Outside the Box:
By Paul "Villam" Steed
Anything I say comes from me and represents my personal opinions, views and subtle plans for influencing society. Read, ruminate over and remember at your own risk. If I teach you something and it helps, teach someone else.
erry Holidays, people. Hope you're doing well and getting what you told Santa to bring you. My holidays are rockin' here in the Rockies and I went skiing yesterday in practically no-vis conditions up at A Basin. I forgot how cool skiing was and also forgot how cold a mouthful of fresh snow is, too ;]
I was going to do my first annual TOTB awards this issue where I've decided to recognize both thinkers outside the box and thinkers within the box. That's going to have to wait until next week, though. This week I have to discard all the token PC trappings I've tried to throw over the bearskin and kilt this past year since the demise of my 'offensive' plan file and rant unabashedly. So if reading something that is chock full of an opinion gets your panties in an uproar then stop right now and go to those conservative, 'safe' places that softly cater to both sides of any argument.
Computer Gaming World sucks.
I stopped buying CGW last year, but every couple of months I'm forced through morbid curiosity to pick up one of the copies at work and peruse its pages for any signs that I'd be able to consul myself with its existence. Thusly I picked up the recent January '99 issue and would like to share with you why precisely I hate this piece of crap excuse for a magazine. Here's what you'll find in number 174 of (snicker) "The #1 PC Game Magazine":
Yes, Francis you read right. TWO HUNDRED THIRTY EIGHT PAGES of useless eye candy hawking awesome to atrocious games coming to a 'store near you' anywhere from now to never.
Doesn't this strike you as kinda odd? I mean here's this magazine supposedly devoted to helping the consumer make better decisions when plunking down some hard-earned dosh on games and gaming hardware. It's supposed to convince you of its accomplished and earned 'expertise' through the opinions and lack-luster scribbling of its armchair developers/writers. How can I take anything it espouses or reports seriously when the only time I can read 7 pages of an article uninterrupted is when it's trying to tell me about the best gaming system to buy (no doubt ascertained through some generous manufacturer kickback)?
If you do some browsing you'll discover that when reading one of the featured articles of the January issue of CGW 30 pages long, it will span 90 pages! Guess what the other 60 pages (at max, 2 page intervals) are? Advertisements. Albeit slick, multi-folding, occasionally eye-catching advertisements but ads nonetheless. When I'm trying to read an article I DO NOT WANT TO SEE AN AD EVERY OTHER PAGE. Does that seem reasonable to you? Why is it that of the 150 pages of non-ads there's one 7 page run in the hardware section at the back of the magazine, one 6 page run, a handful of 4 pagers a couple of 3's and several 2's. The rest is alternating pages of ad-article-ad-article...etc, etc.
As far as the ad breakdowns go how about those 13 page runs of ads! There are two of those, one 9 pager, an 8 pager, a 6, a couple 5 pagers and a bunch of 4 pagers. How about some parity here? Wait. I know, why not put all the ads up front so you'll draw in your customers with mainly bullshit marketing hype and then print the last third full of UNINTERRUPTED relevant articles and news. What exactly is wrong with that? In your infinite gaming erudition you decry the selling out of the industry when that's just what you do every month!
But then again I know EXACTLY what is wrong with that. One part wuss publisher and one part self-absorbed, over-the-hill senior editor John Wilson. I mean here is this guy who is ALWAYS complaining about the lameness of the recent crop of games coming out and he advertises more and more of those lame games in his Rag, CGW. Grow some balls, Johnny-boy. Tell Ziff-Davis to be a little more selective in the ad revenue department and more importantly, let your writers WRITE. As far as your literary acumen goes, stop pretending you have an opinion other than you love yourself. Go load up M.U.L.E. and all those other anitquated paragons of electronic entertainment you lament for the return of and leave the MODERN gaming industry to someone more in touch with what's going on today. And for the sake of humanity ditch the religious schtick. It's NOT funny! Your nauseating attempts at levity last year on the Queen Mary was worse than claws down a chaulk board. See, back in the 70's there was this guy on Saturday Night Live called Father Guido Sarducci who WAS funny. 'Gaming Messiah'? How about 'Gaming Eunuch' Yer Grace, because that's about how potent your opinions are. Make a game and go through the development birthing pains ONCE and I'll entertain the notion you know what you're talking about. 17 years is long enough to bore us, Johnny.
You can go home now. Maybe then CGW won't be "The #1 Gaming Joke" it is now. CGW sucks. See above on how to fix its inwardly breath-drawing shortcomings.
- Paul Steed is an incredibly opinionated 3D modeller for id Software. We begged him to switch to decaf. Honest
Credits: Thinking Outside the Box logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 1998 Paul Steed. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't even try it. We've got really big guns, and we're ripped, baby.