The venerable GamePro magazine is folding, effective immediately. This story has made a lot of 80s and 90s kids sad, even though GamePro hasn't had a role in most of our lives for a long time.
You see, when we read GamePro, videogames were for kids, and only kids. The magazines were written for us children, and GamePro exemplified that. The writers weren't billed by their actual names, they were gimmicky pseudonyms with cartoon faces like Scarry Larry or Bruised Lee. Every year they'd do LamePro for April Fool's Day: it was Cracked magazine but with videogames. Bubonic the Hedgehog, get it? And that's how I learned about the Plague!
See, I too was a kid when I read GamePro. A little, bitty guy. I cared about two things in the world: videogames and reading. And I never read anything good. When I was a child I devoured every word in sight. At five I was reciting the movie section of the newspaper to my parents, listings and all. I never even went to the movies when I was little. Only for Ghostbusters II. I don't really know why I did that. I was just compelled.
Of course, I did the same thing with GamePro when I discovered it at six or seven years old. I tore through every single preview and review and advertisement and accepted it all uncritically. As strange as it sounds, GamePro was one of the main ways I was taking in culture back then. It probably went a longer way than I know.
It wasn't the only game mag I was reading, of course: there was EGM and Game Players and Gamefan (practically an infomercial for the import shop that advertised in the back, this mag nevertheless opened my eyes and got me to mod my Playstation so I could play Tobal 2) and pretty much any other mag I could get my hands on. EGM was my favorite because the book was so big: it took me days to look at every little thing.
I remember very well why I stopped reading GamePro. GamePro hyped up publishers' products as much as is done today (for fun, compare Modern Warfare 3's professional Metacritic average to reviews from folks who bought it on Amazon.com) and it talked impressionable young me into playing and buying all kinds of crap, mostly from Sega's over-reaching period with the Sega CD and the 32X. I remember GamePro's perfect score for the atrocious Tomcat Alley, because I begged Mom and Dad to take me to Blockbuster to rent it. I remember the 32X because that was a Christmas for me. I nearly went for an Atari Jaguar, okay? I was really, really gullible. I was ten.
So I jumped ship to Game Players, a dumb-fun magazine that spoke to the 12-year old me by endlessly discussing bears and putting people in "The Box" (where there was often a bear), and which eventually became the IGN monster we all know so well. I stopped reading Game Players when an entire issue was just a strategy guide for Resident Evil 2. I didn't need no strategy guide for that game.
By the late 90s the internet had taken over for me anyway, and to be honest I haven't looked back. When I was a kid I was always digging for weird and interesting things. While the magazines often opened the door, the internet gave me a nearly infinite power to go hunting (eventually leading me here), and what the hell did I need a magazine for anymore? Now think of the kids who grew up in that age. The role that GamePro played for my generation is obsolete.
GamePro had a bit of a transformation and a resurgence to more of a contemporary, grown-up game magazine (a friend was freelancing for them and found out about the closure at the same time as the rest of us), but they were shut down before they got their footing. Times are tough for print everywhere, after all: I should know, I'm paid to write these days. Probably in some very small part thanks to Gamepro. And the newspaper movie listings. And TV Guide. And Sesame Street. So thanks.