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GamesFirst! Magazine

Welcome to the new GamesFirst!
October 2000


It was two years—two years—ago this week that Al Wildey and I purchased GamesFirst! from our erstwhile friend Zap Riecken, and much has changed since then. Truthfully, when we took over the site we didn’t have much of an idea what we were doing. We were just two mild-mannered college professors who liked games and had a little web design and game journalism experience. We didn’t really know anyone in the gaming community, and nobody knew us--we were the web equivalent of a couple of kids putting on a show in the garage. Back then we didn’t review console games, we didn’t have an ad service, and we were thrilled when we got review copies of bad games from obscure companies in the mail.

That’s all changed now. We started reviewing console games when some drunk employee at Activision accidentally sent us a copy of Tenchu for the Playstation. At about that time, this punk undergrad student of mine named Shawn Rider was beginning to write for us. (We gave him HEDZ for his first review. Heh, heh.) He was a big console fan, so he asked to do a review of Tenchu, and we grudgingly agreed. The guy at Activision stayed drunk, we got more console titles, Shawn wrote more reviews. People liked them, so we asked Shawn to write more, and then to be our console editor. Now he gets free Playstation 2s in the mail while “regular people”, as he calls them, have to pay for them at the mall.

In the last two years we’ve been through two servers and four ad services—we could write a book on that—and to two E3s.  We’ve learned that PR people in the game industry change jobs a lot. We’ve discovered it’s easy to find people who know a lot about games and easy to find people who write well, but hard to find people who do both. When we find them, we keep ‘em. Now we get review copies of games in the mail just about every day, and we’re not quite as thrilled when we get a review copy of a bad game from an obscure company. 

While we were learning all these lessons—many of them the hard way—the site just kept growing, and in the last two years page views have gone up over 1500%.  Cursed by this success, we figured it was time for a site update (we haven’t done one in two years). Some of the changes you’ll see us implementing over the next few months include our stylish new look, a switch to daily posts (except on weekends, when we sleep and drink in terrible amounts), vastly updated cheats (pain in the ass, but what the people want), a weekly poll and weekly contest, and (eventually) bulletin boards and GamesFirst! email.

What stays the same is our commitment to well-written and honest reviews, previews, and articles. That’s what’s worked so far; we figure it would be a mistake to move to poorly-written dishonest ones.

Finally, we’re grateful to our readership for their support and suggestions. We couldn’t have done it without you, and hope you like the changes to the site.  We welcome any comments or suggestions; feel free to send them to

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