Video Game Magazine Memories: Game Buyer

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Isn’t that just the most boring title for any video game magazine? Imagine looking at an issue on the shelf at the supermarket, “Game Buyer? Hey, I buy games! This must be the magazine for me.”

With such a boring moniker, it’s hard to imagine this was the rebirth of the far less boring Ultra Game Players magazine. UGP ended after reaching over a hundred issues, finding a sometimes frustratingly random, but also often funny, entertaining, or just strange. Unlike the storied legacy of UGP, Game Buyer lasted four games total. I own all four of them. 

It was like UGP did a hard reset. Even though much of the staff of UGP remained to work on Game Buyer, this new magazine seemed to take a more serious tone. They straight cut any humor, and doing away with fluff like reader mail or writer bios where the artists might go trying to stick in their ridiculous jokes. What remained was a magazine which essentially offered only previews, and reviews.

Some of the things they did back then were pretty innovative on the review side of things. They included the MSRP in each games review, and included reviews of each system version of a game. Not bad considering they hacked the price of Game Buyer from the then VG magazine standard of $4.99 down to $2.99 after only two issues. 

The showy facade of rebranding faded after that price drop. Soon the reader mail section was back, and with it many of the writers strange habits. Unfortunately is was way too late for that.

It’s clear in retrospect that a magazine that needed to rename itself, slash it’s price was nearing its final breath. It’s unfortunate that before this magazine scattered to the winds, the time would have been better used to churn out a couple more issues of UGP rather than a handful of inconsequential issues of some thing called Game Buyer.

I imagine that if Game Buyer had found a way to survive, it would have easily just turned back into UGP (which was itself a rebranding of Game Player).

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