You just don't see GamePro covers like this anymore!
When it comes to GamePro we usually have to deal with refreshing their memory about old games, monitoring questionable facts, and point out bias out of the news reporting. Generally speaking we are just not very nice to one of the longest-running game magazines of all time. Thankfully this time around we don't have any issues with the writing; we're not going to fact check or complain about the shoddy journalism. Instead we're going to debate just how much Dragon Ball Z is too much Dragon Ball Z.
Generally I don't like to criticize what magazines put on their covers; whatever keeps them in business is fine with me. But lately GamePro has felt a little narrow in its scope. This month (issue #204) GamePro features a cover
By putting Dragon Ball Z on the cover so many times, GamePro has missed an opportunity to feature other mediocre licensed games!
advertising the popular anime Dragon Ball Z. They talk up Budokai Tenkaichi, calling it the ultimate Dragon Ball Z game and devoting nine pages to the show and its influence. GamePro is excited about this product and they are guessing that you are too.
There's nothing wrong with putting your bets on Goku and company, chances are the game will be a big seller no matter what the critics think. But if this cover looks somewhat familiar then chances are you're remembering issue #199, which features even more Dragon Ball art. And don't forget issue #193! That's right; GamePro has featured Dragon Ball Z on three different covers over the course of 12 months ... not bad for a game that barely received a glance from any other magazine.
Could the last 12 months really have been so boring that a magazine had to reuse the same franchise three times? With all the games and systems announced at E3 it seems odd that we're constantly coming back to the tried and true Dragon Ball Z cover. Where's Zelda? Where's the Xbox 360? What about Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories? What is it with Dragon Ball Z?
Perhaps GamePro's sales go up when one of the Dragon Ball Z characters graces the cover. While we can sit here and complain that the magazine has become predictable and dull, few would argue that they know what they're doing. They've been around long
It's a shame GamePro doesn't go after better anime, like Cowboy Bebop!
that cover stories can push sales, which could certainly explain why they would be milking Dragon Ball Z so frequently. While other magazines are featuring Perfect Dark Zero and SOCOM III on their covers, GamePro is going for what they know will sell.
But no matter what the their reasoning is, it's hard to justify putting the same franchise on three different covers all within a year's time. We're talking about a franchise that sells well, but is never anywhere near the top selling title of the year. They are generally poorly reviewed games that are not known for adding a lot of innovation to the fighting genre (or role-playing genre, depending on the game). It would be one thing if there were three covers devoted to Halo 2 or Metal Gear Solid 3, but we're talking about Dragon Ball Z ... a terrible anime that has had a rocky history with the video games industry.
A year ago we posted an article dealing with this very same topic -- back in the 1990's Electronic Gaming Monthly was hot for whatever Street Fighter had to offer (see: When Street Fighter Met EGM). This kind of admiration may not be anything new to the video game press, but it's still worth pointing out. GamePro has every right to put whomever they want on the cover ... but it does seem odd that they would choose Dragon Ball Z three times in a year. What a waste.