Hitbox is a gaming magazine managed by C&K Publishing that releases a new issue every Standard Earth Month. Launched in December 2935, each issue of Hitbox features previews of upcoming games, news and statistics related to the games industry, reviews of new releases, and at least one interview with a game developer. This standard format is only broken in the December issue, which dives into a detailed retrospective on the best and worst games of the past year. After a rocky start, it has consistently been one of the top selling gaming magazines produced by Humans since reaching the mass market in 2939.HISTORY
Roommates Velma Bhatti, Amahle Mhlongo, and Augustin Fontenot began a Spectrum site called Collision Detection in 2929 containing short reviews of digital games they had recently played. Enthusiasts who first bonded with one another over their shared love of games, Mhlongo had recently obtained her Equivalency and was unsure of what to do next, and Bhatti and Fontenot were working restaurant jobs while they saved money to buy a Constellation Taurus. Initially, their reviews were posted on an irregular schedule, based on when one of the three could afford to purchase a new game. Their posts became more frequent in late 2929 when Mhlongo got a job at retailer Baers and was able to temporarily borrow games as a part of her store's employee check-out program. Views began to climb due to the site's more regular publication schedule and the shared sense of humor the friends included in each of their articles.
In 2931, the site was receiving enough views that Mhlongo suggested reaching out to advertisers to cover their ballooning hosting costs. Fontenot and Bhatti were reluctant to do so, as they did not want to be tied to maintaining a hobby site when they eventually saved enough to purchase their own spacecraft. However, as their bills continued to grow higher, they conceded that they could no longer afford to cover the costs on their own and they partnered with their first advertisers. They were soon able to cover their server bills with some money left over. The site continued to grow, eventually becoming profitable enough thanks to increased viewership and advertising revenue for all three to quit their jobs and dedicate themselves to reviewing full time in 2932.
Publishing company C&K reached out to the trio in 2934 with an offer to publish Collision Detection as a physical magazine. The contract would provide the site founders with an influx of credits, enough for Fontenot and Bhatti to finally purchase their first ship. They eagerly signed, and Mhlongo threw herself into developing the format of the magazine while Fontenot and Bhatti focused on keeping the site maintained, updating it remotely from their ship as they fulfilled their dream of traveling. C&K took on the bulk of production planning, and after almost a year of preparation, the first issue was released in December 2935 under the new name Hitbox, which had tested well with focus groups. The site was renamed as well.
Initial sales were disappointing. The first six issues struggled with confusing page layouts, and a screenshot of the game Canine Coiffure, long used by Bhatti as filler to be replaced before her articles were published, was mistakenly used for multiple unrelated games and sent to print until it was excised from the production pipeline. Even after the issues were resolved, it seemed that Hitbox was not destined to be a hit. However, sales picked up throughout 2937 thanks to a strategy devised by Bhatti. As she and Fontenot journeyed through the United Empire of Earth (UEE), they would drop free bundles of the magazine with games and electronics retailers along with the contact information of C&K Publishing. By 2939, Hitbox could be purchased at most places where games were sold.
Mhlongo remains at Hitbox as Editor-in-Chief, and Fontenot and Bhatti contribute reviews and special articles to the magazine and the site multiple times per year. The two married in 2943.CONTROVERSY
In 2941, the magazine was mailed a copy of a lost game titled Meet Me in Elysium, ostensibly made by a reclusive team of Tevarin who published their work under pseudonyms. Features Editor Gavin Joy wrote an in-depth article on the game with interviews from the developers that was published in the March 2941 issue of the magazine. The game was revealed to be an elaborate hoax concocted by Borea (Magnus III) radio hosts Burke and Banyon for the holiday Triggerfish. Hitbox published a written apology signed by all its editors in the April issue, promising to exert more due diligence in the future. Joy resigned.