On US newsstands right now (finally) is Edge Presents The 100 Best Videogames, Future UK's latest "collector's edition" mook. It hit America about a month and a half after going on sale in England, but on the plus side it's only $12.99 for 260 pages of glossy, beautifully designed, coffee table-style content, a massive discount compared to the £10 UK price.

Unlike Edge's previous "top 100" features (both of their previous attempts, from 2000 and 2003, are reprinted in the back), this one is based off input from the mag's readers and from industry members in the UK and abroad in addition to the editorial staff. Each entry covers at least two pages and features a lovely bit of narrative on the game, a handful of reader comments, and some kind of full-page art piece that personifies the game -- a neat little ghost thing for Pac-Man Vs., a collection of neighbor clip-art for Animal crossing, and a virtual diorama of the game's events for Zelda: OOT, which takes the number-one spot.

The selection (based on games that "stand up to scrutiny today," so almost nothing classic-era) is a bit Euro-centric by necessity, including such titles as Darwinia and Football Manager 2007 beside the more obvious choices, but regardless what you think of the ranking, this is a lovely volume to look at a lovely piece to read. It's also exactly the sort of thing I think magazine publishers in the US should be focusing on instead of yet another 20-page roundup feature telling me nothing I care about, but you've heard that rant before.

Regardless, click on to check out all the new mags that hit stands and mailboxes in the past fortnight. It's August, and Halo fever is raging in magazine-land...

Electronic Gaming Monthly September 2007 (Podcast)


Cover: Halo 3

EGM goes for the collector's-edition kick this month again, with three different covers to celebrate their pre-launch Halo 3 coverage. And there's a lot of it, no doubt -- 19 pages, divided between the basic sort of "hey, the graphics are better, the storytelling is neat" introduction and Dan Hsu's in-depth look at all the multiplayer modes. Lots and lots of stuff to go through and process, and if there was anything you weren't quite up on with Halo 3 before now, this will help you catch up, no doubt.

Otherwise, no super big surprises in this issue, unless you count all the Blue Dragon-hating as a surprise. (OK, maybe it's no Dragon Quest, but Jeanne D'Arc is better? Really?) There's a small bit on unexpected license games (like Napoleon Dyamite), and a somewhat larger one on the spread of "casual" games, written in a sort of "Does this mean 'hardcore' games are dead?" angle.

GamePro September 2007


Cover: Halo 3

It's probably a product of my IDG cynicism that I saw GamePro's top story in the "Spawn Point" news section was about Kongregate and I immediately thought the site was owned by IDG. It's not true, even though it's still a funny thing to lead a magazine off with.

The 10 pages of Halo coverage here are quite a bit different from EGM's more traditional approach, however. I have the idea GP didn't have all the Bungie access that EGM did, so they decided to freestyle their piece a little bit -- and, by and large, I think they succeeded. First there's three pages on the "origins" of Halo -- namely, the original game as it first appeared in 1999-2000, complete with antique screenshots and breathless nerdy speculation on what couldn't been (Master Chief fighting dinosaurs?!!). There're bits on games that Halo inspired and was inspired by, a page of game-dev luminaries giving their opinion of the series, and just a bit of new info on the single-player and campaign modes. Very little new info here (especially compared to EGM's databank-like approach), but if you asked which feature I thought was a more lastingly interesting read, I'd have to say GamePro's.

The rest of the mag ain't bad, either, with the tried-and-true "Let's give report cards to all the consoles" feature and the usual mess of previews. One black mark: They spelled it "Back Isle Studios" when answering a reader's question about the fate of the Fallout series.

Tips & Tricks September/October 2007


Cover: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad to see the new, remade T&T in my mailbox so soon. This is basically Tips & Tricks as it existed around 1998 or so...the editor's letter, opening game-topic feature, and all the columns are gone. In its place: a preview of Metroid Prime 3, strategy guides for Harry Potter and Catan, a handful of previews, and 64 pages of codes. Oh, and pencil puzzles. A small victory, I suppose. Chris Bieniek is back as editor-in-chief, but (like the other staff listed) it's kind of on a freelance basis.

All I can say is "Sorry the experiments didn't work out, guys".

Game Developer August 2007


Cover: Final Fantasy XII

For the layman, the FFXII postmortem is pretty great reading, as project supervisor Taku Murata reveals exactly how much of a pain in the ass it is to put together a Final Fantasy game project these days.

Edge August 2007


I promised a while back that I'd start covering Edge here regularly, and I'm following through on this promise -- even though, to be frank, #178 isn't the most interesting issue they've put out recently. That's not to say it isn't worth buying, but it lacks a truly standout piece this time around.

Highlights include a piece on E3's new place in the industry, the first enthusiast-title print article I've seen on Xbox 360 reliability (why hasn't any US mag touched on this yet?), and feature bits on SOE's The Agency and DICE's Mirror's Edge (a "parkour-inspired adventure" that Edge and the devs try to paint as a whole new way of looking at the first-person shooter genre -- I remain unconvinced). There's also a six-page piece on machinima which seems out of place, considering machinima ain't games.

The most original (to US readers) content in the mag is all in the back, which includes "Time Extend" (a column on overlooked past games) on Gregory Horror Show, a "The Making Of" on Star Wars: KOTOR, and three regular freestyle columns from ancient UK dev Jeff Minter, online-game research dude Tim Guest, and general whiner Mr. Biffo. All fun to read, and the retro-y stuff should prove to be a surprise to people who thought Edge was all about worshiping graphics in previews, then slamming the game in reviews.

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also an editor at Newtype USA magazine.]