Expert Gamer (often abbreviated to XG) was a United States-based video game magazine that was published by Ziff Davis from August 1998 to October 2001. There are 39 issues of Expert Gamer in total. The bulk of XG's content was video game strategy guides and cheat codes. There were no reviews and only occasional light-hearted features.
Expert Gamers's roots began in July 1994 when the popular magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly launched a spin-off magazine called EGM². EGM2 was essentially "another EGM," only without a reviews section and a greater emphasis on import games. The magazine lasted 49 issues with the last issue coming out in July 1998.
Starting in August 1998, EGM2 became Expert Gamer, and the magazine's focus shifted away from news and previews to strategy and tricks. Despite the different name, XG continued EGM2's numbering system. The redesign into Expert Gamer was heralded with a rare fold-out cover depicting the name change unique to issue 50. The content of the strategies would largely remain the same, although a cleaner style was implemented.
This issue also marked the humorous introduction to the staff in the form of a fictional fighting game. Each editor/copy editor was dressed in costume and "moves lists" were given for their alleged attacks.
Late into its cycle, International was returned to Expert Gamer, bringing not only news of import gaming, but of anime as well.
XG lasted for 39 issues until October 2001 (with the last issue being XG #88).
The next month (November 2001), XG morphed into its final form, GameNOW albeit minus several of its more notable long-term staff members. Although GameNOW maintained a healthy tricks section and occasional strategy guides, the magazine's focus shifted to in-depth previews and reviews. Skewed to a slightly younger audience than that of EGM (roughly 12- to 14-year-olds), GameNOW concentrated less on industry insider-type features and more on the actual video games, including numerous large screenshots and elaborate feature articles.
The numbering system was reset with the change to GameNOW, and the final issue was #27 in January 2004.
For a couple of years after the change from XG to GameNOW, the "Expert Gamer" name lived on in the form of the Expert Codebook, a seasonal collection of tricks and strategies. By 2003, however, the "Expert Gamer" name was dropped, and the collection became known as the EGM Codebook.
List of issues
The following is a list of all the Expert Gamer issues including what was on the cover:
Note: The issue numbering starts with #50 as issues #1-49 were known as EGM².
- Issue #50, August 1998 - The Most Memorable Hidden Secrets of All Time
- Issue #51, September 1998 - Mega Man Legends (PlayStation)
- Issue #52, October 1998 - Parasite Eve (PlayStation)
- Issue #53, November 1998 - Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation)
- Issue #54, December 1998 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #55, January 1999 - Tomb Raider III (PlayStation)
- Issue #56, February 1999 - Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #57, March 1999 - Silent Hill (PlayStation)
- Issue #58, April 1999 - Mario Party (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #59, May 1999 - WCW Monday Nitro (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #60, June 1999 - Star Wars Episode I: Racer (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #61, July 1999 - Ape Escape (PlayStation)
- Issue #62, August 1999 - Pokémon Snap (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #63, September 1999 - WWF Attitude (PlayStation, Nintendo 64)/Driver (PlayStation)
- Issue #64, October 1999 - Final Fantasy VIII (PlayStation)
- Issue #65, November 1999 - Dino Crisis (PlayStation)
- Issue #66, December 1999 - Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PlayStation)
- Issue #67, January 2000 - Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #68, February 2000 - Gran Turismo 2 (PlayStation)
- Issue #69, March 2000 - Mario Party 2 (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #70, April 2000 - Syphon Filter 2 (PlayStation)
- Issue #71, May 2000 - Pokémon Stadium (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #72, June 2000 - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PlayStation)
- Issue #73, July 2000 - Metal Gear Solid (Game Boy Color)
- Issue #74, August 2000 - Perfect Dark (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #75, September 2000 - Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #76, October 2000 - Spider-Man (PlayStation), Ultimate Fighting Championship (PlayStation), Chrono Cross (PlayStation), Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber (Nintendo 64), Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PlayStation)
Note: This issue did not have multiple covers. All five games were shown on the same cover.
- Issue #77, November 2000 - Dino Crisis 2 (PlayStation)
- Issue #78, December 2000 - Final Fantasy IX (PlayStation)/The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #79, January 2001 - Pokémon Gold, Pokémon Silver (Game Boy Color)
- Issue #80, February 2001 - Driver 2 (PlayStation 2)
- Issue #81, March 2001 - Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
- Issue #82, April 2001 - Star Wars: Starfighter (PlayStation 2)
- Issue #83, May 2001 - Pokémon Stadium 2 (Nintendo 64)
- Issue #84, June 2001 - Zone of the Enders (PlayStation 2)
- Issue #85, July 2001 - Red Faction (PlayStation 2)
- Issue #86, August 2001 - The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Game Boy Color)
- Issue #87, September 2001 - Sonic Adventure 2 (Dreamcast)
- Issue #88, October 2001 - Mario Kart: Super Circuit (Game Boy Advance)
Towards the end of Expert Gamer's run, the magazine has developed a series of running gags that were quite popular with its readers. These gags were typically discussed in the magazine's letters section, "Gamers' Forum". They included such topics as the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII and some readers' desire for naked pictures of the cast of Street Fighter. Other gags were concepts born in the pages of XG, such as Choppy McChopp, the custom-created wrestler in the N64 game WWF No Mercy whose moves consisted entirely of punching attacks, Choppy's arm-hating rival, Kicky McKickk, and the catchphrase, "Ooh, it looks like school's out."
Readers also enjoyed searching for appearances of a particular screenshot of Final Fantasy VIII that debuted in issue #64 (October 1999) and was repeatedly reused in the magazine whenever the editors needed to show a picture of that game or provide a visual of the Final Fantasy series in general.
XG's sense of humor and many of its running gags continued after the magazine became GameNOW.