Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why I still read magazines – in print.

I am terribly saddened about the end of EGM magazine and the many layoffs at 1up. Like so many others, I listened to their podcasts religiously and the appearance of each new issue of EGM in my mailbox always brought a smile to my face. It is terrible to see tough times fall on anyone.

I am very happy to see at least a few of the fine folks who recently lost their jobs persevering on with their new podcast, Rebel FM. It is bizarre to try and think of 1up as a web-only news source along the lines of IGN, but I’m glad to see the survivors of the layoff persevering as well. It’s going to be interesting to see what everyone does next.

Because I know this is the one thing that is gone for good, I can’t help but think about EGM magazine. Print media has been in danger for some time now, so I suppose we all should have seen it coming. There are obvious hurdles for magazines and newspapers these days, particularly related to printing costs and slow speed of information. A website can really run circles around any words on paper, plain and simple.

There are also special foibles for videogames magazines. Sometimes I read a preview and think: “Did you seriously just write an article about watching a clip on the web?” It’s silly to describe video to people who can’t see it. There are also times, particularly for big titles, when I’ve already read the review on the website. These wouldn’t be dilemmas if everyone went web-only.

I can picture a world without newspapers on doorsteps and magazines in mailboxes. I know a lot of people who would be excited; it would be good for the environment if we stopped using paper and it does sound futuristic to read everything on brightly lit LCD displays. But I like getting news in the mail. I like seeing things in print. I read newspapers and magazines, and I have to ask myself: Why?

For me, it is still incredibly convenient to have someone else compile the news and set it in my lap. Every day I read the newspaper with lunch. I know that I could get up to the minute, no – up to the second news on the internet, but I like to read the paper with my meal. I never worry that I am missing anything because I know I’ll read it again tomorrow. The same has been true for my many gaming magazine subscriptions; I know I could hunt down all of the news out there each month, but why bother when I can have it neatly bound? I usually have a rotation of magazines, EGM, GameInformer, and Nintendo Power, which arrive throughout the month. I read them over breakfast.

Here’s another thing: I spend most of my day in front of a computer, I don’t need to spend any more time reading a screen. It would be depressing to watch my laptop grow into an external organ. And if that sounds crazy, hey, you’ll burn your eyes out!

Print media is portable; it goes wherever I want and it requires no electricity. How’s that for eco-friendly? Can you recycle a kilowatt of used up power or a pile of old monitors? Can you read your iphone while a plane takes off? Would you want to read your iphone at the beach? I like to take my magazines with me on the road. I like that they don’t require power.

That might all sound funny coming from a guy whose hobby is on the cutting edge of technology, but I guess I like to mix the old and the new. And I guess I’ll be doing that tomorrow when I bring my laptop to the breakfast table; oatmeal and game videos. Oh, and hopefully I won’t forget to renew my subscriptions to my other favorite game magazines, while they still exist… 

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