Spirit of Champions
Insane? Sure. But it mattered, and I was as proud reaching the final of the Media Cup one year, as seeing PSM2's Nathan Irvine win the European journalist cup years later. It's almost farcical, but while PSM2's words - hopefully - walked-the-walked in reflecting our passion, so did its writers.
I recall beating the Official PlayStation Magazine 9-1 in two-player co-op and - like the big men we were - PhotoShopping our heads with crowns and goading them all afternoon. 'PES kings' became legend, as did a DV tape of a victory labelled 'Fistful of Dellas', and the words we used to describe the gameplay like a Mr Driller, Captain Pan Hands and Jimmy Ghost Legs. That's what passion does: makes you go gently mad.
Regrets? We probably over, or under, rated too many games that later turned out to be classics/a bit 'meh', but that's the balancing act of writing honest words about complex games to tight deadlines. Do we review Skyrim after a 'mere' 50 hours - or play 200 hours and make you wait an extra month for the review, which might not read that differently? I wish we'd paid a bit less credence to the words of certain PRs who promised all the surely-too-glaring-to-release bugs in their big budget games would be fixed, but - hey - you live and learn. I hope we did.
As the modern industry lapses into a self-reflective moral maze, I look back at all the hours that the PSM3 team - and its many, many brilliant writers - spent playing games and striving to say the right thing, that I feel proud and vaguely ashamed that game critics are now so desperate to explain themselves to an, often, increasingly impossible-to-please audience. We've not always got it right, but I've always asked the same of our writers: play the game to completion (trickier in the case of 200 hour RPGs) express your views with honesty and integrity in a way that leaves no room for ambiguity and - above all - makes me feel like I've played it too.
An Honest Living
Sure, the review process often faces polluting factors, but if you express your feelings clearly and honestly, only the pact between writer and reader matter. That's what keeps you honest. The truth will always out. You can't ask someone to agree with your opinion, but you can be expected to express yours clearly, and entertainingly. Every time we've sent a review that didn't fulfil its pact to the reader - albeit through deadline, fatigue or unwitting oversight - a part of me shivered. I hope you've enjoyed our reviews with the same honesty and passion as their creation. Expressing your opinion is the greatest privilege of this absurd, gruelling, oft demoralizing but brilliant job.
I've interviewed far, far too many brilliant people. Developers whose passion made me ashamed of the
- hopefully - rare occasion we printed a factual error or slated their game without diligent articulation. Highlights? Lorne Lanning, who gave the best demo of Oddworld Abe's Odyssey on Xbox, only for me to confess that I'd be put in the room by mistake by a disinterested PR. Lorne cracked his handsome smile, and five minutes after I'd left, chased me out of the room to give me an Oddworld badge.
Also: Hideo Kojima, for always being an attentive interviewee and saying something interesting. Ex-FIFA producer Danny Isaac for explaining why PES was essentially a series of Street Fighter 2 battles on multiple 2D planes. Current FIFA producer Gary Paterson for being such an engaging, thoughtful football fan and thinker. BioShock creator Ken Levine, for engaging with our absurdly pretentious questions for one hour, and ringing back to speak for another hour after we were cut short in a PR mix up. SSX producer Todd Batty, for his vision and conviction - when everyone else doubted the SSX remake, we'd met him... and didn't.
Made With Passion
On a human level, thanks to everyone who's worked on PSM3, whose gone over and above in pursuit of getting things 'right', and who's had to explain their presence in work at 10.57pm to a loved one. I've lost track of the amount of times we've sat in meeting rooms, or over computer screens, re-working a feature for the sixth time to make that little bit better - or even starting again - and for that, I'm truly thankful for your patience. I've always been amazed, and fiercely proud, of all the passion that's gone into PSM3, and I'd like to thank everyone who's tolerated my indecision, in the hope something red hot will turn up at the last moment, or maniac dedication to quality.
I'm duty bound, and humbled, to thank you, the reader of PSM3. Whether you've been here since the start, or if - through quirk of fate - this is your first issue (unlucky!), I'd like to thank you for making all this possible. From the early days of Pro Dojo, to our lively Letters page and inventive competition entries, the PSM3 community has been an endless source of pride - a sanctuary of sane, passionate gamers, safe from the extremity of many modern gaming sites. You've made PSM3 what it is, and recent inspiring features like 'Why We Play' (PSM3 #160) wouldn't be possible without you. I'm humbled by your dedication, and it's been an honour to serve.