Back in the days before the internet became integrated with every aspect of our lives, and "getting on the internet" meant sitting in front of a 386, 486, 586, or Pentium (if you were lucky) with a 9600, 14.4, or 28.8 (if you were lucky) baud modem for several minutes getting busy signal after busy signal trying to get on the "net". We would suffer through this sometimes 30-45 minutes (sometimes even longer) just to log on to hear "Welcome"... "You've Got Mail" (if you were lucky). Online gaming mostly consisted of direct dial connections between two gamers never dreaming of the modern concept of online gaming or that it was even possible. Most companies didn't have a website and the internet was seen as a novelty. We gamers would sit at home on our 8, 16, 32 and later 64 bit systems playing single player all by ourselves (or taking turns if you had a friend over- Its my turn... No, its my turn!... Sorry flashback). Gaming was a truly different experience than it is today as gaming still required a great deal of imagination and all of our news came from (basically) one source... GamePro.
I had subscriptions to two magazines from about 1994 until 2002 PC World and GamePro. I would wait for these magazines like it was Christmas every month for all of the goodies inside. GamePro had commentary, reviews, previews, cheat codes, and tons more. This magazine wasn't the puny shell of a magazine you see on most newsstands today; it was a book. It wasn't uncommon to have a GamePro with 150 or more pages, packed from cover to cover with all kinds of juicy goodness (you could literally kill with some of them). The best times were when a new Tomb Raider game was coming out (you guys know what I'm talking about). I remember taking it to school and looking at it in between (and during) classes and going over every square inch with my friends. Now, I did get other subscriptions that I would cancel and renew from time to time like Playstation Magazine and Nintendo World but GamePro was always the standard bearer for my gaming news.
Even when the internet got more popular (and faster... 56k- oh yea!) my friends and I would still pour over GamePro like it was scripture. It helped determine what we would buy or ask for at Christmas. However, as we got older, car magazines took the places of GamePro and its friends. We still played tons of games but as the internet exploded we got our news from elsewhere. The internet got faster still and we moved on. Getting our gaming news from the dozens of gaming sites the popped up as the gaming industry grew. It looks like many other people did the same as we did. Today it was announced that by December 5th the website for GamePro would be shut down and the final magazine released shortly thereafter.
The writing was on the wall when the once proud monthly magazine became a quarterly magazine earlier this year. Today's announcement only confirmed what many already knew... GamePro was dead.
So I write this in tribute... To the magazine that inspired and informed kids like my friends and me. A magazine that for many years was the only thing I read (I don't say that with near the pride that I once did). And yes, the magazine that gave a generation of 12 year olds scantly clad pictures of Ms. Croft to hang on our walls. A magazine that, at least in part, is another example of the slow death of print media (at least as we know it today). I think I may go find some of my old GamePros (from 15 years ago- wow!) and reminisce as this once powerful magazine shuffles of quietly into the night...