Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Tale of Two Magazines

Written by pikaby

I still buy gaming magazines regularly, they're great fun to read, and contains lots of content that sometimes can be hard to find on the Net. I always have a choice of two while browsing at the bookstore, but only walk away with one. They're both British magazines, they're both about games, and they're by the same company, Future Publishing(my all time favorite magazines publisher right now).

One is NGamer magazine, dedicated to Nintendo, and the other is EDGE magazine, which covers all formats.

You'd think it's unfair to compare a Nintendo-specific mag to one that encompasses all forms of console gaming, but that isn't the point here. I'm talking about which magazine is the better read, and which has the better value for money.

EDGE is usually unwrapped by the time it hits my bookstores, and NGamer is tightly bound in two layers of plastic bags(because they have monthly free gifts in each bag), but I still buy NGamer over EDGE every time. It's not because of my inherent interest in Nintendo games though. Read both magazines and even you can tell the difference between the two.

NGamer is more lighthearted and full of inside jokes, and the loony bunch of editors just keep on adding to the pile and keep on entertaining. In particular is that guy, Matthew Castle, who's always at the butt end of jokes and humor, references in the magazine many times. He could double as the Pokefreak of NGamer. The magazine is packed full of bright colors and pictures, and the articles witty and well-written, referencing lots of movies, literature and themselves for the sake of squeezing laughs out of every reader.

Oh, and if they get their hands on a game which allows them to add in their own pictures (Photo Dojo, WarioWare DIY, Drawn to Life, Tomodachi Collection), they're always the ones with the craziest ideas. Insofar they're the only magazine I've seen which actually made a Chuck Norris Mii and didn't use stock screenshots from the Net. And they have a strange passion for comparing Nintendo exec Reggie Fils-Aime to Chuck Norris and God.

'Reggie has never met a man whom he hasn't accidentally crushed with his Citroen Saxo-sized fists...lives in isolation in a small cave in the Nunavut region, where he sustains himself by biting the heads off seals'

You don't see that very often.

They're full of laughs. I started on them during the Mario Galaxy 1 review and they haven't got any less fun to read since.

Now on the other end lies EDGE magazine. EDGE thrives on its comprehensive articles and exclusive interviews and features, each of them longer and more complete than most of NGamer's articles. Some of the blogs about Miyamoto that I've done the past month(the one about the 'paying for online' thing and the 'having regrets every time he finishes a game' blog) came directly from EDGE Magazine's interview with the man himself. And their reviews? Some of the fairest and strictest standards any game critic has ever set.

But this comes at a price. The group of editors are like jaded vampires who are as enthusiastic about gaming as that teenage sales promoter at the fashion shop no one ever comes into.(read: extremely bored) This is most apparent in their reviews and the inbox section at the back of the magazine. It doesn't seem like any of the good or great games seem to excite them in the least, though I know they've played a lot of games. They gave Mario Galaxy 2 a perfect 10, an unprecedented score they've rarely ever doled out, but was it mentioned even once, outside the review? No, not a one. Instead they'd rather be playing all three versions of Halo all over again. And their reviews are less fun to read and contain less pictures, and even less clowning editors poking fun at themselves. It may be mature and comprehensive, but it's utterly joyless and devoid of soul or any love for gaming, something which I feel is needed if you're in this journalism line. You gotta have the love for it.

The verdict? NGamer by a mile. Still, EDGE does have one edge over NGamer:

Best magazine cover EVER. Even if it was during the Wii Music period.
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