Many years ago the marketplace for computer game magazines was much more crowded than today, with many unofficial ones among the official ones on the shelf. There are now only two PlayStation magazines available to buy, the official one, and the unofficial Play, but here’s a look at another unofficial PlayStation magazine that I enjoyed in the 2000s.
PlayStation World launched at the start of 2000. I always thought that it was something of an unusual time to launch a PlayStation magazine because Sony’s console had been around for almost five years by this time and the next generation was coming soon with the PlayStation 2. PlayStation World definitely had a plan to try to lure readers to their new magazine; the first issue came with the free gift of a memory card, so it sold rather well. I remember reading one of the early issues which was over 200 pages and I thought that it was a very impressive guide to what was happening in gaming.
After about a year when the PlayStation 2 finally arrived in this country PlayStation World was relaunched as PSW. I got a PS2 about a month or two after it launched in January 2001 so I continued to read the magazine. For some reason they would often feature games about skateboarding, football or wrestling on the cover, presumably they helped the sales. Oh, and Tomb Raider of course.
Over the years there would be more free gifts given away with PSW. One was a free DVD. Unlike the official magazine it didn’t feature any playable demos, but it did include lots of clips of the latest games and also some trailers for films that had just been released on DVD. PSW also gave away books that featured various cheats and strategy guides, posters, and even on a couple of occasions a copy of magazine Loaded.
There were a lot of things that I liked about PSW. As well as featuring lots of enjoyable and charismatic writing about games including rating the latest ones out of ten, there were also some features which usually featured many of the writers messing around in daft photoshoots which is something that always amuses me.
In the final pages of the magazine were other things including reviews of the latest films, and I always liked the odd features on the back page. For a while there was a spoof TV guide. Now this type of thing has been parodied by many magazines but I did think that it was funny and they later said that three people wrote in asking how they could watch the clearly fictional programmes.
This was then changed to an article by the writer Sherbert Facile, which was supposed to be a highbrow review of computer games as if it had appeared in a broadsheet newspaper and was amusingly odd nonsense. The page also featured weird headlines such as “thyme called at herb pub”, and subliminal hate messages. When the piece ran for the final time on the contents page it said “what games reviews journalism would be like if written by the poet Tom Paulin. Did we ever explain that?”.
This was then replaced by a top ten, this usually wasn’t anything to do with games, just various lists of things, and I found the analysis of easter eggs or burgers just as interesting as anything else that appeared in the magazine. It was this among many other things that made the magazine stand out for me and I regularly bought it every month.
By 2007 PSW evolved again into a PS3 magazine, I never had one of those so I decided to stop reading the magazine by then but overall I thought it was great. By the end of 2009 though sales had began to drift off and the unfortunate decision was made after almost a decade to send PSW to the great magazine rack in the sky.