Wow, it's a hot month, isn't it, GSW readers? It's hot for me, at least. PiQ (the exciting entertainment magazine I founded and ran) has folded, and I'll have more about that next week, but I don't even have any time to enjoy the usual unemployment ritual of sitting around the couch naked and watching The View -- the freelance is piling up around me, and I'm working all weekend to fend it off. Ah well.

Anyway, let's check out all the game magazines released in the past fortnight, of which there are way too freakin' many. Don't you people realize how much all these mags weigh, publishers?! All the gas I have to use transporting them home...ugh...

Edge July 2008

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Cover: MadWorld

This is, in many ways, your typical Edge issue. You've got a feature on Alpha Protocol, the usual case of Edge doing a game preview feature a little later than GI and the results beting a little more in-depth and worth reading. You have your way-out-there alternate feature, this one on the new PlatinumGames, which has a lot of concept art, crazy visuals, photos of game developers posing in front of (or inside) silly futuristic-looking photographer studio setups, and text that's less to do about any game in particular and more about thegame industry in general.

You have a gaggle of less flashy but much more nerd-core pieces, like the one on eight old Yaroze developers who now have jobs in game outfits, or the large ad-supported subsection on the Singapore game industry, one which bulks the book size up to 164 pages (which is practically unheard of these days in America). You have the always-interesting retro stuff, this time around a look at the making of Carmageddon -- which seems to have been very much a (if you'll pardon the pun) "garage" operation, comparatively.

Great stuff as usual, and worth saving up for.

Game Informer July 2008

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Cover: Infamous

This is, in many ways, your typical GI issue. You've got a really neat front-of-the-book section with lots of industry pieces, little and big, highlighted by a piece on "why do games go bad" that ask a roundtable of devs why crap games happen. You've got a humor piece which isn't very funny. You've got a cover feature that is high on concept art and low on actual content.

For that matter, you got a cover that looks like SCE's marketing department designed it. Why does GI keep coming up with coverlines that read like Don LaFontaine should be reading them out loud to you at the newsstand? (For that matter, how many casual gamers browsing at the newsstand know what "sandbox" means?)

And while I'm whining about GI, why do they send the last issue of your subscription with a glued-on suspension notice that's impossible to remove? At least I can get some sense of schadenfreude from the fact that this month's issue is 108 pages, a low for GI and a sign than even the top of the top is having trouble retaining advertising these days.

PC Gamer July 2008 (Podcast)

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Cover: Age of Conan

I forgot to cover this issue last update. As consolation, if anyone wants to use my code to get the "Totem of the Origins" item in Age of Conan, knock yourselves out. It's BX6TPYREPKVKAKM9. But beware: "Due to its immense power, it can only be used once every 24 hours."

The cover feature attempts to portray Age of Conan as a groundbreaking event for MMO fans, and it almost convinces me, actually, thanks to the snappy, breathless way it's written throughout -- reminds me of of the MASSIVE of old.

Play June 2008

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Cover: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

Another one I forgot to cover last time. Sorry, Play! But, man, an off-road racing game on the cover? I don't think I've seen that since the glory days of PSE2. No, the real highlight is a visit to Rare's studios and a look at all their current projects -- neat, and uncommon, since they never talk very much up there.

Play is getting rid of review scores as of this issue, which is great as far as I'm concerned -- they only exist for the purposes of marketers, console warriors, and Metacritic, so the sooner they leave the press in general the better. (I will bitterly miss the comedy of Dave Halverson rating every platform game ever 8.0 or higher, though.)

Hardcore Gamer Summer 2008

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Cover: Metal Gear Solid 4

Hardcore Gamer's got a new logo! And like the previous issue, the vast majority of the 70-page interior is devoted to the cover subject. There's 18 pages on MGS4 and MGO, and unlike the Brawl feature last ish, this one's meaty and worth reading. The feature on energy drinks and caffeine pills marketed towards gamers is pretty amusing, too, but the import feature on an import mahjong game (complete with incomprehensible tutorial) reminds me of GameGO! a bit much...

Future Goes Crazy

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Yes, Future has bankrupted me with specials this week. The 2008 PSP Yearbook is marred with glaring production errors (the Monster Kingdom review illustrated with a screen from Metal Saga; Wild Arms 5 getting a review despite not being a PSP game), but is otherwise serviceable. PC Gamer Proudly Presents the 2008 PC Builder's Bible, meanwhile, is your typical homebuilding primer -- didn't Future just put out one of these a few months ago?

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CHEATS! Volume 15 is the same as always -- lots 'n lots of pages of codes -- and the Ultimate Xbox 360 Cheat Guide is pretty much self-explanatory from the cover. I'm going to have to sell my Sega CD collection to afford all these Future specials pretty soon...

Game Developer June/July 2008

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And GD takes its yearly month-long break (so it can produce the annual Career Guide) by offering a very technically-minded My Life As A King retrospective and an interview with Grasshopper resident musician Masafumi Takada. Whew.

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also worked in games media and development since 2000.]