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Game Informer editor sees evolution in gaming journalism

Andrew Reiner has seen a lot of changes in the gaming industry. The editor-in-chief at Game Informer has been a part of the organization since 1995 and seen the industry — and the people who cover it — evolve, and he’s loving every second of it.

“I get up in the morning and I’m excited about the day ahead,” Reiner said.

Gaming has always been a part of Reiner’s life, but the true inspiration for his career trajectory came when he discovered gaming journalism.

“My world was upended by the NES and Nintendo Power,” Reiner said. “I wanted to become a part of that. I thought these people had the coolest job in the world.”

But it seemed to be just a dream until he happened upon a store that would provide him an invaluable opportunity.

“My parents sent me to go to the paint store,” Reiner said. “Right next door was something called FuncoLand. I looked in and it was just wall-to-wall video games.”

Reiner was immediately drawn in and met someone who would change his life.

“I met someone named Paul Anderson,” Reiner said. “He was working the counter and said, ‘Look, I’m in this magazine.’ It was Game Informer. He opened it and pointed to his reviews.”

From there, Reiner had a singular goal in mind — work at Game Informer. He spent more and more time at the store, talking to Paul and eventually meeting Andy McNamara, who would later become editor-in-chief at Game Informer.

Meanwhile, Reiner attended college and was four credits away from graduating when Game Informer expanded. Reiner had his chance and took it.

“I got started at the tail of the beginning of games journalism,” Reiner said.

But Reiner entered into a gaming journalism world that was very different than today.

“Most writers had aliases and a cartoon profile,” Reiner said. “Gaming journalism has come a long way. We have real people writing now. We grew up and became better writers and journalists.”

What started as content aimed at younger audiences has morphed into something else.

“I think it goes back to Next Generation magazine,” Reiner said. “They came along and put Bill Gates on their cover and they talked to developers and they were professional writers. It wasn’t just a kids’ medium anymore and we had to start writing that way too.”

Game Informer has continued to evolve, and after a year that saw the games industry having to adjust to the pandemic, 2021 could offer some intriguing stories to follow.

“I think all eyes are on next-gen,” Reiner said. “What kind of staying power do these machines have? Systems always sell out on launch. People always say consoles are dead, but boy it feels like the 90s right now. There’s this fervor for these machines.”

Directly related to that will be how game makers adjust to developing new titles under unprecedented circumstances.

“How developers are handling the pandemic (is worth watching),” Reiner said. “What is 2021 going to look like? Will these machines just not have any software on them?”

2021 will be another unprecedented year for the gaming industry. Despite the challenges many are facing due to COVID-19, Reiner is as excited as he was the first day he started to see what is next.

“You never know what’s going to happen, what’s going to be announced and what you’ll be playing,” Reiner said. “I haven’t taken this job for granted at all.”

Contact Lukas Eggen at leggen@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @lukaseggen on Twitter.

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