Tenure: AP37, AP56-AP65
Designation: Reader (AP37), Walking Tips Machine, Reviewer
You know, one of the truly great things about AP was the art of the intro.
Like the first glimpse of a girl silhouetted in a nightclub strobe, they were stunning (though they didn't actually make me wander over and offer to buy them a drink. I digress) and often rather desperate, much like this one which, the smart reader will have noted, is merely a variation on the "I Can't Think Of An Intro" intro, patented by Mr Campbell and applied often in the PD Section.
Anyway, a chap called Ed wrote to me a couple of days ago and had this to say, so saving me the effort of thinking of something suitably fab.
"Anyway, enjoy whatever it is that you're doing, safe in the knowledge that merely writing for AP is sufficient for you to have accomplished a great deed, at least in my eyes. So there you go. And it has also seeped into the way I write and think. Which, if you think about it, is a bit sad."
He's obviously both correct and completely erroneous. I'll get back to it later.
As far as I'm aware, I am the only Mighty One (apart from the Immaculate Mills, natch) to drag himself from the primordial seas of the readership onto the sunny beach of might. As such I keep a dual perspective on the magazine: simultaneously the jaded, illiterate hack and the effervescent, illiterate reader. So I was asked to write this. And I have.
My student chums, in one of our legendary Saturday Afternoon Airwolf Debates, broached the novel concept that AP was, in fact, a "meta-magazine". It existed purely to write about itself, in a neat parallel to Team 4.5's credo of self-eulogisation.
Of course, some evidence does exist to support this, namely the so-called Matt Bielby (Such a charming and distinctive name. - Ed) Golden Age (actually so called because from issues five to ten Matt was, quite literally, a Golden Statue whose main function was that of humanoid coat-stand) where all the magazine did was write about computer games.
(A frightening concept to newer readers, but true nevertheless.)
Obviously, once we had created a back catalogue of "thing" to rant about and refer to we could dismiss the dull computer stuff and get on with the serious ego massage.
People have said this about AP. They are all, without exception, cretinous morons.
As a reader, what was most refreshing about AP's reviews was the fact we cared: every kicking we delivered to a half-hearted platformer was the highest expression of "tough love"; every thrashing a desperate attempt to tell the industry to "Get better!"
AP was cynical because, like all cynics, it once was an utter romantic.
Of course the other obviously different thing about AP was that it attempted to advance the vocabulary and precision of games journalism, trying to wrestle down exactly what made a game fab or complete dreck.
Most other mags fall into the cheerfully tautological "It's good because it's good" style, or merely act as a restatement of the industry's status quo, a blustery and empty proclamation that there's only one way to be good, and that's whatever the accepted wisdom happens to be (Edge primarily, though others wander in too).
AP never accepted convention: it undermined it. If anyone listens to the legacy of those pages then the world would be a slightly more technicolour place.
So, returning to the initial quote, the best thing about being an AP reader was being an AP reader. (Ignore the fact I'm fighting the urge to use the word "tautological" twice. I'm tired. And it's true anyway.)
For the budding fanboy it changed the way people thought and talked (Or did it? Or DID it? OR (Fade to waste disposal noises - Ed)) and generally in a positive way, like its ancestor YS.
AP has beget us a generation of people who hate censorship, love The Italian Job and have a suitable disrespect of figures of authority. They may all talk in capitals but, hey, it could be worse.
AP was an institution. Or it should have put in an institution. Make up your own mind.