Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Secret History of DieHard GameFAN

This thread
on The Next Level forums details numerous wild stories about what went on at DieHard GameFAN during its many years of production. But it's 180 pages, a lot of which is irrelevant. So I spent an entire day and sifted through every page, and followed every link to other forums, to condense it into a single epic page. My reason: a lot of the links were dying, perhaps the main thread was at risk too. Plus, who wants to sift through 180 pages for the juicy stuff? It's not a complete history, because a lot of what people linked to, and recollections from others forums, have since died. But it's the closest you'll get to 100%. Enjoy!


  1. Wow, didn't know djpubba(from doublejump) was from that magazine. Awesome stuff.

  2. I loved that magazine so much, and then all of a sudden, it just disappeared from newsstands. And back then, the Internet didn't even begin to have an answer as to what had transpired. Glad to finally see a "summary" of the whole thing so thanks for putting this together.

  3. Nice to see somebody cull this (I actually joined TNL back when the thread started just to interact with the GF staff), but the constant use of GameFAN instead of GameFan is driving me nuts. Yeah, I'm nitpicking.

    1. I wouldn't miss TNL if the entire site closed down tomorrow. Sketcz pretty much salvaged the only thing worth saving from their forums. Many of their users were dingbats honestly.

  4. Never liked GameFAN that much. While I did appreciate their extensive import coverage, their fanboyism was rather obnoxious at time. I bought a couple of turkeys thanks to their reviews. Nick Rox in particular was a pretty pretentious twat too.

  5. Never liked GameFAN that much for their actual reviews. They always came off as obnoxious fanboys, especially ECM ("you suck if you like mainstream games"), Nick Rox ("OMG! My Street Fighter Alpha port has blue shadows") and Halverson ("Sonic 2006 is a good game"). I always appreciated their extensive import coverage, even if it was just an obvious ploy to get people to buy from Halverson's import game shop.

    I would much rather read a retrospective on Next Generation Magazine. Now that was a good magazine.

  6. Yeah GameFAN is what that kook who stole the name calls his site. It should be Gamefan.

    Nice to have this preserved. BTW, for the pages you have running down the right hand side of the article, the Cybermorph ones are not the correct ones for the LSD review. You have a preview scanned, which was not written on drugs.

  7. Wasn't Next Generation just a repackaged EDGE from the UK?

    Because I have a tremendous dislike for EDGE. Pretentious, elitist, moronic, and hideously designed with too much white space. I have never understood the desire for empty space in a magazine. If I want empty space I can go to my computer printer, grab a stack of unused paper from the paper tray, and just look at that. OOOHHH, WHITE SPACE!

    It really is the worst possible magazine for games - I'd rather take the worst of the fanboy mags, since even if I don't read the editorial I'll at least have nice pictures to look at.

    Also, EDGE magazine took things to the diametric opposite of GameFAN, by giving great games like Gunstar Heroes 6/10, Valkyria Chronicles 7/10, and criticising Doom because you couldn't speak with the monsters. I'm sure I could find 101 examples of reviewer idiocy.

    I realise there were different reviewers for all of these, but EDGE has been consistently run by incompetent imbeciles.

    I've never read Next Gen, but any association with EDGE makes me not even want to know.

    1. Never read Edge, but Next Generation Magazine was pretty good during its early years (1995-1998) before they changed their name to just "Next-Gen" and tried to cater to the lowest common denominator.

      Admittedly they focused more on the hardware side of the industry than the games themselves if I recall correctly, but I always did liked their five stars rating system, much better than the "graphics/sounds/gameplay/fun factor" system that most other magazines used at the time or the whole "8.8" nonsense that plagues professional gaming site since it left very little room for ambiguity. The only bad thing about them is that they had something of an anti-2D bias, although Chrono Trigger did received a four star score.

      Many of their issues also came with a CD that contained trailers for many upcoming games. It's one thing to see a bunch of screenshots splattered across a couple of pages, it's another to see them in motion.

      Plus I always preferred Next Generation's simple blank backgrounds with easy-to-read text over GameFAN's garish habit of shoving as many screenshots and illustrations on every page as possible.

    2. Next Generation wasn't *quite* a repackaged version of EDGE; they were affiliated with them to a degree however (this according to wikipedia, so yeah, it might be best to take that with a grain of salt.)

      If that's true, well, it does seem a tad disappointing, since I too have felt EDGE has always come across as a publication with an editorial slant that has its head shoved up its ass with intentionally lazy "minimalist" design. Next Generation, from what I remember reading in my youth, wasn't as bad. They ran articles on Net Yaroze (when it was just launching Japan mind you) as well as having the balls to actually critique Nintendo for all the boneheaded decisions they made during the N64-era (i.e. the whole "using cartridges instead of CDs" fiasco).

      I don't have many memories of Gamefan, but they always did come across as but too immature and unprofessional (I personally have always felt that they are responsible for the absolutely retarded Japanese/American "Sonic CD" soundtrack wars that lasted until the recent PSN/XBLA release). That being said, reading all of these messages and discussions between former staff did put a smile on my face, mostly due to the fact that, yes, there was a time game "journalists" lived like rock stars.

      I don't think we'll ever hear stories like these from, I don't know, former IGN staff. Other than maybe the time when Colin Moriarty chastised gamers for "entitled" in regards to that ending of... y'know, that one game. Even then it won't be a happy one.

  8. GameFan magazine was the best & (with the exception of one or two individuals) the staff was phenomenal. I'd go into further detail, but I'll leave it at that. Thanks for this upload and I still enjoy checking this site out.

  9. If you thought Nik Rox couldn't possibly be any more Nik Rox, you clearly haven't read this.

    A Summary for Those Who Can't Afford to Kill Time at Work:
    1) A Hooker
    2) LSD-Laced Coffee
    3) Andrew Found Jesus
    4) Shidoshi Forgives Halverson at the Beginning of the Thread, Seems to Regret It towards the End
    5) Nik Rox Auditioned for Anakin Skywalker
    6) Nik Rox Auditioned for Anakin Skywalker (I feel this is so amazing it needed to be pointed out twice)
    7) Wanking Halverson's Dog

    Clearly this is a history that MUST be preserved. Seriously. That's not meant to be sarcastic.

  10. You forgot the bit about Nick Rox making an awesome Resi 2 page design by smearing his chocolate covered hand over some printer paper and scanning it in.

    I'm not kidding, I was genuinely impressed with the ingenuity in that. Like when you discover that a sound engineer produced the most amazing sound effects by recording motorway noises through a vacuum tube. Simple, yet so effective.

    1. The whole thing was mind-blowing. It's like someone took my childhood, punched it in the gut, and threw it down the cellar stairs.

      Yet despite all of the insanity, vanity, and apparent evil that went on behind the scenes, it still managed to be a pretty fantastic magazine.

      At some point the person who took over GameFAN online (I don't recall who it was exactly) laments the fact that no other online magazine has really taken up creating short preview/review montages for games. I have to agree with this sentiment. They had some fantastic editing skills and actually made you excited for a game--more so, I'd say, than the vast majority of professional trailers I've seen as of late.

  11. Thanks for preserving this! This should be a good read for me to get through over the next few months, haha