Play is a monthly magazine that primarily covers console video games and Japanese animation, although coverage is also given to PC games, DVDs, and other types of media. It is the third magazine (after GameFan and Gamers’ Republic) to be founded and run by Dave Halverson, and arguably also his most successful publication.
Play is also the name of a long-running game magazine in the UK devoted to the PlayStation console lineup. The two titles are unrelated.
Play is the third game magazine to be founded by Dave Halverson, after Diehard GameFan and Gamers’ Republic. It released its first issue to newsstands in late November 2001, just in time for the holiday season and only a couple of months after Gamers’ Republic’s final release.
Like Halverson’s previous magazines, Play’s primary emphasis is on the “hardcore” aspect of video games, including coverage that emphasizes Japanese releases and lesser-known titles from smaller developers. It also features (in a separate section) extended coverage of the Japanese anime industry, as well as adult-oriented US animation, music DVDs, and gadget-type merchandise.
Play’s design, an extension of the one seen in the latter issues of Gamers’ Republic, is a departure from Halverson’s previous magazines. Instead of GameFan’s cluttered look, Play is very cleanly designed, with a static black-text-on-white-background base and a heavy emphasis on art and screenshots. This design is not as unique as it once was, but still puts Play at a singular position in the US magazine marketplace.
The magazine is also well-known for its — or, to be more exact, Halverson’s — undying love for the platform genre, frequently devoting large-scale coverage to lesser-known platformers that barely merited a mention in contemporary magazines. Some readers deride this prejudice toward platform games, but for others, it’s all part of Play’s charm.
Official circulation figures are unavailable to the public, and the magazine is not ABC-audited.
In addition to Play itself, Fusion Publishing has released five yearly special issues — four volumes of Girls of Gaming, and one volume of Girls of Anime. Both titles feature pages of art from games and anime featuring beautiful women; digital versions of volumes 3 and 4 are available for purchase that feature “bonus mature content”.
In early 2007, Fusion Publishing launched Rocket Magazine, a “pop culture multimedia magazine” similar in style to Play that covers movies, anime, manga, TV and some games. The magazine is scheduled to run bimonthly, although publication has already started to slip slightly.