If this cover doesn't make you want to pick up an issue of Hardcore Gamer Magazine then nothing will!
With the downsizing of next year's E3, all kinds of demos hitting Xbox Live and the SEC investigating Activision you might think that we have plenty to talk about this week. But we're going to buck tradition and talk about something far more pressing: ourselves.
Over the past five years we've spent a lot of time scrutinizing the various video game magazines that have come and gone, we do our best to right their wrongs and show them the error of their ways. But sometimes we are just as bad as they are. Take our Die Hard or Hardcore? article as an example. When we featured that write-up a year ago we failed to do any research and ended up paying the price.
In that article we attempted to show the connection between the now defunct Die Hard Game Fan and Hardcore Gamer Magazine, which
When Monitaur is ready to pounce you better get your butt out of the way!
at the time had only published two issues. With its similar layout and cast of cartoon characters the two magazines appeared to be cut from the same cloth. We concluded the article by wondering why this brand new magazine would keep Die Hard Game Fan's mascot, a human with blue skin and a TV for a head.
It wasn't long before Tim Lindquist (Hardcore Gamer Magazine's publisher) contacted the site to correct our story. He explained that this character, Monitaur, was actually the creation of Greg Off (HGM's Editor in Chief). Had we done our research before posting this article we would have known this and that episode in question would have taken a decidedly different angle. Soon after receiving Tim's letter Greg decided to contact the site and offer even more insight. He talked about where Hardcore Gamer Magazine came from and explained that the similarities we pointed out in our article were intentional.
Back in the days of Game Fan Monitaur was always front and center!
But Greg's letter did more than just explain his history working on video game magazines; it actually went into detail about his character and what we should expect from Monitaur in the future. Here is a sample of what he wrote back in July of 2005:
"In regards to Monitaur, he's my character. I created him long before starting up GameFan and kept the rights all these years. We won't be showcasing him on the cover as we did back in the '90s, but he's near and dear to me and that's why he's been reincarnated."
At the time we appreciated hearing back from both Tim and Greg, it's always an honor to know that the people you've written about acknowledge the time that was put into the article (even if we did get our facts wrong). Usually this would be the end of our story and we would move on to the next
These days Manitaur is only featured when he's needed, such as selling us on Test Drive Unlimited!
big controversy. But in this case what Greg said ended up taking a life of its own and turning into a whole new On Running Feud. Only two months after writing us to clear up our confusion Greg changed his tune and decided to go against what he said in his email. Despite telling me that he would not be "showcasing [Monitaur] on the cover" they turned around and did just that, showcased him on the cover of their fourth issue (September 2005).
Generally this would be my cue to rip Hardcore Gamer Magazine apart, pointing out the inconsistency and comparing them to GamePro. But that's not what I'm going to do. Perhaps it's because we've already made fools out of ourselves by running an article with faulty information that should have been researched before it was ever posted. Or maybe it's because Hardcore Gamer Magazine is one of the few periodicals that actually represents the type of games that we like to talk about on Defunct Games. In the past few issues alone they have spent time
What other current video game magazine has the balls to remind gamers of the brilliance of Golvellius on the Master System?
covering classic arcade games nobody remembers and classic Sega Master System games that everybody should own. They provide the type of coverage that you normally don't get in Electronic Gaming Monthly or Game Informer.
Instead of just jumping to conclusions I decided to go straight to the source and get a hold of Greg Off. I wanted to know why Monitaur has appeared on four different covers (out of the magazine's 14 issues). Not only had Greg's trusty character shown up on issue 4, but also on issue 7, 11 and most recently 13. I wanted to know what changed between when he wrote me his letter and now, what possessed him to bring Monitaur back to the forefront?
In our phone interview Greg concluded that originally there was a unilateral decision to not use the characters, however, as the months went on it made sense to feature Greg's alter ego, as well as Tim's fork and the animated versions of the magazine's other editors. Greg continued to explain
that the first time Monitaur showed up, on the cover of issue 4, it only made sense; it was a Katamari Damacy cover where the Prince was rolling up everything at the Hardcore Gamer Magazine office (computers, staff members, a chicken, etc.). From there the idea to include these character took off, Greg explains that it offers a "Where's Waldo" appeal to the cover art.
Unlike the days of Die Hard Game Fan, Monitaur is not the central focus of the magazine's cover. In
Who knew Greg would liken his magazine to Where's Waldo??
the 1990s Monitaur would be featured in just about every game imaginable, from Dynamite Headdy to Terminator to Cool Spot. For better or worse he was the first thing you saw and a way for you to know that you were buying an issue of Die Hard Game Fan. But even though he has shown up on the front of Hardcore Gamer Magazine, Monitaur is not being used like he was a decade ago. Instead he's off in the background letting the game be front and center. He makes, as Tim Lindquist put it, a "cameo" from time to time.
Last year we closed our article by wondering what Hardcore Gamer Magazine would look like in a year. Would we see the same type of coverage we saw in the first two issues? Would it still offer the perspective of the hardcore game fans and collectors? You bet it does, the magazine is better than ever with more pages and even better content. What's more, Hardcore Gamer Magazine is one of the few national publications that is willing to advertise for Defunct Games ... which gives them a special place in my heart. And with that we've managed to avert what could have been a very serious On Running Feud, it's amazing the things you can accomplish by simply calling the editor and asking the right questions.
(Blatant Advertisement Alert: Now that you've had a chance to read my experience with Hardcore Gamer Magazine perhaps it's time to visit their website and maybe even subscribe to their magazine. If that's too much trouble, then why not download the newest issue and see why this is one of the best magazines currently on news stands? If you dig hard enough you may actually find Defunct Games mentioned within their pages!)