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On Running Feuds
The Final Battle Over Issue 200
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 15, 2006   |   Episode 95 (Show Archive)  

   

We don't have enough room to show you all four of EGM 200's covers!
Last month Electronic Gaming Monthly celebrated their 200th issue. This is quite a milestone for a video game magazine; it means that there has been over 16 years worth of reviews, previews, and rumors. After 200 issues it's time for this magazine to have a party, to let down its hair and show us why they are "the #1 Videogame Magazine." But if you were expecting a huge issue full of people remembering

We do have the room to show you GamePro 200's one cover!
the good old days, then you probably should look elsewhere. EGM's 200th issue was kind of a let down, a regular issue with a couple of anniversary-related articles thrown in for good measure.

But how does EGM's 200th compare to GamePro's 200th? Some people may forget that GamePro hit this milestone several months ago, setting the bar high for what we should expect in our 200th issue. We at Defunct Games thought this was a perfect time to compare the two magazines, to give these two long-running publications a chance to show us what they really have. Who would come out ahead if we put them side by side and compared their covers, content, and more? For our 95th On Running Feud we are going to get something we almost never get ... a real winner! By the end of this episode we will find out who had the best 200th issue. But it's going to take a lot of narrowing it down, so I invite you to check over our scoring.
Cover Art
GamePro: For GamePro's 200th issue they have decided to feature three characters that have graced the cover many, many times before. We're talking about Master Chief from the Halo series, Solid Snake from Metal Gear and Yoshimitsu from Tekken, characters that are proven issue sellers.

GamePro took their time to advertise Halo 2 some more!
But don't look for new artwork here, all GamePro did was recycle previously used pictures to create one of the ugliest covers of all time. This picture is there to advertise their "look back at 16 years of video-game history," but only with current video game characters. Where are the characters that have withstood the test of time, where is Sub-Zero, Donkey Kong and Bomberman? Instead we have just another issue of GamePro featuring something about Halo. Boring.

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, on the other hand, couldn't fit all of their characters on the cover. It took four different covers to cram in all of the famous characters of the last 25 years. We're talking about Earthworm Jim, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, Tetris, Crash Bandicoot, and dozens more. Each of the characters were individually drawn and inserted on the cover by Vincent S. Proce, who managed to fit nearly every worthwhile character onto four connecting covers. But while this cover has a lot of things going for it, I can't get over the feeling that it's not the most attractive placement of the characters. Instead of looking good this EGM cover just looks chaotic, and not the good kind of chaotic. But no matter what you think of the scattered placement of these characters, there's no debate that it's a better cover than GamePro.
Number of Pages
GamePro - 128 pages (68 pages of adverts): Both Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro

This is the kind of lame advertisement you can expect from both of these magazines!
have roughly the same amount of pages, which might explain why they are almost exactly the same weight. Technically GamePro has more pages, it features four extra pages, but that's not the end of our story. GamePro may have more pages, but it also have quite a few more advertisements. GamePro is sporting a full 23 extra pages of adverts over EGM, pages that could have been used for editorial content. If you take away the pages of advertising GamePro has a measly 60 pages, meaning that over half of the magazine is advertisements for games, zit medicine, and other things.

EGM - 124 pages (45 pages of adverts): Electronic Gaming Monthly faired a bit better despite having fewer pages to work with. Only 45 pages of EGM's issue were dedicated to advertising, this means that 79 pages were filled with news, reviews, and whatever else the writers had turned in. It's important to point out that when I say that a magazine like EGM has 45 pages of adverts (or 68, in the case of GamePro) I am not saying that it has that many adverts, some commercials take up multiple pages. Black, for example, took up three different pages. Also, advertising tends to change depending on what time of the year it is, it's important to keep in mind that EGM's issue was from early in 2006 while GamePro was published in the middle of 2005.
Anniversary-Specific Content
GamePro: When it comes to celebrating the 200th issue GamePro decided to go all out. This issue featured 14 pages (not including advertising) of content about the 16 years it took to get us to issue 200. They chart the time line, feature a history

One game EGM felt it worth mentioning was Crue Ball, the Motley Crue pinball game!
of GamePro's locations, chronicle LamePro, look at the biggest video game blunders (Nintendo 64, Jaguar, etc.), talk about bad advertising (though, none of their picks have been reviewed in our Commercial Break), and much, much more. It's an issue that answers nearly every question you could possibly have about GamePro, a feature unlike any they've done before. This anniversary content is the single best reason to read GamePro's 200th issue.

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, on the other hand, decided against looking back at their history and opted to spend twenty pages on "the Greatest 200 Games of Their Times." If this sounds familiar it's pretty much what they did to celebrate issue 150, as well as issue 100. It seems like a good bet than whenever EGM has a milestone they include a lengthy Best Of list that is immediately contradicted. To be fair, at the end of the issue they spend two full pages looking at their April Fools jokes, their debut issue, and EGM 2. Yup, that's two full pages about their last 200 issues, not what I would call an avalanche of information. Seanbaby was given two pages to report on the 7 Worst 7s, games that averaged a 7 in EGM but were really crummy games. I guess that's a funny article, but it pales in comparison to the 14 pages of useful insight found in GamePro's 200th.
Editorial
GamePro: GamePro uses its editorial to welcome everybody to the 200th issue. The writer (simply credited as the "GamePros") talks about how this issue brought all of the workers "up to date" and how good it was to work with everybody. This issue also took a few

Here is what Dan Hsu thinks of a welcome letter!
moments to address some of the changes happening around GamePro, including a new look for just about every section. At the end he thanks everybody for reading GamePro and welcomes the fans (and critics) to write in and let them know what they like and don't like about the new look.

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly had a completely different concept when it came to writing the editorial. As always Editor in Chief, Dan "Shoe" Hsu, wrote up his thoughts about the issue, but he never once welcomed people to the 200th issue. The very first thing he says is something about how after 199 issues they should have their crap together, but they don't ... and this 200th issue was a product that caused a whole bunch of headaches. In fact, after talking about all of the arguments had in the office regarding their big "Top 200 Games of their Time" article Dan even admits that he has a headache. The rest of the editorial is Dan listing all of the other special features in the magazine (which are all advertised on the front cover, I might add). And then just when you think he's going to welcome you to this milestone, he starts explaining the different ways you can voice your opinions. It takes him three paragraphs to recap what is listed on the front cover, and then to top it off never once comments on how big this 200 thing really is. Classy!
Letters to the Editor
GamePro: In my opinion GamePro has never had a letter section worth reading. From time to time we get a chuckle at the questions people send in, but for the most part it's one of the least interesting aspects of GamePro. Sadly issue 200 is no exception. This

It's times like these that I wish I was in Puerto Rico!
issue sees letters from a Nintendo "fanboy" who thinks the PSP is a good idea, somebody congratulating GamePro on their ultimate "gamerness," and a letter from Puerto Rico. If you're looking for more hard hitting letters I suggest you turn the page, because there's where you'll find Adam King correcting GamePro on their Bomberman history ... hey Adam, no offense, but that's our job! All joking aside, the rest of the letters are pretty dreadful. This letters to the editor section is just not GamePro's strong point.

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly decided to go an entirely different direction. Instead of featuring recent letters sent in to them, EGM decided to run new responses to extremely old questions. People are asking about everything from the original Perfect Dark to the TurboGrafx-16, all while EGM is making snarky comments at the readers expense. If that sounds familiar it's because Defunct Games was doing that years ago! If you dig around the site you'll find us responding to old EGM letters, which doesn't make their effort very original if you ask me. It must have been a good idea when we did it, otherwise this magazine wouldn't have ripped us off. Thanks EGM for validating my work!
Reviews
GamePro: The problem with comparing review is that these magazines came out at completely different

Can somebody please explain the attraction of this costume?
times of the year. When EGM's 200th issue hit the shelves consumers had just gotten over a busy holiday season, on the other hand, this GamePro found it way into subscribers mailboxes in the middle of last year. There are a few good games found in this issue of GamePro, but nothing that stands out as being worth holding on to. We get reviews for Unreal Championship 2, FIFA Street, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, Tekken 5, and Yoshi's Touch & Go. While the games might not stand out the look of the review section certainly does, what with a brand new look and improved picture quality (and size).

EGM: Despite the fact that EGM 200 is the February 2006 issue they are just now starting to get around to reviewing the Xbox 360 launch titles (the games released in November of 2005). Games like Perfect Dark Zero, Quake 4 and Project Gotham Racing 3 all received big reviews, while this EGM also featured the likes of Prince of Persia 3, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, Tokobot, Electroplankton, and a pair of Ape Escape games. The reviews look the same as the issue before that and the issue before that, the only difference here are the games. Certainly a few titles stand out, but did they have to bash on the wonderful Tokobot? And that Ape Escape 3 is a lot better than this issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly suggests.
100 Issues Earlier

GamePro: Looking back at issue 100 now it's both scary and sad how similar the GamePro of today is to the GamePro of 1997. Sure there are some different styles at play, but nearly everything else is intact in one form or another. You can still expect to read about outdated ProNews, watch the editors fawn over even the worst games in their ProPreviews, and there were entire sections devoted to questionable games (10 pages for Star Gladiators, seriously?). The biggest disappointment is that they only ran a three page special on the 100th issue, talking mostly about the people that came and went. Of course, since none of them used their real names this

article feels like a throw away piece. Outside of that short article, the only thing they did to celebrate was feature a "Super Prize Giveaway!" Still, you can't deny that it's funny to see them rave that Re-Loaded is "a cut above," despite the game receiving near unanimous disdain from the critics. Now that's comedy!

EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly's 100th article was more along the lines of what their 200th should have been. It had a fantastic cover, it featured a special feature that they hadn't done before, and since it came out during the holidays, it managed to feature a number of huge reviews. EGM 100 was a great issue, it actually seemed like they were ready for it to get out and into peoples hands. One of the best things about EGM's 100th issue is that it reminds you about how much the magazine has grown, it may not be a perfect magazine now but at least they are trying new things. This is a tough call, but with their retrospective and the Top 100 Games of All Time list I have to say that EGM 100 was better than GamePro 100.
Parting Thoughts
If we were just looking at anniversary content then there would be no question, GamePro deserves to win hands down. Their 14-page retrospective is a thing of wonder, going out of its way to explain even the smallest details. And if you're a fan of Defunct Games and the topics we cover, then it's worth tracking down the issue just to see what they have to say about our favorite systems and controversies. But I'm sorry to say that we aren't just looking at those articles, we're looking at the whole product. Even with its high-quality article and brand new look, GamePro comes up just a little short of Electronic Gaming Monthly. In the past 200 issues EGM has managed to recreate themselves in a number of worthwhile ways, and it's easy to see the progress when you look at their 200th issue. Although I would have liked to have seen more informative articles (and not another Best Of list), I have to award this Feud to Electronic Gaming Monthly. How much you want to bet EGM's 300 issue will celebrate the 300Best Games of All Time?
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