Specifically, the thing I liked about Next Generation was the articles – they tended to be quite good and were amongst the first writing I ever read that treated gaming like a serious matter for adults. In the ensuing years I really never found a replacement.
But now there’s hope. Two sources of hope, in fact.
First, Future Publishing, the conglomerate name of what became of Next Generation‘s publisher, Imagine Publishing, has launched a new site called Next Generation, complete with logo that looks a lot like what graced the magazine. This new website is more of a “business tracking” website (thus the .biz TLD) but already I’m seeing better writing and more insightful articles than I’ve seen from most fluff sites in years. The old guard of Next Generation isn’t back or anything, but it is sorta neat to see this site around and know that intelligent gaming journalism didn’t totally die.
But the real second coming of Next Generation comes from a totally unknown place – The Escapist. I found this site via someone linking to an article there, and I was hooked. The idea is that it’s an online mahazine, which sounds like a 1996 cliche but it’s true and really works here. It’s really really good writing, like we’re talking Joel Spolsky good here (side note: Spolsky must be good if his target audience is programmers and my Wife likes his articles anyway). And they’re trying to go for “Magazine Aesthetics” – so their articles aren’t just well-written, they look good, too. They even have a PDF version for download. If they did do a print version it wouldn’t be a normal size magazine but whatever.
Oh, and they’re a weekly publication. They’re about nine weeks (issues) in and they’ve already had articles called “Death to the Game Industry” (one of those Modest Proposal type articles), an analysis of why CRPG’s will never really be D&D using Neverwinter Nights as a tool, called “Don’t Roleplay The Bugs”, and an article which convinced me to hoof it to Fry’s to dig up a $5 copy of Planescape: Torment, a game which I had always ignored due to it’s cover art apparently.
If they did have a print version I’d subscribe to it in a heartbeat, easy. A couple of copies.