GamePro was an American multiplatform video game magazine media company that published online and print content covering the video game industry, video game hardware and video game software. The magazine featured content on various video game consoles, PC computers and mobile devices. Gamepro Media properties included GamePro magazine and their website. The company was also a part subsidiary of the privately held International Data Group (IDG), a media, events and research technology group.
Originally published in 1989, GamePro magazine provided feature articles, news, previews and reviews on various video games, video game hardware and the entertainment video gaming industry. The magazine was published monthly (most recently from its headquarters in Oakland, California) with October 2011 being its last issue, after over 22 years of publication. GamePro's February 2010 issue introduced a redesigned layout and a new editorial direction focused on the people and culture of its gaming.
GamePro.com was officially launched in 1998. Updated daily, the website’s content included feature articles, news, previews, reviews, screenshots and videos covering video games, video game hardware and the entertainment gaming industry. The website also included user content such as forums, reviews and blogs. In January 2010, the website was redesigned to reflect the same new editorial changes being made in the print magazine. The website was based at Gamepro's headquarters in San Francisco from 1998–2002 and then in Oakland, California from 2002–11 . Gamepro.com also had international variants that have now outlasted their parent publication in countries such as Germany, and France.
Gamepro magazine, May 2010 issue cover: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
|Vice President, Content||Julian Rignall|
|Categories||Video game journalism|
|First issue||Magazine: April 1989|
|Final issue||Magazine: Winter 2011|
|Based in||Oakland, California|
Gamepro was first established in late 1988 by Patrick Ferrell, his sister-in-law Leeanne McDermott, and the husband-wife design team of Michael and Lynne Kavish. They worked out of their houses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area before leasing their first office in Redwood City, California at the end of 1989. Lacking the cashflow to be able to sustain growth after publishing the first issue, the founding management team sought a major publisher and in 1989 found one with IDG Peterborough, a New Hampshire-based division of the global giant IDG. Led by a merger and acquisition team comprising IDG Peterborough President Roger Murphy and two other  executives, Jim McBrian and Roger Strukhoff, the magazine was acquired, then a few months later spun off as an independent business unit of IDG, under the leadership of Ferrell as president/CEO. The later addition of John Rousseau as publisher and editor-in-chief Wes Nihei, as well as renowned artist Francis Mao, established Gamepro as a large, profitable magazine worldwide publication. Francis Mao, acting in his role as art director for the nascent GamePro, contracted game illustrator Marc Ericksen to create the premiere cover for the first addition of the magazine. Ericksen would go on to produce five of the first ten covers for GamePro, eventually creating eight in total, and would continue a secondary role creating a number of the double page spreads for the very popular monthly Pro Tips section.
Over the years, the Gamepro offices have moved from Redwood City (1989–1991) to San Mateo (1991-1998) to San Francisco (1998-2002) and lastly Oakland. In 1993, the company was renamed from Gamepro Inc. to Infotainment World in reflection of its growing and diverse publication lines.
The magazine was known for its editors using comic book-like avatars and monikers when reviewing games. As of January 2004, however, Gamepro ceased to use the avatars due to a change in the overall design and layout of the magazine. Meanwhile, editorial voices carried over to the community on its online sister publication, www.gamepro.com.
Gamepro was also most widely famous for its ProTips, small pieces of gameplay tips and advice depicted with game screenshot captions. It also features a special corner section known as Code Vault (formerly C.S.A.T. Pro), where secret codes are all posted. These particular features have since gradually vanished. Code Vault was also published in print format and sold as a quarterly cheats and strategy magazine on newsstands.
There was also a TV show called GamePro TV. The show was hosted by J. D. Roth and Brennan Howard. The show was nationally syndicated for one year, then moved to cable (USA and Sci-Fi) for a second year.
In 1993, Patrick Ferrell sent Debra Vernon, VP of marketing, to a meeting between the games industry and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Realizing an opportunity, the team at the now-entitled Infotainment World launched E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The industry backed E3 and Ferrell partnered with the IDSA to produce the event. It was one of the biggest trade show launches in history.
Early in its lifespan, the magazine also included comic book pages about the adventures of a superhero named Gamepro who was a video game player from the real world brought into a dimension where video games were real to save it from creatures called the Evil Darklings. In 2003, Joyride Studios produced limited-edition action figures of some of the Gamepro editorial characters.
Gamepro also appeared in several international editions, including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Brazil and Greece. Some of these publications share the North American content, while some others share only the name and logo but do feature different content.
Early in 2006, IDG Entertainment began to change internally and shift operational focus from a "Print to Online" to "Online to Print" publishing mentality. The first steps; build a large online network of web sites and rebuild the editorial team. Enter: George Jones, industry veteran.
In February 2006, Gamepro's online video channel, Games.net, launched a series of video-game related shows. The extensive online programming is geared towards an older and more mature audience.
In August 2006, the Gamepro online team spun off a new cheats site, GamerHelp.com. It was shortly followed by a video game information aggregation site, Games.net, and a dedicated gaming downloads site, GameDownloads.com.
Under the new leadership of George Jones, Gamepro magazine underwent a massive overhaul in the March 2007 issue. While losing some of the more dated elements of the magazine, the new arrangement focused on five main insertions: HD game images, more reviews and previews per issue, www.gamepro.com community showcase, user contributions and insider news. However the German Gamepro website is still run, however this time, by "GameStar" as their partner, as that website have a message at the top of the screen saying "Partner of GameStar" (Note: This is written in German)
In 2009, Gamepro's 20th anniversary coincided with 20-year industry veteran John Davison joining the newly named Gamepro Media team in October 2009 as executive vice president of content.  Under Davison's direction, the magazine and website were redesigned in early 2010 with an editorial shift toward focusing on the people and culture of gaming. The redesigned magazine and website were met with an enthusiastic audience response.
In addition to announcing the hire of Davison in October 2009, the company also announced an "aggressive growth plan throughout 2009 and beyond, with numerous online media initiatives to deepen consumer engagement and create new opportunities for advertisers." Plans included partnering with sister company IDG TechNetwork to build a "boutique online network of sites."  The result was the introduction of the Gamepro Media Network.
In September 2010, Gamepro Media announced a new alliance with online magazine The Escapist offering marketers joint advertising programs for reaching an unduplicated male audience. The partnership was named the Gamepro Escapist Media Group.
Gamepro ended monthly publication after over 22 years with its October 2011 issue. Shortly after that issue, the magazine changed to Gamepro Quarterly, which was a quarterly publication using higher quality paper stock as well as being larger and thicker than all of the previous standard magazine issues. Gamepro Quarterly hit newsstands within the first half of November 2011. The quarterly endeavor lasted for only one issue before being scrapped. On November 30, it was announced that Gamepro as a magazine and a website would be shutting down on December 5, 2011. Gamepro then became part of the PC World website as a small section of the site covering the latest video games, run by the PC World staff.
At first, games were rated by five categories: Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, FunFactor, and Challenge. Later the "Challenge" category was dropped and the "Gameplay" category was renamed "Control". The ratings were initially on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0, in increments of 0.5, but a possible 0.5 score was later added. The first game to receive such a score was Battle Arena Toshinden URA for the Sega Saturn. Starting in October 1990, each score was accentuated with a cartoon face (The Gamepro Dude) depicting different expressions for different ratings. The ratings faces remained in use until about 2000. GamePro's reviews became esteemed enough that some games would display their GamePro ratings on their retail boxes.
After 2000, the category system was eliminated in favor of a single overall rating for each game on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0 stars. A graphic of five stars were shown alongside the written review. The number of stars a game earned was indicated by the number of solid stars (e.g., a game's 4-star rating was represented by showing 4 solid stars and one hollow star). No game ever received less than one star. An Editors' Choice Award was given to a game that earned either 4.5 or 5.0 stars.
GamePro had a "Role-Player's Realm" section dedicated to the coverage and reviews of role-playing video games. In the January 1997 issue, they published a list of "The Top Ten Best RPGs Ever" which consisted of the following games:
Later in 2008, GamePro published another list of "The 26 Best RPGs of the All Time", the top ten of which consisted of the following games:
GamePro is credited with coming up with the concept of "Protip", a short piece of advice as if spoken by an expert usually attached to an image, which was explained by former writer Dan Amrich that as part of their editorial process, they were encouraged to caption the three-to-seven images used in an article with such advice. One purported image from a GamePro review of Doom (1993) had a caption for an image of the game's final boss as "PROTIP: To defeat the Cyberdemon, shoot at it until it dies". The advice, which is common sense and obvious advice for players of first-person shooters like Doom, was made fun of and created a meme of similarly obvious protips added as captions to pictures. However, the image was revealed to be a fake, created as an April's Fool joke by Andrew 'Linguica' Stine, the maintainer of the fansite doomworld.com.
Every April, as an April Fools' Day prank, Gamepro printed a 2-5 page satirical spoof of the magazine called Lamepro, a parody of Gamepro's own official title. The feature contained humorous game titles and fake news similar to The Onion, though some content, such as ways to get useless game glitches (games getting stuck, reset, or otherwise), was real. It seemed that no one was safe from Lamepro's satirical pen, even themselves. Many other game magazines were the butt of jokes by Lamepro.
Lamepro, however, was not without its own controversy. While some readers saw Lamepro as a chance to have a laugh at themselves and each other, some were offended by the types of jokes that were made. In 2000, a spoof advertisement made reference to a newer (and short-lived) game magazine called Incite: Video Games. At an industry charity auction, Incite bid and won an advertising space within Gamepro; in the spirit of charity, Gamepro agreed to advertise its own competition, even though it could be considered vaguely tasteless (a mailman delivering a copy of Incite to a female's door, with the legend "It must be that time of the month"). However, in the next Lamepro, a fake ad for a magazine named "In spite" was used as bird-cage lining, with the white-background ad saying "You get what you pay for," making reference to the first Incite issue costing 99 cents on newsstands. The following month, Incite responded in their Letters To The Editor section, spouting off in their subwords "Get it, GamePROSE," and many supposed fans of their magazine defending them against the spoof ad. During the remainder of the magazine's 10-month lifespan, Incite ran the "GamePROSE" quote in every issue.
In 2005, another spoof advertisement had a similar effect, and had an even greater controversy. The spoof was on account of gaming supersite IGN. Once again, on a white background, the ad showed a phony game site screenshot, with a logo similar to IGN's, spelling out "GNO.com" and the phrase "You can't spell ignorance without GNO." This sparked a letter to one of IGN's staff members who does a weekly feedback column on the site, who answered humorlessly that Gamepro wasn't mature at all for taking such a shot at IGN. Just a few weeks after the issue hit newsstands, word came out that there was an actual site on the internet that had the address GNO.com. The site was actually an internet publishing site, and Gamepro ran an apology in their letters section a few months later, stating they had no prior knowledge of the site before the issue went to print. Apparently the two sides eventually made peace, as no civil suits were filed.
Lamepro was not included in the April 2007 issue after Gamepro's magazine redesign.
What was called a "sister publication" to GamePro, PC Games, was published by IDG until 1999. It was founded in August 1988, but changed its name to Electronic Entertainment in late 1993 and PC Entertainment in early 1996. The title reverted to PC Games in June 1996. Its PC Games Online website was merged with several other IDG properties, including GamePro Online, to form the IDG Games Network in late 1997. The print version of PC Games was the fourth-largest computer game magazine in the United States during 1998, with a circulation of 169,281. In March 1999, it was purchased and closed by Imagine Publishing; its April 1999 issue was its last. Following this event, Imagine sent former subscribers of PC Games issues of PC Gamer US and PC Accelerator in its place. According to GameDaily, the move came as part of IDG's rebranding effort to lean more heavily on the GamePro name: coverage of computer games was thereafter centralized at PCGamePro.com, and in the "PC GamePro" section of GamePro's print edition.
... back then the Control category was called Gameplay ...
The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, often called the 3DO, is a home video game console platform developed by The 3DO Company. Conceived by entrepreneur and Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the 3DO was not a console manufactured by the company itself, but a series of specifications, originally designed by Dave Needle and R. J. Mical of New Technologies Group, that could be licensed by third parties. Panasonic produced the first models in 1993, and further renditions of the hardware were released in 1994 by GoldStar (now LG Corp) and in 1995 by Sanyo.
Despite a highly promoted launch (including being named Time magazine's "1993 Product of the Year") and a host of cutting-edge technologies, the 3DO's high price and an oversaturated console market prevented the system from achieving success comparable to veteran competitors Sega and Nintendo. As a result, it was discontinued in late 1996.Atari Jaguar
The Atari Jaguar is a home video game console that was developed by Atari Corporation. The console is the sixth programmable console to be developed under the Atari brand, originally released in North America in November 1993. It is also the last Atari console to use physical media. Controversially, Atari marketed the Jaguar as being the first 64-bit video game console, while competing with the existing 16-bit consoles (Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and the 32-bit 3DO Interactive Multiplayer platform (which launched the same year).
Development on the Atari Jaguar started in the early 1990s by Flare Technology. The console was released to test markets in New York City and San Francisco in November 1993 and to the general public in 1994. The Jaguar shipped with Cybermorph as the pack-in game.The multi-chip architecture, hardware bugs, and lacking developer support tools made game development difficult. Underwhelming sales further contributed to the console's lack of third-party support. This, in addition to the lack of internal development at Atari, led to a games library comprising only 50 licensed titles + another 13 games on the Jaguar CD.
Atari attempted to extend the lifespan of the system with the Atari Jaguar CD add-on and marketing the Jaguar as the low-cost next generation console, with a price tag over $100 less than any of its competitors. With the release of the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation in 1995, sales of the Jaguar continued to fall, ultimately selling no more than 250,000 units before it was discontinued in 1996. The commercial failure of the Jaguar prompted Atari to leave the video game console market.
After Hasbro Interactive bought out Atari in the late 1990s, the patents to the Jaguar were released into the public domain, with the console being declared an open platform. Since then, the Jaguar has gained a cult following, with a developer base that produces homebrew games for the console.GameStar
GameStar is a monthly released PC computer game magazine in Germany. Gamestar is the best sold German language magazine focused on PC gaming and it also hosts the largest videogaming related portal in the German speaking internet.Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is an action-adventure video game published by Electronic Arts based on J.K. Rowling's novel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the film of the same name. It was the last Harry Potter to be game released for the Game Boy Color and also the last Harry Potter game to be released on the PlayStation.
The game received positive reviews from critics across all releases of the game and is widely considered the best Harry Potter main series game.Julian Rignall
Julian "Jaz" Rignall (born 6 March 1965, London, England) is a publishing veteran with experience launching and managing numerous video game magazines and websites. A writer and editor, Rignall has also produced content for corporate websites such as GamePro Media, publisher of GamePro magazine and GamePro.com, marketing collateral and advertising campaigns.Madden NFL '95
Madden NFL '95 is a football video game. It features John Madden on the cover. It was released as Madden '95 on the Game Boy.Mega Man Battle Network 3
Mega Man Battle Network 3, known as Battle Network Rockman EXE 3 (バトルネットワーク ロックマンエグゼ3, Batoru Nettowāku Rokkuman Eguze Surī) in Japan, is a video game developed by Capcom for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) handheld game console. It is the third game in the Mega Man Battle Network series, released in 2002 in Japan and 2003 in North America. While in North America and Europe, two complementary versions of the game - Blue and White - exist, marketed simultaneously, this was not the case in Japan. The game was released in a single version in this region, while a Black (ブラック, Burakku) version containing bugfixes, new areas, optional bosses, and other improvements, was released some months after the original. It was released on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan on December 17, 2014 and in North America on May 14, 2015.Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3 (MK3) is a fighting video game developed by Midway / Atari Games and first released into arcades in 1995 as the third game in the Mortal Kombat series. As in the previous games, it has a cast of characters that players choose from and guide through a series of battles against other opponents. The game avoids the tournament storyline of its predecessors, as various warriors instead fight against the returning Shao Kahn, who has resurrected his bride Sindel and started an invasion of Earthrealm.
The third installment of Mortal Kombat retains the blood and gory attacks that defined the series. It introduces new types of the Fatality finishing moves, including Animalities. Other features new to the series were combos, predefined sequences used to perform a series of consecutive attacks. A "Run" button was also added, allowing players to briefly dash toward the opponent, as were "Kombat Kodes", an unlockable content system using various symbols that can be entered before two-player matches to achieve certain effects.
Some characters from the previous games returned and new characters were introduced into the series. Mortal Kombat 3 notably omitted popular characters from previous games, some of whom were added in an update, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, released later in 1995. The PC and home console-exclusive Mortal Kombat Trilogy (1996) added even more characters, as well as other new features.Mortal Kombat II
Mortal Kombat II (commonly abbreviated as MKII) is a fighting game originally produced by Midway for the arcades in 1993. It was later ported to multiple home systems, including the PC, Amiga, Game Boy, Sega Game Gear, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and various PlayStation consoles, mostly in licensed versions developed by Probe Entertainment and Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment (currently distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).
Mortal Kombat II was the second game in the Mortal Kombat series, improving the gameplay and expanding the mythos of the original Mortal Kombat, notably introducing more varied finishing moves (including several Fatalities per character and new finishers, such as Babality and Friendship) and several iconic characters, such as Kitana, Mileena, Kung Lao, Noob Saibot, and the series' recurring villain, Shao Kahn. The game's plot continues from the first game, featuring the next Mortal Kombat tournament set in the otherdimensional realm of Outworld, with the Outworld and Earthrealm representatives fighting each other on their way to challenge the evil emperor Shao Kahn.
The game was an unprecedented commercial success and was acclaimed by most critics, receiving many annual awards and having been featured in various top lists in the years and decades to come, and also caused a major video game controversy due to the series' continuous depiction of graphic violence. Its legacy includes spawning a spin-off game Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and having the greatest influence on the 2011 reboot game Mortal Kombat, as well as inspiring numerous video game clones.NBA Jam (1993 video game)
NBA Jam is a basketball arcade game published and developed by Midway in 1993. It is the first entry in the NBA Jam series. The project leader for this game was Mark Turmell. Midway had previously released such sports games as Arch Rivals in 1989, High Impact in 1990, and Super High Impact in 1991. The gameplay of NBA Jam is based on Arch Rivals, another 2-on-2 basketball video game. However, it was the release of NBA Jam that brought mainstream success to the genre.
The game became exceptionally popular, and generated a significant amount of money for arcades after its release, creating revenue of $1 billion in quarters. In early 1994, the Amusement & Music Operators Association reported that NBA Jam had become the highest-earning arcade game of all time.The release of NBA Jam gave rise to a new genre of sports games which were based around fast, action-packed gameplay and exaggerated realism, a formula which Midway would also later apply to the sports of football (NFL Blitz), hockey (2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge) and baseball (MLB Slugfest).NHL 96
NHL 96 is a 1995 sports video game developed by EA Tiburon for the SNES, High Score Productions for the Sega Genesis, Pioneer Productions for the DOS, and Probe Entertainment for the Game Boy. EA Sports published all versions of the game except the Game Boy version, which was published by THQ. The game is based on the sport of ice hockey and puts the player in control of a hockey team in modes of play such as exhibitions, seasons and playoffs. It is the fifth installment in the NHL game series.
NHL 96 is the first entry in the series to feature real-time three-dimensional graphics through the DOS version's "Virtual Stadium" technology. The game also features improved and adjustable opponent artificial intelligence, a previously-barred ability to engage in physical fights, new moves such as the spin-o-rama, and general enhancements to the visual animations and audio. NHL 96 was met with critical acclaim, with reviewers commending the game's improved opponent AI, fluid graphics and added gameplay features.Next Generation (magazine)
Next Generation (also known as NextGen) was a video game magazine that was published by Imagine Media (now Future US). It was affiliated to and shared editorial with the UK's Edge magazine. Next Generation ran from January 1995 until January 2002. It was published by Jonathan Simpson-Bint and edited by Neil West. Other editors included Chris Charla, Tom Russo, and Blake Fischer.Next Generation initially covered the 32-bit consoles including 3DO, Atari Jaguar, and the then-still unreleased Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn. Unlike competitors GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly, the magazine was directed towards a different readership by focusing on the industry itself rather than individual games.PlayStation (console)
The PlayStation (officially abbreviated to PS, and commonly known as the PS1 or its codename, PSX) is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The console was released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, 9 September 1995 in North America, 29 September 1995 in Europe, and 15 November 1995 in Australia. The console was the first of the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles. It primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn as part of the fifth generation of video game consoles.
The PlayStation is the first "computer entertainment platform" to ship 100 million units, which it had reached 9 years and 6 months after its initial launch. In July 2000, a redesigned, slim version called the PS one was released, replacing the original grey console and named appropriately to avoid confusion with its successor, the PlayStation 2.
The PlayStation 2, which is backwards compatible with the PlayStation's DualShock controller and games, was announced in 1999 and launched in 2000. The last PS one units were sold in late 2006 to early 2007 shortly after it was officially discontinued, for a total of 102 million units shipped since its launch 11 years earlier. Games for the PlayStation continued to sell until Sony ceased production of both the PlayStation and PlayStation games on 23 March 2006 – over 11 years after it had been released, and less than a year before the debut of the PlayStation 3.On 19 September 2018, Sony unveiled the PlayStation Classic, to mark the 24th anniversary of the original console. The new console is a miniature recreation of the original PlayStation, preloaded with 20 titles released on the original console, and was released on 3 December 2018, the exact date the console was released in Japan in 1994.Primal Rage
Primal Rage is a versus fighting game developed and released by Atari Games to arcades in 1994. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth called "Urth". Players control one of seven large beasts that battle each other to determine the planet's fate. Matches feature many of the conventions of fighting games from the era including special moves and gory finishing maneuvers.
Various ports were released for home consoles and personal computers. Efforts to perfectly emulate the arcade original have been unsuccessful due to an unusual copy protection method that the developers used.
Toys, comics, a novel and other merchandise tie-ins were produced.Revolution X
Revolution X is an arcade rail shooter game developed and published by Midway in 1994, featuring the rock band Aerosmith. It features gameplay similar to Midway's earlier Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In the game, players battle the oppressive New Order Nation regime and their leader Helga, who have abducted Aerosmith. Players use a mounted gun to control onscreen crosshairs and shoot enemies using compact discs. The members of Aerosmith are hidden throughout the game's international locales and must be found in order to receive the game's true ending.
The game was a critical and commercial success, and was ported to various consoles as well as DOS computers. These ports were negatively received and reportedly dissuaded Midway from making a sequel.Spider-Man (1995 video game)
Spider-Man is a side-scrolling action game developed by Western Technologies and published by Acclaim and LJN in 1995, incorporating elements from the critically acclaimed 1990s Spider-Man cartoon series. The game was released for the Genesis and the Super NES. The two versions of the game have the same basic story but have gameplay, level, and enemy differences.The Incredible Hulk (1994 video game)
The Incredible Hulk is a side-scrolling action video game released for the Super NES, Genesis, Master System, and Game Gear. The game was released in August 1994 and was published by U.S. Gold.Triple Play series
Triple Play was a series of computer and video games based on Major League Baseball, published by EA Sports until their replacement by the MVP Baseball in 2003.
GameSpot stated that other simulations (for example, Sega's version) were superior to Triple Play, while GamePro greeted it as "the best baseball simulation so far." Electronic Gaming Monthly editors named Triple Play Gold Edition a runner-up for Genesis Game of the Year (behind Vectorman 2). Its sales were lower; therefore, EA Sports decided to move in a new direction, beginning with the name change to MVP Baseball.