Category Archives: The Biz

The Stories From GameFan Magazine

During the time when I was but a young boy beginning his interest in videogames, there were only a few magazines my grubby hands would reach for. There was Electronic Gaming Magazine, GamePro, Tips & Tricks, and if I was still thirsty for knowledge, GameFan.

It was fantastic to just run to the newsstand section of my local bookstore and open any issue, skim through the boring text (hey I was kid, I didn’t know any better,) and glare lovingly at the videogame screenshots. With out the internet, publications like these were your only friend in finding out the latest news and information.

Now GameFan was a particular interesting magazine for me. Which is code for; I don’t remember much of it. I’m sure somewhere along the way I picked it up, gave it a good look through, and went on my merry way. Perhaps back then I personally just didn’t get a lasting feel form the magazine.

It wasn’t until I was older to retrospect, that I had found out how beloved GameFan was and the number of followers it had gain during its time. I also learned, unfortunately, of its insane behind the scenes tales that rivaled almost any story from a university frat house.

GameFan was started by both Dave Halverson and Tim Lindquist back in 1992 and it was originally called Die Hard GameFan Magazine. And to that extent, it was very much that; a magazine that served its hardcore audience well. It not only intensely covered domestic games, but Japanese imports too. The publication even incorporated some talk about the soon to be popular Anime culture.

One striking feature to the magazine, was the great quality of the paper used that produced crisp colorful screenshots of the games. The screenshots just looked so spot-on when compared to their actual on-screen sources. This was a testament of the staff’s deep passion to videogames, and could be easily felt when they held a Gamefan issue.

While those qualities above are special, and a good reason for GameFan’s loyal following, it’s not worth much anything if all you do is screw if up by making management gaff after management gaff. The most infamous of these within the industry, is a specific issue where an offending racial epithet was somehow printed in one of its reviews.

But that was only the tip of iceberg, at least not behind closed doors. When the publication wasn’t slacking off in the editorial department, like writing articles while on acid, it was stealing money from company payroll just to acquire a Sonic the Hedgehog statue, or most erroneously, have its staff work without getting hardly paid.

All these lovely (and I mean that sarcastically) behind the scenes stories, from actual former staff members of GameFan, can be read over at The Next Level Forum. There an ex-GameFan writer began a thread to gather up information for what was to become a Wiki-article about the magazine, but then quickly ended up as a slight pissing-on party for one Dave Halverson (the guy who stole payroll money to buy that Sonic the Hedgehog statue.)

Not all of the stories in the thread are degrading, in fact most have some interesting insights into the history of GameFan, such as the inaugural cover art. Some other stories will also have you laughing from your chair as they are just absurd and unbelievable to read.

Truth be told, it was mid-way through my reading that I felt a bit warmed by the stories being told. Yeah, some of the former employees sound quiet vengeful against a certain person,  but aside that, there is a youthful passion. I could tell that the former staffers of GameFan really had a strong love for videogames, and they wanted nothing more but to see their publication become something big. It’s just sad that an awful management had to ruin such a dream.

I’ve gone through the trouble of finding some of the amusing and outlandish tales for you above. But for others, I humbly request you try to read though the entire thread – it is a long read, but it’s worth it just for the enticing knowledge spread throughout.

The GameFan History Thread [The Next Level Forums]

Pictures credited to Wikipedia.

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Dantes Inferno Super Bowl Ad And Other Awesome Links Of The Day

On Sunday February 7th, 2010, the world will gather around their TV sets – – food, drink, and fan apparel included, to celebrate one of the biggest events of the year. Super Bowl XLIV. (That’s 44 if you can’t read roman numerals.) A kick-ass spectacle that features the two best professional football teams in America as they battle three hours for the ultimate prize of fame and glory.

Now this is the point where I can just feel the instant rolling of eye balls from every nerd around the web at my pig-skin loving gushing. ‘Get with the point‘ you say! I hear you, I hear you.

Well if you do manage to flip your TV towards the big game, you might just catch a commercial featuring the game Dante’s Inferno. The Electronic Arts published and Visceral Games produced third-person action title based upon the first book of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, will be featured in a Super Bowl advertisement after it was initially rejected by CBS executives.

As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, CBS, the television host for the Super Bowl, declined the commercial at first, not because it depicted highly gory scenes of blood and disturbing imagery. No America can handle that. It was the advertisement’s simple tag line, “Go to Hell,” that got this commercial a big no go over concerns of offending specific audiences.

But don’t worry, the commercial will be allowed to be shown now, as EA fixed the tag line to “Hell Awaits.” Which is much better… maybe? I guess the logic in this is that you can invite people to hell, but when it comes to telling them directly to go, that’s where you cross the line. Alright then?

What else happened around the web while you were busy listening to gaming podcast after gaming podcast talk about their love fest with Mass Effect 2? I’m glad you asked!

It seems Wal-Mart and Best Buys’ timid toe dip into the used game business which has been ruled mercilessly by GameStop over the years, has come to a short and silent end.

Wal-Mart Best Buy Quit Short Lived Used Games Test [IndustryGamers]

Leigh Alexander of Kotkau describes a particular fan made game from Japan that caters to a unique fetish which focuses on cute girls with disabilities. Believe me when I say this isn’t the reason why I love Japan.

Romance With Disabled Girls: How And Maybe Why An Unusual Video Game Came To Be [Kotaku]

And in spirit of Groundhog Day (you forgot didn’t you?), the Sega American blognick has released some more tasty information about Project Needlemouse. Sure there is not much besides a piece of concept art and a short audio clip that teases the music direction, but it is enough to hold anyone over until the next big (and they mean big) reveal on Thursday.

Project Needlemouse Final Name Coming Thursday, First Peek At Game Audio, And More Concept [Go Nintendo]

Were my awesome links of the day ‘awesome?’ I’d like to think so. (Oh please be awesome, oh please be awesome!)

One Bored Gamer Remebers The Aughts: Part 2

Sega Leaves The Hardware Business

While one industry giant stepped into the video game console business, months before another that began the age of “console wars” and spawned the phrase “blast processing” dropped out completely. On January 31st, 2001, Sega officially announced that it would cease being a video game hardware company and transition into a software one. Months later Sega would port it’s first game Chu Chu Rocket to Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance.

Chu Chu Rocket

Despite all attempts with the Sega Dreamcast to stay alive, the company that brought us classic franchises like Daytona USA, Shenmue, Virtual Fighter, and Sonic the Hedgehog could no longer endure the staggering financial trouble the company had brought on to itself. And boy had they dug a deep festering hole for themselves with horrible business decisions that only a drunk at the wheel could make.

It may have not been the day the video game died, but a lot of tears where shed around the industry. Sure the company would still be around, but to gamers it was like getting the news that your favorite dog got run over and now had to use a tiny wheelchair to get around. It just would never be the same.

During it’s successful rise in the 16-bit era and onwards, Sega gave us such great arcade and console titles; some memorable ones that unfortunately would be butchered as the company tried to find it’s way in third-party developer land – but never the less, we all still have a soft spot for Sega. You can’t deny getting at least a bit gleeful when hearing a choir of synth voices cry out at once… “SEGA!”

Hopefully this decade will find better fortunes for the video game company. As many NEO GAF’ers would say “believe,” or some nonsense like that.

Images provided by Wikipedia.

Guitar Hero 5 Outselling Beatles Rock Band

Guitar Hero boss Don Rosensweig recently told Edge that Beatles Rock Band has not had an effect on their sales. GH5 is outselling Beatles Rock Band 4 to 1 in the US and 9 to 1 in other markets during its launch week, this according to Edge.

Still, Viacom, MTV’s parent company, has said that the Beatles game has surpassed their expectations. Edge reports that Viacom chief executive Philippe Dauman spoke with the Financial Times recently and told them that, “Sales have exceeded our internal projections, and we’ve sold 25 percent of our inventory in the first week.”

Well, boys and girls, it looks like everybody’s a winner. I am just amazed, because even with all the Guitar Hero hate I read on boards and comments sections of websites, it seems that somebody is buying it — lots of it.

I am not a huge fan of either, because I had my fill several years ago. I do tend to like the Guitar Hero instruments better, and the games were never different enough, nor did I spend enough time with each, to really feel that one outshined the other.

Story here: Edge

More Not-so-Good News for the PS3

Man, I really love my PS3, but Sony just doesn’t seem to be having any kind of luck this generation. Resistance: Fall of Man (Yeah, that’s Resistance part 1) is right now the only Sony published PS3 game to have sold over 1 million in the US.  That’s according to NPD data, and while not totally accurate, it is the closest representation of sales we have.  It’s also, consequently, the only number that publishers and media here in the states tend to care about, so yes, it does matter.

Those numbers were calculated as of April of this year, so that means that the game is almost three years old (it was released November of 2006) and being a greatest hit (with the $30 price tag) for almost a year at this point.

I hope Sony has some major plans for their console…they need the support.

More here: Edge.