Diànzǐ Yóuxì Ruǎnjiàn (simplified Chinese: 电子游戏软件; "Electronic Game Software"; also known by the portmanteau abbreviation Diàn Ruǎn (电软; lit. "Electro Soft")) is China's earliest video game magazine. Founded in the summer of 1993 and officially serialized in May 1994 by China Association for Science and Technology, the magazine was originally subtitled Game Jízhōngyíng (GAME集中营; lit. "Game Concentration Camp"), and focused on both PC games and console games. In July 1995 it was closed by the government, however the publication ban was lifted two months later and the magazine was given the more politically palatable subtitle Game Fēngjǐngxiàn (GAME风景线; lit. "Game Landscape"). Topical coverage broadened after this point to include articles on anime, comics, music, and popular culture in general, however the de-emphasis on video games created a rift among staff and several editors led by Bīng Suǒ (索冰; better known under the pseudonym "King") left the magazine to found Diànzǐ Yóuxì yǔ Diànnǎo Yóuxì (电子游戏与电脑游戏; lit. "Electronic Games and Computer Games"; known by the portmanteau abbreviation Diàn Diàn (电电; lit. "Electro Comp")), a rival magazine catering to a hardcore and doujin gamer ethic.
|Editor||Pèi Xiǎo (Last editor-in-chief)|
|Former editors||Chūn Xiǎo (Co-founding editor-in-chief)|
Wényǔ Liú (Co-founding editor-in-chief)
|Publisher||China Association for Science and Technology|
|First issue||May 1994|
From 1995 to 2000, Diàn Ruǎn and Diàn Diàn dominated video game magazine sales in the country and the competition between them was stiff and occasionally acrimonious. The early 2000s saw the introduction of prominent rivals, and the development of specialist gaming magazines like the PC-focused Play. From 2003 (the year that marked the folding of Diàn Diàn) through 2005, Diàn Ruǎn experienced the peak of its influence with annual income approaching 16.5 million yuan. The 2010s would see the magazine's last days as the rise of internet journalism prompted a global decline of newspapers. On June 13, 2010, a large number of staff simultaneously resigned and the magazine was described by Gameaning journalists as "hanging by a thread". At the end of February 2012, a Weibo post from Diàn Ruǎn's official microblog confirmed that their next issue (#319) would be the last.
Seven months later, in September 2012, the magazine re-opened with a different format and with an academic rather than entertainment focus on video games. This new iteration of the magazine was short-lived and two months later (in November 2012) the magazine was renamed Diànzǐ Jìshù yǔ Ruǎnjiàn Gōngchéng (电子技术与软件工程; lit. "Electronic Technology and Software Engineering"), and its emphasis was shifted to non-game electronic hardware.
- Summer 1993 - Diànzǐ Yóuxì Ruǎnjiàn "Game Jízhōngyíng" is founded by Chūn Xiǎo (晓春), Wényǔ Liú (刘文雨; using the pseudonym "Xūnfēng" (熏风)), Sōng Tián (田松), Lóng Qiūzhào (邱兆龙; pseudonym "Lóng Gē" (龙哥)), and Rúdé Liú (刘儒德; pseudonym "Lǎo d" (老d)). Xiǎo takes the position of general manager and the others act as journalists and editors. The magazine begins life as a series of "books" recognized with unique ISBN identifiers (e.g. the first two issues in 1993 use ISBN 7-4303-1472-0/T.294 (issue #1) and ISBN 7-80036-X/G.23 (issue #2)).
- 25 May 1994 - The magazine gains approval for an official nationally recognized serialization number (CN-11-3505/TP) and restarts its numbering at #1.
- 14 December 1994 - The magazine gains international recognition with an ISSN number (ISSN 1006-5032).
- July 1995 - Authorities halt the publication of "Game Jízhōngyíng" citing 15 publication infractions including the use of a repugnant publishing title, the use of anonymous pseudonyms for all staff, and the misuse of their "Diàn ruǎn shèpíng" (电软社评; lit. "Electro Soft Editorial") column. This column contained politically sensitive issues like criticism of the government policies on games and frank discussion of the then-rampant software piracy.
- September 1995 - Under the efforts of founding member, Wényǔ Liú, the publication ban is lifted.
- October 1995 - Publication resumes under the title "Game Fēngjǐngxiàn" and the editor in chief, now Wényǔ Liú, discards his old pseudonym to publish under his real name.
- Late 1995 - The first Diàn Ruǎn supplemental publications are published. The first, "Diàn Ruǎn 94 Diǎncáng Běn" (电软94典藏本; lit. "Electric Soft Collection '94") had been created by editor Bīng Suǒ (索冰; better known under the pseudonym "King") during the suspension period. This is followed by the "Mìjì Bǎodiǎn" (秘技宝典; lit. "Cheats Collection") supplement.
- Spring 1996 - Artistic differences between staff members come to a head with the original founders tending to favor expansive coverage of related popular topics like anime, comics, music, etc. using strict controls (e.g. limiting articles to 2 pages, etc.), and newer staffers led by Bīng Suǒ (AKA "King") adopting a philosophy more in tune with the hardcore doujin gamer ethic. King leaves with 3 others to found Diànzǐ Yóuxì yǔ Diànnǎo Yóuxì (电子游戏与电脑游戏; lit. "Electronic Games and Computer Games"). Hard feelings between the two papers lead them to publish scathing critiques of each other.
- 1997–1999 - Competition with Diàn Diàn persists. Diàn Ruǎn releases spin-off series including the popular "Gédòu Tiānshū" (格斗天书; lit. "Fighting Bible") series and the "Yóuxì Pīpíng" (游戏批评; lit. "Game Criticism") supplemental series to boost revenues.
- 2003–2005 - Diàn Diàn folds and Diàn Ruǎn experiences the peak of its influence with annual income of approaching 16.48 million yuan.
- 13 June 2010 - Large number of staff resign simultaneously. Diàn Ruǎn described as "hanging by a thread".
- 27 February 2012 - Diàn Ruǎn folds. Issue #319 is its final publication.
- 10 September 2012 - Diàn Ruǎn reopens with an academic focus on video games.
- November 2012 - The magazine is renamed Diànzǐ Jìshù yǔ Ruǎnjiàn Gōngchéng (电子技术与软件工程; lit. "Electronic Technology and Software Engineering") and covers non-game electronic hardware.
- Staff. "中国国内电子游戏杂志发展史." 新浪游戏 (Sina Games). pp.1-4. 7 March 2012.
- Staff. "《电子游戏软件》复刊 或转型学术期刊." 新浪游戏 (Sina Games). 11 September 2012.
- Staff. "电子游戏软件 - 期刊简介." 中文科技期刊数据库 (Chinese Scientific Journals Database at CQVIP.com). Retrieved 10 January 2015.
- Staff. "《电软》往事之阿King". 见证 系列专题第12期 (Witness Vol. 12). 网易游戏频道 (via 163.com). 27 February 2012.
- 杨文志, 王晓彬, 张利军, and 李芳. "办好科技期刊 促进学会发展." 学会 6 (2007): 23–30. (Available via the China Digital Science and Technology Museum here).
- Staff. "独家：杂志主编风林等集体辞职，老牌刊物《电软》命悬一线." Gameaning.com. 13 June 2010.
- Staff. "国产游戏杂志《电子游戏软件》正式停刊." GameLook. 27 February 2012.
- Wǎngyì Yóuxì Píndào Staff. "首本游戏杂志<电子游戏软件>停刊 多次出售未果". 网易游戏频道 (via 163.com). 27 February 2012.