Two Eras End In UK Games Journalism

yes, I did this. Deal with it.

We try to steer clear of journalism-journalism around here, but it’s a strange, sad day for anyone who’s been involved with or followed the UK games journo scene for a while. Friend-of-RPS Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell is leaving Eurogamer after 15 years today, and Future Publishing is closing CVG after 33 years of life.

The Bramwell news is bittersweet – he’s leaving of his own volition, in search of new adventures after having been in one place for so long. I can highly recommend his exit interview with (newly-promoted – congrats!) dep ed Wes Yin-Poole, in which Tom says scurrilous things about major game executives (plus Edge magazine staff), reminisces about his favourite games and consoles, and reveals which articles got him into the hottest water. Also something something Doritos. Tom has steered one of the UK’s most impressive games writing ships for a long time, and he’s got the stories and scars to prove it. He is, trust me, one of the good guys.

All the best to Tom for whatever comes next, and congratulations to Eurogamer’s new editor and similarly upstanding fellow Oli Welsh.

Over at Future, it’s allegedly the end of the line for CVG – or Computer & Videogames, as it was once known. With 33 years of service to its name, both in print and online, CVG is the oldest games publication in existence. (Or was.) Whatever the name has meant in recent years, I sincerely doubt I’m the only person here for whom CVG was the first games mag they ever read. While Future has yet to officially announce the closure, trade site MCV broke the news, citing “sources close to the business”, earlier today.

The reported closure comes as part of an aggressive ‘streamlining’ process at Future, which recently saw the company’s London office closed, Official Nintendo Magazine cancelled and several lay-offs as a response to ongoing cashflow woes. A number of Future writers have also left games journalism rather than go down with any ships.

While no-one disputes that the company – and indeed much of the surrounding industry – is facing massive upheaval, Twitter today had many voices in games media lamenting the decision to close CVG despite its no longer being at the peak of its powers, given it’s such a well-known brand and one which did survive the transition from print to online.

The publisher recently merged sci-fi publication SFX and Total Film into a revised GamesRadar, while these days it claims TechRadar and PC Gamer as its leading online lights. Perhaps there really was no room for CVG in these belt-tightened times, but it’s very sad to see the old oak topple after so long. Commiserations and best of luck to all those affected by the closure.

These are dark times, there is no denying.

Update – and the stalwart Mike Rose of Gamasutra just announced that he’s leaving games writing too. What is it about today?

43 Comments

  1. padger says:

    Tom is/was one of the greats. A cuddly legend.

    Oh and also CVG is closing. Right.

    • roryok says:

      I grew up with CVG. Used to buy it religiously and fawn over all the amazing looking games on Megadrive and C64, Amiga, Atari ST – games I could never play because I only had an Atari 2600. I remember the fantastic covers that Jon used to draw, better than the art in the actual games themselves. It introduced me to games, cheats, puerile humour, and Yobs mailbag. I used to have old copies of CVG right up until about 2 years ago when I finally binned them all. Some days I regret it.

      I’ll miss CVG, but for me it’s been gone since the mid 90s, when I stopped reading.
      I always saw RPS as a sort of spiritual successor to the CVG of old. Hope that doesn’t offend anyone

  2. Premium User Badge

    Craig Pearson says:

    Remember that time I left? Guys? GUYS?

    • Alec Meer says:

      You just didn’t time it right for maximum heartbreak, Craig.

    • Themadcow says:

      C+VG was probably by go-to multiplatform gaming magazine of the 80’s.

      Next you’ll be telling me that Amiga Action is next :(

      *edit* Yeah, replied to the wrong post *edit*

      • Premium User Badge

        distantlurker says:

        Fear not! So long as Zzap!64 is still going strong, we’ll make it out of this hell!

        ^^

        & hopefully Tom “T.B.” B has finally seen sense and is ditching his love for PCGamer, leaving EG to relaunch the only decent PC mag there’s ever been, ZONE FTW!!!

    • Ross Angus says:

      No, but we remember Dark Souls.

      • Oozo says:

        We will ALWAYS remember Dark Souls, Craig.

      • Voice of Majority says:

        Yeah, that was the last drop!

      • Zekiel says:

        I think the video of Craig playing Dark Souls was the single funniest thing I’ve seen on RPS (and that’s high praise).

        Miss you Craig!

      • SuicideKing says:

        Hahahaha! That video of his made me laugh quite a bit.

        Disclaimer: I too, have not played Dark Souls.

    • Tuor says:

      ‘Didn’t we have some fun, though? Remember when the platform was sliding into the fire pit and I said “Goodbye”, and you were like, [deep voice] “No way!” And then I was all, “We pretended we were going to murder you.” That was great.’

  3. Diziet Sma says:

    Does it have to be classed like this:

    These are dark times, there is no denying.

    For the people concerned, and for us using a different perspective, it can quite easily be seen as a new beginning and a positive step. Obviously CVG closing is sad for those concerned, and those of us that remember. I hope they find new jobs very soon. For Tom Bramwell however this seems quite positive.

    • The_B says:

      You underestimate how bitter Alec still is for losing Kieron to those smelly comics people.

    • The_B says:

      (Semi-more serious response: it’s semi-selfish but it’s still a terrible shame to see good people go, especially from a medium that’s constantly morphing and changing to keep up with things like video, mobile content and countless other things. I’m certain Alec doesn’t wish Tom any ill will for doing what he wants to do.)

    • Alec Meer says:

      Yeah, I meant dark times re site closures. Hopefully it’s a bright future for Tom (who I’ll be toasting tonight).

  4. Horg says:

    Having viewed the header image, I am now curious to know more of this Tomob D’Bramwell. Oh, he left, you say? Well never mind then.

    • Caelyn Ellis says:

      It’s Tomob “Tomob D’Bramwell” D’Bramwell. Get it right.

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        I’ve seen that Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell thing before in several Sunday Papers, but I don’t know where it comes from. Anyone care to enlighten me?

        • The_B says:

          Literally a bit of an RPS injoke. Click on the tag and it’s as far back as 2009, but I’m fairly sure it was being used by at the very least the RPS staff (before they became RPS full time) before then as well. Don’t think there’s really much explanation other than “It’s funny. It stuck.”

          Which is the mantra for most RPS injokes, in fairness.

  5. Junkenstein says:

    And at the same time, a UK Gaming Institution is reborn.

    The return of Digitiser – link to digitiser2000.com

    I think Computer and Video Games was the first gaming mag I ever bought.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sihoiba says:

      Digitiser – how did I miss this was a thing? This really was the gaming mag of my teenage years,

    • FreeTom says:

      The Zombie Dave post…

      DARYL: Mrrrbrlll drrrrm drff drff drrmllbrrb.

      I can’t figure out that one line. I must know. Zombie doesn’t seem to be an available language in Google Translate.

    • Themadcow says:

      MOTHER OF GOD!!!!

      Digitiser! Co-written by the brilliant Paul Rose, who also created the equally entertaining Bubblegun website for a while before he got a proper job sorted writing TV shows.

      I actually have a Knife & Wife t-shirt somewhere. The everyday tales of a psychotic chicken and his human wife.

      link to bubblegun.com

  6. GallonOfAlan says:

    Sad to see CVG go in terms of it being one of the few links to that era that remain, but for me it went to shite after the first redesign.

    • tumbleworld says:

      Yeah, it was wonderful, once upon a time. Then it turned horrible, and recently it’s been almost actively begging for death. Still, it’s a shame to see another little shard of the 8-bit era vanishing.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Speaking of redesigns but Future should re redesign PC Gamer. I haven’t been there since the redesign. :(

      • slerbal says:

        It is… terrible, isn’t it? I don’t mean to be harsh but I likewise click the bookmark, take one look at the new site and go “Nah” and move on :(

        It is just unappealing.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Not just unappealing but outright broken, at least with the extensions I’m running.

          • Zafman says:

            I can only go there using my desktop system now. It makes my stone-age laptop freeze up constantly with all the adverts popping up. Still…got to read Doctor Cobbett’s stuff!

  7. kwyjibo says:

    CVG has closed like 5 times now that it’s utterly meaningless.

  8. B.rake says:

    Take heart! There’s always FHM for games coverage :D

  9. Lord Byte says:

    CVG was my first games-magazine, in 1992, and I followed that up with MANY back-issues :) And the first English publication I read ^_^ You could say I learned English by reading CVG :) And a few years later I swapped to PC Zone UK, because I liked their writing style so much more (at the time a much more adult approach to writing, and less forced humour). I followed them until 2004 iirc, after which I realised I usually knew most of what was in the magazine before it appeared, thanks to the internet. Still, good times!

    • G_Man_007 says:

      ‘Zone was always the better mag on the shelf. Once Future bought it, we said the writing was on the wall, but it managed to limp on for a bit.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    That bit where Tom talks about being a snob really threw me – the man did excellent work, but I always appreciated him more as an editor than a reviewer precisely because his tastes were less snobby than mine (and also because he didn’t really do PC games ;) ).

    But I guess that just makes me an uber-snob.

  11. MrTambourineMan says:

    To quote fine gentleman you used for the background of your cover here: ‘he not busy being born is busy dying’. There ya have it!

  12. Vanderdecken says:

    I’ve never forgiven Future (and CVG by extension) for when the old-old PC Gamer site was merged into the CVG website summarily overnight, with no warning or forethought, killing PCGF (the PC Gamer Forums) by stuffing it into a shitty proprietary CMS forums software and breaking all backlinks. That was the first online community I really felt part of, and the merge was ham-fisted, business-oriented, and didn’t consider the community at all. I tried to stick out the change, and people like Craig and Tim did and said nice things to placate the community but it was a losing battle and good people left in droves.