So, we continue with our Electronic Gaming Monthly recaps and reviews with issue 34 – the issue after what was, perhaps, EGM’s most famous April Fool’s Joke Ever! Did anyone get the joke, or did people around the world feel the wind rustle through their hair and wonder what that was?
Our cover art this issue is for Super Double Dragon. That’s right, the founding brothers of the beat-em-up are back, and now in 16-bit. Can the Double Dragon franchise (one which is, as of this writing, dead, beheaded, and buried at a crossroads with a wooden through its heart, a holy wafer in its mouth, and a crucifix pressed into its cold hands – right alongside the Battletoads. This issue is about 148 pages long, smaller than last issue. Our first ad is for Ultra Golf, for the Game Boy – from Ultra (which isn’t apparently, as dead as I thought it was last issue). (more…)
So, continuing with my EGM Recaps, I move on to Issue 33, for April of 1992. For those whose calculators are broken, that would be a 6-issue gap from Issue 27. Once I get issues that will fill any of these gaps, I will fill them. This is, currently, the first Street Fighter 2 cover for any issue of EGM I’ve done thus far. Not too surprisingly the art is provided by Capcom. As an interesting touch, it shows Chun-Li fighting Blanka, with Ryu knocked out cold in the foreground. I say that’s notable, because most of the other Street Fighter games after Street Fighter 2 have featured Ryu standing triumphant, as basically the mascot for the franchise. The issue is about 165 pages long which is a bit of a step down.
Our first ad for the issue is for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project – which is the first TMNT game to be put out by Konami, as Konami, rather than through the Ultra brand, which Konami used as, basically, a shell company/label to get more games out through Nintendo’s draconian licensing projects (which I’ve discussed at length in previous reviews). We get another ad shortly afterwards which is notable in a different respect. We have an ad for M.C. Kids, from Virgin Interactive – which is ignoble because it is a McDonald’s licensed game for the NES – we are reaching that point in the NES’s lifespan where, basically, the development teams that made the Castlevanias and the Legend of Zeldas, and the other classics of the 8-bit generation, have moved on to the 16-bit machines, which is what needs to happen if the 16-bit generation is going to thrive. Well, you know it’s April, because they’re fucking with us already on the “Insert Coin” page – the staff list is entirely in Japanese. Not all Kanji (I’m seeing what I think is Katakana), but all Japanese characters. So, if there’s anyone new this issue, you’ll have to tell me. So, let’s move on to the actual content, shall we? (more…)
Moving on with the EGM Re-Cap to Issue 27. The cover of this issue features “Super Mario Brothers 4”, which would be later released as Super Mario World, as well as screen shots of Terminator 2 Arcade and the Lucasfilm Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back games (Lucasarts hadn’t officially been formed yet). Our page count for this issue is taking us to the 200 page area.
The first ad of the issue is Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge for the Game Boy. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, this is one of the Castlevania games that has been removed from the canon, followed by an ad for F-15 Strike Eagle for the NES – most of my prior experience with actual fight sims on the NES demonstrated that the NES didn’t work for that genre at all. We get an ad for “Treasure Master,” another NES game – with one of the hooks for the game is that if you beat the game you get a password you can use to enter in a drawing to win fabulous prizes like tickets to a concert or sporting event of your choice, a fully outfitted entertainment center (which, going by the description, would have been pretty good rig up until HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, at which point you’d have to replace the TV with one that had HDMI connections)
I’ve gotten ahold of one of the issues of EGM within the 21-issue gap – Electronic Gaming Monthly issue #6. This issue is about 90 pages long, including the covers. Our cover art this time is in-game art from the Batman game for the NES – and it looks pretty good, considering how much it’s been blown up. I’m going be mentioning more ads this time around, though I’ll try to limite them to either ads for specific games that I haven’t seen before, or notable ads that I may have seen before, but are notable because, say, the game got a bad review.
Judging from the list of articles on the cover, coverage of the Mega-Drive Genesis is expanding to include more game reviews. As yet, as mentioned on issue #25 – the SNES is not yet out.
Our first ad of the issue is for WCW wrestling for the NES, featuring the wrestlers of the NWA – that’s right, Billionare Ted hasn’t bought out Jim Crockett Promotions and split it off from the National Wrestling Alliance yet. Aside from the historical curiosity though, the game does have notable thing behind it – it’s the first wrestling game that let you win matches by submission, and the first wrestling game to have finishing moves.
We also get an ad for Fester’s Quest – no “Critics are raving” quotes – either they’re covering their ass, or they’re not reading the reviews.
My apologies for the delay between installments. Much real life has gotten in the way, and… who am I kidding. I got lazy. Anyway, I’m going to move on to issue 25 for the moment. Retromags has gotten Issue 6 up, but I’ve already got Issue 25, from August of 1991 open, so I’m going to review that one first.
Our cover art for this issue highlights this issues Super NES buyer’s guide – that’s right, in the 21 issues that have passed since issue 4, Nintendo has pulled a 180 on it’s position on 16-bit systems, and is putting out a system of it’s own. This issue also highlights the first appearance of the Sega CD, which we know to be the first what would become Sega’s myriad hardware add-ons for the Genesis. Oh, and this issue is clocking in at about 130 pages.
On to Issue 4 of EGM, for November of 1989. Before I get too far into this, I’d like to give a shout-out to Retromags.com, as I’ve gotten a lot of these magazines through them. Their collection is insanely expansive, and keeps growing every day. I encourage all of you, gentle (or not so gentle, depending on how you roll) readers, to head over to them, and contribute, whether to discussion or, if there’s a hole in their collection which magazines in your own will fill, scanning your magazines and contributing them to the collection. Which leads me to the gap from Issue 4, which I’ll be covering today, to Issue 25. If anyone reading this has those issues, please contribute those to Retromags – it’s easy and fairly painless to do. So, on with the show.
We’ve got our first Fabio cover, for Wizards and Warriors II: Ironsword, that is also their game of the month. Now, the game is surprised me as that was reviewed last month, which makes me wonder, somewhat, why they didn’t choose a game that was reviewed this month, but, anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
Alright, and now we begin with Issue 2 of EGM, where some giant steps have occurred with the magazine bringing it towards the format which we’ve all come to know and love. Just a quick mention on the masthead changes before we go to the cut – Ed Semrad is now an associate Editor, and they’ve changed how the game reviews work by rather than separating the reviewers by console, they’re separating them into a console group and a PC group. The Console group is made up of Donn Nauert, Jim Allee, Ed Semrad and EIC Steve Harris. The PC group is made up of Brad Andrews, David Harris, Brad Walker, and K. C. Maxwell. Oh, and now the US National Video Game Team are now the only Strategy Consultants (though, on the other hand, maybe their previous strategy consultants who weren’t on the US National Video Game Team joined the team).
In memoriam for the death of EGM, I hunted down a whole bunch of old issues of EGM through *ahem* various means, so I figured I’d go through some of those magazines and go through the evolution of the magazine. So, we’re going to begin at the beginning, Electronic Gaming Monthly #1.
Some quick background – EGM was originally put out by Sendai Publications, and was born out of a series of annual game buyers guides. This lead to the magazine. The journey begins below the cut.