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Thread: Some questions for a Die Hard Game Fan magazine expert

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    Default Some questions for a Die Hard Game Fan magazine expert

    I like many other gamers out there, feel that Die Hard Game Fan was the best video game magazine of all time. At least the early years of Game Fan, before they got taken over by a new publisher and cleaned house of the original editor and all the original writers. Anyways, I have a few questions that I hope that somebody on these forums might be able to answer.


    1. What month and year, was the Debut issue of Die Hard Game Fan?

    2. What month and year, was the Final issue of Die Hard Game Fan?

    3. What issue was the final issue of the original editor and writers?

    4. Does anybody know the reason why they switched editors and writers, other than simply a change in publishers?

    5. I believe that Dave Halverson, was the original editor, does anybody know what he did in the time between his final issue of GameFan, and his first issue of Gamers Republic?


    Plus if anybody else has any other info or interesting tidbits of information they can provide on the History of Die Hard Game Fan, then please share that as well.

    Thanks for any replies to these questions.

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    Peach (Level 3)
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    Default Re: Some questions for a Die Hard Game Fan magazine expert

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony1
    I like many other gamers out there, feel that Die Hard Game Fan was the best video game magazine of all time. At least the early years of Game Fan, before they got taken over by a new publisher and cleaned house of the original editor and all the original writers. Anyways, I have a few questions that I hope that somebody on these forums might be able to answer.


    1. What month and year, was the Debut issue of Die Hard Game Fan?

    2. What month and year, was the Final issue of Die Hard Game Fan?

    3. What issue was the final issue of the original editor and writers?

    4. Does anybody know the reason why they switched editors and writers, other than simply a change in publishers?

    5. I believe that Dave Halverson, was the original editor, does anybody know what he did in the time between his final issue of GameFan, and his first issue of Gamers Republic?


    Plus if anybody else has any other info or interesting tidbits of information they can provide on the History of Die Hard Game Fan, then please share that as well.

    Thanks for any replies to these questions.
    There are untold amounts of drama behind the rise and fall of Die Hard Game Fan, which started as a palm-sized catalog for Dave Halverson's mail-order company, but I'll save it for anyone who wants to gossip with me at the Classic Gaming Expo.

    I would describe the early issues of Game Fan as the most colorfully produced fanzines of all time. Horrendous writing, gorgeous layouts, and a contagious love of the hobby. Much like the early issues of EGM, in fact.

    -- Z.

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    Chris Millar has an excellent Gamefan guide that should answer your questions about when the magazine started and stopped.

    http://millartime.com/videogames/gamefan.htm

    I think that the April 1998 issue was the last with the "Halverson Era" writers. Halverson left his post as head editor in 1997 and stayed on as a contributing writer, appointing Dan "Knightmare" Jevons (now at Conspiracy Games) as his successor.

    By the May 1998 issue, almost all of the previous writers were gone, leaving only Eric "ECM" Mylonas. There are conflicting reports of why Halverson and the old Gamefan guard left, but the most prevalent version of the story holds that they were tired of the magazine's corporate ownership and its circulation problems. (Anyone who subscribed to GameFan in 1996 and 1997 could count on some issues showing up late.) Most of the GameFan writers turned up at Gamers' Republic, though some stayed there longer than others.

    Meanwhile, Mylonas took over at GameFan. According to Halverson, Mylonas was hired on a favor and first worked at GF for free, even though the other editors "didn't like him at all." For whatever reason, Mylonas was one of the few staffers who didn't leave with Halverson, and thus was put in charge of the revamped Gamefan in 1998. He adopted a furiously "hardcore" angle and hired on new writers, including George "Eggo" Ngo (who went on to work for Tecmo, I think), Brandon "Bubba" Justice (who later went to IGN and then Visual Concepts), and Anthony "Dangohead" Chou (now at IGN). The mag had some troubled times, but it lasted until late 2000, eventually succumbing to the same thing that had caused Halverson's crew to bolt: bad corporate management.

    I detested the ECM era of GameFan for reasons that I won't explore here, but I'm always up for hearing some stories about both generations of the magazine. Was Nick Rox really writing for it during 1997, or was someone else pretending to be him? Did ECM really try to get Pat Reynolds of Tips & Tricks fired over a critical editorial that Reynolds published in his fanzine? Was someone in GameFan selling early versions of Resident Evil 2 to Taiwanese software pirates? And what happened to Tyrone "Cerberus" Rodriguez, who left T&T for Gamefan?

    For further reading, check out this Gaming Age interview with Halverson. Is that Cafeman's byline on it?

    http://www.gaming-age.com/cgi-bin/sp...rson&pagenum=1

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    Arrgghhh.. sorry but this thread just brings up bad memories.. I had a 99% COMPLETE collection of of DieHard Gamefans (aside from their super early videogame store only flyers).. But just last July, I lost almost all of them with the exception of their later issues all due to Typhoon Chata'an

    The issues got waterlogged, sat under some wood for a couple of months, molded up, and got stuck together. By the time I came home to check out my stuff in April, it was a complete loss All were thrown into the fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Fenris
    Chris Millar has an excellent Gamefan guide that should answer your questions about when the magazine started and stopped.

    http://millartime.com/videogames/gamefan.htm
    Is it just me, or is Millar's ego the dominant theme of his site? No wonder he gets along with Mylonas.

    I think that the April 1998 issue was the last with the "Halverson Era" writers. Halverson left his post as head editor in 1997 and stayed on as a contributing writer, appointing Dan "Knightmare" Jevons (now at Conspiracy Games) as his successor.
    I don't know that Devons is still at Conspiracy, although I know that old-school former journalist Vince Matthews is there, and essentially a one-man band.

    Meanwhile, Mylonas took over at GameFan. According to Halverson, Mylonas was hired on a favor and first worked at GF for free, even though the other editors "didn't like him at all." For whatever reason, Mylonas was one of the few staffers who didn't leave with Halverson, and thus was put in charge of the revamped Gamefan in 1998. He adopted a furiously "hardcore" angle and hired on new writers, including George "Eggo" Ngo (who went on to work for Tecmo, I think), Brandon "Bubba" Justice (who later went to IGN and then Visual Concepts), and Anthony "Dangohead" Chou (now at IGN). The mag had some troubled times, but it lasted until late 2000, eventually succumbing to the same thing that had caused Halverson's crew to bolt: bad corporate management.
    George left Tecmo roughly two years ago to get into game development, and I haven't heard anything about him since, which is a bad sign.

    "Bad corporate management"... heh! It's Halverson's lie, of course, so let him tell it how he wants.

    I detested the ECM era of GameFan for reasons that I won't explore here, but I'm always up for hearing some stories about both generations of the magazine. Was Nick Rox really writing for it during 1997, or was someone else pretending to be him? Did ECM really try to get Pat Reynolds of Tips & Tricks fired over a critical editorial that Reynolds published in his fanzine? Was someone in GameFan selling early versions of Resident Evil 2 to Taiwanese software pirates? And what happened to Tyrone "Cerberus" Rodriguez, who left T&T for Gamefan?
    The brief answer to question #3: Yes, and that's just one example of GF's neck-deep involvement in game piracy. The brief answer to question #4: Tyrone got into game development for a while, designed the atrocious Whirl Tour (continuing the proud legacy of game journalists turned shitty developers), and is now working for IGN's car website. A columnist at RPGFan discussed how Tyrone came onto her during a party at this year's E3, which I got a big kick out of.

    -- Z.

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    Well, Halverson's talk of "Corporate weasels killed GameFan and Gamers' Republic too!" never seemed like the complete story to me. Fatbabies had a bunch of dirt on him, and though I suspect that not all of it was true, it makes you wonder. Check out this confrontation (under the 10-31 entry) between Halverson and former GameFan writer Eric "Shidoshi" Patterson. Whatever happened to him?

    http://www.fatbabies.com/story_sept-oct01.html

    Dan Jevons also has some interesting stories about Halverson. Scroll down to the revelation about his Cybermorph review.

    http://www.the-nextlevel.com/feature...anjevons.shtml

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Fenris
    Well, Halverson's talk of "Corporate weasels killed GameFan and Gamers' Republic too!" never seemed like the complete story to me. Fatbabies had a bunch of dirt on him, and though I suspect that not all of it was true, it makes you wonder. Check out this confrontation (under the 10-31 entry) between Halverson and former GameFan writer Eric "Shidoshi" Patterson. Whatever happened to him?

    http://www.fatbabies.com/story_sept-oct01.html

    Dan Jevons also has some interesting stories about Halverson. Scroll down to the revelation about his Cybermorph review.

    http://www.the-nextlevel.com/feature...anjevons.shtml
    I've no idea what happened to Patterson; he had a personal website I checked out a while back, and he seemed to be the same socially inept geek as ever. I can understand why he'd want to confront Halverson online -- it's the only place where he'd have a chance at winning the debate (even if Dave still had his unfortunate porno mullet).

    As for Halverson editing Patterson's reviews and tweaking his scores, I can only assume this was Eric's first experience with the world of videogame magazines, and with editorial in general. No less a pub than Rolling Stone alters its reviewers' ratings to reflect the overall viewpoint of the editors, and openly declares as much.

    Yep, I was familiar with the Cybermorph-on-acid anecdote. LOVE that one. Jevons's claims about the PS1 version of Radiant Silvergun almost being released by Crave are interesting, especially since Crave tried to hijack Lunar 2 (also developed by ESP) out from under Working Designs. Quite the scandalous little story there.

    Localization is the one area in which game critics such as Jevons have been modestly successful, since it plays to their strengths of recognizing quality as opposed to their weaknesses of trying to be creative.

    -- Z.

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    Damn! You guys know alot about this stuff!


    I didn't know that Game Fan Magazine was a full on soap opera!

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    I didn't like ECM. He claimed to be pro-2D shmup and then slagged every one that showed up, it seemed. Maybe I'm wrong but it sure seemed like he did in every issue I picked up.

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    That was funny reading about Halverson getting acid slipped into his coffee -- it's about time videogame prozines started living like crazy rock stars. I'm a bit tired of everyone offering "no comments" when asked about the GameFan days. Aren't we living in the age of the Instant Tell-All? I want to hear some stories!

    Like anybody's going to be offended.
    Ghibli Blog - Studio Ghibli, animation, and the movies
    Daniel Thomas Vol 4 - Video games, music, and my musings

    Video Game Fanzines Forever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony1
    Damn! You guys know alot about this stuff!


    I didn't know that Game Fan Magazine was a full on soap opera!
    I was a high-profile freelancer in the '90s, as opposed to the bottom-feeder I am now, so I attended a lot of press junkets and spent hours each day phone- and IM-gossiping with industry folks. That's how I learned of many Game Fan shenanigans, more than once from the participants themselves.

    As a rule, any organization led by a cult-of-personality figure -- Halverson with Game Fan, Victor Ireland with Working Designs -- is awash in heavy drama. Halverson's latest (and last?) pub seems to be running fairly smoothly, though, although one of his top editors (Jon Gibson) split a while back.

    -- Z.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Fenris
    For further reading, check out this Gaming Age interview with Halverson. Is that Cafeman's byline on it?

    http://www.gaming-age.com/cgi-bin/sp...rson&pagenum=1
    Yes, I interviewed DH as part of a 3-part series (also Chris Charla and Steve Kent) called Interviewing the Game Writers. As info, Charla's and Kent's interview questions were done & posted in the spring; it took DH half a year more to find time to answer the questions, he even lost them at one point & I had to re-send them. But he continually promised he'd get to it, and he came through. He seemed unbelievably busy to me.

    If you want to read detailed reports of Gamefan stories, go search on related topics at the TNL forums, and also there's a lot of ex-Gamefan guys who frequent Gaming-age's forum. There were beans spilled at the old GameGO! forums years ago too.

    My take: I loved Gamefan in the DH years. There was a noticeable drop in quality for some time after DH and gang left, but I was starting to enjoy Gamefan once again under ECM as editor in chief, when the whole thing collapsed again. It only took one year of late/missing subscriptions for me to learn NEVER subscribe to Gamefan, buy it at the newstand. For all the bad talk about Dave, it is in direct contrast from what I perceive him to be like, coming across as jealousy in some instances. Dave has got the fire inside about gaming and regardless of what games he likes/dislikes, this is what makes his magazines successful & a great read-through. Dave has always had a penchant for ink-filled pages & layouts and I love that. DH really won me over with Play (I initially didn't like it, now it's my favorite game mag).

    ECM had an acidic, elitist style of writing. He knew what he liked and pulled no punches ripping apart games and people he thought sucked. Again, regardless of whether I agreed on his choices of games or not, I was always quite entertained by his writing. I talked to ECM quite a bit on chats and the GO! forums, he always came across to me as a nice guy.

    Concerning ECM, one of the coolest things that I remember happening me concerned the Genesis game Ristar. I found it late in the 90's and loved it, and I made this tribute page:

    http://cafeman.www9.50megs.com/necessary.html

    Not long afterwards, ECM had a Graveyard special on Ristar which I tremendously enjoyed reading. I emailed him (for the first time I think) and linked to my own Ristar tribute page, and he replied to me that my page is what inspired him to write the Gamefan Graveyard article in the first place. Back then, the idea that something I put on the net might influence the direction a game magazine took, well it impressed me.

    ECM and TK's GameGO, now THAT was unfortunate. I heard lots of $$$ was lost on that endeavor. Is GameGO #1 worth mega bucks yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cafeman
    Yes, I interviewed DH as part of a 3-part series (also Chris Charla and Steve Kent) called Interviewing the Game Writers. As info, Charla's and Kent's interview questions were done & posted in the spring; it took DH half a year more to find time to answer the questions, he even lost them at one point & I had to re-send them. But he continually promised he'd get to it, and he came through. He seemed unbelievably busy to me.
    No doubt. As a self-employed freelancer, it's all I can do to find the time to breathe; the burdens of running a game publication are exponentially heavier.

    For all the bad talk about Dave, it is in direct contrast from what I perceive him to be like, coming across as jealousy in some instances. Dave has got the fire inside about gaming and regardless of what games he likes/dislikes, this is what makes his magazines successful & a great read-through. Dave has always had a penchant for ink-filled pages & layouts and I love that. DH really won me over with Play (I initially didn't like it, now it's my favorite game mag).
    Of course, the experience of working with Halverson in person every day for months or years is entirely different from a couple of Internet encounters, and that's where the ex-GF folks are coming from. (For example, while I perceive Trip Hawkins as a decent fellow, the people who've dealt with him at length feel MUCH differently.)

    ECM and TK's GameGO, now THAT was unfortunate. I heard lots of $$$ was lost on that endeavor. Is GameGO #1 worth mega bucks yet?
    Unless there's a sudden surge in demand for coverage of strip-mahjong games, it'll never be worth more than the paper it's printed on.

    -- Z.

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