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1989: EGM is the way Steve Harris Spells "Influence"
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 16, 2002   |   Episode 21 (Show Archive)  

The Scoop: When Steve Harris founded Electronic Gaming Monthly, I'm not sure he ever expecting some of the earthquakes that have shaken our industry. Who would have thought that Nintendo would not be number one, or that movies would be playing in your favorite system (unless you're a GameCube person), or that Sega would drop out? But here we are almost 14 years later, and Electronic Gaming Monthly is around and bigger than ever.

Like many other magazines of the 1980s and early 90s, EGM offered mainly previews, codes, and reviews of popular games. However, it was the review crew that set them apart. Using four reviews, EGM was the first place many gamers turned to when trying to buy a new game. Electronic Gaming Monthly was also the first to get the companies on their side with hard hitting articles, and even a rumor section.

Electronic Gaming Monthly also managed to introduce the gaming world to award shows, system reviews, and unbiased year-end wrap ups. While other magazines were claiming that "one system may be better for you than another, depending on what kind of gamer you are", EGM actually told you their opinions, and finalized it with a number rating. Their buyers' guides are often referred to here at Defunct Games, and quoted all over the internet. And it's a feature almost every other magazine has adopted since.

The Other Side: In 1989 the industry was a much different, and smaller, place. For the most part, gamers were only buying the Nintendo Entertainment System and GameBoy, so the coverage was
geared mostly towards Big "N". This offered a problem since Nintendo's own Nintendo Power was doing basically the same thing. Other magazines, like GamePro and Video Games & Computer Entertainment, also offered almost carbon copy previews, reviews, and articles. And none of them focused on the Genesis ... until a little Hedgehog named Sonic came about.

The Impact: While Electronic Gaming Monthly was hardly the first game to offer coverage of video games, it certainly set the standard for which all magazines would be judged in the future. To the dismay of Game Player, GamePro, or Die Hard Game Fan, no matter how good your magazine was, it was always trying to get from under the shadow of EGM.

This competition, however, spawned bigger and better magazines, and vast improvements to existing publications. These days there is no shortage of magazines to read, no matter what interest you have. If you're a PlayStation 2 loyalist, or a sports gamer, or just want to find the most insulting things about each video game, there's a magazine for you.

It should also be noted that sites like Defunct Games would probably not be around if it weren't for Electronic Gaming Monthly. This little publication actually showed the world that a game
magazine can make money and survive in a tough environment. If I thought Defunct Games was going to die in a couple of years, I certainly wouldn't have put the time in ... and I'm sure others feel the same way.

Where Are They Now?: Electronic Gaming Monthly is still one of, if not the most popular video game magazine going. It has lived through several system life cycles, a number of failed competitors, and a market downturn. Let's face it, this thing has legs. Just like Rolling Stone magazine, and even the Wall Street Journal.

EGM has grown from covering only games and the systems, to offering a much wider selection of articles. They examine the industry of gaming, as well as delve deep with cutting exposes and articles about much more than just video games.


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