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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Online Gaming Mag: the Escapist

Posted by Nathaniel at 1:16 PM
GamingI know, I know, we all understand that there are plenty of gaming news websites out there. Too many, I would admit. However, I'm of a firm opinion that quality gaming journalism is very hard to come by. That's why it is especially comforting to see that the Escapist's flagship issue contains a story written by the lovable lexiconnoisseur Jerry Holkins (aka "Tycho Brahe" of Penny Arcade fame, not that I really need to tell you that).

I read all the articles, and I was just about to decide that this attempt at creating yet another gaming information distribution center with an internet-based delivery system was below average and contained nothing more than the retreaded themes and discussions that I've worked hard to ignore over the past few months. Then I read the Editor's Note.

The editor of the Escapist--one Julianne Greer--spelled out the belief system behind the overall design of the online mag very succinctly:
"The Escapist is an ambitious magazine, written, edited and styled with a fresh approach to communicating with gamers. We are the complement to the current gaming journalistic efforts. While the others give you up-to-the-second news coverage, we give you broad looks at news over time, discussing trends and proffering glimpses into the future."

Julianne Greer works for the Themis Group, a company that includes several ventures, but at its core is a business that basically revolves around MMOG consulting. Themis teamed up with Nevrax to help market the Saga of Ryzom, as well as provide community support and customer service. By association, it would seem that the Themis Group is behind the publishing of this new online gaming mag.

So, can a gaming magazine that is essentially an integral cog in the gaming industry machine be an impartial journalist, as well? Only time will tell, I suppose. If they've tapped Holkins as primary talent, then they are at the very least plugged into the culture of the average hardcore gamer. But I portend: be on the lookout for that first article that speaks illuminously and reverently on the wonders of MMOG marketing campaigns, or the first poll asking for your opinions on various types of in-game advertising techniques. I see this as a potential attempt by the industry at "foot-in-the-door" market influence.

However, I'll be the first to admit I'm a horrendously cynical person.

7/19/2005 3:26 PM: Anonymous Justin said...

Their advertising page includes an example of what a sample ad would look like, and the same is Saga of Ryzom.

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7/19/2005 10:24 PM: Blogger Nathaniel said...

Wow - I hadn't noticed that. Thanks for pointing that out. Just goes to show...well, I dunno, but it has to be proving some point I've made.

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7/20/2005 2:41 PM: Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, proves they thought about using the escapist to push clients but decided not too. good call on their part... i like the mag so far, would suck if it turns into "Ryzom 10/10!!" reviews

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7/27/2005 2:31 PM: Anonymous Jason Smith said...

Actually, it was the only art we could come up with on short notice that would go well in the space The Escapist has. 1000x519 is too large to convert a web banner, so that image was a quickly modified print ad from an old campaign. It was never intended to go into the mag itself, only to be a visual example.

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