GameFan Journalism

As the games-journalism debate of consumer evaluations vs. artistic critiques continues, it’s almost refreshing to look back on the sordid history of GameFan Magazine.

DieHard GameFan Magazine was an unabashedly fanboy-ish publication that spawned in the backroom of a videogame store. It started off as a catalogue promoting Western and import titles, but quickly grew to a widely syndicated magazine that competed with the likes of EGM and GamePro. It was filled with hyperboles, factual errors and made-up rumours, but it also had lovingly arranged layouts, superior print quality and a contagious enthusiasm for the medium.

I fondly recall pouring over GameFan’s spreads of popular games like Earthworm Jim and Street Fighter Alpha, and lesser known titles — which I didn’t hear much about in other publications but was pleased to discover — such as Dark Savior and Lucienne’s Quest. Like many young videogame enthusiasts, I eagerly awaited the treasure trove of text and colour that came with each issue, but I was oblivious to the magazine’s crazy behind-the-scenes antics:

The layouts of GameFan Magazine were fantastic, often incorporating a title's concept art and overall visual style.

It’s hard to defend GameFan after reading the above, and the magazine itself was as far from real journalism as videogame publications got, but for many it was also a labour of love. As such, it still stands heads and shoulders above all the other fanzines, and its tumultuous history is rich enough to fill a book.

If it ever does, I’d sure like to read it.

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  1. #1 by Torano2 on August 29, 2010 - 12:06 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing. I think my favorite part is getting a Guile fake ID and then using that to get a passport. I wonder if it was actually true?

  2. #2 by ribble_rab_pab on August 29, 2010 - 12:10 pm

    GameFan was sick! best video game magazine ever and those stories only kinda make it more awesome!

  3. #3 by leenie on August 29, 2010 - 8:58 pm

    Wow… that is a lot of detail in those, erm, stories…

    But as you said, beautiful layouts! The Final Fantasy VII one made me get a PSX!

  4. #4 by Dave N Train on August 31, 2010 - 4:38 pm

    thanks for the links, they were hilarious!

  5. #5 by ECM on September 29, 2010 - 8:22 pm

    Speaking as someone that took part in those “cannonball run” (usually driving) races to the bank, some of these stories are a bit on the embellished side, but I guess it does make for a better story.

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