I don't make a habit of blogging about the Game Informer magazine. I figure most of you already get it, read it, drool over it, memorize it, sleep with it, bathe with it...derp. Okay, maybe you don't quite go that far, but you get the point. From time to time an issue comes along that is just worth noting...worth dissecting and discussing some of the sensational content. In my opinion, the March issue is one of these gems. Notice I didn't say rare gems, because sensational content isn't rare to Game Informer. But the March issue truly packs some spectacular content into its 100 pages.

And please note while this blog very well might seem like I'm blowing sunshine up Game Informer's skirt, I'm really not. The last time I wrote a blog about the actual magazine it was something along the lines of how I pretty much disagreed with everything in the magazine - so, in reality...I call it like I see it.

Well...the March 2011 episode is fantastic.

Okay...well, maybe I'm a bit biased...you see, I am a huge Huge HUge HUGe HUGE Battlefield 2 fan, so this episode sporting a Battlefield 3 cover and 10...yes count them TEN (1/10th of the magazine) page spread on Battlefield 3 might've skewed my perspective slightly. Only slightly though. Because I don't know about you, but when I read Game Informer, I take notes. And I've finished my letter by letter, line by line review of Game Informer 215 today and I have quite a few notes I think are worth mentioning. Some are just little tidbits I thought were neat, but then the BF3 comments are plentiful.

So...I'll talk about the BF3 cover and article last...and all the other stuff first.

1. On page 20, there is an article titled, "The Other Guys" by Andrew Reiner. It's a fantastic piece that captures a lot of the behind the scenes companies that assist the developers with specific functions. Companies like Bink, THX and Unreal.

It reminds me of movies where you see the introduction...and it reads something like...Columbia House Presents...in association with Fox Productions...a Toll House Cookie Film, Produced by XYZ Studios...

And then you're like, "Who the heck made this movie?!? Who cares?!?"

Well, some of our video games are the same way. You'll see all these banners pop up and some of them are obvious like THX (everybody knows what that is right?) and some not so much (like Speedtree). I always love First Person Shooters that include the Unreal Logo. The Unreal engine is one of the finest, so anytime I see it pop up, I'm somewhat confident the game is going to at least look good. Or at least has the power to look good.

So yeah...Mr. Reiner...I enjoyed this article.

2. On page 21, there is a normal feature of Game Informer, "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". I thoroughly enjoyed the "Good" that discusses the upcoming Portal 2. Many months ago I made a few predictions about the future of gaming...and one that I mentioned was based off some other discussions I read that talked about cross platform multiplayer connectivity - playing a game on your PC with a console player. Some laughed, others scoffed...

Well, the news that Portal 2 is going to support this isn't new news, but I always enjoy reading anything that discusses this feature. This article does just that. Portal 2 - "The PS3 version of the game gets cross platform play with PC and Mac Users..."

That my friends,  that kind of innovation that Valve is known for, that has the capability of revolutionizing how we play online multiplayers games. That is exciting news, I don't care who you are.

3. On page 28 there is a two page interview with Ben Heck, master hardware modder, author of the book, "Hacking Video Game Consoles", and host of "The Ben Heck Show". The article was written by Ben Reeves and was very colorful and humorous. I'm not going to dive into too much of the article but Ben Heck is one funny guy. Ben Reeves asks Ben Heck what he is currently playing and in the response, Ben Heck says, "I also enjoyed Grand Theft Horse - that was fun." OMG - I literally laughed out loud when I read that. Grand Theft Horse...what a hoot! Funny stuff! Great interview, Mr. Reeves. Truly!

(I'm assuming he is referring to RDR, but look at this Photoshop pic)

Grand Theft Horse by Alex Roemer

4. Who knew other countries were as addicted to World of Warcraft as the United States? On page 32 and 33 there is an interesting article on the top 5 WoW guilds. I'm not a WoW player. Never have been. My son played off and on (do you ever truly leave WoW?) for a while so I've seen the game, but I find it fascinating and as a blogger I think it's important to stay up on trendy topics. So, yes...I actually read the article. I suppose the biggest surprise was Finland and Taiwan being in the top five. Sweet.

5. On page 36 and 37 there is article titled "The Independent Spirit" written by Meagan Marie. I've always "liked" the concept of independent studios, but when Limbo took my breath away only to discover it was created by an unknown independent studio, I found a renewed interest and desire to support the independent studios. Miss Marie's article talks about the Independent Games Fesitval and some of the contenders including Minecraft, SpyParty and Amnesia: the Dark Descent. I've played Minecraft, looked at some of the media on Amnesia but never heard of SpyParty. I'll have to fix that, as the concept seemed pretty entertaining. It was a great read and an important reminder to support our local independent studios. You never know when they're going to surprise the video game community with a block buster like Limbo. Great read!

6. On page 38-40 there is an article titled "The Father of the Game Industry Returns to Atari" by Matt Helgeson. I always enjoy the Interview feature that Game Informer typically provides. Some of the people I don't find all that interesting, but this month was the legendary Nolan Bushnell. I knew a little bit about Mr. Bushnell from some other books I have about the history of video games, so I found a current interview of him rather fascinating. Mr. Helgeson asked him some tough questions but Mr. Bushnell didn't waiver and answered all them in his typical fashion. Again, I'm not going to go into all the details, but I thought it was interesting that Mr. Bushnell, the founder of Atari (ever hear of that company) also created that kid casino ran by a corrupt rat that we call Chuck E. Cheese. What a brilliant man. And even though he sold Chuck E. Cheese, at least we know who to blame now. LOL.

7. March is shaping up to be a busy month. As far as events, we'll get to experience more Game Informer coverage of the Game Developers Conference. Always a hit. I know I'm excited about the release of Rift, Deus Ex and Crysis 2. There are a ton of other games coming out too, but these are the ones I'm watching. Oh yeah, that little thing called the 3DS is due to come out too. I don't plan to get one, but can't wait to read about it.

8. More coverage of Homefront. I'm nervous about this game. I want to like it and I hope it does well...but I just have a bad feeling it's going to come out and have that rushed feeling. I hope I'm wrong.

Okay...so everything else is regarding Battlefield 3. The coverage in this magazine was amazing. The screen shots beautiful; the interviews informative; the totality of the coverage was phenomenal.

The cover is perfect and the devil is in the details. I'm not an Army man, but I got to play one when I deployed to Iraq. Then pretty much everyone gets to play one. I'm also somewhat of a gun enthusiast, so I look at little details and if they're right I'm impressed and if they're wrong I'm disappointed. Well, the soldier on the cover is about as perfect as you can get. From the lanyard on his sidearm, to his Oakley carbon fiber knuckled gloves, to his finger off the trigger (usually this is the first thing I notice), to the cover on his goggles on his helmet, the details are all there and they're all right. At least in my mind.

And no, not all covers and illustrations get it right. I've heard some people say this looks a lot like the Modern Warfare or Battlefield Cover or Medal of Honor soldiers, but let me share with you a pet peeve of mine. I hate the Modern Warfare 2 cover image. It's all wrong. ALL WRONG. I hate this picture. Hate it. I have never seen anyone carry their rifle like that, and honestly, the Drill Sergeants that prepped us to go to Iraq, if they saw you with your weapon down like that, you'd be running laps while holding it over your head. Bad picture. Very bad.

Let's move on to the content of the article. I'm quickly running out of room.

I'm going to get this out of the way first. I was almost ticked off at the way Matt Bertz started the article. He was kind of busting on the Medal of Honor series which I didn't think was fair. From a military perspective, the latest version of Medal of Honor (Tier 1) was a great game and is a far more true and accurate depiction of actual military combat than any other FPS except for maybe America's Army. No, it didn't compete well with the behemoth that is Call of Duty. But it IS a great military simulator and experience. Anyway...I settled down as I read the rest of the article and by the end I was ready to shake Mr. Bertz's hand and pat him on the back (I won't lie, I wanted to hug him).  He put a lot into the article and it shows.

BF3 is going to have single player, BF2 didn't. No worries as long as it's done right and the MP experience is reminiscent of BF2.

Destructible Environment included. Yeah. Loved how it was done in Bad Company. Please don't do it like Breach. I thought Breach was going to do it right, but they didn't.

Dynamic Lighting included. Who doesn't love dynamic lighting?

The interview with Patrick Bach was awesome. My only issue was his thoughts on Commander mode. I realize why he feels the way he does and why he said the things he did...but I was one of the players who liked it. For those that haven't read it, sounds like a single commander on each team isn't necessarily in the equation this time around. Pity. That was one of my favorite features.

CO-OP mode included. Drool. 'nuf said. The old school Ghost Recon / Rainbow Six player in me is very excited for co-op mode. Sure, there are other games that have it, but none are as good as the old games. I hope BF3 can recreate this experience.

Jets (and I assume helicopters) included. You had me sold at jets.

Okay...well the graphics look amazing and I want to just show one example. There was a screen shot of a soldier firing a rocket launcher from the rooftop and decimating a building. It reminds me of some actual photos I have from Iraq (no, I wasn't there when the photos were taken). And while some of the actual photos are of a tank, I think the similarities are there...and shows how beautiful and accurate this game is going to be.

(Picture from the magazine)



(After - this explosion looks just like the mag pic to me)

(This reminds me of the mag pic - huddled behind the wall)

Well, I suppose that's it. I could rattle on about how awesome this month's issue was, but if you're reading this and hanging out at GIO, you probably already know.

Mr. McNamara and crew, I salute you. This was a fantastic magazine and this single issue is worth the cost of the subscription. I doubt you'll out due this one so soon with next month's issue, but I look forward to you trying. (Okay, so maybe I'm butt kissing a little there, but I wasn't earlier...honest).