|The End of the Paper Trail|
|Posted: 18.10.2008 10:24 by||Comments: 9|
Every month I wait dutifully for them to arrive. I check the mail box each day hopefully, cursing and wishing when they don't arrive. And when they do, I rejoice. I love getting video game magazines in the mail. It's a bit silly I know. I check a number of video game websites multiple times on a daily basis. I often log onto them every time I use the internet simply out of habit. I'll mean to head to Hotmail and somehow I'll find myself loading a site with Mario bouncing around the page. But nevertheless whenever one of my beloved magazines arrives in the mail, I read it from cover to cover, often looking reading about news I was already aware of and game's that have long been reviewed online.
It just feels more natural to me, I suppose. I grew up as a Nintendo Power junkie. Buried in my basement right now are binders full of carefully organized issues of the magazine, dating back to the late NES, early SNES period of gaming. Sorting through some old boxes recently I came across dozens of copies of a slew of different magazines, some of which don't exist anymore. I grew up reading these things and despite the convenience of the internet, I find it hard to let them go.
I for one don't look forward to the day that video game magazines will finally kick the bucket. I know it's coming; the costs of a print magazine are often much more substantial than those of a website, which just about anyone can throw together these days. But even with that knowledge placed firmly in my, “Accept it” file, I feel very much that the eventual loss of the gaming mag is going to be to the detriment of gaming journalism in general. There are just some things that magazines can do better. Features for instance read more smoothly on paper; whether it is the “wall of text” syndrome, or just the simple fact that it's less trying on the eyes to read something off of paper, I much prefer reading feature articles off of a piece of paper. I don't think I'm alone in this either. The book industry has certainly seen some loss from the advent of the internet, but overall, most people prefer to read a book in a book form. It's just much more pleasurable to read something at length in a real world format.
If gaming magazines would focus more on features, then I feel they might be able to overcome the trials of internet media, or in the least just survive them. The biggest problem right now is their insistence on trying to sell gamers stuff that they can easily and usually get for free, online. I might not mind it, but I can certainly understand why a lot of people would rather read a review of a game online instead of waiting for a magazine to come out and tell them the same thing for 4.99. What needs to happen is essentially just a reformatting.
The parts that I appreciate most in gaming magazines are the things that I can't find anywhere else. I skim over the reviews certainly, but I pay attention to those articles that genuinely try to tell me things that something interesting. Rather than fighting the tide, gaming magazines should find a way to flow with it, accepting that in many ways they who were once the primary source for news on the video game industry have been replaced. They need to find their niche, which ironically is probably going to end up appealing to an increasingly niche market. And while they may not like it, survival is always far better than extinction. Ask the Dodo if you don't believe me.