Bye-Bye PC Zone

By RPS on July 14th, 2010 at 1:07 pm.

Sad news, chums. Olden UK PC games mag PC Zone has closed, apparently. It’s finished and they’ve all read it.

The next issue will be the last, RPS has been told by a whole bunch of people. And seen, on a company webpage and stuff. Honestly, we’re not just spreading muck here. Farewell, then, to the UK’s first PC games mag. Trails were blazed. It Was Important. And now it’s gone.

Best of luck to everyone on the mag. You will do well.

, .

142 Comments »

    • Premium User Badge

      Richard Beer says:

      A terrible shame. I used to be an avid reader until the Internet. I assume nothing’s changed in the years since then, though. Poor old Charlie Brooker. Presumably he’ll sink without trace, never to be remembered.

    • LintMan says:

      I haven’t read PC Zone (I presume it’s a Euro magazine), but I’m always bummed to see PC gaming magazines go away. I’m still bummed over the loss of CGW and CG here in the US.

    • DMcCool says:

      PC Zone was always my favourite. Yeah, we budgeted in Zone and Gamer, but in my childish understanding PC Gamer was mean but funny and PC Zone was fairer but smaller. Did any of the RPS crew write for Zone? I can never recall. My main memory of it was it giving Morrowind a review of 94% I think, sitting it along Deus Ex as the best RPG for a long, long time, where PC Gamer gave it 86%, the uninspired dungeon crawler Neverwinter Nights something like 92% and then published their own copies of the games with those scores on the front.

      So yeah, in my memory, PC Zone was always the nice one. I was only a kid, but how do others remembre the differences between the two big mags? (PC Format doesn’t count, I only ever read it for finding out the cover-girls name each week. Not sure why.)

    • Azhrarn says:

      Quite a shame, PC Zone UK was my go-to magazine whenever I wanted an objective review before I had access to the Internet at all times. I loved their E3 specials, those generally let me plan out entire years of game-purchases beforehand.

      This only applied to the UK version I might add, the “Benelux” version that was also available here in the Netherlands wasn’t anywhere near as good.

    • Lord Byte says:

      I’m gonna miss PCZone UK, the best gaming mag ever!
      @Azhrarn Yeah my sentiments exactly, the biggest issue I had with PCZone Benelux is that they went the typically beneluxian”durr hurr our readers are little kiddies” way of reviewing instead of sticking to PCZone’s dry british sense of humour. Which is why I hate every dutch publication here (from PC Gameplay to Power Unlimited).

  1. balooba says:

    Shame. I loved PC Zone back in my PC-mag-buying-days.

    • Mal says:

      I’m with you there, I have some old pc zone (by old I mean, 1998-1999 there abouts) editions in my house somewhere. Since I moved to console I stopped buying pc-mags as well. Today is a sad day.

  2. Dean says:

    Ah, shame. Future killed it by taking away all that was unique when they aquired it, and I became a Gamer reader. But Zone was the first PC games mag I bought, the first I subscribed to. Sad to see it go.

  3. Po0py says:

    Oh bollocks.

  4. Sidorovich says:

    Yeah happy memories of PC Zone. When it was good. Those cover discs introduced me to a lot of great gaming gems. Whose next to go then, EDGE?

  5. Leo says:

    *sad face*

  6. Meat Circus says:

    What is “a magazine”? Is it like the Internets from the olden days?

    • BooleanBob says:

      It’s somewhere that twitter will never, can never reach.

    • Devenger says:

      Incorrect. Tweets are published in PC Gamer UK, and probably other magazines that I don’t read. TWITTER PERVADES EVERYTHING.

  7. Premium User Badge

    KindredPhantom says:

    It’s a shame, it is my 2nd favourite gaming mag after PCG. I say we all buy the last issue and give it a good send off.

  8. KikiJiki says:

    How will existing subbers be handled? Will they be getting refunds (as I would assume) or transferring to another publication?

    • Dean says:

      If past form from Future is any indication, they’ll be moved to PC Gamer subs automatically, but with the option of a refund on any remaining issues if they prefer. Or if they already have a Gamer sub too.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well that would be an unpleasant surprise,

  9. The Great Skratsby says:

    Awww

    Still have my 1998 PC Zone I received for Xmas with Carma 2 on the cover.
    As a youngen I played the shit out of all those demos, and read the thing from cover to cover multiple times.

    Finally bought a boxed release copy of Carma 2 recently out of nostalgia after finding the magazine. Worth every penny.

  10. Steve says:

    I’m still subscribed to PC Zone.

    Goodnight sweet prince ;_;

  11. Greg Wild says:

    PC Gamer… wins!

    Sad day. Always a PCG man myself, especially since I started subbing a few years back, but PCZ was always a good read when I did pick it up.

  12. Gesadt says:

    Was nice mag, back when Charlie Brooker was still reviewing games

  13. Maxheadroom says:

    Not bought it for a long time
    It lost a lot after the likes of Mr Cursor & Charlie Brooker departed. (I still have the cover disk where he made crank phone calls to the help desks of Activision, Eidos and the like. Still makes me laugh out loud).

    Sad to see it go though, and I’ll definitely be buying the last issue as a keepsake (to keep alongside my 1st and last issues of Zzap64, Zero & The One)

  14. Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

    i missed the days of Culky and when they got into hot water by closing thier Quake review with the words “Fucking Brillaint”

    now the mag is a paper thin ad fest, shame really :(

    • Wulf says:

      I remember that, and Brooker’s Cruelty Zoo comic. Then there was the insanity that was calling up customer service lines and asking them to hang up a picture of a pretty snowman, or to go dancing.

      Good times.

    • Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

      do you remember the videos of culky and his little-red-tank™ and how he started launching fireworks at EA’s london offices? or the time he made an abstract art painting of his mum and ended up selling it to a tramp for 30p :D

    • hydra9 says:

      Culky was the best! Anyone have the complete set of videos?

    • JohnG says:

      Oh man yes, I do remember those videos.. there’s 2 on youtube: Culky goes to EA and Culky’s painting

    • TeeJay says:

      First time I’ve seen those – very funny. :D

  15. Wulf says:

    D:

    I saw it coming a mile away, most of their decent writers leaving and being replaced by far less witty and amusing ones, the quality of the mag overall going downhill, and print just losing all of its worth these days. It couldn’t last forever, especially not in the state that it’s in.

    Most of all I think I’ll miss Wandy. PC Gamer needs to pick him up, because most PC magazine tech guys are incredibly wishy-washy and absolutely awful, he was one of the rare few that was actually worth listening to.

    Bye Zone, we had some laughs. Especially when Charlie Brooker was writing for you.

    Hm, my collection of Zone rags might actually be worth something, now.

  16. Langman says:

    Very little need to buy PC mags these days – this website being one of the perfect example of why – so unfortunately it’s not surprising. I stopped buying mags (PCG was my preferred choice) a couple of years ago, like many others; it’s a shame this is happening, but times are changing.

    All the best to the guys who worked on the mag though, their skills should hopefully lead them quickly to new projects.

  17. Robin says:

    The only surprise was that it lasted as long as it did.

    I subscribed to PCZ for well over a decade. I always preferred it to PCG. I know it’s probably going to be remembered as the games version of Maxim that spawned Charlie Brooker, but there were long periods when it was a grown-up, editorially independent and extremely funny. I stopped reading it around the time of the Future buyout and staff exodus.

    As I was drunkenly telling KG the other week, Duncan McDonald’s “Mr Cursor” columns are some of the very best work ever printed in a games mag. And they’re almost exclusively daft stories with hardly any reference to computer games at all.

    I hope they get to do a decent farewell issue.

    • Wulf says:

      They need to call back Brooker just to have him review some terribly crap and ultimately boring game.

      Again.

    • DrGonzo says:

      PcZone was great and I loved it. But I can’t help feeling Charlie Brooker’s stuff is quite overrated really. Mr. Cursor blows it out of the water imo.

    • Wulf says:

      As to whether something is overrated or not, I suppose that’s all a matter of opinion and nothing else. I feel the same way about Mr. Cursor, but a lot of people loved it.

      I’m just glad that Brooker lives on in Screenwipe, which is amazing (well, his newspaper columns as well, but I have about as much interest in newspapers as I do in watching paint dry). I really wish they’d try and make something of that Gameswipe project, as I’d love to see him talking about games again.

  18. el_murph says:

    Been reading since the first issue and will be a sad day when the postman delivers the final issues.

    Now the question is should I go against all my beliefs and subscribe to PCG (spit)?

    :(

    • Wulf says:

      Don’t do it! Just use the opportunity to swear off magazines completely, you’ll get everything they have online anyway, and you can put the money to better things. Like getting a Rock, Paper, Shotgun subscription. >.>

    • el_murph says:

      That is an excellent idea Wulf!

  19. Pete says:

    Certainly enjoyed it most during the Brooker days and era of oh-so-serious PCG rivalry. Still sad to see it go. Seems like it’s been on life support for a while though with a new editor every few months. :(

  20. nickski says:

    twas broadband that killed the cover disk beasts.
    Shame though, still read it up until around 18 months ago when it just seemed poor value for money.
    ‘throws handful of dirt into grave’

  21. Matt says:

    I had a feeling this might happen, what with all the staff changes that have been happening recently. I bought nearly every issue from about 2006 to last year, then stopped. I must make an effort to get this month’s and the final one now.

    :(

  22. Leo272 says:

    Man. I just bought the very first issue on eBay. Was a stunningly ace mag in the beginning. I bought a current issue a year back, just wasn’t the same.

  23. beefchief says:

    do sub to pcgamer. It has some brilliant features and is very funny.

  24. Serenegoose says:

    Ah, that’s a pity. I alternated between picking up PCG and PCZ depending on what had more interesting stuff in it (couldn’t afford both), and it’s really sad to see it go.

  25. JC says:

    PCG > PCZ

    But one time I talked to ali woods, the editor of pcz, and she was lovely

  26. Kadayi says:

    Damn. Hope the ppls involved get themselves sorted out with new jobs.

  27. SuperBladesman says:

    It’s a real shame. I’ve been a long-time subscriber, and will miss my monthly read.

    I’d been considering stopping my sub for a while now, as I was frustrated by the 8-page previews and then half-page reviews… but the quality of writing had kept me coming back. Staff seemed to be very mobile recently, a lot of coming & going, so this isn’t a huge shock.

    Still – I will miss it. Now to find something else to read on the bog :(

  28. Cooper says:

    Never read PCZ – I went a fair few years not reading any mags, and when I started again it seemd PCG (at the time) had the most in common in style with AP – my first love. But friends who loved AP also loved PCZ in the early years – i guess I missed out on a gem…

  29. Kieron Gillen says:

    Yeah, it’ll be missed. Good luck to everyone.

    KG

  30. Chris says:

    Damn. I used to buy outdated issues (live in australia) back in the late 90′s purely because it was such an awesome mag. Think they were costing me around $19 a pop. Worth it though. Have barely read any of the recent ones. So long old pom.

  31. Evert says:

    I feel quite guilty now – I canceled my subscription last month (belt tightening and all that). I think this will last in my subscription anyway.

    This is a shame.

  32. Mac says:

    It was a great mag 5 or so years ago, then teh writing went downhill and I have never bought a coupy since. i’ll have to pick up the last edition though …

    Good luck

  33. Heliocentric says:

    Only ever grabbed a few issues because i could only see the sense in buying one and i tended to stick with gamer because of the writers. That said gamer went downhill into overfocus on hype on things which were massively publisher controlled. After an issue with a 12 page operation flashpoint 2 preview covered in target renders i just gave up on the magazine, too much publisher mandated fluff.

  34. Andy says:

    I never understood why Future published 2 pc games mags almost exactly the same. There was even adverts in PCG saying “BUY PCZONE! THE BEST GAMES MAGAZINE IN BRITAIN!”, so I’ve bought the shit one then have I? Doesn’t make sense.

    • DrGonzo says:

      You did. I never understood people liking PcGamer! I obviously liked the RPS guys but other than that it seemed to be a horribly boring magazine.

      I guess it was about 5 years ago that PcZone became a bit pants and from then on I haven’t bought any games magazines at all as there doesn’t seem to be any decent alternatives. And plus RPS is much better than a magazine, and free.

  35. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Very sad news, was a regular reader for most of its life but then I went all console and never bought a copy thereafter.

    BTW If anyone remembers Culky he runs the local health food shop here in Malmesbury.

    • James G says:

      Heh, not often I hear Malmesbury name dropped in comments threads. Grew up round there, and went to School in Malmesbury itself.

      Wasn’t much of a Zone reader myself, more of PCG man, but its still a shame to see it die off. Leaving only PCG on the shelf as the only PC dedicated magazine is a sad state of affairs.

    • Mr Wonderstuff says:

      Cool, moved here a year ago. Lovely place.

  36. Zapatero says:

    I can’t imagine ever having as much workday fun as when I worked on PC Zone (97-02). Great times, great people, great mag. Some good games too.

    Looking forward to seeing the chaps all go on to bigger and better things.

  37. Chris Evans says:

    Sad to see it go, I had been wondering what was happening with various staff departures. Farewell Zone!

  38. Mark | Retroblique says:

    End of an era.

    Admittedly, since moving to the States some seven years ago, I stopped reading PC Zone on a regular basis (I think the last regular issue I bought had a Half-Life 2 preview), although the odd issue I did buy kind of confirmed that the magazine had long since peaked. Hardly anyone from the classic mid/late-90s lineup remained.

    I actually came pretty close to getting a job as news editor/reviewer there back in 1999(-ish). Best interview ever; it pretty much consisted of me sitting down with Paul Mallinson, Chris Anderson and Paul Presley and chatting about games for an hour or two. Richie Shoemaker got the job, although I suspect that was down to the fact that he attached his CV to a crate of beer (true story!) more than anything else.

    Au revoir, PC Zone!

  39. bill says:

    I never had any particular loyalty to any gaming mag, i bought whichever one happened to look interesting when i was passing whsmiths.. but that pczone cover does bring back a bit of nostalgia.

    Didn’t they have a “top ten games ever” in the back of every magazine, evern broken down by genre? I remember because Ultima Underworld 1 and then later 2 were always number one. And everytime I was in smiths I looked longlingly at the blue UU2 box… and wished I could afford the 50quid they were asking. And that my PC would run it. Then one day it was gone.

    No steam sales back in those days…

  40. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Sad to see as I was an avid reader of PCZ back in the day, but sadly not a surprise these days. Times are tough for the majority of the print media in an age where more and more people are turning to the internet for their news and reviews etc. I lost my job myself when Northcliffe Newspapers merged with Associated Newpapers under the umbrella of the DMGT.

  41. frosty840 says:

    Well, what bothers me most is that it confirms PCG’s slide away from elitism and into the horrid mire of the mainstream. While PCZone survived, I could still believe in the dream :(

  42. Nick says:

    A shame. I hope the staff get new jobs quickly and easily.

  43. RLacey says:

    It was a bit of a wrench for me to cancel my PCZ subscription a couple of years back, when I decided that three magazine subscriptions per month really was enough (PCG, EDGE, Games™). Despite the obvious fall in quality – is it just me, or did the actual amount of text in an average article drop every time they did a redesign – it was the first magazine I bought and read regularly. I seem to remember the first issue I got my hands on having Daikatana on the cover… hmm…

    I’ll be buying the last issue, just to reminisce a little. And I’m sorry to see it go, though it does seem to be rather the shadow of its former glory.

  44. Westie says:

    Sad news. I loved PC Zone and spent a good couple of years obsessively playing the original Counter-Strike on the PC Zone servers. Good times indeed.

    Clan Beef forever! :D

  45. squirrel says:

    It’s both true and untrue that Internet drives traditional printed presses out of market. It’s true Internet has the competitive edge of daily update, which is unaffordable to most printed press publishers. However, the main reason for readers to switch to Internet game news site is that Internet is usually free of charge. If a printed game magazine is published free of charge, and provide the same amount of information as the paid magazines, it can immediately drive those paid magazines out of market too. Internet game sites win by their business model rather than by new technology.

    I heard some game magazines would occasionally give out some outdated games as gift, and DRM free too. I guess those good old days have gone forever.

  46. CloakRaider says:

    Though I didn’t read PC Zone, always a shame to hear of things like this.

  47. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I was always a PC Gamer man myself, but it’s still bad news the few times i got PC Zone it seemed like an excellent publication. ( I Hope people take this as a death of print mags and not PC Gaming, as it’s clear this is part of Future focusing it’s efforts to move to the web)

  48. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Saw this one coming from quite far away. Read both PCG and PCZ, to see their difference of opinion. Both were strong.
    Went of the magazines for a while, when out of the country.
    Came back merely a year later, PCG had alot less, but still good.
    The writers who PCZ always joked were the kids, the young ones who were fectching tea were editors!
    Editors! They lost so many writers, their junior staff were editors!
    Man, that was a dark dark day, and i never bought it agan.

  49. Gillesv says:

    End of an era indeed. Been reading it since November 1997 (had a Quake 2 preview and Fighting Force on the cover) and subscriber for nearly a decade now. My attic’s stuffed with almost every issue since then.

    In truth, the quality of writing was going downhill a bit. Granted it was never going to reach the heady heights of the Charlie Brooker days, but David Brown in particular irked me. Nothing he wrote ever seemed to interest me much.

    In the old days I’d re-read the entire magazine back-to-front several times before the next one came out (even the Championship Manager (p)reviews, which I had zero interest in playing whatsoever), but nowadays it’s rare for me to read every single article/preview/review in an issue.

    The stuff that kept me subscribing in recent years was Jon Blyth’s stuff, Wandy’s column (even though his irrational hatred of Apple was getting a bit tiresome) and Steve Hill’s contributions.

    Will Porter and Steve Hogarty kept the mag going admirably when some of the original writers left (Charlie Brooker of course, but lets not forget David McCandless, Paul Presley, Chris Anderson & Richie Shoemaker), but I think when Porter left the mag suffered.

    Maybe if they’d taken my advice and dropped the DVD they might have been able to keep going for longer. I haven’t touched a single cover disc since I got broadband.