Double Buffered

A Programmer’s View of Game Design, Development, and Culture

So Long, Computer Gaming World

Posted by Ben Zeigler on April 9, 2008

Last week, I linked to the GFW Podcast. This week, Games for Windows: The Magazine is no more. I’ll admit that I haven’t particularly enjoyed the magazine over the last 3-4 years (although apparently it got better recently), but I used to love it back when it was Computer Gaming World. It was one of the first gaming magazines I ever read, and I mourn it’s passing. The podcast lives on (and they kept all the editors for online stuff), but the legacy of CGW is basically at an end.

In memorial, I pulled out the oldest copy of the magazine I have: Computer Gaming World, March 1993, Issue 104. The cover featured Spectrum HoloByte’s The Iron Helix, a game I don’t even remember. Based on the article, it appears to be one of those exciting CD-ROM FMV games that were popular in the early 90’s. The quality of the magazine is pretty shitty, thus proving that I was not very considerate of of my personal posessions when I was 10 years old. I’m amazed the cover is still attached, actually. Here’s assorted highlights of awesomeness:

  • Page 12 features an ad for a play-by-mail (snail mail) game called Portinium II. “Receive over twenty double-sided pages of high-quality Laser Graphics output per turn. $10.00 per turn. 3-week turnaround.” I remember thinking to myself that this sounded like a really stupid idea.
  • Page 14 is an overview of the exciting new world of CD-ROM FMV games.
  • Page 31 is an ad for Wolfenstein 3d. “More like an interactive movie than an arcade game.”
  • Page 33 is an ad for GEnie, and features a picture of an incredibly stupid-looking guy with the title “this one wants to rip your lungs out.” Online gaming ads haven’t changed much.
  • Page 36 is a review of Star Control 2, and features an awesome picture of a Shofixti. “Star Control II has been placed on this reviewer’s top ten list of all time”. Still true.
  • Page 60 is a review of Eric the Unready, a fun parody text adventure that fans should pick up. The page featured a picture of a pig.
  • Page 78 features a horrible review of Stunt Island. It’s structured as an interview with a fictional movie director. Wow, what a bad idea.
  • Page 84 complains about the lackluster endings of the majority of PC games. Yeah, that hasn’t changed.
  • Page 102 is a company profile of Bethesda Softworks. “For example, one finds more expensive towels in the shower room at Bethesda’s offices than one finds in most hotels.” This article praises the management practices of the company, but it made me think that Bethesda would never get anywhere, due to it being an incredibly boring place to work.
  • Page 104: “The solution for piracy is just around the corner with CD-ROM software.”
  • Page 124 is a review of Comanche Maximum Overkill. Voxels!
  • The last page is an add for Subversion 1.0. It’s a submarine strategy game.

I miss the 90’s era of PC gaming. It’s not the same these days. Also, get off my lawn.

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8 Responses to “So Long, Computer Gaming World”

  1. Joe Ludwig said

    Was that GEnie ad near a second GEnie ad that had a picture of a computer or something and a caption like “this opponent wants to give you a challenge”?

    Also, I was a Junior in college in 1993. You get off MY lawn. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. JZig said

    Yeah, there’s a picture of a computer chip above it with “This opponent is programmed to be challenging.” Your memory is a bit too good for that ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Joe Ludwig said

    I guess the ad worked!

  4. […] by JZig on September 18, 2008 The GFW Radio podcast is no more, 6 months after the magazine closed. A few months ago, Sean Malloy left 1UP for game development. Last week, Jeff Green left 1UP to go […]

  5. Hawk said

    Does any one have a scan or link to that ad?

    I just remember the computer chip on one side as you guys said and a crazed looking gamer guy on the other with the saying “This one wants to rip your heart out!”

  6. Hawk said

    OK, I *thought* it said heart instead of lungs:

    “This one wants to rip your lungs out!โ€

  7. brrilopad said

    I randomly remembered that ad about the ripping of the lungs, and had the neurotic urge to Google it…and here I am. I was a stockboy at the Piggly Wiggly when I bought that issue. I don’t even remember what GEnie was… now that’s good advertising.

    • Jomero said

      Also a guy who had some nostalgia for the ad who ended up here on a Google’s whim. I, too, had that Iron Helix CGW (and didn’t know CGW was no longer in print until this morning… I am a little sad).

      This particular ad, along with many other great ads of the 90s (Doom’s “Want to be a hero? Go to hell!”) adorned my high school locker.

      I always thought this ad was great for multiplayer in general. AI is nice, but a real person is going to challenge you in ways a computer never could.

      Oh…. and I owned Iron Helix. It wasn’t all that great.

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