Video games, Where I Read

Where I Read – GamePro #7

Cover art for GamePro #7

Cover art for GamePro #7

For our next issue of GamePro we skip ahead a few months to issue #7 for February of 1990, billed as their “Insane Sports” issue, which, as you can tell from the cover art, has the dumbest cover art in the history of video game magazines. The issue is about 100 pages long. Our first ad for the issue is for Demon Sword, a Swords-and-Sorcery style adventure game, with one of the most absurdly stupid swords I’ve ever seen in the history fantasy art. To counter act it, we have an ad for Wizards & Warriors II, featuring Fabio on the cover! All things considered, this cover art isn’t too bad. Oh, and we get ads for Operation Wolf, Goal (Jaleco’s soccer game), Stealth ATF another NES Flight Sim, and a 3 page Genesis ad. That’s 8 pages of ads before the actual magazine has started.

Editorial: Basically, they just promote this issue. Nothing else particularly of use. Rather disappointing compared to EGM’s editorials, and even the 2 paragraphs Howard Phillips puts in at the end of each issue of Nintendo Power. Boo! Hiss!

Worst lame fantasy sword design ever.

Worst lame fantasy sword design ever.

Letters: Hopefully we’ll get a little more meat here – and hopefully the rise of EGM will lead to people asking the tough questions here, so they pass those tough questions on to people in the game industry. Our first letter shows some promise, as it asks about whether the Turbografx will be getting 3rd party support – and yes they are though I suspect some of them will be developing 2nd party titles for the system, porting the titles themselves and then having NEC release them to get around Nintendo’s licensing contracts. We have another person writing in to find out if there’s any truth to the rumor that Sega is going out of business – no they’re not, but Tonka is simply not distributing the Master System any more. But the Genesis is coming out anyway, so no worries there.

We get an ad for the Ninja Gaiden game… from Tiger Electronics (it’s one of those little LED games – if you grew up in the 90s you remember them).

Cutting Edge: Our big preview this issue is about hand-held LCD games, coming from Tiger Electronics, Acclaim, and Konami – only one of these companies are still in business (Konami).

Pro Classics: We’re getting coverage of a “classic” game, in this case Track and Field for the NES from Konami, which came out only a few years prior. The article basically covers the game’s features and hypes the sequel. Not too much of use here.

Hot At The Arcades: The games of interest this time are Center Court (a tennis game from Sega), as well as Tournament Cyberball from Atari.

The Adventures of Gamepro – Episode 6: Well, like Howard and Nester, GamePro has started it’s own comic strip, in this case involving a comic book pastiche involving a super hero named “GamePro.” Like Howard and Nester, it uses the comic book format to provide hints and tips for various video games. Unlike Howard and Nester, it’s not funny. This issue, GamePro finds himself in California Games, attempting to track down an evil Darkling agent while still getting a good score on all the events, like Frisbee (sorry, Flying Disc), Foot Bag (Hacky Sack), Half Pipe skateboarding, and Surfing. The advice here isn’t much better than the ProTips in other articles – they might help you learn the “rules” of the game, but it won’t give you any useful strategies for beating the game (as opposed to Howard and Nester, who will teach you some legitimate strategies to get to hard-to-reach areas.) Next issue will be Ghouls and Ghosts – we’ll see how much better that works out.

ProViews: The NES is getting a fishing game (The Black Bass), another Tennis game (Top Players’ Tennis), and a chess game – the port of Chessmaster from the PC. Plus it’s getting World Championship Wrestling – the first wrestling game with submissions, and finishing moves. I can’t fault the Chessmaster and WCW reviews for being favorable, they both did some pretty significant things – the Chessmaster series being some of the best chess games ever, and WCW making some significant innovations to the wrestling game genre. It’s also getting another F1 racing game, this one with some licenced car manufacturers and with some name branding – the game being Michael Andretti’s World GP. I should probably get around to doing a Quality Control column for these GamePro issues, at least until we start getting real reviews instead of previews. I’d probably want to go with one of the racing games, or the WCW game, if I was going to pick one this issue.

The Master System is getting Walter Payton Football and Casino Games (which has most of the games you’d expect – Blackjack, Poker, Slots, plus Baccarat and a basic pinball game). The Genesis is getting a baseball game, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, which has licensed teams but not licensed players, and a golf game, Arnold Palmer Golf, and a Soccer game, World Championship Soccer. The Turbografx-16 gets some interesting games. It gets a nice looking golf game, called Power Golf, and then two odd ones. We have Final Lap Twin, a F1 racing game, and World Court Tennis. Both of these games include an odd looking Role-Playing Game mode for their single-player “career” mode. The Atari 7800 is getting another Golf game of it’s own – Mean 18. For good measure, the Game Boy is getting into the baseball action with a port of Bases Loaded (I can imagine the fielding sucking hard there).

SWAT Hot Tips: This is their tips and tricks column. Not much of note here – except for the pitching charts for all the teams in Bases Loaded.

Short ProShots: We’re now getting some shorter previews of various games. Of note this issue are previews for Wrestlemania from Acclaim, NFL Football from LJN, Bases Loaded II from Jaleco (which I have played, and thought was okay – except for the fielding). In general, all of the previews are for sports games, without any action games or maze games on the list – but that’s kind of to be expected because this is the sports issue.

ProNews: GamePro’s becoming a little more journalistic with a news column now. The top story this issue being the release of The Wizard in theatres, with a star studded (*snerk*) premiere. The rest of this is formatted like Quartermann, only harder to read due to the lack of paragraph breaks, and mined from press releases.

Survey: Now, a lot of these magazines have surveys, and I normally don’t cover them. There isn’t much to say until the results come in. However, the survey this issue is different – it has the appearance of 4 of the 5 criteria that GamePro will use in the future for rating games: Graphics & Sound, Playability, Difficulty, and Fun Factor. The one that’s missing is the Overall category.

And this wraps up this issue of GamePro.