I’ve found one more gap that I can fill in my Electronic Gaming Monthly Recaps – with issue 104 for March of 1998. Our cover story for this issue is Yoshi’s Story for the N64. This issue also has the absolute dumbest ad for Klonoa ever – in that it deliberately tries to draw a connection between the main character of the game and blood-borne pathogens of the sexually transmitted variety. Yeah. Read more
I’ve finally found another issue of EGM to fill one of the holes in my back catalog, with issue #66 for January of 1995. Our cover story for this issue is Killer Instinct, and is looking positively ’90s-licious. We also get a look at the Virtual Boy on the cover. This issue’s editorial column is about the Virtual Boy, and to be short, Ed Semrad is not impressed with it, in terms of game quality, display quality, or quality of the controls.
This issue’s letter of the month is a cautionary tale to warn people not to let bug spray get on your compact disks – told from one reader who accidentally got bug spray on her Sega CD game, which ruined the game. We also get a question about upcoming CD based fighting games – they mention Samurai Shodown CD, Fatal Fury Special CD, Eternal Champions CD, and Brutal.
We also get a letter from a writer who wants to make his own Turbo Duo games, and thus continue to provide support for the system. Unfortunately, doing such a thing would be incredibly expensive, both in terms of chip manufacture, and in terms of licensing fees, and learning Japanese well enough to translate the documentation. Read more
After a little break to get some schoolwork done, I’m going to carry on with filling one of my gaps in the EGM recaps. This issue is issue #21 for April of 1991. The focus of this issue is on 16-bit systems, from Nintendo, Sega, and NEC. The Editorial column for this issue focuses on Sony and Nintendo’s announcement that they working on an optical drive for the SNES, one we all know never pans out, and ultimately leads to the development of the PlayStation.
Letters to the Editor
We get letters applauding EGM’s staff’s prior articles on the TurboGrafx-16, as well as a question about how they got their screen shots of Darius Super in a prior issue – they snuck them at a convention, how else? There are also letters about other magazines running tricks and news stories that they ran first, which they’re flattered about. Read more
So, for the moment I’ve run out of EGM issues to recap – at least moving towards the present day. There are still some gaps in the backlog that need to be filled, and do intend to fill those once I get the issues. In the meantime though, I’m going to take a moment to look back at the history of EGM, and a look at my recaps. Read more
This week we come to what will be the last of my EGM recaps, sort of – for September of 1999. I say sort of because there are some back gaps in my archive which I really need to fill, and once I get the issues to fix them, I will. However, as I’m not recapping any issues of EGM’s current run (the one that they’re currently publishing both online and in print), I won’t be recapping any issues chronologically after this one. Unless some get put up on Retromags. Have I confused you enough yet? Good.
It’s appropriate then that this issue’s cover story is the launch of the Sega Dreamcast, which is somewhat widely accepted as the last console to be considered “retro”. Now, eventually I suspect the retro game community to accept the GameCube and Xbox as being retro systems, but for now, the Dreamcast is the last retro console. Considering that this is the first console launch of the “next” generation, the EGM staff is understandably pumped. Read more
So, after filling a few holes in my recaps of EGM, we now continue forward again with issue 121 for August of 1998. Our cover story is most of the upcoming Resident Evil games for the PlayStation and other systems. Our Editorial column this issue is about the upcoming torrent of Dreamcast titles, as well as wishing John Ricciardi well in his new job of Editor in Chief at Expert Gamer, EGM’s companion strategy magazine. I’ve been somewhat considering doing EGM2/Expert Gamer for my next recap column after I get caught up with EGM, though recapping Die Hard Game Fan is also tempting as well. Also, now amongst EGM’s contributing writers are James “Milkman” Mielke, Tom Ham of Newsweek and the Washington Post (who still writes for the post), and Gary Mollohan. Read more
This week, once again, we’re filling another gap in my archive of EGM recaps, with issue #42 for January of 1993. Our cover story for this issue is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyper-stone Heist for the Genesis. Our editorial column for this issue relates to CD Rom systems. In particular, Sega’s got the Sega CD, and while it doesn’t have a lot of great software, at least they have software. Nintendo’s CD system is still promises in the ether, yet they’re still attacking Sega’s system in press releases. Well, Nintendo of America is anyway – I haven’t finished reading Game Over, but thus far, Nintendo of America is the one that most often seems full of bull. Read more
This week we’re going back to fill another gap in my archive. Specifically, issue 41 for December of 1992. Our cover story for this issue is Road Rash 2 from EA. For those unfamiliar with the series, Road Rash is a motorcycle combat racing game series. Our editorial column from this issue is from Ed Semrad, hyping the changes to EGM. Basically, the magazine is now bigger and better. No information about whether it’s more badass.
In the letters column we get several letters about whether or not there is a boss code for standard Street Fighter II. Capcom says there isn’t, but Capcom also says that there isn’t a character vs. same color character code either, and they’re running that code this issue. That said, I don’t see why you’d want to both be playing characters of the same color, because then it’d be harder to tell which character is yours. We also have a letter hoping for more Star Wars games, and another letter from a reader who figured out, entirely on his own, why the names for Vega, Balrog, and M. Bison were switched around in the American version of Street Fighter II, and he wants to check to see if he was right (he was). Read more
My original intention for my next EGM recap was to do a recap of issue #117, but my copy of that issue was incomplete. So, I’m moving on to issue #120. Our cover story for this issue is WWF Attitude, and it’s autographed by Stone Cold Steve Austin even. Now, while this is EGM’s 12th year, they’re calling this their 10th anniversary issue. That doesn’t quite make any sense with me, but I’ll leave that aside.
Our editorial column for this issue reflects on another of the string of school shootings the nation was contending with in 1998 and 1999, and the worst of the shootings at that – the school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. On the one hand, while this was the worst of all the school shootings, to my knowledge any school shootings after that point either didn’t get any media attention, or they didn’t happen. However, this shooting, being the biggest, and because the shooters listened to heavy metal music and developed custom levels for Doom, brought the anti-video game hysteria to a pitch above that caused by the Night Trap hysteria, and wouldn’t be seen again until the Hot Coffee controversy. Thanks to some poorly informed and in poor taste remarks from Littleton’s sheriff that were jumped upon by the New York Times Magazine, it even threatened to resurrect the anti-D&D hysteria, that had died when Patricia Pulling had been discredited. Read more
Before going further ahead in my EGM Recaps, I’m going to fill another gap in my archive – the gap for issue #110 for September of 1998. Our cover story for this issue is Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation. The cover art isn’t too bad in my opinion.
The editorial column for this issue is by John Davidson, and addresses the semi-maturing of games, in terms of the sexuality of characters, though not necessarily the maturity of the stories or the character designs. Well, there are some ways to go until we reach some of the more mature stories we have now, in terms of Mass Effect and Dragon Age (particularly their treatment of GLBT characters), but the game industry has to get the Moral Majority to a point that you can show two men kissing in Dragon Age without having congressional hearings. Read more
On to issue #113 of Electronic Gaming Monthly for December of 1998. Yeah, that’s another gap in my archive, but that’s okay. Our cover story for this issue is The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for the N64, which is still one of the best regarded Zelda games of all time, on par with Link to the Past. As a note, the masthead for this issue now includes James “Milkman” Mielke, Ryan MacDonald, and Mark MacDonald.
Our editorial from John Davidson for this issue is on some of the spectacular games they’ve gotten to play at EGM recently. Aside from Zelda, they’ve also gotten to play more of Metal Gear Solid, and they’ve gotten to play Virtua Fighter 3 on the Dreamcast. Read more
We have another gap in the EGM archives, which takes us forward almost a year, to issue #107 for June of 1998. Our cover story for this issue is Turok 2, and this issue also gives us some very nice cover art, in my opinion. Our editorial column for this issue is from John Davidson, who is now EIC for GamePro, which he has significantly re-formed. The editorial column is, as columns often are, about the shape of things to come. The Game Boy Color has been announced, and Sony has introduced some new technology to allow developers to push the PlayStation hardware even further then they had previously.
So in the several issue gap lay 1997’s April issue, and it’s April Fool’s Day joke, which was one of the most legendary jokes in EGM since the Sheng Long cheat – the All Bonds cheat. For those who are unfamiliar, the cheat was a fake cheat that let you, unlocked a series of skins for Goldeneye 007 for every single prior official James Bond – Connery, Lazenby, Moore, and Dalton. This issue has a series of responses to the “cheat” both positive and negative. Read more
We continue on with Electronic Gaming Monthly #98 for September of 1997. No, I still don’t have issue number #100 – I wish I did. Our cover story for this issue is Tomb Raider 2, and they’re playing up the game’s sex appeal pretty heavily. Right inside the cover we have a gorgeous two-page spread advertisement for Final Fantasy VII, of the big cutscene with Sephiroth removing the Jenova statue. While the graphics haven’t aged incredibly well, I still think it looks nice. It’s also one of the few two-page advertisements to heavily and prominently feature an actual screen-shot at that large of a scale.
Our editorial column this issue relates to the fairly heavy coverage that EGM has had of the Tomb Raider games. People are writing to complain because they think they’re, well, under-sexed. However, what Editorial Director Joe Funk brings up is that Lara Croft is one of the first really major video game franchise to feature a female protagonist. Yes, there was Final Fantasy VI – but to be frank that was more of an ensemble piece. I also wouldn’t consider the Valis series for this either, as it’s not a major franchise – as much as I wish it was. Read more
No, I don’t have their 100th issue right now, so I’m going to have to skip it. Yeah, I feel bad about it to, and trust me, as gaps are filled, I will go back and do write-ups to address the missing issues of the magazine. Anyway, the magazine is evolving, and while Steve Harris is no longer with it, and Ed Semrad is only on board as their Chief Correspondent, and there’s still the matter of being hitched to the potentially debt-ridden mess that is Ziff Davis (I don’t know if it was as debt ridden then as it was at the end of the first generation of EGM). That said, Ziff Davis still has ZDTV at this time. That has to account for something right? No, it doesn’t. Thought it would be absolutely awesome if Ziff Davis had still had ZDTV around the time they launched the 1up Brand, and the 1up Show could have been an actual TV program. Ah well, such is life. Read more
So, this week we have another gap in my EGM archive, carrying us from #84 last week all the way to issue #90, for January of 1997. Our cover story for this issue is the upcoming home console release of Mechwarrior 2. We also get an ad for the home console release of Tekken 2 for the Playstation. Our editorial column for this issue is from Joe Funk, about the Battle of Hoth level in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire for the N64. I cannot argue with that. I can try, but there wouldn’t be any point.
Sony has given gamers their first look at the PlayStation Dual-Shock controller, their response to the single-analog stick on the Nintendo 64 controller. Frankly, I liked the design of the Dual Shock over the design for the N64 controller. However, I feel that the stick positioning on the later Xbox controller was superior, with the Xbox 360 being on top of the game in terms of controller design. That said, I have not had an opportunity to use the Wii yet, so I can’t compare the Wiimote and Nunchuck with the Xbox 360 controller at this time. Sony’s also putting out a new design for the PlayStation that uses the unified proprietary graphics connector that Sony has continued to use to this day. Read more
Moving right along with the EGM recaps, we come to issue 84 for July of 1996. Our cover story for this issue is a series of Star Wars previews. To be specific, among other things, the big Star Wars mega-event Shadows of the Empire is coming out, in comic, novel and now video game form. Our Editorial from Ed Semrad talks about this year’s E3, which is also the second E3. Already it’s gotten really big really quick. On a bigger note, the Sendai Publication era of EGM is over. Ziff Davis has bought out Sendai Publications. I don’t want to be all cynical and grim and say that this was the beginning of the end for EGM or anything. However, the reason 1up was sold and EGM was closed, was because of the massive debts that Ziff Davis had incurred and poorly managed. Former EGM staffers like Dan “Shoe” Hsu have gone on record on podcasts about this. Unless Sendai Publications had the same debt problems (or worse), Ziff Davis hadn’t bought Sendai, EGM wouldn’t have ceased operations a year or so ago. That said, I am pleased as punch that it’s back, and that Steve Harris is back at the helm (though I should note that Steve Harris is still on the masthead as the Publisher for EGM on this issue). Anyway, with this issue, the roster of EGM that would later carry on to 1up continues to grow–Crispin Boyer is now on-board as an Associate Editor. I have no idea what he’s up to now. He left Ziff Davis in 2008, before the Great Purge. Read more
So, when I was recapping the last issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, I didn’t cover the issue’s editorial. That’s because it didn’t have one that I could find. However, we’re now on issue #83 for June of 1996 and we have an editorial column this issue. First, I do need to mention that this issue’s cover features Sonic The Hedgehog and the new wave of 3D platforming games. Anyway, the editorial column for this issue, unfortunately, steps into the territory of describing the stuff that’s in the table of contents, which is a little disappointing considering that EGM has had some of the best editorials in the history of video game magazines. Also, while I’m not a typography geek, I really don’t like the typeface they use to for the table of contents. If someone knows the name of that type face it would be nice to know so I don’t use it in the future.
Sega has unveiled the Saturn 2.0 – which can best be described as a slightly cheaper version of the Saturn. We get some discussion of the changes for the system, both from the innards (including a smaller physical motherboard, and moves the I/O board onto the motherboard instead of having it on a separate board like the original, replacing some metal parts with plastic parts), as well as making the unit physically smaller. However, they dumped the CD-ROM access LED, which is in my opinion a bad move, the access LED is helpful for telling when your system locked up because of a buggy game. Also, the system is going for $199. This is opposed to the N64 which is going for $250. Let’s make this clear: the Sega Saturn, which we know through 20/20 hindsight failed, is running for less than the N64 and has a bigger software library. This says rather impressive things about the loyalty of Nintendo’s fan base. We also get a comparison of the US and Japanese Sega Saturn Controllers. In short, the Japanese Saturn controller kicks the US controller’s butt. We even have reviews – which (by the way) is the first time Dan “Shoe” Hsu gets his name on an article in EGM. By means of explanation, at this point in EGM’s history, articles didn’t have bylines, so there’s no way to tell who wrote what, outside of the Review Crew segment and stuff like this. Read more
Finally, after a stretch of hopping, skipping, and jumping across gaps in the archives, we now have contiguous issues. So, this week’s issue is #82 for May, 1996, and our cover story is Virtua Fighter 3, with notes on a preview of the “Saturn 2.0” – which I suspect becomes Sega’s last console, the Dreamcast. Also, a little notable first for this issue is the debut of Dan “Shoe” Hsu as an assistant editor. We even have his baby picture (as we get a semi-collage of the editorial staff’s baby pictures). Read more
So, this week, with our EGM recaps, we’re skipping ahead another few months, to issue #81 for April of 1996. Our cover story for this issue is Street Fighter Alpha II, and I have to say that the cover art isn’t very good. Frankly, the mid-90s have not been kind to EGM’s covers.
This issue Ed Semrad is taking up the pen for the editorial column. It’s been almost a year since the last issue of EGM I recapped, and the Nintendo 64 still isn’t out. That said, at the very least they have decided what they’re calling it now. Ed also has some complaints about Capcom’s inability to count to 3 with game titles, referring to Street Fighter Alpha II (and the lack of a proper Street Fighter III), and also warning Capcom that they should avoid from taking some of the mis-steps that Sega had taken with their Virtua Fighter series around this time (with Virtua Fighter Kids being singled out). The editorial column is much more stream of consciousness this issue. Additionally, they’ve taken to increasing the font size for certain words and phrases for emphasis. I don’t particularly like that. It disrupts the flow of the column, and makes it feel more like a rant. Read more
Alright then. We’re going back, after a long hiatus, to my Electronic Gaming Monthly recaps. This time we’re skipping ahead some to issue 75, for October of 1995. Our cover story is Mortal Kombat III for the Sony PlayStation and… Street Fighter: The Movie – The Game for the Sega Saturn. I can tell you right now which one I’d rather play.
Danyon Carpenter has this issue’s editorial column. As the 16-bit generation comes to an end, it’s going out with some pretty impressive games. Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, among other games for the SNES. The Genesis on the other hand is getting Vectorman, Comix Zone and other good games. So, Danyon advocates hanging on to those soon-to-be oldies-but-goodies for your 16-bit systems, something that I can definitely agree with. Read more
This week’s issue of EGM, #64 for November of 1994, is a doozy – 398 pages (including the cover), just short of 400 pages. We’ve also got one heck of a cover story, the 32X version of Doom. Now, due to the length of this issue, I may end up skipping a few games if they’re games that just don’t interest me. In particular, I’m going to skip the sports section entirely, and for the system specific coverage I’m going to skip games that were reviewed earlier in the issue (and possibly games that don’t interest me).
Editorial: Since this is, basically, the second-to-last issue of 1994, it’s time once again to speculate at where the video game industry is going, particularly considering that the game industry going to enter the 32 bit era soon. Read more
Editorial: Well, last issue, Steve Harris teased an announcement this issue about Capcom’s responce to their lower review for Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Well, this issue we learn Capcom’s response – they blacklisted (at least where Advertisements are concerned) EGM to “make a statement” in the words of Capcom’s director of marketing. Steve Harris says that the only statment coming from Capcom here is that they don’t have faith in their products, and I can’t help but agree. Further, I’d expand on that by saying that any game publisher or developer who engages in the journalistic equivalent of the Tarkin Doctrine only succeeds in making them look like the bad guy to the gaming press. If they blacklist a blogger or web site, then they’re picking on the little guy. If they’re blacklisting an established bastion of games journalism, then they’re making a Nixon-esque enemies list. Further, this is only aggrivated when they’re doing the blacklisting for a review that isn’t particularly bad. The Street Fighter II series had been pushing perfect scores in EGM for most of its run. This is the first game that didn’t, and thus they get upset over it. Read more
Editorial: The internet… it’s spreading. Okay, that isn’t specifically the topic of the column this issue, which is from Steve Harris, returning to the editorial pages one more time. The topic this time is the response on internet message boards to the the editorial column from last issue, about the constant reiterations to Street Fighter being too excessive. To be specific, the internet fans defended Super Street Fighter II Turbo, and felt that the Game Boy game that recieved honors as the Game Of The Month last issue was unworthy. It goes to show that you can’t please everyone on the internet. That said, we don’t have the specific content of the posts, and since this is 1994, when internet use wasn’t as wide spread (and generally required dial-up), it’s likely that the posters used proper grammar, and didn’t resort to some of the more childish comments that you see on the internet these days (in part because you wouldn’t have had as many immature kids online in the US). Oh, and apparently Capcom did something in response to the reviews as well, which they’ll get into next month. Capcom USA didn’t blacklist them for failing to be appropriately deferential at the altar of Street Fighter, did they? Read more
Editorial: Our Editorial this issue is from Ed Semrad, and covers the latest incarnation of Street Fighter II. The general consensus is that in the EGM offices the thrill is gone out of the relationship with Street Fighter II. Nobody’s playing it in the EGM offices anymore. To be fair, there aren’t particularly any new characters in the game, the stages are pretty much the same, and the moves are pretty much the same. All in all, they don’t think it’s worth the $70-80 it would cost (in 1994 dollars) to get this game new, and for future reviews, they will be taking into account re-releases of the same content with a fresh coat of paint – like with the Street Fighter II re-releases. Read more