I’ve always bemoaned the sense video games are about what’s next or new. Consumer culture, and in that order. Voraciously acquiring the latest and greatest. Finishing and forgetting before moving down the pile. Playing what’s popular because, isn’t everyone? Games that are eternally young, and demand the same of their audience.
Video games age poorly, much like our interests. Much like us. Code can break if not maintained. Graphics that once wowed wain in the light of the shinier and smaller and more photographically accurate.
I once reported on the vault at Disney where everything ever created, drawn, animated, programmed, or written down is stored. Climate controlled. Curated. There you’ll find – alongside every movie Disney has ever made – every game, complete with every console, handheld, generation of computer, or arcade cabinet. Video games, after all, are but code. They require machines. And those machines wither and age.
I was born in 1974. I’ve played video games since I was able. I’ve probably played hundreds of thousands in my lifetime, starting with the arcade classics like Pac-Man and Asteroids. Home consoles like the Atari 2600. The Fairchild Channel F. The Magnavox Odyssey. I no longer own any of those consoles, nor the ones that followed. The ColecoVision. The NES. The Genesis.
Unlike a good book, I can’t easily revisit some of my favorite video game experiences even if I wanted to. Not without spending more money, or breaking some law. And so, as much as I bemoan this sense that video games demand we forget them by their very nature, it has all the makings of an inescapable truth.
All the more reason why we should spend the effort to remember.
Escapist Magazine was founded in 2005 as a weekly publication of feature articles. Three or four – at first. Finely edited and illustrated articles about our shared love of video games, who makes them, and why. Compiled online as image files you could view – one page at a time – or download and print.
Many kept us on their coffee tables, or in their office. We were, we assume, in many bathrooms. We were here before phones were smart and an “iPad” sounded … well, like “an unmentionable.”
Many of you discovered Escapist Magazine years later, when we made our own “pivot to video,” in 2008. This was when YouTube was little more than an infant. When Facebook was still in college. Our comedians, critics, cynics, comics, and commentators showed us something new, while we expanded our written offerings with reviews and news. All the while, our commitment to creating timeless, humanist features endured. From the beginning, Escapist Magazine has published stories and videos you can’t find anywhere else.
Escapist Magazine was intended to be timeless, in the way of all finely crafted things. Even if video games are about what’s next or new, what fascinates us with them will never die. Now, as we bend inexorably into our own next newness, we take a look back. Over the coming weeks, Escapist Magazine will re-publish some of the great feature stories from our archive. Peppered with fresh original content, some from familiar voices, some new.
We hope these snapshots from our past will provide some insight into where we’re going. We believe they’re just as relevant today as they were when we first shared them with you.