EGM2 is a monthly magazine devoted to console video games. It launched with the Summer 1994 Consumer Electronics Show as a “second edition” of Electronic Gaming Monthly, but soon trailed its own editorial path until it became distinct enough from EGM to merit a name change.
When it was launched by EGM editor-in-chief Ed Semrad, it was intended to be the exact same thing as EGM itself, except published two weeks apart from EGM’s own publication date. The idea was that this would essentially turn EGM into a sort of optional biweekly publication — casual gamers could be satisfied with EGM alone, but hardcore fans who wanted every bit of game coverage possible could spring for both EGM and EGM2. (This scheme also allowed Sendai to avoid the complications that would arise from making EGM itself biweekly, as well as have two monthly multiplatform magazines to sell per month instead of one.)
However, unlike Famicom Tsushin and the other Japanese biweekly magazines of the time, Sendai originally launched EGM2 without creating a separate editorial staff for it. This quickly resulted in magazine burnout, as the EGM editors had little to add to EGM2 that they hadn’t already covered in their own magazine.
After a year of publishing, Sendai realized that EGM2 did little that EGM wasn’t already doing, and the magazine began to shift its coverage to primarily concentrate on previews, arcade coverage, and in-depth strategy guides. This formula (proven successful by Tips & Tricks at the time) helped EGM2 find its niche, and it managed to grow its circulation even as it bowed out of the “first tier” of game magazines.
In acknowledgement of its new voice, Ziff Davis took the occasion of EGM2’s 50th issue to completely redesign the magazine, giving it the new (and more fitting) name of Expert Gamer. That magazine would last until 2001, when it was redesigned and renamed once more to GameNOW before closing for good in 2004.
- One of EGM2’s main draws was expanded coverage of import games, in an effort to better compete with Game Fan. The Tricks of the Trade cheats section included tricks for Japanese titles, and the International Outlook section was expanded to include Fact File spreads on popular import games like Ultraman Powered and Yu Yu Hakusho.
- Unlike EGM, Fact Files in EGM2 had author bylines and the accompanying text was a bit more opinionated.
- EGM2 had no Review Crew section, arguably the main attraction of the original EGM.
- EGM2 had a fanzine review page, written by Arnie Katz of Electronic Games fame.
- Despite the superscript numeral in the title, the magazine was officially referred to as “EGM Two,” not “EGM Squared.”
- Before the publication of the first issue, an advertisement for EGM2 featured a mock-up cover touting a blow-out on Mortal Kombat 3. After the real issue came out with a different cover and sans anything on MK3, hundreds of letters flooded the offices demanding the info. (They printed one of these letters in the third issue.)
- To meet the magazine’s premiere at the 1994 Summer CES, copies of the first issue were trucked directly from the printer to Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center by Sendai employees. The first issue had only just closed, mere days before the first day of the convention.
- In an effort to distinguish EGM2 from EGM, several popular columns were slightly changed. The Game Gossip column was written by “X-Bert” beginning in the second issue, even though the columns by Quartermann and X-Bert were actually written by the same editor. Similarly, Tricks of the Trade was credited to “Trickman Junior” and a few previews were penned by a “Sushi-X, Jr.”
- In the third issue, the Fandom Central fanzine review column included a review a zine whose staff included Chris Johnston, who also happened to be on the EGM2 staff at the time.