Game Zero Magazine
was a U.S. based video game magazine published from 1992 to 1998 (although primary publication stopped in 1996). Initially starting out as a photo-copy based zine with a print circulation of 500. By the start of 1994 the publication had become a two-color magazine with a print circulation of 1,500, published bi-monthly. In an effort to expand the publication and reduce associated costs, the magazine migrated to the World Wide Web in November 1994. Initially launching with a mixture of content reprinted from the print magazine and announcing updates via the #Vidgames, IRC channel. Updated bi-weekly, the primary features of the web site were, a (pre-search engine) list of links to web sites covering anything video game related around the world, current news, and reviews.
In 1995, the magazine expanded format and began publishing as a CD-ROM based magazine (which featured all of the content from the web site) that had a circulation of 150,000. The magazine is now maintained as an archive of published contents.
Notable firsts and events timeline:
- November, 1994, Game Zero becomes the first video game magazine on the world wide web followed next by Intelligent Gamer On-Line in April 1995, and then followed by several other mainstream publications. (The initial content at launch consisted of reprinting new and existing print content with added graphics)
- January 8, 1995, Game Zero features the first daily coverage of a gaming trade show on the web. With commentaries by the Game Zero staff and other prominent guest writers known from IRC and Newsgroup postings.
- March 13, 1995 the first video gaming web comic premiers on the internet. "The Plastic Valley Report" (later renamed to "The Polymer City Chronicles") featured political type commentary on the video game industry.
- May 13, 1995, first "Women of E3" photo spread on the web.
- June, 1995, first site to regularly publish video footage of new and up-coming games. Videos featured distinct gameplay demonstrations (examples being video featuring a 10-second drift in Ridge Racer, or a high value combo in Killer Instinct).
- August 2, 1995, featured in the "NCSA: What's New" list of sites on the web.
- August 19, 1995, first gaming website to feature promotional contests for site visitors. Notable contests were for a copy of Killer Instinct on the SNES (runner-ups got baseball caps), Street Fighter Alpha, Mortal Kombat 3 and others. Contests initially consisted of trivia/drawings, and were later changed to clue based skill puzzles in order to allow Canadian readers to participate, as by this time over 25% of visitors e-mailing the magazine with questions were from Canada).
- August, 1995, first site to publish a leaked photo of the then Nintendo "Ultra 64" motherboard.
- August, 1995, a deal is reached with Catapult Entertainment, Inc. for Game Zero to become the primary source for news content on the X-Band service. Summarized news items are updated weekly on the service. Additionally X-Band communications on up-coming events, and competition rankings are featured on the Game Zero web site. Additionally, staff formally handled gaming news related e-mails from X-Band subscribers.
- November, 1995, is the first to present photos from the 1995 Space World debut of the Nintendo 64 days after the event, preceding the Nintendo.com web site to press by two weeks.
- February, 1996, web guide "I-Way" magazine (a print and on-line publication) ranks Game Zero as #9 out of the 25 best "Game Sites" on the internet, beating out other notable entries "New Type Gaming" (#14), "Games Domain" (#19), and Nintendo (#25).
- March, 1996, becomes the first gaming magazine to establish a mirror site in Europe to both ease load on the primary site based in the U.S., and provide higher speed page loads for visitors from overseas. At the time this was a real issue as general network speeds between the US and Europe were terribly slow, and the only major European based news sources were Happy Puppy and Games Domain (which itself eventually launched a U.S. mirror site to reduce its cross Atlantic traffic).
- April 8, 1996, becomes the first video game magazine to feature free web based video games.