Famitsu

Famitsu
Famitsu svg WIKI1.svg
Famitsu - Issue 1.jpg
Cover art for the first issue of Famitsū magazine (then known as Famicom Tsūshin), June 1986. The Atari 2600 controller and the Family Computer controller can be seen on the cover.
Categories Video game
Frequency Weekly / Monthly
Format Paper and online magazine
Circulation 500,000 (Shūkan)
120,000 (Entamikusu)
80,000 (Connect! On)
40,000 (DS+Wii)[1]
Publisher ASCII (1986–2000)
Enterbrain (2000–2013)
Kadokawa (2013–2017)
Gzbrain (2017–2019)
Kadokawa Game Linkage (2019-)
First issue June 1986; 34 years ago (1986-06) (as Famicom Tsūshin)
Country Japan
Based in Tokyo
Language Japanese
Website www.famitsu.com

Famitsu,[a] formerly Famicom Tsūshin, is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Kadokawa Game Linkage (previously known as Gzbrain), a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū,[b] the original Famitsū publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan.[2][3][4] From October 28, 2011 the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly.[5][6]

The name Famitsū is a portmanteau abbreviation of Famicom Tsūshin;[c] the word "Famicom" itself comes from a portmanteau abbreviation of "Family Computer" (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System)—the dominant video game console in Japan during the 1980s.

History

Login (ログイン), a computer game magazine, started in 1982 as an extra issue of ASCII, and later it became a periodic magazine. Famicom Tsūshin[d] was a column in Login, focused on the Famicom platform, and ran from March 1985 to December 1986 issue. It received a good reception, so the publisher decided to found the magazine specialized for it.[7][8]

The first issue of Famitsū was published on June 6, 1986 as Famicom Tsūshin.[9] It sold less than 200,000 copies, despite 700,000 copies printed. The major competitor was Family Computer Magazine launched in July 1985 by Tokuma Shoten. Famitsū's editor found many readers had multiple game consoles, and they thought it would be better if the magazine covered various platforms. Increasing contents and the page count gradually, the magazine was published three times per month instead of semimonthly publication. On July 19, 1991 (issue #136) the magazine was renamed to Shūkan Famicom Tsūshin[e] and issues were published weekly thereafter. Alongside the weekly magazine, a monthly version called Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin[f] was also published.

Hirokazu Hamamura, an editor-in-chief (1992-2002), felt the beginning of a new era when he saw a private demonstration of Final Fantasy VII in 1993. He thought the name Famicom Tsūshin should be refurbished. At the start of 1996 (with issue #369) the magazines underwent another name change, truncating their titles to Shūkan Famitsū[g] and Gekkan Famitsū.[h] The name Famitsū had already been in common use.[8]

The magazine was published by ASCII from its founding through March 2000 when it was sold to Enterbrain, which published it for 13 years until their parent company Kadokawa published it from 2013 to 2017. Since 2017, Kadokawa's subsidiary Gzbrain has been publishing the magazine, while in 2019 the company changed its name to Kadokawa Game Linkage.[6]

Shūkan Famitsū and Gekkan Famitsū

Famicom Tsūshin initially focused on the Famicom platform, but later it featured multi-platform coverage. Famicom Tsūshin was renamed to Famitsū in 1995. Shūkan Famitsū is a weekly publication concentrating on video game news and reviews, and is published every Thursday with a circulation of 500,000 per issue.[1] Gekkan Famitsū is published monthly.

Necky the Fox

Famitsū magazine covers alternately feature pop idols or actresses on even-numbered issues and the Famitsū mascot, Necky[i] the Fox[10] in odd-numbered issues.[11] Year-end and special editions all feature Necky dressed as popular contemporary video game characters. Necky is the cartoon creation of artist Susumu Matsushita, and he takes the form of a costumed fox.[12] The costumes worn by Necky reflect current popular video games. Necky's name was chosen according to a reader poll, and it derives from a complex Japanese pun: "Necky" is actually the reverse of the Japanese word for fox, キツネ,[j] and his original connection to Famicom Tsūshin is intended to evoke the bark of the fox, the Japanese onomatopoeia of which is コンコン[k].[13] Necky makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker.[14]

Special topic Famitsūs

Famitsū publishes other magazines dedicated to particular consoles. Currently in circulation are:

  • Entamikusu[l] (previously Otonafami[m]) is written for an older audience and covers retrogaming. It has been published monthly since November 2010.
  • Famitsū Connect! On[n] reports on online gaming.
  • Famitsū DS+Wii[o] reports on Nintendo platforms (currently the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch). The magazine was formerly known as Famitsū 64 and then Famitsū Cube (among other variations of those two names) based on whatever platforms Nintendo was producing games for at the time.
  • Famitsū GREE[p] reports on mobile gaming via GREE.
  • Famitsū Mobage[q] reports on mobile gaming via Mobage.

Former special topics

Famitsū spin-offs that are no longer in circulation include:

  • Famitsū Bros.[r] (previously Famicom Tsūshin Kōryaku Special) was written for younger audiences and concentrated on video game hints and strategy. It was published monthly and was discontinued in September 2002.
  • Famicomi[s] (previously Famitsū Comic) was a comic and manga magazine published irregularly between 1992 and 1995.
  • Famitsū DC[t] reported on Sega platforms news and covered the Dreamcast. Previous incarnations of this magazine included Sega Saturn Tsūshin which covered the Sega Saturn, with earlier issues covering earlier Sega platforms.
  • Famitsū Sister[u] covered bishōjo games.
  • Satellaview Tsūshin[v] covered the Satellaview. It was published monthly and ran for only 12 issues from May 1995 to May 1996. Its inaugural issue was the May 1995 issue of Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin.
  • Virtual Boy Tsūshin[w] covered the Virtual Boy. Only one issue was ever published in 1995.
  • Famitsū PS[x] (previously PlayStation Tsūshin) began publication in May 1996, and reported on Sony platforms news. It was later known as Famitsū PS2 and Famitsū PSP+PS3 before being discontinued in March 2010.
  • Famitsū Wave DVD[y] (previously GameWave DVD) covered events, film, and previews. Each magazine included a DVD disc (NTSC Region 2) with video game footage. It was published monthly and went defunct in May 2011.
  • Famitsū Xbox 360[z] reported on Xbox and Xbox 360 news. It was discontinued in 2013.

Scoring

Video games are graded in Famitsū via a "Cross Review" in which a panel of four video game reviewers each give a score from 0 to 10 (with ten indicating the best game). The scores of the four reviewers are then added up for a maximum possible score of 40. From the twenty-four games awarded with a perfect score as of 2017, three are for the Nintendo DS and five are for the Wii. The PlayStation 3 also has five games with a perfect score and the Xbox 360 has four, with both consoles having four titles in common. The others are for different platforms with only one title each. Franchises with multiple perfect score winners include The Legend of Zelda with four titles, Metal Gear with three titles, and Final Fantasy with two titles. The most recent game to receive a perfect score is Ghost of Tsushima.

As of 2020, all but three games with perfect scores are from Japanese companies, nine being published/developed by Nintendo, four by Square Enix, three by Sega, three by Konami and one by Capcom. As of 2020, the only three completely foreign games to achieve a perfect score are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks, Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games, and Ghost of Tsushima, from Sucker Punch Productions. Other foreign games that have achieved near-perfect scores are L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV – all four of which came from Rockstar Games; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – all from Activision, although published by Square Enix in Japan; Gears of War 3 from Epic Games; and The Last of Us Part II and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End from Naughty Dog. (Kingdom Hearts II is a joint effort between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios.)

Awards

Famitsu administers the Famitsu awards. Video games receive a number of different awards in categories like Innovation, Biggest Hit, Rookie Award, Highest Quality, etc. One or two "Game of the Year" awards are granted as the top prize. Top prize winners are determined by a combination of critical and fan review scores as well as sales figures.

Relationship with other magazines

UK trade magazine MCV and Famitsu have an exclusive partnership which sees news and content from each magazine appear in the other.[15]

See also

Copyright