Change is inevitable. In fact, as far as games and the videogame industry are concerned, the only constant we can assume is that there will be constant change.

The past four years have brought about great and enormous change. The next-gen has become the current gen, games push more money than movie tickets and people of all shapes, sizes ages and lifestyles have discovered the joy of gaming. A quiet revolution has taken place, and we're proud to have been there for it.

Four years ago this week, The Escapist launched with Issue #1, "Gaming Uber Alles," chronicling the rise of videogames as a revolutionary entertainment medium. Yet The Escapist's first issue itself was revolutionary. Not only did we cover gaming in a way completely unheard of at the time, but we did so with more style than all of our competitors combined. In those days, the magazine articles were published with full-color layouts, page-by-page. It was a painstaking process, but the result was truly revolutionary, making the act of reading our online magazine very much like that of reading an actual magazine. And if reading online wasn't your thing, we also offered it as a downloadable PDF, so you could print it out and share it with your friends.

The Escapist Issue #1 was called "The New Yorker of videogames," and one reviewer suggested there was more interesting commentary on the videogame industry in that one issue than in "all the gaming print magazines in the U.S. combined." Fortunately for all of us, it was just the beginning.

We've published a new feature issue every week since Issue #1, but even here change is inevitable. The magazine layout itself was abandoned after a time it was too labor intensive and often hard to read. Nevertheless, our attention to detail, our commitment and our integrity have never faltered. Over time we've added news, reviews, regular columns, video features, comics, feature-rich forums, we've earned the trust of a strong community of like-minded gamers and introduced the world's single most popular videogame review series, Zero Punctuation. And this past year, our efforts were rewarded with our second Webby Award for "Best Game-Related Website."

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This week, on our fourth birthday, we present our 210th issue of The Escapist, "E-volution." It's about change: how the industry has changed, how the games themselves have changed, how we have changed and how much change is still to come. It is a celebration of change, a study of change and, in some ways, a prayer for change. As with all of our feature issues, we hope you will find it thought provoking and entertaining.

Yet on this auspicious occasion, with so much change in the air, we thought you might appreciate something a little more familiar. To celebrate our fourth year of bringing change to the coverage of the videogame industry, we're going back to the beginning. In honor of the early days of The Escapist, we're offering the feature articles of Issue 210 as a commemorative, downloadable PDF, and to celebrate how far we've come, we're stuffing it with much, much more.

Inside the Commemorative Fourth Birthday PDF you'll find:

  • Four Feature Articles
  • A Fourth-Anniversary Editor's Note
  • Special Letters to the Editor
  • A Special Edition Stolen Pixels Comic
  • An Exclusive Interview with Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Limited Edition Commemorative Community Badges
  • A Special Thank You to All of our Contributors Past and Present
  • And More

We hope you'll have as much fun reading this issue of The Escapist as we had putting it together. And we hope you will accept our sincerest thanks for being a part of this grand experiment for the past four years.

Russ Pitts
Russ Pitts
Editor-in-Chief