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GamesFirst! Three Point Oh-So-Good
Articles Archive | 10/01/01 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Three years ago, Rick Fehrenbacher and Al Wildey bought GamesFirst! Although founded in 1995, GF! had been left to languish after the previous editor, a friend of Rick and Al's named Zap Reicken, decided he could no longer maintain the site. At the time of the Rick and Al's takeover, dubbed GamesFirst! 2.0, the site averaged 300 visitors per day. I came on board as the site's first console game reviewer. As Rick described so eloquently in his editorial last year, the consoles section and GF! grew together. A few games trickled in from Activision and a handfull of other games publishers for console systems, and those kept me busy for the remainder of the year.
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EDITORIAL - The RPG Experience: Conventions and Not Beyond
Articles Archive | 04/20/01 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
RPG is a game in which character development and character interaction take precedence over other factors and where each player's experience of the story is determined by individual choice rather than designer fiat . . . Of greatest importance, this definition eliminates adventure games, which share with the RPG an emphasis on story and character. What adventure games lack - and this is a critical point - is the capability for players to grow and develop their characters, and to affect, if not the outcome of the story, than the way in which the story unfolds. Without both character development and genuine choices placed within a player's control, a game cannot be called a role-playing game, as I choose to define the genre (Remodeling 1).

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EDITORIAL - Getting Beyond the Third Dimension
Articles Archive | 01/26/01 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
The modern world of videogames is like most other creative pursuits in that it is now coming of age and realizing its full potential. During the course of this realization, many different phases and styles have, and will, emerge. Turning points and plateaus are inevitable, as are special titles that represent "timeless" examples of the artform. Just as a classic Mercedes Gullwing will always stand out from the crowd of other cars, certain games will represent a highpoint in gaming that will maintain a certain "Wow" factor in the decades of gaming to come. Further, just because drastically better 3D modeling, and other innovations, are coming doesn't necessarily mean that the games will make a deeper, or even as deep of an, impression on the audience than its well-crafted ancestor did.
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Your PS2 DVD Player Vs. The Competition
Articles Archive | 10/30/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
So, as I was standing in line at 6:00 a.m., waiting for Big K to open and deliver me my PS2 booty, the hot topic amongst the fellow first-come-first-servers was DVD. None of us doubted the PS2 game system would be hot, but for many people DVD playback was what brought them out to brave hypothermia, and risk social rejection for years to come. (Hey, camping out for a PS2 is a hell of a lot cooler than doing the same for a Furby”you can't even give those things away anymore!) I have to admit I was skeptical.

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INTERVIEW - Victor Ireland, President of Working Designs
Articles Archive | 09/10/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Working Designs is a small development/publishing house that specilizes in finding some of the best Japanese titles available and giving us stateside gamers a chance to get in on the action. They've been delivering high quality games since the Turbografix 16 and have developed a signature style of addictive gameplay and superb writing. Most recently they've given us Lunar and Vanguard Bandits, two of my favorite RPGs on the PlayStation. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue will probably (hopefully) make its way into your PlayStation pretty soon, and Working Desings has two titles, Silpheed and Gungriffon Blaze, lined up for the Playstation 2 launch in October. I had a chance to ask Victor Ireland, President of Working Desings, some questions and get the skinny on their new titles, their creative approach, and those ever-so-sweet RPG translations.
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INTERVIEW - GF! Exclusive Dan Birlew Followup
Articles Archive | 08/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
This interview is a followup to an interview we posted with Dan Birlew, author of many strategy guides for BradyGames and their main SquareSoft guy. In writing strategy guides, as with writing reviews or coverage of gaming, certain aspects of the gaming world become very interesting. Birlew obviously has thoughts about more than just strategy guides, and we wanted to pick his brain a little more.
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INTERVIEW - Dan Birlew, BradyGames Part 2 of 2
Articles Archive | 08/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Dan Birlew is the author of several strategy guides for BradyGames, including Resident Evil 3 and Vagrant Story, and has been assigned to the SquareSoft roster of games. He has and is covering new Square titles like Parasite Eve II, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy IX. Birlew has a reputation for high quality work, and a distinct dedication to his craft. GamesFirst!, represented by yours truly, was lucky enough to sit in on a press roundtable discussion with Birlew and Detra Perry, PR Representative for BradyGames. Also in attendance were correspondants from Just Adventure, GameSpin, GameWeek, and The Computer Show. We all had a really nice, and quite long, discussion, ranging in topics from the nitty-gritty construction of a strategy guide, to linquistic and style considerations, to the future of strategy guides and gaming. It was all so fascinating that I followed up the interview with a few more questions, nagging Birlew about some of the deeper issues involved in gaming in general. You can find the GF! Exclusive Followup to the Dan Birlew Interview here, and keep reading to get the rest.
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INTERVIEW - Dan Birlew, BradyGames Part 1 of 2
Articles Archive | 08/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Dan Birlew is the author of several strategy guides for BradyGames, including Resident Evil 3 and Vagrant Story, and has been assigned to the SquareSoft roster of games. He has and is covering new Square titles like Parasite Eve II, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy IX. Birlew has a reputation for high quality work, and a distinct dedication to his craft. GamesFirst!, represented by yours truly, was lucky enough to sit in on a press roundtable discussion with Birlew and Detra Perry, PR Representative for BradyGames. Also in attendance were correspondants from Just Adventure, GameSpin, GameWeek, and The Computer Show. We all had a really nice, and quite long, discussion, ranging in topics from the nitty-gritty construction of a strategy guide, to linquistic and style considerations, to the future of strategy guides and gaming. It was all so fascinating that I followed up the interview with a few more questions, nagging Birlew about some of the deeper issues involved in gaming in general. You can find the GF! Exclusive Followup to the Dan Birlew Interview here, and keep reading to get the rest.
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Game Industry Cracks Down on Piracy
Articles Archive | 07/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Just this week the IDSA (Interactive Digital Software Association, the trade organization for video game makers and the like) announced a lawsuit naming six individuals who have been copying and distributing, for a profit, all kinds of games. What's even more astonishing is that one of these folks is from Idaho, the great home state of GF! We just don't get much publicity for Idaho, and I felt like the connection beckoned me to write this article.
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EDITORIAL - Less Talk, More Rock
Articles Archive | 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
It kills me to say this, but I've always believed that if you can't do it right, don't do it at all. So here I am.

I'm a writer and I love video games. Being a writer may make me hypersensitive, but I find myself wondering all the time: Where did they get this crap? It's not the plots of games, which are varied and diverse enough to satisfy any genre desire, but the way these plots are presented. Where did all the dialogue writers go? Why aren't any of them working for game companies? Why does this gross negligence never get attention?
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EDITORIAL - Gaming Civilization and Its Discontents
Articles Archive | 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Yesterday, the arcade nearest to my house officially sold its soul”not to the devil, the government, or even a special interest group with some less diabolical agenda. No, it sold out to the thirteen year old mall crowd and their perceived need for franchise-like arcade huts and the seemingly infinite series of genre clones that go along with them. Don't get me wrong, one of the best things about arcades is the fact that they provide you with the opportunity to play games months before they make it to a console, and generally in better versions.
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EDITORIAL - The Plight of Dreamcast Networking in Third-World-Net Cities
Articles Archive | 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
Obviously, the internet capabilities of the Dreamcast”combined with its superior processor apparatus”give it an edge far sharper than any system to break in the last forever many years. You thought, perhaps, that you had maximized the possibilities of your couch when you finally found the Dukes of Hazzard TV tray you had been looking for the last ten years, or installed the Molson-stocked mini-fridge next to your remote control caddy. But now, Sega has introduced the possibility of leisurely strolling through the internet from that selfsame couch, not to mention given you the option to play console games on-line with friends who are similarly devoted to their domestic sitting arrangements.
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EDITORIAL - A Conversation With Some Kid at the Airport
Articles Archive | 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
AIRPORT, Salt Lake City. Maybe some of you out there haven't been to E3. In fact, maybe almost none of you have. Well, this was my first year, and I just sort of lucked into it, so believe me, I understand the pain and frustration that you must feel knowing that another year has come and gone in which you didn't get to see any Namco girls. Yes, I am just patronizing you. Anyway, a conversation I accidentally got on tape at the airport might help. This kid ("some kid" as I prefer to call him) was on his way to visit his dad in Illinois. The plan was, he was going to go there, try and get free stuff and money, and mostly listen to his dad complain about "your mother the bitch." So I showed him forty-five minutes of footage of the Space Channel 5 Go-go dancers. And after he cried for joy, I hugged him, and we had a pretzel. We also had this conversation:
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EDITORIAL - The Medium is the Medium
| 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
NORTHBOUND, Greyhound--just past Preston, UT (or ID or somewhere). Disclaimers have a tendency to strongly resemble either whining or lying. Having said that, the notes I just realized I needed for this piece are locked in the luggage bin of this bus (somewhere beneath the surly cowboy a few seats in front of me) traveling at the same breakneck 35 or so mph we are\"plus or minus the shifting and crashing around it\'s undoubtedly doing, as our driver seems to drive worse when he hasn\'t had a cigarette for a while, and Logan was sixty or so miles ago.
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EDITORIAL - Grrrl Gamez
| 01/01/00 | GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
I\'ve wanted to write an editorial about female gamers for a long time now; I just didn\'t know what I wanted to say. I toyed with the idea of slamming the sexist way women are portrayed in games, mainly because I felt like complaining about how sick I am of seeing Lara Croft\'s square butt everywhere. But I realized that both sexes are hyper-idealized in video games. Metal Gear Solid wouldn\'t have had the same effect if Solid Snake was a screechy-voiced, pimply-faced, fat guy (well maybe that would be kind of fun). We live in an age of equal opportunity sexism. Women have anorexic Vogue models to look up to and men have their muscle-bound fantasies fueled by Men\'s Health and GQ. I decided that it\'s not the games or the gamers that are the problem, but the damned video game advertisers along with a strong dose of our cultural stereotypes.
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