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Thread: Mags: Game Informer, GamePro, & Play - Niche game coverage & Biases?

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    Default Mags: Game Informer, GamePro, & Play - Niche game coverage & Biases?

    Hi all :-)

    I'd really like to know, for these 3 US print magazines:
    Game Informer, GamePro, and Play,

    any information you could provide for EACH of the 3 mags: (I'm probably going to subscribe to one of them)



    1. How is each magazine's NICHE game coverage?
    (that is, coverage / reviews / previews / general focus, etc. on games that would NOT be considered mainstream - for example Zack and Wiki on Wii or Senko no Ronde on 360 or Legacy of Ys on DS)

    2. Any large biases for each magazine? (towards / away from certain systems or towards / away from certain genres?)

    3. Which magazine, in your opinion, simply gives the most FAIR reviews (carefully considering the pros and cons) of all game types overall? (and especially niche games)

    4. Which, in your opinion, is simply the most fun to read?

    5. Any comments you'd care to add about your favorite mag (or least favorite mag) of the 3 listed are welcome



    Just trying to get a sense of each magazine (presumably from people who have been reading them for a while)


    EDIT:
    Try to keep your comments somewhat positive, if possible ^_^ (universal dislike of a mag isn't very informative)

    Thanks! :-)

    .

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    Pear (Level 6) chicnstu's Avatar
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    I'll help talk about Game Informer, I was a subscriber for 6 years. I haven't ever subscribed to the others so the post will be just about Game Informer.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhowerter
    1. How is each magazine's NICHE game coverage?
    (that is, coverage / reviews / previews / general focus, etc. on games that would NOT be considered mainstream - for example Zack and Wiki on Wii or Senko no Ronde on 360 or Legacy of Ys on DS)
    They seem to make a preview page on almost every game anyone knows about. There are a few games I noticed during my time with GI that they never covered. Also, they review almost everything also. The only games they don't review (usually) are things like Barbie's Horse Adventure.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhowerter
    2. Any large biases for each magazine? (towards / away from certain systems or towards / away from certain genres?)
    No major bias, but they do seem to be hiding some Wii hate but it's not very bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhowerter
    3. Which magazine, in your opinion, simply gives the most FAIR reviews (carefully considering the pros and cons) of all game types overall? (and especially niche games)
    GI seems very fair in their reviews, they have a lot of reviewers. One usually reviews the RPGs, one-three usually review the sports games, etc. Their reviews are great, it amazes me the little details they point out about each game and how much they fit on one page.

    Sometimes they'll give certain games a higher rating than another game I felt technically/logically deserved the same or a higher score. For example, Bioshock received a 10 by the main reviewer and Mario Galaxy received a 9.75 (it didn't get a 10 because they couldn't adjust a camera that never needs to be adjusted). Mass Effect received a 9.75 also. Yeah, 9.75 for MG is almost 10 but something didn't feel right about Mario Galaxy's score. I have a few reasons why I think Mario Galaxy is a technically better game than Bioshock and Mass Effect but maybe I should keep them to myself to keep the topic on-topic



    Quote Originally Posted by dhowerter
    4. Which, in your opinion, is simply the most fun to read?
    GI is a lot of fun IMO. Every page is packed with something to read.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhowerter
    5. Any comments you'd care to add about your favorite mag (or least favorite mag) of the 3 listed are welcome
    Game Informer has changed a lot since I first subscribed, but maybe most gamers their age have. When I first subscribed, EGM was the most popular (I think, at least it was at my school back then) and the GI reviewers seemed to LOVE (not just like or respect) all genres. This lasted probably until around 2008. XBox 360 seems to have been a major part in their change, it was the biggest talk and had the most things (mostly shooters obviously) shown for it for a few years so I understand, it's the most popular system with the most good games.

    Game Informer seems to have some kind of slightly hidden disgusted attitude towards Wii (but I guess at least they aren't showing Nintendo hate as much as EGM did during the GC era). Because of the emails they get, GI has to tell their readers often that they don't hate Nintendo. In one of the introductions last year Andy said that they point out Nintendo's mistakes because they love Nintendo, maybe that's true but the overall feel of many of the issues last year didn't just feel like they were pointing out mistakes. They did have an issue last year that had a big feature about the games that were coming out for Wii but it felt like they were doing that just to stop the hate emails.

    To me it feels like many of the GI reviewers are getting obsessed with games where you shoot stuff (I guess like many people). GI is the #1 magazine, and you know what popularity does to things. The Nintendo comments aren't nearly as bad as some of the things I saw in EGM in 2003-2004.

    Do I recommend you subscribe to GI? Yes, definitely. They have lots of previews/reviews in every issue and have an exclusive first look (with lots of information and screenshots) at a new game each issue. They are often the first to reveal/announce a new game.
    "Tell her you want to slide a hot throbbing cartridge in her warm tight console port. And if it starts blinking and flashing to just slide it back out and blow on it a little."--Sothy

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    Play gives the worst reviews of the three. They seem to think every game that comes out is a 9 or a 10, even showelware. GamePro is definitely biased towards Sony but they atleast try to act like they care about the other two systems from time to time. Game Informer is the best all around read gaming wise but Play covers more mediums(anime, movies, comics, etc). If I had to pick out of the three I'd go with Game Informer. As it stands now I have a subscription to all three and have for atleast five years each.
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    The only gaming magazines I tend to read anymore are PC Gamer (and have been since like 1994!) and Game Informer (everything else I liked has since died). They both have their own biases but I find both fairly entertaining to read for their previews, especially PC Gamer since they'll more openly point out the potential pitfalls of a game. GI tends to have a lot of brief preview bits, which sometimes is handy for spotting a potential game to keep an eye on, but their full page ones are little more than masturbatory screenshot collages. Still, awesome bathroom material.

    I don't generally let the reviews get under my skin. Everyone fucks a review up at some point and there'll always be a game for which there's no target audience at the magazine. Games like Senko no Ronde are pretty damn niche, even when it comes to niche games, so it's understandable at GI shit all over it and missed the point. Hell, most of the people I've talked to about it had the same opinion about it.

    Screw Legacy of Ys on DS. Atlus didn't even bother fixing any of the problems that fans had been complaining about since the games came out in Japan (namely, the control). Meh.


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    Missed what point? Based on that review, it sounds like the game has fundamental control problems. Being "niche" is no excuse for bad mechanics. I haven't played it but rarely is a game rated that low by any publication if there isn't some glaring flaw.

    I think GI is probably the best you'll do with any print magazine but, in the end, unless you like the publication for reasons beyond just the "news" part of it there's no reason to subscribe. You can theoretically get everything the magazine offers from the net so you'll have to find something to like from the actual editors and their particular coverage. I've been subscribing to GI since January 1995 so I can say they're certainly an eclectic bunch.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-23-2009 at 07:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    Missed what point? Based on that review, it sounds like the game has fundamental control problems. Being "niche" is no excuse for bad mechanics. I haven't played it but rarely is a game rated that low by any publication if there isn't some glaring flaw.
    Why retype what's already been written about on HG101?!?!?

    It's not the first time that they didn't "get" a game and I'm sure it won't be the last. Some reviewers got it and dug it, others didn't. Metacritic records all.

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    GI can be very biased. Back in the day, they seemed pretty anti-Dreamcast. I still remember the PS2 launch issue; the review scores seemed overinflated and the feature article gushed to a ridiculous extent. "It's your new best friend," they proclaimed.

    GamePro is just crap, and not even worth a second look.

    Play has a gorgeous layout, and they deserve props for giving press to under-appreciated games, but their reviews are extremely uncritical, and never to be trusted.
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    Game Informer is decent. They definitely have a bias towards certain companies like Rockstar. It makes good enough reading material while I'm on the can though, and the subscription is free with the EB Edge membership anyway.

    I haven't read an issue of Gamepro since I was in high school (over 15 years ago). It always struck me as a magazine for little kids. I'm honestly quite surprised it's still around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roushimsx View Post
    Why retype what's already been written about on HG101?!?!?

    It's not the first time that they didn't "get" a game and I'm sure it won't be the last. Some reviewers got it and dug it, others didn't. Metacritic records all.
    Senko no Ronde is a very different fighting game when compared to the standards set by Capcom's Street Fighter II several years ago, and since it's rather unique, an explanation of the game system is needed in order to not become easily frustrated with it.

    See, this is where I agree with GI. The review you posted says this as if it's a positive while I think it's traditionally a design flaw if players need instructions. Unique is good but unintuitive is not.

    But, like I said, I haven't played the game.

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    I've subscribed to some many different publications in order to find the best one. I've gone through EGM, Next Gen, Play, Nintendo Power, US Gamer, Xbox's magazine, PSM, Game Informer, Game Pro and other cross over magazines. By far for value and content Game Informer is the only magazine I've kept a subscription with (going on 6 years). The others are too short usually skimpy and never provide enough readability. I.E. I'm reading the new gamepro and I finished in less than 10-12 mins.

    Game Informer does seem to hate the wii for the most part and bandwagon but they provide good reviews, nice early behind the scenes, a larger than usual magazine size, and they have alot to offer. Just don't trust their release date section they tend to give out the wrong dates a few times a year.

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    I don't get how people think GI has a bias against the Wii. They give rave reviews to all the "big" Wii games. And this might be a surprise but the Wii does have a ton of shovelware. Remember that these magazines are often just big op-ed pieces so it's no surprise that if these guys see a trend they don't like those feelings are going to shine through. I don't think that necessarily qualifies as bias. It might be purely subjective but I don't think it's bias.
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-23-2009 at 11:13 PM.

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    Default hmmm...

    I have been getting all three for several years now. I like them all but I do see strengths and weaknesses to each.

    Game Informer - this comes free when I renew my edge card, which is a deal, so if you frequent Gamestop you should have this. I don't think it is so much biased as it focuses on what they think is most popular. They focus on what they think the majority of readers want and slap a nice cover on it. The contents are professional and the previews can touch on some more obscure titles. It's Wii coverage is a little bit lite as well as its PC coverage. PC games seem to get little attention unless they are awesome or multi-platform. They love multiplatform games...

    Gamepro Seems to aim at a younger demographic, at least the covers do. Probably the weakest of the three mags in appearance and content, but I believe their review scores (not always the written reviews) are the most accurate...

    Play My favorite of the three. Many dislike their review strategy, or don't apopreciate it. Genre games are reviewed by a fan of the genre and usually that equates to a higher score. It's not a bad system but many it doesn't work for everyone. They have also stopped giving scores in their reviews and generally just make a favorable or warning statement about the game. It includes better interviews and articles than the other mags.

    Nintendo Power is a must if you want to know every Wii and DS game.
    Xbox The Official Magazine is better than Gamepro, but weaker than Play or GI.
    The Official Playstation Magazine may actually be the best video game mag currently.
    PC Gamer is a must for PC Gamers...it's about all that is left for PC Gamers.

    My 2 cents. Spend it as you will...

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    IMO, don't bother with Play. They often print inaccurate info and their reviews are garbage. What little relevant info that appears is covered in more depth by GI and GP, so why bother?

    Of the two, I prefer GI. It's just a fun read, and the reviews are a bit more unbiased than GP. Not that I go by reviews in selecting games, but when a title is absolute garbage and it gets a 8 or 9, I start maybe thinking that the producers of the game have paid for the review.

    IMO, a sub to GamesTM or Retrogamer is money better spent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I don't get how people think GI has a bias against the Wii. They give rave reviews to all the "big" Wii games. And this might be a surprise but the Wii does have a ton of shovelware. Remember that these magazines are often just big op-ed pieces so it's no surprise that if these guys see a trend they don't like those feelings are going to shine through. I don't think that necessarily qualifies as bias. It might be purely subjective but I don't think it's bias.
    They are game reviewers of all three consoles. They shouldn't let their inner feelings show, they should realize (and maybe they do) that all systems have their positives and negatives and just get over it and be patient.

    I still recommend GI though.
    "Tell her you want to slide a hot throbbing cartridge in her warm tight console port. And if it starts blinking and flashing to just slide it back out and blow on it a little."--Sothy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Koch View Post
    I haven't read an issue of Gamepro since I was in high school (over 15 years ago). It always struck me as a magazine for little kids. I'm honestly quite surprised it's still around.
    I used to like GamePro when they gave their reviewers characters and had a different style of review system from all the other gaming mags. These days, Gamepro is basically a somewhat crappy clone of Game Informer without as many good feature story exclusives.

    And despite what a previous poster said, they have an obvious bias toward MS (not Sony) as almost all multi-platform reviews are usually for the 360 version with no mention of the game being on PS3 whatsoever.
    Last edited by CelticJobber; 02-24-2009 at 06:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chicnstu View Post
    They are game reviewers of all three consoles. They shouldn't let their inner feelings show, they should realize (and maybe they do) that all systems have their positives and negatives and just get over it and be patient.

    I still recommend GI though.
    I don't think that's fair. If it turns out that 80% (made up number) of the new Wii games are shovelware, and GI (or any publication for that matter) slams each of those games, then obviously the result is going to be a lower cumulative score for Wii software. It's not a bias against the Wii. They aren't slamming these games specifically because they're Wii titles. It's just the result of shoddy software. A reviewer shouldn't be obligated to not give his opinions when, like I said, the reviews are fancy op-ed pieces anyway. And if there is a large amount of less than spectacular software it isn't wrong to point that out. That's like saying GI or any other publication would be in the wrong for mentioning that Xbox 360s aren't exactly the most sturdy pieces of hardware. You can't fairly say "well, shut up and wait for the day when everything is all peachy. Then you can talk all you want."
    Last edited by TonyTheTiger; 02-24-2009 at 06:21 PM.

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    Of the three, Play is both the least reliable and the most fun to read. It is also the creation of this man.



    That is all you need to know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrocade View Post
    IMO, a sub to GamesTM or Retrogamer is money better spent.
    Ah yes, GamesTM is great, actually. I also enjoy Edge, although they're not as good as they once were.

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyTheTiger View Post
    I don't think that's fair. If it turns out that 80% (made up number) of the new Wii games are shovelware, and GI (or any publication for that matter) slams each of those games, then obviously the result is going to be a lower cumulative score for Wii software. It's not a bias against the Wii. They aren't slamming these games specifically because they're Wii titles. It's just the result of shoddy software. A reviewer shouldn't be obligated to not give his opinions when, like I said, the reviews are fancy op-ed pieces anyway. And if there is a large amount of less than spectacular software it isn't wrong to point that out. That's like saying GI or any other publication would be in the wrong for mentioning that Xbox 360s aren't exactly the most sturdy pieces of hardware. You can't fairly say "well, shut up and wait for the day when everything is all peachy. Then you can talk all you want."
    That's not the point. The complaint with GI isn't that they rightfully slam shovelware titles. In fact, very little shovelware for any system gets reviewed. The complaint is that their coverage is tilted against the Wii. And I don't mean their review scores. Look in the preview section of any recent GI. Very light on Wii games. Look at the reviews. They don't bother to review as many games for the Wii. A new issue just came out (well, like a week ago) and they still haven't reviewed House of the Dead, Tenchu, or Onechanbara. I never saw a review of Dokapon Kingdom in there, or Tales of Symphonia. Do you honestly think Tales of Symphonia is shovelware?
    Last edited by j_factor; 02-25-2009 at 01:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrocade View Post
    IMO, a sub to GamesTM or Retrogamer is money better spent.
    This.

    GI is pretty good, but GamesTM and Retro Gamer are both great. I read and enjoy Edge from time to time as well. GamesTM is the best games mag out there, I feel.

    I've bought Play from time to time and usually hated myself for doing so about 30 minutes later. In this day of shrinking print media any magazine that survives clearly has a demographic who enjoys reading it -- but I'm not in that demographic.

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    You can't expect any publication with limited space to review every title under the sun so there will be some cuts. Plus you have so many hours in the day and I'm sure it's hard to even play enough of a game to be able to review it properly. They're also light on the PSP coverage and PC coverage. I don't think they've reviewed some of the more "niche" 360 games and yet they have reviewed some niche Wii games like Blast Works and Castle of Shikigami III. It isn't fair to go through the magazine and count the 360 reviews, the PS3 reviews, and the Wii reviews and then say "bias" when the numbers aren't even.

    The GI "quickies" were created to address the resource problem but even that would get the magazine slammed if they did a "quickie" of a game that's actually good. For that reason the quickie reviews are there mostly for the comedic effect of listing a series of games that get 3.5 or something. It's not a perfect solution. I don't think you could go through the magazine and easily select 360/PS3/DS games to remove and replace with Wii coverage.

    Once in a while I think GI reviews games for the sole purpose of making the reader laugh. They reviewed that game L.OL (remove period) for the DS which not only wasn't sold in stores but amounts to little more than a Pictochat clone. I don't think that was space well used but I guess they did it for the laughs.

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