(yes, the inexplicable trademark
symbol is part of the magazine's title) is a multiformat videogames
magazine published in the UK by the much-maligned Paragon Publishing
. The first issue went on sale on the 28th November 2002. From the second issue the magazine plans to go monthly, with the standard (for games magazines at least) 13 issues a year (one per month plus a Christmas
issue halfway through December). The magazine currently boasts an impressive 180 glossy pages with a wax
laminated cover, for £4.00. It carries marginally less advertising
than most other videogames magazines.
Games™ is intended to give gamers a 'third way' in multiformat mags, striving for more substantial editorial and a more mature writing style than the youth-oriented CVG and GamesMaster, but eschewing the arrogance and arbitrary selectiveness of EDGE. For the most part it offers the same conventional types of content as the other magazines (news, features, reviews, previews), but uniquely it devotes a generous number of pages each month to covering 'retro' gaming.
In terms of presentation and layout, Games™ is easily the high watermark for games magazines available today. The quality and consistency of the graphic design holds up well even in comparison to non-gaming magazines with far greater budgets (although the review template is a little dull). Screenshots are strikingly vivid and well selected, far from the pixellated, washed-out space fillers that have become the norm in other mags.
Unfortunately the lavish presentation is let down rather badly by the written content of the magazine. Much of the editorial is put together with little wit and enthusiasm, and an irritating over-reliance on clichés. It is too early to say whether the reviews will develop into a useful and consistent resource (it can take several months for a new games magazine to iron out its review policy), but at the moment they are somewhat lacking, clearly delineating between describing the game in the bulk of the review and judging it in the last paragraph.
The retro content, once you get over the novelty value (this section is laid out in highly accurate imitation of a 1980's games mag) is also disappointing, at least to anyone who can remember the games the first time around, as it is content to simply describe a selection of old games in nostalgic terms. (And makes virtually no mention of emulation.)
All in all, Games™ is a nice magazine to flick through but offers little in the way of in-depth journalism. It will be interesting to see whether it improves over the coming months, as the concept behind it is essentially sound, the niche it aims for was crying out to be filled (the games scene with EDGE as its only choice of multiformat magazine was incredibly impoverished) and the presentation is hard to fault. It just needs to get hold of some better writers.