['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]


The 200th issue of Edge (which I write more about after the cut) arrived in my mail this week. It reminded me of all the reasons why I love Edge and would continue my subscription to it even if I weren't writing this column, but it's worth putting down an extra word or two here about their well-publicized massive 200-cover split run.

Despite what readers may think, it's actually pretty simple to do a split-cover run like this. Magazines do it all the time, occasionally producing different covers for different regions. Tips & Tricks, for example, did a Canada-only cover one month in 1998 -- their main strategy guide was for a game based off the TV show ReBoot, which was only running live up north at the time. I probably would never have been aware of this fact if it weren't for EIC Chris Bieniek himself being nice enough to give me a copy. Thanks much.

I think EGM's Super Smash Bros. Melee was the largest split-cover run in game mags until now, a record held before them by Official PlayStation Mag and their Def Jam: Fight for LA 20-cover collector's nightmare. Edge's cover selections are nothing all that special when taken individually -- basically, pieces of clip art on a simple color background -- but in terms of drumming up hype for the mag, I think the split run's already served its purpose. (You'd have to be nuts to collect them all, though, because -- assuming an even distribution of all covers and checking Edge's ABC figures and sub rates -- there are likely only 120 or so of each one being distributed.)

My favorite of the covers, despite all the nostalgia of the first 199, is still #200, the subscriber-only piece:

Edge April 2009


Cover: Many

If you're going to do a commemorative issue, this is the way to do it. There's the requisite "best 100 games to enjoy today" feature, yes, capped off by a six-page love letter addressed to Zelda: Ocarina of Time (the subject of four out of the 200 covers). But that's the only really trite, predictable thing here.

Many other features dovetail very elegantly with Issue 1, interestingly enough. There's the interview with Trip Hawkins about EA and 3DO, which was the subject of #1's main feature (already, even at the time, highly skeptical of the Interactive Multiplayer). There's four Brit-devs chatting about how games will change over the next 100 issues of Edge, following up a similar discussion the mag organized for #100. There's an interview with Yuji Naka about his work, concentrating on the mid-1990s.

There's another interview with Ted Dabney, the guy who co-engineered Atari and Pong with Nolan Bushnell but never talked to the press about it much until now. There is -- and this is my favorite -- a feature that collects quotes from the past 199 issues, including such winners as "3DO is the videogame future" and "A rejuvenated Mac games market is there for the taking" (that one's from 1998!). There's Phil Harrison and the former SCEE head discussing the history of the PlayStation, complete with all sorts of lovely concept art and controller models.

In sort, this is the first "anniversary" issue since GamePro's 200th in 2005 that I am really, really amazed at. Everyone should buy one. (Or 200.)

Nintendo Power April 2009


Cover: Pokemon Platinum

The subscriber edition cover looks pretty bland this month compared to the newsstand version. Maybe there coulda been something better done here, like a large map or a hum'rous anime screengrab or somesuch. I dunno. Just not a picture of a Pokemon with some photoshop effects applied to the background. At least the interviews in the included feature are interesting -- you never heard enough from the devs for these projects, for some reason.

A great deal has already been said about A Boy and his Blob on the net, so I won't go into how pretty this hot-sclusive preview is in the mag, but you should have a look.

Game Informer April 2009


Cover: BioShock 2

There is a poster pull-out advertisement for BioShock 2 tucked right in between the opening spread for the BioShock 2 hot-sclusive preview feature. Is this proper? That's your homework assignment for this week, gents. I'm not sure Shoe woulda allowed it in EGM, however.

The two features are ok as always (the printing is a little off in my copy of the magazine and both features have white text on colored backgrounds, making them hard to read), but the Game Infarcer april-fool section is the highlight for me, from the Yuji Naka editorial pleading for hedgehog death to the blockbuster review of Shenmue III (finally!!!).

Official Xbox Magazine April 2009 (Podcast)


Cover: Wolfenstein

Rad cover art, brah! The feature inside is ok enough, too, but the fun features that follow -- what your gamertag says about you, and some crazy 360 modding stuff -- are more entertaining.

PlayStation: The Official Magazine April 2009


Cover: 150 new games

Woohoo lots of tiny previews! The features on Riddick and Singularity are way better.

Play April 2009


Cover: Kingdom Under Fire II

The news section this month includes a piece where "cord" is repeatedly misspelled "chord." Ohhh, Play!

Game Developer March 2009


Cover: FarCry 2

Ohhh I'd never forget GD! The "dirty coding tricks" feature is actually a pretty amusing collection of geek anecdotes. I am not sure if it's online, but if it is, I am almost 75% certain that Simon will insert a link to it for me right...here! [SIMON'S NOTE: it's not online yet - soon!]

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. In his spare time he does writing and translation for lots and lots of publishers and game companies.]