These are magazines I like. I don't always read every issue, but these are the ones that either keep me up-to-date about the industry, or inspire me as a designer.
The industry's first peer-reviewed journal, it's only
available online and is competely free. It's also brand new. It looks pretty good. It's being edited by my friend Espen Aarseth.
The Journal of Computer Game Design
The Journal of Interactive Entertainment Design
A long time ago the designer Chris Crawford used to self-publish the Journal of Computer Game Design, whose name he later changed
to Interactive Entertainment Design. It's defunct now and was never peer-reviewed in any case. However, it was a start, and contained some interesting articles, including one or two by me. Back issues are available here.
A UK-based game developers' magazine. It's lighthearted, irreverant, and fun. It's also free to developers. Not as serious, nor quite as rich, as Game Developer,
but great for keeping track of development issues and events in the UK and Europe.
A weekly retailer's rag, with a major emphasis on the sales and marketing aspects of the industry. Reading this is a good way to get a sense of what life is like at the far end of the pipeline, where the games go out to the customers. We can wring our hands about artistic integrity all we like, but what pays our salaries is getting people to buy boxes.
A smallish but very intelligently-written magazine that seems to concentrate on games for people with some intellectual interests outside gaming.
This gamers' magazine doesn't seem to be as full of breathless gee-whiz enthusiasm as most. I like that; it means they're thinking. Unfortunately, they did seem to have an implacable hatred for Madden NFL Football (my product) for a while...
The New Yorker
Not just about New York! This magazine sets the standard for prose written in American English. The feature articles, commentary, and fiction are all excellent. Most of the writing in games is pretty bad, and the New Yorker is a breath of fresh air.
I discovered this by accident when some issues were delivered for a former tenant at a house I was renting.
Well-written, balanced coverage of science news without any apparent bias or agenda. It doesn't assume you're a specialist, but it doesn't assume you're an eighth-grader, either.
A publication of the Smithsonian Institution. It's a bit like National Geographic, with an emphasis on the Smithsonian's collections, of course. The articles are written for an intelligent reader, and are often about things you wouldn't think about. It's a good way of keeping in touch with the world outside our little high-tech cocoon.
The stories in Discovery are mostly about science, nature, and the environment. Definitely lighter weight than Smithsonian, but informative nonetheless.