I learned about so much of the history of EGM through so many of their magazines circa 1997-2001.
The things I took away from Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine are numerous, and I could expound on them the way I do because I practically learned to write by reading issues of EGM. I didn’t know that when I was reading issues over and over when I didn’t have video games to play. EGM had a style of writing that invigorated me in a mysterious way that issues of GamePro from that same era just as mysteriously upset me.
What I want to focus on today is the history that EGM imparted on me, a fleeting idea in the constantly and quickly evolving world of video games.
Check the twitter, I like to consider myself a video game historian. That is because I am. I know books full of inane video game minutia. I know it is books full because I have read books full of that information. Some I read more than a couple times (shout out to Chris Kohler’s book, Power-Up, my copy is so ragged now). Now we are falling into, “could write a whole new article about this portion” territory, so I will keep it brief. Before the internet was ubiquitous (especially for poor people such as my childhood self), it was pretty tough to learn much of anything about games beyond whatever information video game magazines deemed important enough to dole out to you that month.
Of all the video game magazines I read, EGM was far and away the best at imparting the wisdom and history of gaming into solid and interesting articles. These articles could be simple and straightforward like a timeline of arcades, or completely inane like trying to decipher Toad’s gender. Just the same, short features and editorials could discuss heady topics of the day such as violence and sequel-itis (yes, gamers were talking about this stuff back then too.) to more gameplay-centric ideas like health meters and graphics.
All these types of articles were infused with all the history that the writers knew, and it showed in their writing. This probably solidified my passion for video game history. Electronic Gaming Monthly has many things to do with why I am here and why this is what I write about.