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Series Finale - The Real Way to End a Magazine
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 15, 2009   |   Episode 94 (Show Archive)  

   


After his show was canceled by Fox, Joss Whedon gave all of the Browncoats closure when he directed Serenity, the Firefly movie!
As an avid TV watcher, I always hate it when shows I like get canceled before they can wrap things up in a satisfactory way. Just look at Pushing Daisies, The Journeyman, Wonderfalls and dozens of other shows, all of which came and went without anybody noticing them. These shows were going somewhere, but they were plucked in their prime, long before the show creators were able to come up with an acceptable series finale.

Unfortunately these days the same thing is happening to some of our favorite video game magazines. We don't have to go back very far to be reminded of magazine cancelation. Recently both Electronic Gaming Monthly and the magazine side of Hardcore Gamer Magazine closed their doors, ultimately laying off a lot of the staff and making a new home online.

As I thought about how sad it was to see these magazines go, it struck me that the one thing I never get is that feeling of closure. Maybe it's just me, but I want that final issue that resolves all of the conflicts, allows us to say goodbye and laugh with our favorite characters one last time. I want there to be some sort of finale, even if it's just a magazine. And that's why I am proud to present Series Finale: The Real Way to End a Magazine, a three page show that successfully concludes eight canceled game magazines.

Electronic Gaming Monthly
[ Years Active: 1989 - 2009 ]

It featured cool artwork and Street Fighter, that's all you can ask for from a surprise final issue!
Brief Synopsis: Electronic Gaming Monthly (or EGM, if you're lazy) is one of the most influential game magazines of all time. It introduced the industry to proper game reviews, featured a gossip column long before anybody else and had an uncanny knack of getting the scoop months before anybody else. EGM is best known for their colorful cast of characters, including Quartermann, Sushi-X, Seanbaby and the always contrarian, Shane Bettenhausen. And while it was rarely perfect, game journalists the world over will always have a soft spot for Electronic Gaming Monthly.

How It Ended: After mentioning Street Fighter II on 17 different covers (see: When Street Fighter II Met EGM), it felt fitting that Electronic Gaming Monthly finished its run with a Street Fighter IV cover story. Because of the times, this final EGM was small and frail. It

Shane Bettenhausen, before leaving EGM for Ignition!
only reviewed a handful of games and definitely looked like it was knocking on heaven's door. While it was nice to see Street Fighter grace the cover one last time, there are millions of fans who want one last issue to give them a feeling of closure.

Brand New Series Finale: In what can only be considered an epic finish to one of the longest running game magazines, the final episode discloses how each of the magazine's editors dies. We see Shane Bettenhausen get in his car, shed a tear, put Sia on the CD player and then drive off, imagining how each and every one of his friends passes on. It starts with a flash-forward to the year 2012, where a confused Microsoft fanboy kills Greg Ford thinking that he was actually Shane. Three years later James "Milkman" Mielke is beheaded by a flying chicken while standing in line to buy the next iteration of the iPhone. David Ellis trips and falls doubt the Grand Canyon, but keeps himself alive until five days later when a coyote finds him paralyzed and finishes the job. Jeremy Parish dies in his sixties, after he confuses his import SwanCrystal for a bar of soap and electrocutes himself. And then there's Shane, who drives off into the sunset knowing that he'll never die. For Shane isn't actually human, instead he's a Highlander, and there can only be one.

NEXT Generation
[ Years Active: 1995 - 2002 ]

By this issue, NEXT Generation had become a shell of its former glory!
Brief Synopsis: At one time NEXT Generation was known as the industry magazine, a publication that wasn't afraid to look at the real issues facing game development. Sure there were previews and reviews, but the magazine's main focus was centered on looking at how games were made, who made them and why we buy them. It was an incredibly deep magazine, perhaps too deep for the average game consumer who just wants pictures of whatever's hot. The magazine had a script rule against posting cheat codes and would rarely run fluff pieces about celebrities. Unfortunately the magazine ended up morphing into an almost unrecognizable beast, but not before publishing some of the greatest video game articles ever written.

How It Ended: After seven years and 85 issues, NEXT Generation (known at that time as Next Gen) ended the same way they started: by giving its readers questionable reviews. While Next Gen had no problem praising the derivative fighter Dead or Alive 3 a five star rating, they finished out their run just in time to give the genre-creating Grand Theft Auto III a mere four star score. Four stars? This from the magazine that said that

Grand Theft Auto III > Dead or Alive 3
NFL Fever 2002 was one of the Xbox's best games. With its gripping piece on movie games and the 100 word review of Windows XP, it's no wonder NEXT Generation had its cord pulled in 2002.

Brand New Series Finale: After finally striking a deal with NBC over their NEXT Generation sitcom pilot, the magazine editors decide to celebrate in Paris, France. Unfortunately Matt Casamassina was too excited and damaged the plane by jumping up and down. They touch down in Latham, Massachusetts, which is where they witness a carjacking. Unfortunately, instead of taking the time to help the poor motorist, the NEXT Generation editors decide to review what they just witnessed, giving it only three stars. The victim notices the group of editors and decides to sue them for inactivity. A lengthy court case ensues where every person NEXT Generation had ever wronged had a chance to get up and speak their mind. We had Sega's Tom Kalinske claiming that they took him out of context, a bunch of battered Nintendo fanboys that claimed the magazine was pro-Sony and this one guy who wouldn't shut up about how the magazine changed their format for a year and a half. It all ends with the editors losing their case and forced to live in the same jail cell. Jennifer Tsao starts to review this situation, but everybody else tells her to shut up and they go on grumbling about how unfair the Massachusetts laws are.

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