Thursday, July 18, 2013

On First Impressions: Edge

Edge are doing a 20 year anniversary “thing” at the moment. They’ve just lobbed their first issue for sale via the apple-digi-word-shop.

I’ve had a strained relationship with Edge, both as a teen consumer and a games journalist, but it’s always cut through with a big streak of entirely ungrudging respect. They do make me smile, and it’s been that way from the first moment I heard of them.

Which was this particular house-ad.

(Thanks to Ben Darlow for finding the image)

Imagine that, dropped like a black obelisk from space in the middle of a games magazine then. Hell, imagine it now. The full thing has the rest of the logo on, but I swear I saw some house-ads that just ran like this.

(I bought a lot of computer and games magazines in the early 90s.)

There’s so much to hate. The self-satisfied elitism, the sneer at their peers, the judging of the reader, its austere humourlessness, etc, etc.

But it’s brilliant. The only thing I don’t like about it is the “decide for yourself” at the end. You can tell in their heart of hearts, they’d have preferred to just stick the logo there. I can imagine some publisher going “Wait - aren’t people going to hate you before you even appear if you do that?” And then Edge v1 nod knowingly and go exactly.

So much to hate.

And entirely at home with that.


There’s a reason why generations of the brightest British games journalists have toiled anonymously beneath the Edge flag, and it’s all there, in that wonderfully confrontational, thrilling advert.

As much as its gold-standard reputation has been constant, it’s changed over the 20 years, as all living magazines do. It’s still recognisably variations on that initial theme. It’d have been a legendary magazine if it had only existed for a handful of issues, and it’s an even more legendary one now it has 20 years beneath its belt.

I’ve been sitting here fighting doing a punchline at the end of this, and I suspect the highest tribute I can give the magazine is refraining from doing so.

Not for everyone, and entirely at home with it. Even if you disagree with everything the magazine has ever done, I think that stance is entirely admirable.


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