Every month Matt pulls a magazine out for under his bed and gives it a fine going over. Stop giggling at the back there â€“ weâ€™re talking about video game magazines. This month: issue 3 of Futureâ€™s Video Gamer from January 2001.
Video Gamer must have been a huge risk for Future Publishing. Retailing at 99p, we assume it must have had to sell three times as well as the Futureâ€™s magazines like N64 Magazine and DC-UK that sold for Â£3 an issue. It was a risk that clearly didnâ€™t pay off â€“ the magazine was scrapped after just a few months.
Although the paper quality was noticeably poor, feeling not too unlike the shiny toilet paper you used to find in public toilets, it certainly wasnâ€™t a budget effort. Martin Kitts was the review editor, while the likes of Mark Green and Tim Weaver provided their gaming knowledge.
The magazine was aimed at the more casual market â€“ one of the girls from Dead or Alive 2 made the cover on this issue weâ€™re looking at, along with the cringe-worthy headline â€œHuge jugs and shattered jaws on PlayStation 2â€. Throughout the magazine there was also â€˜Jargon Busterâ€™ box-outs explaining the definitions of such terms as RGB and USB.
The main news story this month was how owners of the newly released PlayStation 2 were disgruntled to find that when using a SCART lead the screen had a green tinge to it. This was down to Sony hoping to prevent PS2 owners from recording DVD movies onto VHS. The Video Gamer guys had done their research â€“ Sony claimed that one of their machines offered RGB outputs but the writer had managed to find a Sony DVD player offering just that.
Confirming that the magazine was well researched was a special news investigation into where your money goes when buying a game. They reported that N64 carts cost a developer Â£2-Â£3 each compared to a PlayStation CD that only costs 30p. They also claimed that a console manufacturer takes 47% of your money, which sounds incorrect if you ask us.
Later in the news section there was speculation to the as yet to be fully unveiled Xbox. â€œAccording to our source, a developer who wished to remain anonymous, the main body of the console is a dark grey colour and â€˜wrapping aroundâ€™ the console is a raised â€˜Xâ€™ in a sexy chrome finish. At the centre of the â€˜Xâ€™ is a green bubble that lights up when the console is turned on.â€
This issue also contained playerâ€™s guides to Jet Set Radio, Tekken Tag Tournament and Zelda: Majoraâ€™s Mask. Itâ€™s very easy to forget that the N64 was still around when the PlayStation 2 was released.
The review section took up most of the magazine â€“ it was a multi-format mag, after all â€“ and gave games scores out of 10, with separate scores given for gameplay, presentation and value.
Although the magazine was killed off swiftly in the UK itâ€™s still running in France under the name of Jeux Video, retailing at 3 Euros an issue â€“ around Â£2.10 in real money.
Issue 3 Highlights
- Best feature: The XBox Revealed!
- Best quote from above article: â€Games confirmed for the console include Metal Gear X, Tomb Raider: Next Generation and the much hyped Black & White.â€
- Lowest review score: Woody Woodpecker Racing (PSone), Kao the Kangeroo (Dreamcast) and Tom & Jerry in House Trap (PSone) each scored 2/10.
- Highest review score: Dead or Alive 2 (PS2), Hitman: Codename 47 (PC), No One Lives Forever (PC), Samba de Amigo (Dreamcast), Escape from Monkey Island (PC) and Jimmy Whites Cueball 2 (PC) each scored 8/10.
- Best quote from letters page: â€œIâ€™m not getting into the debate over which console will win. But PS2 will.â€
Iâ€™ve kept hold of this particular issue of Video Gamer as it features a letter from myself. In issue 2 they claimed that Resident Evil 3 was the best in the series, seemingly ignoring the recently released Code Veronica on Dreamcast, and so I felt the need to write in. However, they edited that part of my letter out and instead chose to only print the start of it: â€œI do like your magazine: itâ€™s cheap and cheerful like Tescoâ€™s own brand beer.â€