Above and Beyond, issue #6
by Tom Donoho

And here's issue #6's soon-to-be-published column...

Welcome again to that obligatory opinion-packed column created solely for the purpose of sticking everything that doesn't belong elsewhere in the 20-page issue somewhere in a vain attempt convey my thought from my mind to yours without losing much in the process. Sounds a little overly grandiose, don't it?

And, as is to be expected when you're 95% done and trying to meet a self-appointed copy-deadline, I've got writer's block. Who would have thought? Writer's block. What the hell does that mean, anyway? Writer's block? Ah, well cuticles. On forth


As you may or may not be aware of, the gigantic magazine conglomerate Ziff-Davis, the driving force behind such PC magazine big-wigs as PCComputing, PC Magazine, and many others, has acquired gaming prozine Electronic Gaming Monthly, as well as the rest of the rest of the Sendai family. In his monthly opening editorial in EGM, Ed "I know Quartermann!" Harris had this to say: "It is a win/win situation the all the staff are still here, and the mag still looks the same." (Anyone catch the bitter irony in that one?) Contrary to Eddie's statement, you'd think that ZD would make major changes to match the tastefulness all its other publications have, such as PCComputing and PC Magazine.

Will they? Most anyone would give anything for another Electronic Games to come along. It's doubtful that society's general stereotypical image of the video game player will ever evolve anything beyond 12-year old boys, and therefore, that's who the magazines will be targeted at. However, such relatively new gaming prozines as Next Generation and Intelligent Gamer are increasing in sales rapidly, which may (hopefully) provide some incentive for ZD to force some major changes. We'll just have to wait and see In fact, some may argue that ZD has already begun to make the necessary changes


The conspiring first step of many by new EGM-owner Ziff-Davis to bring the magazine out of the rut it's in? A true urge of Steve's to concentrate his efforts on the next-generation "on-line" magazines of the future? Or just plain tiredness of having to put up with the rest of the ex-Sendai crew?

Yes, Steve "Quartermann" Harris has "resigned" as Publisher and Founder of Sendai Publications. Oddly, this move came just as Sendiand its promags such as EGM and EGM2was bought out by Ziff-Davis, the monstrous PC-mag publishing house (see above). The move has already contradicted Ed Semrad's statement that "the staff [will remain] here." Does this signify many more changes that, contrary to Ed's initial statements regarding the buy-out, will be happening to the publication?

Miracles do happen


A recent trip to Kansas City and its infamous Oceans/Worlds of Fun parks had me quickly scrounging for reading material on the 3+ hour enthralling drive through Kansas (tell the pigs to land). Pressured by the threat of time, I quickly grabbed a handful of old zines of the top of my enormously gigantic, strangely putrid, and dusty pile, and threw them in the back seats for later.

Upon picking up a few an hour later for nothing less than a hopeful remedy for the state of incredible mind-numbing boredom I was experiencing, I discovered how much I miss the "early" fandom, the so-called "2nd generation," which had its day in about 1992-1994. I don't mean to be overly-judgmental of today's faneds and fanzines, but today's EG fandom just seems so nice. Such popular (in their time) stand-bys as Video Apocalypse, The Good, The Bad, & The 8-Bit, Fanarchy, Monty's Kitten, Fantazine, In Between The Lines, The Laser, Sub-Zero, Dystopia, MASTERminds, Project: Ignition, V, and Hardcore, as well as their respective "BNFs" (Big Name Fans) seem to be all but gone forever.

Again, no offense, but today's zines seem to have lost the whole meaning and structure of fandom. Even though the writing is often opinion-filled and sincere (usually), many or most seem to have gone pseudo-pro. Writing has also declined drastically, although the layouts have improved steadily, with more advanced desktop publishing applications. My point: all 'eds and zines should (pardon if I'm sounding a little preachy) remember that there are absolutely NO guidelines (well, 'sides the legal copyrights and libel crapola) for fandom.

Really, don't conform your zine to others' standards, and, most important of all, do not sell out to companies and reviewers. Be yourself and you will appease yourself, as well as many of your faned-friends. Just look at such 2nd-gen vets as Video Apocalypse (MJ Lesnick), In Between The Lines (Sean Pettibone), and MASTERminds (Todd Lintner). Even though they may have been tastelessly panned or even blatantly ignored by critics (including one residing in a certain western tourist gambling town), they have been praised and acclaimed by faneds, the staple audience the zine is written for in the first place. Such phrases as "Fanzine of the Future" and "Taking Fandom Into The Next Generation" can give an poor initial opinion, especially to us "old schoolers," of a zine, something you'll definitely want to avoid under all circumstances. In a nutshell, be more personal, run more (critical) editorials, get more critical in reviews, and add a personal, unique touch, and you'll gave nothing short of a "grade-A" zine. Give it a thought


Looks like the entire industry is undergoing a re-haul, don't it? Electronic Games' "Gamer of the Year," for 1994 Tom Kalinske, former CEO, no longer holds his position at Sega of America. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't care less. He never had the greatest of management skills in the first place, and Sega of Japan's alleged decision to "let him go" should be the basis of a number of product and marketing changes in the near future. Only time will tell...

Well, kids, this brings to a close yet another appropriately-titled "ARRGHHH!!" column. For lack of anything better to include here, I'll end this out with a desperate plea for any type of contributions, whether they be art, game or zine reviews, editorials, columns, tips, codes, poems, fiction, Bob Goen, or any one of the Magnificent Seven. Subscriptions are also more than welcome, as are letters of comment, merciless attacks directed at certain individuals with the initials of E.S., and anything else you can dream of. Tried Freen Gomatoes...

Well, that's it. I do have a couple of clip-art images that will appear with the printed version, so if you'd like them to put on the site, let me know what format you'd like 'em in (i.e., .gif, .bmp, .jpg, etc.) and I'll send them. I'm afraid one or two of the topics in the above column (namely "Fandom And Life 2" may be a little off-topic for the web page, so, as I've said before, feel free to edit everything as you see fit. If you have any questions remember to let me know... -Tom Donoho