PC Zone: In Tribute

By RPS on July 15th, 2010 at 1:04 pm.

PC Zone, yesterday.

Will Porter was editor of PC Zone in 2008, having worked on the mag for many years previously and since. Below he writes his eulogy for the first PC gaming magazine, that will be closing down after the next issue.

Hi! My name is Will Porter, and I’m here to deliver a stilted eulogy on the imminent demise of a magazine that shaped my love of PC gaming, my love of writing and much of what could laughably be called my career. I can’t help but feel that a lot of RPS readers will have, perhaps in older times, shared my love for PC Zone. As such I asked the RPS hive-mind for a platform on which to stand to address whoever present that wishes to celebrate its life. Or, indeed, tell us all how it was never as good as it used to be. I am aware that this site is to some degree the spawn of the auld enemy, those hateful bastards at PC Gamer, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

During the sermon there will also be a reading from Paul Presley, a surviving veteran of the PC Zone ‘Ninja’ Age, who wrote something lovely about the mag for its Issue 200 celebrations a year and a half ago. There will be coffee and tea in the foyer after the service. A minibus will then be provided for those wishing to head out and start burning shit down.

Well, that was a joke. I don’t think anyone should particularly be blamed for PC Zone potentially shuffling off this mortal coil. No need for flames and pitchforks. By its very nature the PC gaming press has always been at the thin end of the wedge when it came to readers turning their attention to the many blaring voices of the internet. Of which, it appears, I am now one. PC Zone could have been the best magazine out there (and often I think it was) but still the rise of the internet would have proved a black hole for circulation that was stronger than everything in its path. It could defeat a particularly well-written review of a Sims H&M clothing add-on pack, and it could defeat even a decent cover exclusive. The internet absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. It was beat them or join them time, and PC Zone never joined them. I genuinely wish the chaps at (jaunty RPS tribute site – Ed) www.pcgamer.com good luck in the battles ahead. They’ve made a great start – as, let’s not forget, have the chaps at RPS.

PC Zone, yesterday.

God, so morbid. Let’s talk about why PC Zone was amazing. No, fuck that. Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. Ladies but mostly Gentlemen, the first reading is from Paul Presley – Grand Old Man of PC Zone and National Treasure. It is taken from the book of the Nineties, chapter three:

“Given that I have hung on to Zone’s coattails almost throughout its entire existence, it’s hard to pick out any one single event as the most memorable. Truth be told, what sticks most in the mind, long after the hazy recollections of drunken nights, foreign adventures and hair-lowering escapades is that hazy, somewhat indefinable concept of the PC Zone ‘spirit’. Without wanting to devalue the recent incumbents’ masterful contributions, back in what is loosely described as ‘the golden age’ of Zone, when it strode the gaming industry like a colossus of words, screenshots and vague allusions to game playing, everyone involved with the thing felt a sense of belonging. Of camaraderie. Of brotherhood.

We were more than just a team, we were a family. A family of scoundrels, of egotists, of health risks and fanatics. And a family of the most brilliantly talented, effortlessly creative and dedicated-to-the-cause individuals that ever existed in the business of magazine creation. Every publication, especially those targeted towards ‘entertainment’ feels a sense of kinship, but as someone who has experienced more publishing industries than is strictly healthy, what PC Zone had was something beyond a mere working relationship. PC Zone was a Place To Be. Somewhere to go. Whatever the time of day, day of the week or month of the year. It was a post-nightclub chill-out room, a pre-pub drinking lounge, a home away from home where you were always welcome. People came to Zone’s offices just because that was what you did.

Not to say there wasn’t a work ethic. Come rain or shine, the magazine made it out every month, each issue filled to the brim with the most intelligent and consistently hilarious writing, eye-popping design work and acceptable quota of spelling errors. Even on deadlines, Zone would work hard, go out and party, then go straight back to the office en masse, to carry on through the night. Even if you didn’t have any work on for them, you’d turn up in the evening just to hang out and show support, to have a game or two of Doom or Quake against Macca (and lose), to skin up over by the art desks to hear Mallo ranting about “UN-professionalism”, to hear Jeremy bark “You were only supposed to blow the BLOODY DOORS OFF”, to see Woods and Ant defeat Sefton and whoever was unlucky enough to partner him at Pro Evo… to just belong to this incredible collection of talent, to take it all in and hope your own contribution was somehow worthy of them.

PC Zone, yesterday.

Somewhat inevitably, though nonetheless remarkably, was that this pride, this talent – this spirit – seeped into every page of the magazine. You couldn’t be a reader of PC Zone and not feel as though somehow, in some way, you belonged to this family just as much as the people putting it together. Zone was as much infused by its readership as the readers were infused by the magazine. Most publications have a definite line, a strong feeling of ‘You’ and ‘Us’. Zone was different, its readers were as integral to its success as any of Brooker’s cartoons, Hill’s cynicism or Mr Cursor’s insanity. Through the many contributions we asked of you the reader, we became as proud of the many characters that lived in our forums, our Fight Clubs and Zone Chats over the years as any of the paid writers.

All magazines go through ups and downs, yet somehow because Zone was always greater than the sum of its already mighty parts, the Zone spirit continued throughout the magazine’s life, from the first issue through to this one. Whatever was thrown at it, wherever the magazine was being produced for whichever corporate behemoth, whoever made up the cast list, from the incumbent Lakin and Scotford all the way through to Porter, Log, Brown and Hogarty today and everyone in between, that spark never, ever, died. The family was always there, even when the days seemed dark.

Whatever the future holds, that sense of brotherhood, that spirit, never did and never truly will die for as long as there are people who can raise their heads and with pride in their voice say the words “Yeah, I used to work for PC Zone.” I’m honoured to have been a part of it.”

PC Zone, yesterday.

There’s little I can add to that, but I will anyway. I first bought PC Zone in the mid-nineties. It was the green claw-print Bioforge cover. Reading it was like being granted access to another world, where not only was PC gaming at very heights of creativity and originality, but much of it would be given away as shareware on magazine cover CDs. (Sometimes magazines would even accidentally give away free pornography masquerading as xxx doom .wad files. Thanks from my teenage self go straight to Dan Emery for that one.)

More importantly perhaps, the writers at PC Zone were hugely talented – and hilarious. Charlie Brooker, of course, was at the forefront and his triumphs were legion: the prank calls, the Wombles/Quake cartoon, Sick Notes, the eating of his own arse, Dr Helmut’s and/or Lara Croft’s Cruelty Zoo… Every bugger seems to like him now, but us PC games lot can be smug about the fact that we had him first. It wasn’t just him though: remember Culky’s attack on EA? On top of that you had Mr Cursor, Prez, Mallo, Macca, the incomparable Steve Hill (take that whichever way you please…) and all the other certified comedic geniuses that have passed over the PCZ threshold.

I think I speak for all the writers who worked on the magazine throughout the last decade when I say that we’re pretty proud of what we achieved. So that’s me, Rhi, Ant, Dave, Sefters, Hill, Dave Brown, Prez, Korgon the Magnificent, the occupant of the Zitronosphere, Sooze, Hill, Richie, Steve ‘TheWidowmaker’ O’Hagan, Keith Pullin, Log, Ali, Pavel, Mark Hill, Wandy and that Irish Hogarty kid who made good… and God help me, but I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone. (And sorry for not mentioning Art and Production in that list too, it would have been a bit much.) (Actually: Clare/Dale/Kevin/Phil/Wee J/Big J et al: love you!) (And Chris Anderson and Tim Ponting should get a mention, though I never met Chris.) (Almost saw too much of Ponting to be honest).

PC Zone, yesterday.

There’s something more important than my emotional warbling though – and that’s the fact that this was a living magazine, and soon it won’t be. I don’t know exactly what’s happening with the current PCZ team, only that they have one more issue to make. Job uncertainty in this economic climate is not a pleasant thing. I have every confidence that the team will go on to greater things, as they’re a hugely talented bunch, but also wish them all the luck in the world. Richard, Dave, Matt and James were great people to work with back when I was editor, and I find it really sad that their last experiences with such a great magazine are pretty tumultuous ones.

I genuinely believe that PC Zone was one of the greatest magazines that this country has ever produced. It certainly had the greatest, bitterest and most sincere rivalry in its ongoing battles with PC Gamer – and I’m proud to say that we consistently punched above our weight despite the situation we now find ourselves in. Seriously – a book could be written on the battles over Half-Life 2 alone, and if I ever have a tattoo done it will almost certainly read: “It was finished. And I played it.”

I’ll shut up in a minute. I want to turn it over to you, and the things you’ll remember about PC Zone past and not-for-too-long present. The outpouring of sadness to the news of Zone’s closure both on forums and from misty-eyed industry folk last night after the Develop conference has been extraordinary. Strange to say, but PC Zone suddenly feels more popular than it has been for years. It’s been part of my life for seventeen years, and the focus of it for eight. I’m really, really going to miss it. I think a lot of us will.

Oh, but there’s a final piece of advice. One in-joke from the ancient bowels of PC Zone, and one that should not be allowed to die. Never forget. Never EVER forget, that the first rule of games journalism is to ALWAYS check your first screenshot. ‘Grab.’

PC Zone, yesterday.

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86 Comments »

  1. Navagon says:

    It’s kinda sad. But then I haven’t bought a gaming magazine in about a decade so I can’t really scream “why cruel world, why?!”. I’m part of the reason why.

  2. pipman300 says:

    i’ve never bought a gaming magazine once in my life

  3. Quasar says:

    It’s a bit sad, I used to buy either Zone or Gamer depending on who had the best cover stories each month.

    I still subscribe to Gamer, haven’t bought Zone in ages. I shall miss it. At least we still have Charlie Brooker, though.

  4. Baka says:

    As a teenager I pumped my pocket-money like a madman into the german magazine “PC Player” to read all about the games I could never afford. How awesome their “Multimedia Leserbriefe” were can best be shown with
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUslGh-9v

    Good times. Last buy of a magazine was long before the internet provided me with everything I wanted to know the instant I wanted to know it though.

  5. Lack_26 says:

    I read it listening to the Deus Ex: HR trailer music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcFB8Rmy-Sc), made it much more dramatic.

    I’ve still got a load of old PC Zones, dating back to about 1997-8 which I was given when I neighbour didn’t want them anymore, I’ll cherish them as a collectors item now, *sniff* I eventually switched to PCG at some point, but I’ll never forget PCZ.

  6. Garg says:

    What is this about the “battles over Half-Life 2″ between the two mags? I demand this “book” be written in the form of a reply to my question.

  7. Chris says:

    Afraid I defected to PC Gamer roughly a decade ago as well. They were just the cooler kids to my young mind.

  8. Farhad says:

    Oh wow, I remember when I started subscribing and PCZ helped out in their watchdog segment when I ordered something game online.

    I shall miss it, but it lost it somewhere around Charlie’s departure. Sick Notes. I mean what did PCG ever do to top that?

  9. Gap Gen says:

    “Never EVER forget, that the first rule of games journalism is to ALWAYS check your first screenshot.”

    Oh man, someone actually did that (if it’s what I think it is)?

    • Novotny says:

      Are you guessing it’s like when you paste something into a chat window that is most definitely not what you intended to paste? Er, not that I’ve ever done that.

  10. Web Cole says:

    Sad to see something people loved die, and I think there will always be a place in my heart for the ole games mag. *sniff*

  11. Phoshi says:

    It seems odd that this article is here, but it’s nice nonetheless. I don’t think anybody would disagree that RPS, or at least, what RPS represents, contributed to PC Zone’s demise. Why would we go out and buy a magazine when we can get the same information faster and for free? Well, it was a bloody good magazine, for one, but you can’t argue with “faster and freer”, unfortunately. Good luck to all the writers, editors, and everybody involved.

  12. Mal says:

    In my country, Zone was more expensive than PCG, so naturally seeing as it was like 10 years ago and I was like 20, I had little cash, so I opted for gamer, even though I bought irregularly (only when I had spare cash). Later on I discovered a guy who used to sell old magazines really cheap, and guess what he had PCZ, like 3-4 months old but at like $1, so I became a regular buyer and somehow managed to follow PCZ for a while until I could finally buy the latest copies with hard earned cash.

    I remember I bought baldur’s gate 2 because of PCZ, and in my opinion, still one (if not one) of the best games ever created.

    Goodbye PCZ.

  13. jon_hill987 says:

    I never bought a copy of PC Zone but I am one of the (apparently few) people who still buys a paper magazine. I have been getting PC Gamer on and off since about issue 80 and have been subscribing for the last couple years now. Hopefully the death of PC Zone will merely strengthen PC Gamer rather than being the canary being followed down a methane filled mine by the rest of the printed magazines.

  14. Gothnak says:

    PC Zone was the only magazine i ever wrote a letter to, twice in the same month, and both my letters got published (One on the letters page slagging off Banbury and one on ‘Mr Angry”s page, by a certain Charlie Brooker) in the same copy… I should really track down what that copy is and buy one for posterity, 97->2000 somewhere….

  15. Maxheadroom says:

    I really hope they do something with the last issue that harks back to earlier times and gets them banned from WH Smiths.

    • Bioptic says:

      Cover to cover Coprophilia. What have they got to lose?

      I’ve subscribed since September 1997, so I have fond memories of most of the moments listed here. When a magazine is both financially healthy and still experimental, you get some wonderful content that websites just don’t seem to be able to (or don’t want to) reproduce. Sites like Eurogamer are a viable alternative, but it’s all just so po-faced – preview/review/”hot issue”/retrospective. I always read the magazine to be entertained first, informed second – even RPS takes it all a bit seriously. Games are brilliant fun and a bit stupid, and I always felt the journalism should reflect that.

      I’m really quite saddened by the news – despite all the ghostly departures going on, I still felt a core of quality remained throughout. At least enough for me to still flick through it on the Tube, or lazing around on the sofa – websites still don’t have the ergonomics quite down yet.

      To all those who worked on Zone over the years, I thank you for the countless hours of enjoyment you’ve given me. And for those still writing – hopefully the industry hasn’t contracted so much that I won’t be reading your words on some other magazine or website very soon. Thank you.

    • Mithent says:

      I agree, Bioptic. You can certainly get news and reviews from plenty of places online, but it’s not so common to see the features and style of journalism found in a good magazine. Online, I’ll read reviews of things I’m interested in and that will provide useful information, but in magazines I’ll read reviews of crane simulators and Sims expansion packs because they’re often fun to read (especially creatively-written reviews of bad games). It’s also rare to see special features which don’t necessarily serve a purpose other than to entertain – one random example would be an “around the world in games” feature I recall in either PCG/PCZ a little while ago.

  16. Cooper says:

    I skipped PCZ’s golden years. Though I knew of them at the time, I hadn’t read gaming magazines for a while. I had read AP when younger, and had some friends that had migrated to PCZ because of the clear links in terms of humour & content. (I remember a friend kept “Sick Notes” for me to read on the rare occasions I saw him).

    I’m not sure that level of irreverence really passes nowadays for a multi-billion dollar industry and an aging game-playing population.

    Which is a shame, because games rarely, very, very rarely, deserve to be taken seriously.

  17. Monchberter says:

    I’m the ‘workie’ in the penultimate issue (out now) and somehow i think it’s ALL MY FAULT! :(

    Oh, and don’t defect to Gamer, move to PC Format, it has the unparalleled intellectual childish smut of Henry Winchester.

  18. ZhouYu says:

    Sad times truly, I followed pczone back from the unreal 2 cover issue and I had a massive wodge of them harkening back to then up until a few weeks ago =/.

    I’m sorry to hear its ending, and a faint glimmer of nostalgia may make me go grab that last issue for posterity, even though I unsubscribed a good year ago. I suppose I’m one of those contributing to its demise as I too shifted from print to online news, though in my defence the magazine lost a lot of its flair in recent years.

    So yeah, thanks pczone, for laughs, for guiding my burgeoning taste and for that random copy of Fifa08 I won in a competition and have still never played.

  19. Serenegoose says:

    Man, this article reminded me of reading copies of PCZ I’d borrow from my uncle when I was younger. I even remember most of those screenshots in the article. I must have been about 13-15! Talk about a Nostalgia-fest.

    Still, awesome, awesome magazine, really sorry to see it go.

  20. Meat Circus says:

    I miss Amiga Format. :(

  21. Sidorovich says:

    Therre better be something good on this month’s front cover disc then.

  22. John Walker says:

    It occurs to me that an illustrative difference between PCZ and PCG is the nicknames. Everyone on Zone sounds like they’re being shouted at across a five-a-side football pitch. Everyone on Gamer sounds like they’re being spoken to over a glass of bourbon.

  23. Matt says:

    Fondest PCZ memory:
    Being part of the band of priests that invaded Second Life’s red light districts holding signs saying “Down with this sort of thing!”, “Careful now!” and “I bet it’s hardly touching the sides!”. I remember joining a Conga line around a campfire which was full of people in giant penis costumes. Then we headed to a dodgy brothel before engaging in a holy orgy of sorts. Oh god it was messy.

    Also, being printed in PCZ around the world standing outside Eidos Montreal. (I’m still awaiting my ‘prize’ for this Will Porter!)

  24. Jestocost says:

    I bought Quake and Carmageddon 2 because of PC Zone, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

    I can still remember what the Quake article LOOKED LIKE, and I haven’t seen that issue in 14 years. That’s how much I drooled over those pages. Especially the multiplayer screenshots — my 12 year old brain simply couldn’t fathom the idea of all those people playing the same (amazingly beautiful) game at once.

    Thank you, PC Zone. You were awesome.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually remember the preview article for Quake, in which the previewer and someone at Id he was interviewing were both displaying a massive fixation with semen. That stuck in my mind, because I remember wondering how on earth they could get away with that sort of thing, and I was amused by every moment of it.

  25. Richard says:

    I used to read PC Zone in the days when David McCandless and Charlie Brooker wrote for it. Whatever Charlie does now I won’t hear a bad word against him after his review of System Shock in which he crowned it “King of Games”.

  26. Alexander Norris says:

    Never read it, or any UK mag for the matter, but 17 years is something worth raising a toast to. So, to PC Zone, and shame about the greedy cunts in corporate.

  27. Mr_Day says:

    I would like to share a story of when I was very angry with PC Zone. This wasn’t a permanent state of being for me, I loved the mag dearly, and can still hum Culky’s PC Zone subscription song, but there was a time I was very angry indeed.

    System Shock 2 had only been out a few months, maybe more. I had picked the game up at launch, and was trying to work my way through it, but that pesky education was getting in the way and I couldn’t devote as much time to it as I had wanted. Reading through PC Zone, one of the back pages, I read the following line about the game:

    “but when you find out that ** ******* is actually ******.”

    And I spit bullets for a month. I hadn’t gotten to that bit, and was quite miffed. But the spitting bullets stopped when my mouth broke and I had no repair kits, so I guess it all worked out for the best.

    NOTE: Yes, I decided not to spoil it, even though if you haven’t played the game by now you probably aren’t going to. This actually comes on the heels of me defending the right of someone to spoil a game if it has been so long after release that someone is taking the piss if they still expect you not to talk about it.

    • jsdn says:

      Actually, I’m playing it for the first time, so thanks.

    • TeeJay says:

      “if you haven’t played the game by now you probably aren’t going to”

      If it had actually be available for purchase for the last 10 years that might be true. Second-hand CDs are still going for £20 on eBay. I expect for a large number of people it would be an immediate purchase if EA (?) re-release it on Steam or GoG.

      Online petition:

      http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/ss2

      “We, the following, ask you to settle your differences and re-release the highly-regarded PC gaming classic “System Shock 2″. We don’t really care WHY this great game is stuck in ‘legal limbo’ – we just think that it should be out there, being played, and not consigned to dust as past history.

      Also: we’d like to see it updated so that it runs nicely on modern operating systems. Heck, System Shock 2 would work great on many platforms. As a story; as a body of work it is unparalleled.

      Please: this game is far too good to never see the light of day again. Electronic Arts: this is a jewel in the crown of your back catalogue – let the world (re)discover the joys of this forgotten classic!

      Sincerely,

      The Undersigned”

  28. Xercies says:

    My god Charlie Brooker looks like an evil psychopath that’s thinking of doing something nasty to your family in that first photograph!

  29. Bascule42 says:

    Not uptp the standard of journalism we have come to expect here at RPS, but not a bad write up none the less.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10641398

  30. Mark | Retroblique says:

    Discovering PC Zone in the mid-90s was like discovering Zzap! 64 for the first time in the mid-80s. You felt completely and utterly vindicated in your choice of hobby, knowing that there were so many people tuned into your wavelength.

    I always felt that the constant comparisons to Loaded and the lad’s magazine culture of the 90s were damning PCZ with faint praise. The magazine always felt a bit more sophisticated than that and, if anything, indulged in pitch perfect lampooning of that journalistic genre. They certainly weren’t afraid to turn the gaming industry upside down, give it a good shake and rightfully mock its more absurd elements.

    As Porter points out, much of PCZ’s success, particularly in the golden period, was down to that sense of brotherhood. Something that online gaming communities try so hard to nurture but never quite manage.

    Professional video game journalism, as it exists today, is pretty much a joke, with the vast majority of print publications essentially consisting of regurgitated press releases and publisher-instigated circle-jerkery. To find people being brutally honest and truly knowledgeable about games we now have to plunge deep into the blogosphere and hope we bump into something vaguely reminiscent of the likes of Zzap! 64 and PC Zone.

    Thanks, PC Zone. The PC gaming scene, at least in the UK, wouldn’t have been the same without you.

  31. Winterborn says:

    Ha, Wulf. I still remember ‘Spooge? It’s like someone let off a fire extinguisher in here!’ as the opening line of the Command & Conquer review.

    Great magazine. Will be missed.

  32. Gunsmith AKA NanosuitNinja says:

    there was only one review i fell out with PCZ over and that was when Log gave 92% to Farcry 2, so miffed that i emailed in calling him a trecherious swine and demanded he be hung for his crimes against humanity, pleasingly it got printed (albiet edited :D)

  33. Tanuki says:

    Me and some friends once beat a team of PCZ writers in a pub quiz about games. They did, however, have a far superior team name and in an email exchange in which I gloated about our victory (well, my team placed higher, we didn’t win overall) this was pointed out and I pledged to try harder next time. Now there will never be a next time and my life shall never feel complete. ;_;

    As a reader of PCZ since I was 7 or 8 (I’m 21 now) I was absolutely gutted to hear it was ending. Sure the internet can do most of what a magazine can do better, but 99% of games sites don’t have and won’t ever have the character that PCZ had. Unless, of course, what the crew of PCZ do next is bugger off and make a website.

  34. H says:

    I absolutely hate that Zone is going under, it’s just not fair. I really don’t have the words to express what I felt for it, so I’m going to do it through the medium of interprative dance.

    There.

    But honestly, it really is a shame, and you’re right, it always felt like the more fun magazine, the place that games came to get a right ribbing. I like RPS, I really do, and I acknowledge that it has a connection to PC Gamer, but I always felt that PCG took itself too seriously and was too pretentious. I never got that from Zone.

    More than anything else it actually made me laugh. Gamer has never done that.

    At the very least I think RPS should absorb some of the Zone staff. Could the Zoners not also set up their own RPS-alike? Genuinely I believe there’s a market for it. Or if not then for selfish reasons. You could even get Brooker and the other old ‘uns together to contribute.

    Those who have said “I never read Zone, personally” can be ignored. They won’t care the magazine has gone. The Steveo is right, we felt like a part of a club reading Zone. It will be missed.

    • Frosty says:

      @H

      I agree with you wholeheartedly on the not taking itself too seriously thing.

      Although I’m not so keen on RPS to accomodate more staff I would love to see a site where certain Zoners got together and did some writing. Alas it seems unlikely.

      Someone better give Log a permanent job though.

  35. Andy says:

    Surely the best part of the PCZ legacy is these prank calls made by Charlie Brooker:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKWV8_Fpgm4&feature=related

    I remember the issue that had them on the cover cd, me and my mates were in stitches for hours. It was only last year I realised that these were Charlie Brooker (long before his tv-fame) and it blew my mind.

  36. Wiseoldowl says:

    Jesus, no wonder the mag died. Porter and Presley spat up a right old bunch of crap there. Who the hell do they think they are kidding?

    The mag was crap and had been obviously on the slide well before Dennis sold it to Future. Everyone with a brain in their head knew it even if the journos writing it kept trying to pretend otherwise.

    Good riddance Zone. Your stinking and rotten corpse should have been buried years ago. You won’t be missed.

  37. Fwiffo says:

    There was always a sort of down to earthy, matey vibe from PCZ that I’ve never gotten from any other magazine or website. The mid to late 90′s Zone was a wonder in games journalism.

  38. TheHumanBlur says:

    I was subbed to Zone back in the late nighties – Always was great stuff but I defected to Gamer after a couple of years. Still purchased Zone now and again when the madness took me though. All the same I will shed a tear and raise a glass

  39. jonfitt says:

    I have something in my eye :’(

    I naturally gravitated to PC Gamer from ST Format in the early nineties, but quickly moved to PC Zone almost exclusively. I found Zone seemed to have the edge on exclusives, humour, and features. PC Gamer did catch up later on, but PC Zone was definitely a place to be back when PC Gamer seemed more clinical.

    I never had a subscription as getting the money together up front was not possible, so I always bought them at retail. I would hurry down to WHSmiths eagerly hoping that the next mag was out.

    New gamers really can’t appreciate how different the landscape was when new games didn’t pour forth from the Internet and downloading a demo was an overnight prospect involving some measure of luck. The cover disks and reviews in PC Zone let me play and experience many more games than I actually owned.

    Reading a PC Zone review was like one of your mates telling you about it. Someone you knew and trusted who also happened to be really funny.

  40. Gothnak says:

    Oh, and I hold a rare achievement of sitting 2 seats away from someone in that driving games photo right now :)

  41. Daniel Emery says:

    That damn Doom level still haunts me…and as for the green claw-print Bioforge cover – on Phils Mac, it was a stunning 3D repro of a scary fist; what was on the cover was palm shaped alien vomit.

    Not much to add really – the nights playing Star Control with Duncan McDonald (aka Mr Cursor) and Culky (name withheld because I cant remember), setting up the 4-player network on top-of-the range 486DX’s with D-link Ethernet cards wired up in Braille to play this shareware Macca had found called ‘Doom’ (it’ll never catch on…), the constant battle with Metal Hammer on who could make the most noise (they usually won), the sea of fag buts, gaffer-taping Ziggy to her chair, the ‘Brits on the Piss’ tour of E3 in 1995 (which included jumping in a high speed lift just before it got to the top floor and all of our heads smashing through the roof) and lots of other things that my lawyer says I should not disclose.

    The “Zone Golden Age” was when Dennis Publishing was at 19 Bolsover Street and we lived in the basement. It’s where we belonged…

  42. Chizu says:

    I used to buy both PZ Zone and PC Gamer. Ahhh, good times.

    Though now I am only subscribed to GamesTM, for I have become a mutliplatform whore.

  43. Manny says:

    The best complement I can give is that after reading all the names in the main article, most of them were recognisable and some even brought a few (admittedly occasionally repressed) memories back from the abyss. I can’t say the same about any other magazine of my yoof.

    Thanks for making my monthly trip to Smiths in the 90′s a worthwhile endeavour, and also for those occasionally magnificent cover discs. I wish I’d kept them.

  44. Atheos says:

    I bought my first PC Zone way back in 1999.

    I have every magazine since then.

    It makes me sad to see the demise of such a fine publication.

    Your reviews will never die however.

    R.I.P Zone :(

  45. Teppic says:

    Defected to PC Gamer from PC Zone after their very fishy review of Unreal 2. Still, sad to see them go.

    • TheTingler says:

      Ahhh, the Unreal 2 debacle. I was wondering when someone would bring that up. For my money it’s still a very good game, with lots of variety in the shooting and plenty of cool moments. Unfortunately saying its the best FPS ever alongside a big special booklet dedicated to the Unreal games is liable to raise a few eyebrows here and there.

      Nevertheless, I always trusted their reviews. And they gave Clive Barker’s Undying and The Witcher a great score whereas PC Gamer spat on them both – and I’ll always love them for that. Two of my favourite games.

  46. Kab says:

    This is sad… I am still a subscriber and have been for a *very* long time – I jsut turned 40 this year and been a subscriber as long as I can rmemeber.. must have been pretty much at its outset… I do still have a copy of the issue that proved Charlie Brooker’s demise… wonder if that is worth anything on Ebay hehe? (I even got my wisdom published on a couple of occasions in the ‘Notes from the Forums’ feature)… however the mag was well past its heyday – sad tho I am to say that and ironically I was about to cancel my subscription – even tho that felt like a dirty betrayal.

    I guess that decision is taken away from me now and while I am sad part of me thinks that, while I am genuinely sorry for those who will lose their jobs and I wish them all the best success in their futures, it is better this way.. we can remember its strengths and it won’t fade further into a mediocrity forced upon them not by a lack of skilled writers but by what seemed to be budget constraints and pretty awful conditions leading to a staff churn that their local Maccy D’s would be ashamed of….

  47. Jimbo says:

    Sad, very sad. Though like others I finally stopped buying print magazines recently (thanks to the iPad actually), but read zone and gamer pretty much since the start.

    I thought that zone was the closest that magazines ever came to capturing the spirit of amiga power, though they slowly lost that edge over time.

    Still, all the best to the current staff

  48. Skusey says:

    I’ve never seen old L4D artwork before, it looks funny. Shame about the magazine ending. I never read it but it’s still a bit upsetting.

  49. Mike says:

    “Porter’s a good boy really”

    Though I, like many others, drifted away from Zone, it was the magazine that introduced me to gaming as more than a casual distraction, and for that I am eternally grateful. I still have a couple of classic issues buried somewhere, including the review of Deus Ex. However, the single greatest feature I ever read has to be the “study” on how drinking affects you. It’s worrying how much I can remember (unlike most of the participants, I imagine).

    RIP Zone, you will be missed.

  50. Jochen Scheisse says:

    The first game magazine I bought was some issue of PowerPlay, then the mightiest German magazine. I think it was in the middle of the 90s, maybe a bit earlier. They had music and Pen&Paper reviews in the magazine for quite some time, because Computer games were still such a fucking niche hobby.

    What I do know EXACTLY is that the demo for the first XCOM was in that magazine, and that the idea of dowloading demos via Internet sounded like something out of a William Gibson novel to me then.

    Powerplay died 10 years ago. I don’t think I bought a magazine after it died. Not cause my love for the magazine was that strong, just because the time for magazines seemed to have passed.

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