFan generation grew up.

Still, I can't help but like the little guy anyway -- it shows spunk and enthusiasm, and it plainly couldn't have survived this long unless it had decent support from its readership and ad base.

Nonetheless, I think it serves as the latest reminder that while video game magazines printed on paper are not a thing of the past, game mags that follow the tried-and-true, outdone-by-the-Internet-a-decade-ago formula of previews and reviews most certainly are.

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also Executive Editor of PiQ, a new magazine hitting stands in March.