Embarrassing game magazine covers

Look, when your job is to be excited about games that aren’t out yet, shit happens. Now, print is still an immensely respectable medium, so we’re not here to mock the hard work of colleagues, especially those who reside within punching-distance in this very building. And since you’re looking at a website filled-to-bursting with crudely Photoshopped heads, word balloons, and grammatical errors, it’s not as if GamesRadar’s got a high horse to sit atop.

Above: You can’t see our embarrassment, unless we let you. LOL, we’re too 1337 to be dated! 

Fortunately for us, at least when the web gets embarrassingly excited over something on the horizon, our hyperbole only clings to the front page as long as our front page gumball or panorama does. Poor print has to wear its heart on its glossy 11x16 sleeve, and those regrettable covers have to hang around on shelves, coffee tables and closets long after pride has subsided. Hey, we understand a lot of work goes into picking what adorns the handful of magazine covers every year, and that’s why we love them. Yet statistically, they can’t all be winners. And that makes the losers infinitely more hilarious:


When the web blows its load all over a game that never comes out, no one bats an eye. Why would they? It’s been buried with another Halo article by the time the news breaks. Mags, however, they’ve got to share in that heartbreak for as long as the paper holds out.

Above: Such is the occasional price of the “World Exclusive.” Just as Game Players couldn’t wait to tell the world about Sonic Xtreme, Sega couldn’t wait to cancel one of the Saturn’s last shots at marketplace redemption

Above: Thanks to its deal with GameStop, Game Informer is home to some of the biggest reveals and exclusives in the industry. Unfortunately, that huge lead time can also occasionally dupe the mag into promoting games that’ll never exist. Greatness comes at a cost

Above: Sadly, John Singleton’s third-person, ghetto saga was not to be. Sadder still, the game was wrapped up in a coinciding film starring Mr. Dogg that also rode the FAIL bus into IP oblivion

Above: Another almighty rapper disgraced by cancelation! PSM landed the exclusive scoop of a game… already released on Xbox 360? Quite ludicrously, the PS3 version was shitcanned shortly thereafter to allow more development time on the sequel

Above: Just tragic. Even Blizzard had to be excited about its first console game since… Really, Justice League Task Force?! So, you can’t blame OXM for their cover choice, as the
StarCraft Ghost novel tie-in made it into publication after years of development, too

Above: Alas, the last time Penn & Teller would ever grace the cover of a game magazine. Their game “Smoke and Mirrors” would never make its intended debut on Sega CD, PC, and 3DO… but the Desert Bus “minigame” lives on!
 LoadingReadyRun has held an annual marathon since 2007 where willing participants endure the EIGHT HOUR, 45mph real-time drive from Tucson to Las Vegas multiple times. You know, for charity?

Above: True Fantasy Live Online was the first, greatest and last hope for MMOs on the Xbox. Despite being playable and previewed many times, over two years worth of fan anticipation was all for nada

Above: Gracing its cover just a few months after the game’s official announcement, there was no way PC Gamer could know of the tragic joke Duke Nukem Forever would eventually become…

Above: And they even poked light-hearted fun at his prolonged absence two years later. Putting Duke on their cover is not a mistake PC Gamer, nor any other magazine, would ever make again

Click to the next page to see the PC press redeem itself purely by omission!


  • guarf1 - July 6, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    Wow, I own the EGM on the 3rd page with JCVD as Guild and the Batman one on the 5th page.
  • MasterOrHan - July 6, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    I had several of these magazines. It's cool to see them again even though they are all long gone. TBH, I don't see much difference between several of these and a lot of the ones you guys love. I can see where the awesome graphics covers where coming from back then even though it looks low res today.
  • Phantom Cipher - July 5, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    One more thing: The name of the Gamefan mascot, the blue skinned TV head who been pooping up all over the place, is named Monitaur. In the old days, there used to be a comic series delicated to him, with a sidekick that look just like Robin, trying to defend the gamers from bad games that came from Blowmaster Games (i am not even going to commet on the name so don't ask). They eventually kill the President of the company and his genetically enhenced son try to kill him but the Robin look alike sidekick have killed him by ripping off one of the geern tubes supporting his head. I know that is too much info, but there was actually a fanbase for this guy for a time.
  • Phantom Cipher - July 5, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    To flabslapper: Here is the asnwer to your question. I own some of the games that are on the Gamefan cover. The girl with the green hair is Ellis from Toshinden The Clown is Fwank and the fat guy is Mamma. Both of them are from Loaded. And the rabbit is Commandeer Robbit from Junping Flash! Hope that asnwers your question.
  • super0sonic - July 4, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    It still hurts to see that True Fantasy Live Online was killed. I got Xbox live the second the game was announced.
  • MangaPunkSai - July 4, 2010 1:29 a.m.

    I'm most disturbed by the fact that Game Informer's cover layouts used to look like an issue of Highlights.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - July 3, 2010 10:55 p.m.

    I totally forgot how horrible Gamepro's art was. One category I think you guys overlooked: front cover games that turned out total piles of crap. Rise Of The Robots being on every single video game mag cover comes to mind.
  • Mechamorbo - July 3, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    Oh God, it's like a parade of bad composition, breaking every rule in the book like they're jews in Poland circa 1945...
  • governordyrssen - July 3, 2010 5:47 a.m.

    I read this "Can’t blame Game Players for the console codename, but it’s still odd everything except the console in question is named correctly" and i wanna say ur a dumbass because ulta was its original name
  • crumbdunky - July 3, 2010 4:18 a.m.

    Even now I have simply NO idea WTf that GameFan mascot actually is, why he's there, why it was created or what it's purpose was meant to be. Also, why the muscles? Also, why blue and why a monitor for a head? Seriously, "dumbass" doesn't NEARLY cover it.
  • dirty1996 - July 2, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    too long did not read... But seriously, nice work
  • FantasticMrStarFox - July 2, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    This is horrible. I lold when I saw Ryu in a baseball uniform. Great article.
  • flabslapper - July 1, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    ok someone PLEASE tell me who the ballerina girl with the green hair and big tits is on the Game Fan cover with Jumping Flash rabbit and the other 'forgotten' playstation mascots! I recognize her but I can't find any information on the interwebs!
  • thesuperspacejew - July 1, 2010 12:17 p.m.

    These things look more like tabloid covers more than anything else, to be honest.
  • Romination - July 1, 2010 6:36 a.m.

    The Hyperblade cover is not polygons. The Hyperblade cover is a custom piece of cubist art meant to EVOKE polygons, but it isn't a real 3D model and is actually quite beautiful, in my opinion. Also, the Universal Soldier cover. Why did you say it edited out Van Damme? He was right there. On the right. And I don't think it's embarrassing putting a game that's later canceled. It's not like they knew when they were putting it there that they were going to cancel it. It happened. The Tiberium cover is pretty great, for example.
  • elpurplemonkey - July 1, 2010 1:26 a.m.

    Great captions on the covers, what the hell was up with M. Bison?
  • kevkev - July 1, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    Not sure how I was able to live without this article in my life! Awesome job, Chris! I remember owning almost all of these issues!
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 30, 2010 10:12 p.m.

    On the would be playstation mascots I bet someone recognizes the girl that is whereing a bow and...That's about it. People follow those things.
  • festerblatz82 - June 30, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    It's wonderful to hear other people have boxes of these old mags. My wife thinks I'm crazy. Nice article.
  • SausageLozenge - June 30, 2010 7:50 p.m.

    Thats a crap ton of covers. Way to go Chris.

Showing 1-20 of 91 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000