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Electronic Gaming Monthly

Electronic Gaming Monthly
EGM Spring 2010 cover
Editor Steve Harris
Categories Video game journalism
Frequency Monthly
Publisher EGM Media, LLC
Founder Steve Harris
Year founded Spring 1989
First issue EGM 1989 Buyer's Guide
(displayed until March 31, 1989)
Final issue January 6, 2009
resumed April 2010
Country United States
Based in Lombard, Illinois
Language English
ISSN 1058-918X

Electronic Gaming Monthly (often abbreviated to EGM) is a monthly American video game magazine.[1][2][3] It offers video game news, coverage of industry events, interviews with gaming figureheads, editorial content, and product reviews.


In 1988, the publication was originally founded as U.S. National Video Game Team's Electronic Gaming Monthly under Sendai Publications.[4] In 1994, EGM spun off EGM², which focused on expanded cheats and tricks (i.e., with maps and guides). Until January 2009, it was published by Ziff Davis, only covering gaming on console hardware and software. It was relaunched in April 2010, then published by EGM Media, LLC, widening its coverage to the PC and mobile gaming markets.[5][6] It eventually became Expert Gamer and finally the defunct GameNOW.

Magazine structure

The magazine includes the following sections:

  • Insert Coin
    • Letter from the editor - the editorial
    • Login - Letters from readers and replies by the magazine
  • Press Start
    • This section contains a general article about video gaming
    • EGM RoundTable - discussions around video games
    • The Buzz - industry rumors
    • The EGM Hot List - background information about a critically acclaimed game
  • Features - feature articles
    • The EGM Interview - interview with a person from the gaming industry
    • Cover Story - preview of the game featured on the magazine cover
    • Next Wave - previews of upcoming games
    • Launch Point - short previews of upcoming games
  • Review Crew - review section
    • Review Recap - recapitulation of the review scores from the preceding issue
  • Game Over - Commentary articles on video gaming related topics

The Review Crew (review philosophy)

EGM's current review scale is based on a letter grade system in which each game receives a grade based on its perceived quality. Games are reviewed by one member (originally a team of four until the year 2000, then a team of three, and finally knocked down to one in 2008), except for "the big games", which were reviewed by one of a pool of editors known as "The Review Crew." They each assign a grade to the game and write a few paragraphs about their opinion of the game. The magazine makes a strong stance that a grade of C is average. Towards the top of the scale, awards are given to games that average a B- or higher from the three individual grade: "Silver" awards for games averaging a grade of B- to B+; "Gold" awards for games averaging a grade of A- or A; and "Platinum" awards for games with three A+ grades. The current letter grade system replaced a long-standing 0–10 scale in the April 2008 issue. In that system, Silver went to a game with an average rating from 8 to 9, Gold to a game reviewed at 9 to 10, and Platinum to a game that received nothing but 10 ratings. Until 1998, as a matter of editorial policy, the reviewers rarely gave scores of 10, and never gave a Platinum Award. That policy changed when the reviewers gave Metal Gear Solid four 10 ratings in 1998, with an editorial announcing the shift.

In addition, they gave the game (or multiple games in the event of a tie, as with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Xbox and NCAA Football 2006) with the highest average score for that issue a "Game of the Month" award. If a "Game of the Month" title receives a port to another console, that version will be disqualified from that month's award, such as with Resident Evil 4, which won the award for the Nintendo GameCube version and subsequently received the highest scores for the PlayStation 2 port months later, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, which won the Platinum award for two separate versions of the game. Oddly enough, this rule should have disqualified the Xbox version of San Andreas from tying NCAA Football 2006 in the August 2005 issue, as the PlayStation 2 version had tied Halo 2 for the award in the Holiday 2004 issue.

In 2002, EGM has also begun giving games that earned unanimously bad scores a "Shame of the Month" award. As there isn't always such a game in each issue, this award is only given out when a game qualifies.

Originally, a team of four editors reviewed all the games. This process was eventually dropped in favor of a system that added more reviewers to the staff so that no one person reviewed all the games for the month.

Though the scores ranged from 0–10 on the previous numerical scale, the score of zero was almost never utilized, with notable exceptions being Mortal Kombat Advance, The Guy Game, and Ping Pals.


Staff writers for the magazine have included founder Steve Harris, Martin Alessi, Ken Williams (as Sushi-X), "Trickman" Terry Minnich, Andrew "Cyber-Boy" Baran, Danyon Carpenter, Marc Camron (later Director of Operations), Mark "Candyman" LeFebvre, Todd Rogers, Mike Weigand a.k.a. Major Mike (now Managing Editor at GamePro), Al Manuel, Howard Grossman, Mark "Mo" Hain, Mike Desmond, Mike Vallas, Jason Streetz, Ken Badziak, Scott Augustyn, Chris Johnston, Che Chou, Dave Ruchala, Crispin Boyer, John Ricciardi, Greg Sewart, Jeanne Trais, Jennifer Tsao, artist Jeremy "Norm" Scott, Shawn "Shawnimal" Smith, West Coast Editor Kelly Rickards, Kraig Kujawa, Dean Hager, Shane Bettenhousen, Jeremy Parish, and Mark Macdonald (who later went on to become director of before leaving Ziff-Davis). Writers who also served stints as editor-in chief include Ed Semrad, Joe Funk, John Davison, Dan Hsu (aka "Shoe"), and James Mielke. In addition, writers of EGM's various sister publications – including GameNow, Computer Gaming World/Games for Windows: The Official Magazine, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine – would regularly contribute to EGM, and vice versa.

Personalities featured in the magazine included gossip columnist "Quartermann," (or Q-Man or The Q) originally penned by Steve Harris and assisted by Ed Semrad, Danyon Carpenter, Andrew Baran and Chris Johnston.[citation needed] Near the end of EGM's original run, Quartermann had been penned by former editorial director John Davison and executive editor Shane Bettenhausen.[citation needed] Many items from the column have indeed come to fruition (such as the impending announcement of a competing game console by Microsoft, which eventually became the Xbox), though many have not (Panzer Dragoon sequel on the Dreamcast). Controversy followed the magazine in April 2000 when the column speculated on a port of Metal Gear Solid (PS1) for the Dreamcast, with many gaming news outlets (including international ones) taking this as fact and reporting it as their own, leading to a virtual scolding by the columnist a month after for this practice.

Another long-time personality is Seanbaby, who penned the "Rest of the Crap" section found at the end of the magazine. The column reviewed poor-quality games or included more unorthodox columns and lists. Favorite targets included the "Barbie" games, as well as games based on the TV show That's So Raven, cosplayers, and those who frequent gaming tradeshow E3.

Perhaps the most infamous personality was "Sushi-X", a pseudonym for a reviewer (and, at times, someone who had a mini-letters section) who was modeled after Taco-X of the multi-panel review team of the Japanese publication Famitsu, which inspired EGM's own review style. A supporter of fighting games (Street Fighter in particular) and detractor of role-playing video games and portable systems, Sushi-X was originally David Siller in the early years and then taken over by Ken Williams for almost a decade.

After Ken's departure the moniker was used by several people through the years until phased out by Ziff Davis as a "maturing" of the magazine; initially, the magazine did seem to have planned to have another fictional character, Elephant Sak (or E-Sak) which was the name of a character by the editors from the game WWF Attitude created to take over Sushi-X. The magazine teased the audience with a highlighted silhouette of the character in the photo box as the next reviewer in the issues from the last half of 1999. This never came to fruition.

Late-term "mascots" for the magazine included a Space Invaders alien, which acted as an anchor to any written work in the mag as well as symbolizing reactions from games from E3 ("Awesome", "Terrible", etc.). Additionally, there was also a robot handed out as a trophy for their yearly awards as well as an award named after Tobias Bruckner from Turok: Evolution, which was given as dubious honors to the worst aspects of the past year in gaming.

EGM's return marked a largely new staff of contributors that saw founder Steve Harris serving in the role of Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, the positions he held when the magazine was launched in 1988. He is joined by Brady Fiechter as Senior Editor, Mark Bozon as Reviews Editor as well as Dan "Shoe" Hsu, Demian Linn, Aaron Thomas, Omri Petitte, Jasmine Maleficent Rea, Brett Bates, and Rus McLaughlin from, and Ryan O'Donnell and Matt Chandronait of Other past contributors like Sushi-X and Seanbaby also contributed to the reborn EGM.

April Fool's Day

EGM has gained a reputation for its notorious April Fool's Day pranks, which often fool readers and cause them to send angry letters. Its most popular jokes have included:

  • 1992: The legendary Sheng Long code for Street Fighter II in which players had to complete near-impossible tasks all the way through the final boss, M. Bison: Once there, the player could neither touch nor be touched by the boss for ten rounds, but at the end of this period the character Sheng Long would jump into the screen, destroy M. Bison, then challenge the player. This is widely considered EGM's most infamous prank.
  • 1998: "All Bonds" cheat in GoldenEye 007
  • 2000: The announcement of the new game system Giga Intellivision from Mattel, complete with "Sense Heightening Interactive Technology" (S-H-I-T), which was supposedly more powerful than the then-upcoming PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine, complete with the tagline, "Feel it, Sony." Because the same issue came with the announcement of the mature-rated Conker's Bad Fur Day from Nintendo, additional controversy arose because many people believed that the Conker announcement was, in fact, the joke.
  • 2001: Issue included a small article in which the writers announced that Sega had found a warehouse full of old Sega Neptune consoles and was selling them on a website. The site referenced redirected to an online shopping site, where Internet users were greeted by an "April Fools!" after adding the product to the cart.
  • 2002: Super Smash Bros. Melee‍ '​s "Unlock Sonic and Tails" code, where players had to defeat twenty opponents in Cruel Melee mode. The prank went widely believed for months, to a point where rival magazine Nintendo Power had to create a blurb to try to explain the origin of the rumor. It also ended in retribution for readers who wanted their favorite Sega characters duking it out with Nintendo's characters, which would seem like a play on their rivalry back in the 1990s. After the prank was revealed, EGM held a contest where those who sent in videos of their Cruel Melee battles with over twenty KOs would win a copy of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. In the November 2006 issue (#209), an article named "the BIG ones" suggests Sonic will reappear as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which turned out to be true more than a year later.
  • 2003: The topless cheat for Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball in which players were supposed to go to a career mode and reset the game while, at the same time, play no beach volleyball, then return to the menu and, in the suit-selection menu, there would be a topless feature; this confused many people, some attempted it and sent several angry letters.
  • 2004: A small false preview for a Lord of the Rings kart-racer that EGM claimed was one of the first games for the PlayStation Portable. There was a small clue in the fake game-screen, it showed the lap times that the total time would add up to 4/1/04 which is the date for April Fools' Day.
  • 2005: EGM told readers if they preordered the upcoming realistic-looking Legend of Zelda game (which would eventually be called The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) they would receive a copy of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with updated graphics equal to those of the new game, accompanied by a screenshot. Anime Insider believed the prank and published a small article telling people about the supposed preorder deal in the video game section.
  • 2006: A report stating that Apple was making a portable gaming device called the iGame, as well as an idea that Apple will sell games for it.
  • 2007: A preview for Mushroom Kingdom Hearts, a new game in the Kingdom Hearts series, exclusive to the Wii. The game would star numerous Disney characters as well as exactly 41 characters from Nintendo properties such as Mario, who would be a playable character.
  • 2008: A preview for Lego Halo.
  • 2011: A preview of a new game for the Call of Duty series that would be set during the Revolutionary War and feature Muskets with '20 second reload time in between shots'.

The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time

As a celebration of their 200th printed issue, Electronic Gaming Monthly released their list of "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time." They ranked the games based on how much of an impact the titles originally had on arcade or consoles, rather than a compilation of games based upon how well they hold up today.[7]

Super Mario Bros. topped the list; among the 200 games are ten starring Mario, including four titles in the top twenty. Pac-Man followed at number two, with Street Fighter II, Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario 64, Space Invaders, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Grand Theft Auto III and Pong completing the top ten. Only four games from the 2000s (decade) are featured in the top fifty. The games are: Grand Theft Auto III at #9 on the list, Halo: Combat Evolved at #17, Phantasy Star Online at #21 and Resident Evil 4 at #46.

Gold/Silver/Platinum Awards

To accompany the old numerical scoring system were "awards" given to select titles. There have been many Silver and Gold awards given at EGM over the years, indicating a game got no less than an 8.0 or 9.0, respectively, from all reviewers, but the prestigious "Platinum" award was much less common, indicating a game that received a score of 10 from all reviewers. EGM only has 15 recorded Platinum-Award-winning games in its entire history. These games, in chronological order of when they were reviewed, are as follows:

* Both the PlayStation and Dreamcast versions of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 earned 10-averages but are treated as one game in EGM‍ '​s records as the Dreamcast version was only reviewed by a single reviewer whereas the PlayStation game was handled by the standard team of 3.
** Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas were both given the commendation in the same issue (December 2004), receiving the distinction of being the only two Platinum-rated games reviewed in the same issue.
*** Only a single review was given to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix in contrast to the standard team of three or four.
**** Following the reformation as reviews were done by one person as compared to the team of three or four when the magazine was published.

Game of the Year

The magazine also has an annual Game of the Year (along with other standard awards such as best of the year in a given genre or a certain console or technical accomplishments), which are usually announced in the March issue. Game of the Year winners since the magazine's inception are:

International expansion

EGM en Español was released in Mexico in November 2002. It was published by Editorial Televisa and is edited by a different staff. Sometimes the content was more focused to the Latin American gaming crowd (e.g. soccer games were paid more attention than NASCAR or American football games), as well as the humor and other features. Sometimes it featured jokes among the Mexican community (much of this is credited to Daniel Avilés, former managing editor, who expands his particular humour on his blog and podcast) and sometimes supported the production with a poster. Adrián Carbajal “Carqui”, with a long experience in Mexican gaming magazines (prior to EGM en Español, he worked in now competitor publications Club Nintendo and Atomix), was the editor-in-chief through the entire run. There was a weekly official podcast called "Playtime!" hosted by the most of the editorial staff. EGM en Español has been cancelled as of December 2008 due to Ziff Davis Media's economical problems.

EGM was also published in Brazil as EGM Brasil by Conrad Editora since April 2002. Since the last quarter of 2005, EGM Brasil was being published by Futuro Comunicação. With the suspension of U.S. sales of the EGM, the Brazilian EGM was rebranded to EGW (Entertainment + Game World).

In 2006 three other editions of EGM were published around the world. EGM Thailand is published by Future Gamer Company Ltd., EGM Singapore is published by MediaCorp Publishing and EGM Turkey is published by Merkez Dergi.

EGM online, EGM Live*, and 1UP FM

In 1995, EGM‍ '​s first online website was It merged with in 1996 after Ziff-Davis purchased Sendai Media Group. In 2003, EGM created their current website,, and the brand was shunted to the CNET Networks.

EGM Live* was a podcast done every Monday by the editors (usually four at a time) of EGM on, usually moderated by managing editor Jennifer Tsao or reviews editor Greg Ford. The usual crew of the podcast included Shane Bettenhausen, Bryan "Fragile Eagle" Intihar, Crispin Boyer, Michael Donahoe (sometimes), and Dan Hsu with Mike Cruz manning the soundboards. The podcast was available for download at or the iTunes music store. Much like other podcasts on the 1UP network, the program could include discussion of various message board topics, an analysis of new games being reviewed, a mailbag section, a deeper look into the most recent issue of the magazine, or interviews with special guests such as Marcus Henderson and Ted Lange from Harmonix and Cliff Bleszinski from Epic Games.

EGM Live* also had a weekly trivia contest, which featured a randomly selected member who answered their question. There were generally three types of questions: an expository (e.g., "Describe the ending of the arcade edition of Golden Axe"), straight trivia question (e.g., "At what specific time period did current editor-in-chief Dan Hsu take time off from EGM [to work at gaming site]?"), and an essay question in which the editors selling the top 3 answers and debate on air as to who gets the prize (e.g., "What would you like in a future edition of Ratchet and Clank?").

The "*" at the end of the name was to denote that the podcast was not actually "live" in the general media sense. This had become a bit of an in-joke amongst those behind the podcast. It was eventually changed to 1UPFM,[when?] another weekly Monday podcast where 1UP crew members Nick Suttner and Phil Kollar hosted the show, along with other 1UP members. The FM stood for "Feature Mondays", but was jokingly referred to as "Fuck Mondays" on the first podcast.

Segments included Shelf Life, where they talked about the week's releases, Top 5, where they picked a subject and make a top five list of it, Backlog, where a few editors played a game they're ashamed they haven't finished for a month, Insert Disk, where they introduced a new staff member, and the Monday Feature (backwards, FM) where they had a discussion about a news story for the week. They also had a mailbag for people to write into the podcast, similar to EGM Live*.

Both podcasts were usually recorded on Fridays and released Mondays or Tuesdays. The shows ran anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours (the latter usually absent 1UP podcast producer Andrew Pfister's restraining influence).

List of 1UPFM Backlogs


In a 2014 retrospective, Polygon said "For two decades, EGM maintained a focal position in the games media landscape. In the time before the internet, the periodical was a vital conduit for American readers interested in the hobby.".[8]


  1. Sliwinski, Alexander (2009-06-22). "Here's your new issue of EGM! It's called Maxim". Joystiq. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  2. Kohler, Chris. "1up Sold to Hearst Publications, EGM Closing Doors | Game|Life". Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  3. About the author Kath Brice (2009-12-22). "Electronic Gaming Monthly to relaunch in March | GamesIndustry International". Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  4. "Steve Harris". Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  5. Gilbert, Ben (2010-02-07). "Relaunched EGM subscriptions now available, magazine details remain hazy [update". Joystiq. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  6. "EGM Announces March Return For Magazine". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  7. "EGM's The Greatest 200 Videogames of their time". 1up. 
  8. Hall, Charlie. "Old gaming magazines tell the awkward tale of an industry growing up". Polygon. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 

External links