Geryk vs Chick

I’ve said it before on the board, but this is my favorite column of any of the computer magazines currently. You guys are doing a great job. I just finished the Magic the Gathering column, and it was terrific for a game I have zero interest in (although I loved the card game years ago).

I realize that this isn’t the point of the column, but I was wondering if you guys could share your actual preferences for the games you play. You don’t have to do it in the mag, just here at Qt3. I’m curious because the column has a powerful ‘gonegold’ effect that makes me want to run out and buy them, but sometimes I question whether you guys are enjoying it.

I got the feeling that Bruce didn’t really like Freedom Force at all. I think you both liked AOMII, and I don’t think Tom liked Magic the Gathering. These are just guesses of course. I don’t know if you love these games, or if Jeff Green is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to play (its possible).

Lastly, one of my favorite parts is how you guys tend to seek out the unusual unit or spell (the mountain raising trick by Bruce in AOMII for example). It really brings out the fact that you guys would not only like to beat each other, but you would like to do it in a way that allows for some gloating. Nice touch.

There actually aren’t a ton of games that lend themselves to those sorts of write-ups. We pitch the ones we think would work and the appropriate editor at CGW (it used to be Scooter, now it’s Dana Jongewaard) picks one. One of the criteria, I imagine, is that it has a fairly broad appeal.

Our first one was for Rails Across America, which Bruce and I both loved. However, most people don’t find stocks, price wars, and track signal upgrades the sort of stuff you associate with nail-biting action recaps. Go figure. I think we both would have liked to have done one for Gary Grigsby’s Uncommon Valor, but, well, it probably wouldn’t have been ‘Saving Private Ryan’ enough for mass consumption.

We just finished one for Medieval (I have no comment on the outcome, but suffice to say I uninstalled the game in a fury once we were done…) and we’re waiting to see what, if any, they’d like us to do next.

They’re a lot of fun to write so I’m glad you’re enjoying them.


LOL! So I take it you lost the battle ? Or you came up against the dreaded 1300 fleet bug ?

I agree…My favorite column in CGW, consistently.

Another vote in the positive for these articles. The second one I read right after Jeff Green’s monthly gab.

Okay, so how come I didn’t have any idea that this column existed? Are there online archives by any desperate chance? Please?

I know I’d get ripped to shreds around these boards for saying that I’m a long-time PCGamer subscriber. For years they did me right. Ever since Whitta left, though… well, the magazine’s gotten thinner, shallower, and more… PC Accellerate-y. Columnists have half the space they used to have. Reviews have inane editorial asides sprinkled liberally. It ain’t the rag it used to be and I’ve come close to letting my subscription run out for the last two years.

Last time I compared PCG to other mags was probably 1997-8. Back then it seemed obvious to me that PCG was the most polished and best written of the bunch. Am I going to have to switch publications to get my Geryk Analysis fix? And besides the Geryk/Chick column and Jeff Green’s, does CGW otherwise hold its own?

I know there’re plenty of “interested parties” on this board regarding this debate and, being professionals, they’ll remain silent. What about all you consumers out there? Which mag do you read and why? How has it changed over the last couple years? For the better or worse?

Have to agree on the C vs. G columns. These columns really put me in the game, whether I’m interested in that particular game or not, and, frankly, they’re the only thing in any of the the computer games magazines that I’ve read with real pleasure, and then re-read, in many months. It may be that the mags are so locked into the review/preview/column format that any departure comes as a relief, but this is just plain nice work. :D


“What about all you consumers out there? Which mag do you read and why? How has it changed over the last couple years? For the better or worse?”

I was about to drop my PCGamer subscription a couple years ago when the big ad slump hit. I maintained it for a year, but I was barely reading it so I let it drop after that. CGM and CGW on the other hand, I still subscribe and read cover-to-cover.

Times change, and so do the magazines. I subscribed to CGW back before the ZD purchase, and it was my favorite. Being a curmudgeon, I didn’t like a lot of the changes that came after that, and eventually let my subscription lapse. Sort of the same deal with CGM, having been a big fan when it was CGS+, but dropping it like a hot potato during the controversy over the reduced content in the non-CD edition.

Eventually though, both mags lured me back. I started reading CGM again right after Qt3 came online, and I was looking for more articles by Tom & Mark. I started up with CGW again after Jeff Green asserted it was really good again and offered on Usenet to send a free copy to people in exchange for feedback. His confidence in the midst of the csipgs lions’ den inspired me to buy a copy off the newsstand, and damned if he wasn’t right. I resubscribed shortly after that.

Finally, if you want to support your friendly neighborhood freelancer, of which there are many around here, CGM and CGW use freelancers but PCG does not.

“CGW otherwise hold its own?”

IMO its does, and CGM too. The most noticable thing for me about PCG is that IMO they are to lenient in reviewing games in general. They trash stuff buts its always the easy Deer Hunter stuff and its ilk. The same beef I have with IGN too. Most big name games seem to get at least a mid 80’s review just by default from them. My history has been that CGM/CGW’s reviews end up closer to my personal taste in games. I do like the wargamer writer Trotter but that about it. Ohh and their very noticable habit of reviewing betas to beat out the other mags is a knock against it for me.

The amount by which the pcgamer category columns have been cut down is a complete joke. It isn’t like Trotter ever talked about actual games enough for my tastes, but now he has to tell us about his favorite war books in a space better suited as a long photo caption.

I’m a pcw fan over pcg, but I read both. I agree with Peter though, things really need to change even more. Previews suck. I just hate reading an article about a game that doesn’t even exist yet. I simply don’t believe what I read when it comes to a preview. I’ve always desired more space written about published games that deal with playing the damn game, or info on the communities around the game. How ridiculous is it that nobody writes articles about Everquest’s community (ingame and out), or an article about the empire? Spare me another Sigma Animals game preview, in which the only real fact we have is that a monkey will be glued to a shark tail. We don’t know the real name of the game, what the game play will be like really, or even if it will come out. There are too many great games currently available (go 2002!) to waste so much space on empty speculation. A game shouldn’t be dead to the mags just because they’ve already published a review. Sorry rant off


>The amount by which the pcgamer category columns have been cut down is a complete joke.

Well, in fairness, CGW cut out theirs entirely (I don’t know if CGM has them). Even though I wrote one of the CGW genre columns, I didn’t disagree with the decision to axe 'em. To the extent readers gave any feedback on them at all, it wasn’t particularly positive – I think many readers just ignored them.

I think it was a good decision to think of columns with different focuses (like the Chick vs Geryk one, which I also think is excellent). Like others have stated here and in the past, I’m all for getting magazines out of spending almost all their space on previews/reviews/strategy tips.

Hey, I liked that Trotter column with the book reference – I went out and bought the book immediately, and really enjoyed it. I enjoy Trotter’s and Andy Mahood’s columns in PCG more than I liked our genre columns in CGW, frankly.


Sort of back on topic: any chance the Uncommon Valor Chick vs Geryk battle could make a Qt3-only appearance? How about CMBB?

I’ve always desired more space written about published games that deal with playing the damn game, or info on the communities around the game.

You’re clearly not reading CGM then. A fellow by the name of Brett Todd who just happens to frequent these boards, writes something called Afterlife which features mods, communities, old games, etc. This month’s is seven pages of the magazine and includes interviews with Bill Roper and Chris Taylor. CGM also still features a few good columns. Chick’s “Three Finger Salute”, Steinmeyer’s “Inside the Sausage Factory” and Cindy Yans’ column are all good reading. The mag has had a lot of previews recently, but no more than can be expected in an industry where that’s what most readers really want.

I find it amusing that with at least six or more people on this board that write or have written for CGM, many of whom are highly respected, so few of you seem to be reading it.


First of all, thanks for the nice comments - we’re glad you like it. Although I realize I’m speaking for Tom, and he may actually not be glad you like it, so on second thought I retract this sentence.

Actually, the whole Geryk vs. Chick idea grew out of a bunch of failed attempts by me and Tom to do a head-to-head game write-up for q23, back before q23 became a Tom-and-Mark-and-POE-subsidized therapy tool for gamers. So it would kind of be like returning to our roots and giving props, if giving props means what I’m told it does, which it probably doesn’t. But considering how much work the articles are, and the fact that I feel guilty right now for taking money directly out of Tom’s pocket by posting to this board, my guess is a q23 special edition isn’t likely.

If I hated it, I’d stop doing it. That would really suck. So even though I sometimes am not crazy about a game, playing it against Tom makes it more fun. I don’t mean that in any homosexual way, either. You are right that I didn’t like Freedom Force. I actually liked Magic Online quite a bit, and would still be playing it if it didn’t require me to waste money to get better at it. My favorites so far have been Rails Across USA!, Age of Wonders 2, and especially Medieval, which I think is a great game that everyone should buy. And now I have a new computer that makes it rock!

I’m going to ditto Tom on how this whole thing works in terms of game selection, because the truth is that if we chose games just based on how much I liked them, every month would be another writeup of that Battle of the Bulge game by SSG from like five years ago. We actually pitched CMBB several times, because frankly that would be just about the best possible write-up ever, but I think it’s too “nichey” (is that a word? not in the OED!) for a three page writeup. Although you’re certainly free to bombard CGW with emails to the contrary.

Lastly, we’d never do an Uncommon Valor head-to-head because it’s not really that great a game! In my opinion. Which is supported by facts and logic but I realize everyone disagrees so I’ll shut up.

P.S. Neverwinter Nights sucks.

To be honest, I thought CGM went out of business two or three months ago. It isn’t as commonly found around here in Boston as the other 2 (it isn’t in Shaws or CVS), and I hadn’t seen it in EBX for ages, so I kind of gave up on it. I do enjoy CGM, and now I’ll start looking for it actively. Thanks for the info.

Yeesh…not available where you’re shopping in Boston? Steve better get the circ guys on that, considering the magazine is created in nearby Vermont.


They’re not online, so the only way to read them is to subscribe to CGW!

Just a quick correction to something Supertanker said at the end of a post above:

PC Gamer does use freelancers. Pretty much every issue has freelanced reviews and columns; several other sections of the mag use freelancers on a semi-regular basis.

Those two posts above were really me, btw. I forgot my password so I can only log on from home.

I prefer CGM to the other mags, though I am very fond of CGW, and, as I said before, the Geryk vs. Chick columns are among my favorites in any of the publications. (Probably right behind Three Finger Salute, which is almost always my favorite single read in any given month…What can I say? Tom Chick’s my hero. :-) )

So, anyone who is subscribing to just PCGamer but not CGM and CGW is missing out on really, really good reading.

And I vote for subscribing, via the mag’s website, if no other way, over buying off the newsstands, too. Especially considering that the general consensus is that CGM tends to be hard for a lot of people to find…Myself included.