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Die Hard or Hardcore?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 05, 2005   |   Episode 56 (Show Archive)  


Some magazines use sex to sell their product, but not Hardcore Gamer!
One of the best reasons to attend an event like E3 is to pick up the hundreds of pounds of game magazines. Between the big guys and the small upstarts, you can usually find just about any type of publication you might want at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Here we are weeks after the show and I'm still working my way through those magazines, finding which to subscribe to and which to simply turn into articles for the site. But out of all of the magazines I have run across this year, Hardcore Gamer Magazine stands out in more ways than one.

These days game magazines suffer from the same boring old look month after month. Magazines like Game Informer and Electronic Gaming Monthly have been around for so

Hardcore Gamer's first issue features a whole section on hackers, and trust me when I tell you that it's as exciting as it sounds!
long that it's no wonder it's hard to tell them apart. That's not how it used to be, there was a time not so long ago where you never knew what you were going to get from month to month. Game magazines were put together by people that had very little experience putting magazines together but had a lot of training having fun.

Perhaps this is why I was attracted to a magazine called Hardcore Gamer Magazine, a publication with a stupid name and a very chaotic layout. The issue I snagged from E3 was their debut issue (titled Rise of the Chicken, for what it's worth) and it instantly reminded me of the good old days when you could spend a whole page just showing off pictures of 2D games. With interesting features, well written reviews, and plenty of strangely laid out content, Hardcore Gamer Magazine was just the type of periodical I was looking for ... if only I could get over the feeling that I've been here before.

As I thumbed through this very first issue of HGM (which should never be confused with EGM or MGM) I began to notice that the magazine had a lot in common with another publication, a certain Die Hard Game Fan. Just about everything that made Game Fan the publication it was has been represented here in HGM. This magazine has chaotic layouts just like Game Fan, it has pages that are simply lists of games and pictures just like Game Fan, it features a graveyard for classic games just like Game Fan, heck, it even features it only ugly comic strip ... just like Game Fan!

Now granted, Hardcore Gamer Magazine does look a little better than Die Hard Game Fan. For one thing, HGM sticks to a font whereas Game Fan would have a different font, different size, and different color for nearly every game. This new magazine depends less on their art staff, which is certainly a good thing. And the days of three or more people reviewing a game are long gone (HGM features one main review, and then a second opinion that gets only a handful of words). But even with

Here we see Die Hard Game Fan's Monitaur ready pouncing on the games, circa 1993 ...
these differences and upgrades, it's easy to see the similarities between Die Hard Game Fan and this brand new Hardcore Gamer Magazine.

Oddly enough, the similarities don't end at the layout. In the staff page of Rise of the Chicken they feature a bit of artwork next to each of the writers. While most stuck with a simple drawing or piece of anime, Greg Off decided to stick with what looks almost exactly like the Monitaur, Die Hard Game Fan's own icon; a character that appeared on literally every single cover of

And this is Monitaur of today, notice the widescreen display!
that magazine. Greg's picture isn't exactly the same, the Monitaur now features a widescreen display for his face, but there's no denying that it's the same design.

And that got me wondering just how many staffers from Die Hard Game Fan made the trek over to Hardcore Gamer Magazine. It wouldn't

I feel bad for Michelle and so should you!
take much searching before finding somebody that could put the pieces together; the very first name I came across had a prominent roll in the making of both magazines. Tim Lindquist is the publisher of HGM, the very first name on the page, but looking back at the launch of Game Fan you find that he was also the Production Director there as well.

And that's not all, Terry Wolfinger, the guy who spent countless hours adding way too much artwork to Die Hard Game Fan, is the Art Director at HGM ... which might explain Greg Off's picture of the Monitaur. Ultimately it's not all that surprising to see these familiar names, I wouldn't expect anything less than a Die Hard Game Fan-like magazine from this crew. But did they really need to reuse the Monitaur?

The print world is a tough business to get back into, but Hardcore Gamer Magazine has our best wishes. Even though there are plenty of game publications currently cluttering the shelves, none of them embody the world of fanzines quite like HGM. We look forward to seeing this magazine evolve and grow over time, but please, let's put the Monitaur to rest once and for all.


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