PC Gamer (1993-present)
When we got a PC in 2000, it was decided to choose a magazine to determine what kind of games were available, and that was the first time that I bought PC Gamer, which launched in 1993 and was published by Future who were also behind a lot of the PlayStation magazines that I have already reviewed on here.
I definitely enjoyed PC Gamer from the first time that I bought it, and it really helped me to decide what types of games I would want to play on this format at the turn of the century, introducing me to such goodies as Deus Ex, Half-Life and Max Payne, and also the comedy adventure genre featuring the great Sam & Max and Monkey Island series.
In the 100th issue in 2001 there was a great look back at the history of PC Gamer which helped me learn a lot more about the early days of the magazine, such as there being a free gift of a floppy disc featuring various demos at the launch which was upgraded to a CD after about a year. There was also the boast of the cover of the first issue by the editor saying “if you don’t LOVE this magazine… I’ll give you your money back!”, but thankfully nobody ever took him up on the offer. The future had arrived!
There were some great memories by various writers about their days working on PC Gamer, and it really does seem a great magazine to have worked on, plus all the major events that had happened since the launch, including “Issue 81: James Ashton fell off his chair. Funnier than possible to describe through the mere medium of words”.
PC Gamer‘s review system gave scores based on a percentage, and one thing that stood out about them is that reviews would always be summed up with just one word. The highest score ever given to a game is 96%, yet people still remember the various terrible games to have been reviewed over the years including the horror that was Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties that was lucky to get a paltry 3%.
Also every year PC Gamer would compile a Top 100 list of their favourite games, and this was always a good excuse for the writers to mess about and look rather daft in photoshoots which is something that I always enjoy. It also caused a lot of debate with readers of course who would write in with their own favourites too. There have also been lots of very interesting in-depth articles about various aspects of gaming over the years.
Among the various great features over the years, one of the things that I liked about PC Gamer was when they had a competition to caption a picture of the rather messy office that was taken by a webcam and some of the entries were amusingly odd. I also liked a feature called Gamer Snap where readers sent in their pictures of weird glitches in games or manipulated images which usually included a mild mocking of a writer, and the back page strangeness of “it’s all over…”.
PC Gamer went on to be a big success, quickly becoming the best-selling PC games magazine in Britain, and an American version was launched in 1994 which has had a lot of success too. It’s a surprise to think that PC Gamer has now been going for 22 years and over 250 issues, it has outlived all of its contemporaries in the marketplace, and it has overseen a huge amount of change in the gaming industry, from megabytes to terabytes, and has expanded beyond the magazine to websites and various other ventures.