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Thread: What do you think of Gamefan magazine?

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    Apple (Level 5) evildead2099's Avatar
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    Default What do you think of Gamefan magazine?

    With respect to the "Top 5 things in gaming history that pissed you off" thread, several people has expressed discontent over the demise of Gamefan magazine.

    I've never had a chance to preview Gamefan, so I was wondering if people could enlighten me as to what was so great about it.

    When did it run? (i.e. 1994-1997)

    Did it focus on (then) current North American games, or was it more about classic gaming?

    What were the main systems it featured?

    Did it focus on handheld gaming?

    Did it focus on coin-op games?

    Was its focus on pictures and getting previews of the latest games, or was it a literate magazine which focused on reviews, reactions, retrospective accounts, etc?

    If you could compare Gamefan to a current gaming magazine (i.e. EGM, Gamepro, Independent Playstation Magazine), which magazine does it most resemble?

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    Key (Level 9) fishsandwich's Avatar
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    I LOVED GAMEFAN!

    I compare it most to PLAY magazine, though it's still way far off.

    It was a very well-written mag, full of color and LOTS of screenshots. They had fairly unbiased reviews of games in two formats... three mini-reviews (like EGM) with (usually) a larger feature deeper into the magazine.

    They were WAY into imports. I remember an issue where they included reviews of games for the CD32 and the FM Towns Marty right next to the SNES reviews.

    There was also some anime coverage in there, too. I loved that damn magazine and hated to see it go!
    Thanks for indulging my gaming habit when I was young, Dad. You were the best. I miss you. ~David Barnes 1926-2007~

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    Man I loved Gamefan too. I still have all the issues from #3 up until the old crew left and ECM took over. I'm in the minority here, but I liked it better with the original crew and stopped buying it when they changed. *sigh* good times with Gamefan.....
    Mika: Where are you taking me, Gillian?
    Gillian: To look at videos on YouTube...
    Mika: *sigh* No more videos of a drunk Harry dancing with a dead Snatcher...
    Giliian: Nope, it's better...Its LiquidPolicenauts YouTube Videos!
    Gillian: And after that, you should also visit
    The Policenauts Paradise and Snatcher Shrine

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    ServBot (Level 11) roushimsx's Avatar
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    I hated Gamefan and always saw it as a second rate hack of a magazine that was geared mostly towards advertising imports of games (they gave a positive review to the import of Battle Monsters and then turned around and slammed it when it came out in the US, for instance), had shoddy review criteria and editing (pretty much any review by nick rox can be assumed to be an inacurate piece of shit), and the layout was flat out terrible.

    However, the main draw to it was its screenshots...which it had plenty of. Gamefan was AWESOME for screenshots of games. Tons of awesome screenshots all over the place. Everything else about the magazine was pure shit, but the screenshots kicked so much ass.

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    The magazine that is most similar to old Gamefan at least in spirit is Hardcore Gamer. Greg Off, who worked on the original Gamefan, is head honcho over there, but the majority of writers on the masthead are unpaid from what I understand. Still a nice magazine for such a small budget.

    One of the main reasons why Gamefan was such a good magazine was the 'hardcore" factor, catering to the Mega Drive, PC Engine, Super Famicom crowds. NO ONE had better screen shots back then either.

    Former EIC Dave Halverson now heads up Play Magazine, which has the best layout of any video game magazine at the moment, and I believe the Art Director was working at Gamer's Republic, another Halverson magazine at one time as well.

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    Banana (Level 7) drwily008's Avatar
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    Q:When did it run? (i.e. 1994-1997)

    A:I'd say it ran from 1991-2000...a very accurate guess.


    Qid it focus on (then) current North American games, or was it more about classic gaming?

    A:The magazine was setup to appeal to hardcore gamers. It focused mostly on new (less mainstream games) and usually had 2 - 6 pages called "The Graveyard" dedicated to classics.


    Q:What were the main systems it featured?

    A:All of them. From 1984 on up.


    Qid it focus on handheld gaming?

    A:No it actually hardly ever featured Handheld games.


    Qid it focus on coin-op games?
    A:It had a section in almost every issue called "Quarter Crunchers". It featured arcade games from the U.S. and internationally.


    Q:Was its focus on pictures and getting previews of the latest games, or was it a literate magazine which focused on reviews, reactions, retrospective accounts, etc?

    A:It was about 10% preveiws (more around E3, Tokyo Game Show, and CES). Most of the time it had lots of comments about the current crops of games. Each game got three "mini-reveiws" done (called "Veiwpoint"), by 3 different editors.


    roushimsx said:
    ....(they gave a positive review to the import of Battle Monsters and then turned around and slammed it when it came out in the US, for instance), had shoddy review criteria and editing (pretty much any review by nick rox can be assumed to be an inacurate piece of shit), and the layout was flat out terrible.
    I disagree, but I have reasons. They were not held to a very strong corporate standard like many of todays companies are. So when one guy reveiwed an import, he had his OWN opinion. Case in point, I really like Albert Odyssey for the saturn, not an opinion well regarded in the industry. Then they had a very large turnover ratio. So when a new guy would take over and reveiw something that had already been praised...he too was entitled to an opinion.

    As for the layout...once again opinion comes into play. I really liked the plain layouts at the beginning and continued to like it during ECM's reign.

    The Grandia (Import Saturn) reveiw is simply my favorite layout EVER.

    All in all it is my favorite magazine of all time and the people who are fans of GAMEFAN are rabid (you NEVER find old issues for sale).

    Dave Halverson now owns PLAY magazine and if you are a hardcore gamer, you owe it to yourself to read at least one issue of each mag!

    -Ken (DrWily008)

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    I loved it back in its heyday, but I was barely a teenager when I was reading it. Now I might find the reviews a bit on the juvenile side, but it was written with my age group at the time in mind. Fond memories abound.

    The screenshots were glorious as mentioned before, and it was really the only magazine out at the time that had an import focus.

    Wish it was around today.

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    The magazine that is most similar to old Gamefan at least in spirit is Hardcore Gamer. Greg Off, who worked on the original Gamefan, is head honcho over there, but the majority of writers on the masthead are unpaid from what I understand. Still a nice magazine for such a small budget.

    Hardcore Gamer is such a lame magazine. They have nothing in common with Gamefan besides the 3 or so gents that used to work there. Oh yeah, they brought back the Monitaur. It looks like Gamefan, smells like it, literally feels like it, but it aint it! Fuck HCGM.

    Gamefan rocked. It was rough all around but a lot of the editors had an authentic hardcore spirit. ECM was the fucking king!

    A lot of VG journalists may bash GF because it was so rough but you know what? Nobody gives a fuck about what they did or are doing.

    Game journalism is so fucking tame and lame today. We need another Gamefan...i'm working on it! Come join me brothers and sisters! Ha.
    I don't want you to hate me, I want you to want to hate me - GamersUniteMagazine.com

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    Pear (Level 6) Melf's Avatar
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    As soon as I read that post I knew who made it, and I'm not the least bit surprised.

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    I loved Gamefan. They were a bit biased to the Genesis side (and I was even a Nintendo fanboy back then) but I thought they were better than EGM and way better than Gamepro (a magazine I hated). Here’s a shot of some of my magazines, I have the first 2 years (all except issue one):


    Their look was fresh and they were willing to cover the oddball systems like the Jaguar, Neo geo, Turbo duo and import games. If I wanted mainstream stuff I looked to EGM, if I wanted everything else, it was GF.

    Take a hike, wang-broom!
    I swear I can smell your stinky hands from here!

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    Insert Coin (Level 0) Zigfried's Avatar
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    Gamefan is probably most similar to Play, though they're still very different. That doesn't mean I actually like Play -- Halverson's hyperbole can be hard to stomach. Just saying that it has a similar concept.

    The thing that really appealed to me about Gamefan was its ridiculously hardcore style. The word "hardcore" is practically meaningless and over-used, but even as an indefinable, one look at Gamefan is clear: those guys were hardcore. They reviewed games no one else would care about, they weren't afraid to troll their own readers, and the writers all came across as total nerds who were living in a fantasy-land where they were celebrities. And they used fake names. Fake names friggin' RULE, unless they're those horrible Gamepro names (man those are lame). Basically, they broke several rules of sensible journalism and didn't care.

    HGM is very different from Gamefan in focus and layout, although it resurrected a few of Gamefan's sections (like the Graveyard, which is cool). Unfortunately, it lacks Gamefan's hardcore edge and massive import coverage. In terms of layout and presentation, HGM seems most similar to Game Informer.

    I'm not saying that in a bad way, mind you.

    //Zig

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    I loved the magazine up until around the end of its lifespan. The last couple of issues just didn't seem to be as enjoyable. Their subscription service was also terrible. I only received one issue, but then again I was never charged...

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    Yup, it was Gamefan and it's write up on the Saturn and specifically Guardian Heroes absolutely sold me on buying one.

    I still have my Gamefan mags; the only mag to survive the Great Magazine Collection Purge of 2003, where I placed my collection of Next Gen, EGM, and a few other gaming magazines in my apartment complex's dumpster.

    It's funny that most of Dave's stuff was ghostwritten....but I still think on it fondly.

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    Default Re: What do you think of Gamefan magazine?

    When did it run? (i.e. 1994-1997)


    Technically, the very first issue of GameFan was actually a catalog for Halversons import store. It would have been the Spring 1991 catalog. Known as "Catalog Issue #1". It has Sonic on the cover. The second issue is the Summer 1991 catalog issue. Known as "Catalog Issue #2". It had DieHard Game Club on the cover. The third issue was the Summer 1992 catalog. Catalog Issue #3 featured Wonder Dog on the cover. The first real issue was the October 1992 issue that featured Sonic, Mario and Bonk on the cover. Volume 1, Issue 1. It ran all the way till December 2000. I think sometime around 97/98 the Halverson crew left.



    Did it focus on (then) current North American games, or was it more about classic gaming?



    It focused on North American games, tended to cover the newer systems earlier than others, and always had big coverage on all the import games. When it came to Japanese games, you normally saw a picture of it, or heard about it first, in GameFan. The also covered alot of obscure games that weren't covered at all by the GamePro's of the world.



    What were the main systems it featured?


    It started off with the Genny and Super Nintendo. It also covered the Turbo/PC Engine and TurboDuo games. I don't remember them having much of any coverage on the NES or Master System, in their earliest issues. Maybe a very small amount of coverage. They were always quick to jump on the bandwagon of any new system. When the Jaguar and 3DO came out, they were all over both systems, like those systems really had a chance to be successful. They didn't really care that much about what was successful, they covered everything, and it was more about what they liked playing. They covered every system from the Genny/TG-16 to the PS2. They died off before the arrival of the Cube or XBOX.



    Did it focus on handheld gaming?


    It didn't focus on handheld gaming, but they did cover it to a slight degree. It was pretty minor coverage, but I remember them having some coverage of the Game Gear and Lynx.



    Did it focus on coin-op games?


    It did have a section that was devoted to Coin Op.



    Was its focus on pictures and getting previews of the latest games, or was it a literate magazine which focused on reviews, reactions, retrospective accounts, etc?



    It's focus was on having the most ink and color and the best paper. Each issue of GameFan should be cared for like a National Treasure. There is so much ink, and so much color on that nice think paper. The old issues hold up remarkably well. But basically they just covered all the games, had tons of screenshots, and tons of opinions. The best thing about GameFan, was the fact that they didn't waste time talking about how the game is about defeating the evil warlord Zarg or whatever. They got right into the issue of how the character controls, how the animation was, how many line scrolls it had, how it was coming along. Their Previews of games gave more information than other mags reviews. They tended to cover more of the games that they liked, and their review scores reflect that, because they gave some very high ratings to alot of games. The main issue with GameFan is that they never wasted magazine space on any bullcrap. Every single page gave valuable information or some killer screen shots.



    If you could compare Gamefan to a current gaming magazine (i.e. EGM, Gamepro, Independent Playstation Magazine), which magazine does it most resemble?



    Really, the closest thing to GameFan right now is Game Informer. GameFan was the best magazine out there when it was around, and right now Game Informer is the best magazine out there right now. This is coming from a guy that used to hate Game Informer when they were extremely biased against the XBOX and they were total Sony Lovers back in 2001, 2002, 2003. In 2004, Game Informer started to really come out of it and turn into the best mag currently available. I got Play magazine, thinking it would the be the closest thing to GameFan, but it's actually nothing like it. Play is a pretty good mag, but it wastes so much freaking space on things other than Video Games, that I think it's a travesty. They should really just try to exactly copy the orignal GameFan. That format is the best format ever, and they should just continue that. Don't be reviewing DVD movies and Music CD's and Anime and all that crap. There are other mags for that. Shit, don't even review PC games. Just stick to Video Game's. Home consoles and portables.

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    Does anyone have the issue where they reviewed Silpheed for Sega CD? I don't remember exactly what they said, but it was something like they couldn't believe how awesome it was and how they were in a state of euphoria for several days because they played it. They must have been high on something.

    I like what they said about about Symphony of the Night: "If you don't get this, you're just not a gamer."

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    Banana (Level 7) drwily008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melf
    As soon as I read that post I knew who made it, and I'm not the least bit surprised.
    Who is it?

    Don't worry Melf, I think your magazine is awesome and I thoroughly read each and every issue!

    Do you or anyone else on the staff of Hardcore Gamer know the story to what happened in the offices of Gamefan? I'm curious to see what was going on right around the death of the Saturn (Dave Halverson's departure) all the way through when they shut down production of the magazine.

    I know that Eric Mylonas made one issue of a magazine called GameGo! and in it he says someone bought 30,000 copies of the Warcraft soundtrack or something like that.

    Anyways, I'm curious to know what happened and I'm sure other fans here on DP would like to know.

    Thanks- Ken (DrWily008)

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    Pear (Level 6) Melf's Avatar
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    This thread at TNL has all the info you could ever want as to what happened, and it features posts by lots of old GF guys.

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    Cherry (Level 1) ClassicGameTrader's Avatar
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    Long story short, Game Fan was THE gaming magazine. I remember looking at all of the screenshots of the PSX, N64 and Saturn games. Import coverage was SO awesome, I like hardcore gamer a lot too, it isn't quite the same but its a hell of a lot better then some of the others.
    'Why should I lie when I can dramatize?"

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    Banana (Level 7) drwily008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melf
    This thread at TNL has all the info you could ever want as to what happened, and it features posts by lots of old GF guys.
    Hey Melf, I just wanted to thank you for the link! I enjoyed reading it very much. I had no idea the level of animosity between certain editors and Dave Halverson.

    Anyways, thanks again for the link!

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