Have You Played… Cover Discs?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I couldn’t afford many games as a teenager, so like many other people I turned to the only other available legal avenue: cover discs. The demos they offered were often the only way I ever played the biggest games – games about which I still have strong memories and thick opinions years later, despite only experiencing a sliver – as well as the method by which I procured patches in an age when dial-up internet was slow and expensive.

Amiga Power’s were the first I remembered, more for the shareware games included on them than the demos. Extreme Violence for example was a two-player game in which you, as a little man, roved across a grey, mostly-featureless arena and sprayed bullets in an effort to find and kill your opponent. I remember there being a weapon which fired bouncy bullets and that being a particularly satisfying (and unfair) way to squish your distant opponent.

But mostly it was PC Gamer’s discs – CDs, at first, and then DVDs – which I used most. It was how I got Counter-Strike patches when FilePlanet was being achingly slow (sometimes requiring me to stop playing for weeks as servers updated faster than I could). It was where I tried all kinds of mods and free games I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, particularly for first-person shooters like Quake and Unreal Tournament. It was where I played far, far more games than I would ever be able to buy. By offering all of these things, it felt like a bundle of game goodness and an exciting thing to receive each month.

My experience of cover discs does take one unusual turn compared to most other people: as I spilled out of my teens, I was hired to make the PC Gamer coverdiscs. I spent five (six? It felt like a long time) years selecting those demos, writing blurbs about those free games, and attempting to secure permission from mod developers to sell their work (or the work they had appropriated, did not own, and possibly had no right to grant me permission to use). It was a pleasure to get to make something I’d personally found so useful, even if much of those final years was spent hearing from people who thought the discs were redundant, did not want the discs to come with the magazine, and relished describing to me how they had thrown them in the bin.


  1. Kefren says:

    I remember Extreme Violence! I had that Dong disk. When I moved to the Amiga from the C64 I stopped playing pirated games, so hardly ever got new ones. Cover disks, and disks from 17 Bit Software (now Team 17) were good tide-overs between games. Then again, there was something lovely about having very few games, so each would get played for months at a time. Alien Breed, Dungeon Master, Hired Guns, Starglider 2 and so on immersed me more than any recent game has. Luckily I still play them on my emulator.

  2. aergistal says:

    Yeah I did and that’s how I got my first and last (so far) computer virus which completely destroyed the BIOS. It was CIH or something.

  3. Da5e says:


    • Ben says:

      Ha, yeah, Extreme Violence had the ridiculous kill announcements years before UT and all that. I had that cover disk and recently gave it amongst a load of others with my A500 to a local hackspace. They were very happy to see Extreme Violence in there!

  4. Great Cthulhu says:

    Cover discs were awesome! Especially in the early days of CD-ROM, when they offered ridiculous amounts of data. Getting a good cover disc felt like you’d downloaded the internet.

    • dystome says:

      Yeah and in that sense, they’re no longer necessary, since downloading 700MB now is really not a problem.

      Still, I don’t find myself checking out anywhere near of the number of demos / trial versions even though I now have access to more than I ever need. I think it was because they felt ‘curated’ and the fact that that was your lot for the month gave them value. Sigh.

      • P.Funk says:

        In that sense there’s a nostalgic Wild West feel to reflecting on how you felt about this era of gaming, when you were isolated by bad dial up or none at all but knew there was a wider world out there just beyond your reach.

        The romance of it all is naturally completely rubbish and you’d never trade the internet (government is a comin’ and bringing things like civilization) for that romantic period where discs meant so much to you.

        Sheesh, its hard to believe you ever considered reading print gaming mags relevant.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Yep, I remember the first time I got a magazine with a cover CD. That was like 650 floppies worth of stuff!
      Of course, I didn’t have a CD drive for my Amiga then, so I had to take it into school, and use the one computer with a CD drive, and copy the stuff I wanted onto many, many floppy disks.

      Somewhere in my parents loft, is a disc case holding something like 150 demo disks for the Amiga.
      One of these days I’ll get round to ripping all of them and freeing up some space.

      • Vedharta says:

        There are several scene projects to dump and archive magazine cover disks. check first if they already have your stuff before you invest all the time in dumping.

  5. Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:


    Absolutely loved cover disks, even though during the PC era many of the available demos demanded far more powerful machines than the ones I had. Upgrading did thus involve trying out TONS of older cover disks and feeling too happy to make sense.

  6. Zunalter says:

    I am currently having a nostalgia seizure. I remember so many games that I have only ever played via these demo discs, Carmageddon being the most memorable.

  7. Thulsa Hex says:

    I got Duke Nukem 3D’s shareware version from the cover disc of some now-defunct Irish PC magazine. That was a good day.

  8. DarkFenix says:

    Those discs full of demos and such were the highlight of my month back in the day. Hell, just recently I was doing a bit of spring cleaning and found a big stack of them buried behind a big pile of ‘stuff’, I had quite the nostalgia trip going through those.

  9. Jekadu says:

    Those were the days. I actually threw away the last of my discs just a few weeks ago. I’d been hanging on to them for far too long.

    Cover discs introduced me to Caesar III and Rollercoaster Tycoon. I’ll be forever grateful for that.

    • Moneymancer Marklew says:

      Here in Brazil they eventually starting throwing in a free game alongside the demos CD. That’s how I got my Rollercoaster Tycoon and spent an ungodly ammount of time with it!
      Also, that’s where I got jewels like Myth: The Fallen Lords or Little Big Adventure 2.
      Oh hell, why can’t we have Myth and Crimson Skies on GoG?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m actually bundling mine up because I still can’t bring myself to discard so much somewhat-curated, practically-irreplacable data.

  10. wcq says:

    I remember how the writers in “real” PC mags used to scoff at the “disc covers” back then.

    I also remember buying some of those terrible magazines just for the discs. One of them even frequently had full versions of older (relatively) games on its cover: that’s how I got MDK.

  11. Urthman says:

    I actually went and bought a copy of PC Gamer for the first and only time just to get part 3 of Neil Manke’s They Hunger series of mods for Half-Life.

    At the time, Manke’s FPS level design was some of the best in the world.

  12. crowleyhammer says:

    I must of played the Thief 1 demo in Lord Baffors manor far longer than it took me to finish the real game!!

    I remember playing the actual in game mission and being totally throw off when it was slightly different.

  13. pepperfez says:

    Hello, I am Coconut Monkey. Welcome to my island paradise!

    • Mut says:

      I’m still eagerly awaiting Gravy Trader with the passion of a thousand Molyneux’s. Most realistic gravy physics ever in a game? SOLD!

  14. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I used to buy them all the time. I especially liked a magazine called Ultimate PC which only ran for a couple years. For me, demo discs were always stressful as I never had a 3D accelerator meaning installing a demo was a crapshoot as to whether it would even run or not.

    I can remember basically bouncing for joy when I discovered their second or third issue had a Grand Theft Auto demo on it.

  15. spearhavoc says:

    You can download a lot of these discs for free now from archive.org. link to archive.org

  16. rustybroomhandle says:

    Pffff, youths!

    I remember when cover tapes were introduced in Sinclair User.

    • hoho0482 says:

      Beat me to it…

    • RimRider says:

      Batty on the cover of Your Sinclair was a masterstroke!

      That game could have sold for £7.95 easy, but here it was – on the cover of a magazine… for free!!

      • Rorschach617 says:

        “Hold my hand very tightly,
        Very tightly, very tightly,
        Hold my hand very tightly,

      • TheSplund says:

        Just found the tape of a Christmas edition of Your Sinclair!

        • RimRider says:

          Was the cassette mostly yellow with black writing? I seem to remember that…

    • chuckieegg says:

      And the famous yellow cassette with Chaos on it from 1990.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Just after I posted this I downloaded “Go Bear Go!” which was a cover tape game starring Kamikaze Bear, Sinclair User’s mascot (more or less – they had a recurring cartoon). It’s actually a reasonably passable clone of Pengo.

    • fray_bentos says:

      I’d don’t remember cover CDs, but cover tapes from Sinclair User. CDs were the future then.

  17. Det. Bullock says:

    Of course I did, from PC gamer first (italian edition), then “Giochi per il mio Computer” with the occasional “The Games Machine” thrown in. I didn’t have the internet at the time so the cover disks let me try all those new games… Also some had budget games toghether with the cover disk so I could get games even if I lived on a small island where the only computer shop only had one way overpriced game, yay!

    • Binho says:

      I loved ‘The Games Machine’ (TGM)! They didn’t just include budget games either, sometimes they would have big games too. My copies of GTA II, Icewind Dale, Homeworld, Homeworld II and Morrowind (which even came with all the expansions!) were from TGM. Growing up I much prefered TGM and ‘Giochi Per il Mio Computer’ to the Dutch and English magazines they sold in Holland (Like PC Gamer), and would stock up on them when we would go back to Italy for summer break :). Partly because they had great cover disks and included games, but I also thought they were more informative and entertaining to read.

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        And here’s the third TGM reader!
        There are three things I remember from that magazine: the constant coverage of Black & White while it was on development (which informed me that this Molyneaux chap was apparently a living god that I was supposed to know, respect and quote in any conversation); the cover disks that included, among others, Rune which was my first multiplayer experience on a 56k modem and, finally, the fact that it was only years later I realized that “La Robba Dura del Pastore” (“The Hard Stuffz”) was a pun on the title of the hardware column. I was a teenager and, out of nowhere, suddenly realized that 12 years old me was an idiot. Then, when I was about 25 years old, I realized that 17 years old me was an even bigger idiot. Since then, the process of realization has been streamlined and automated. It will take me about ten seconds to figure out exactly how idiotic everything I’ve written so far is.

  18. CMaster says:

    As a child, and a younger teenager, it was pretty much the only games I got, save 2-3 full Games at Christmas. My experience of many classic games is mostly down to the demos.

    You can imagine how much I loved stuff like the multi-map UT demo, or some larger stratergy games which basically gave you a small map as a demo.

    Then later, I played lots and lots and lots of HL mods, as well as picking up games in the 3 for £10/3 for £20 bins at GAME.

  19. sillythings says:

    I did! Not too many of them, though. The one I have the fondest memories of was a German magazine’s disk full of custom Tomb Raider levels. I played that before I ever got around to play an actual Tomb Raider game.

    Oh, and this also made me remember this old game that came with a bag of bear shaped potato chips. I feel like I remember that being a pretty big thing at some point, at least here in Austria. Got a food item aimed at children you’re trying to sell? Why not package it with a game on one of those tiny CDs!

  20. hoho0482 says:

    I started on cover cassettes on my speccy. You at one point got older full games also, but the industry felt it devalued new games and put a stop to it :-(

    • phlebas says:

      Only when the actual magazines ceased publication, as far as I can recall? Crash (by then a shadow of its former self, a pamphlet with all the emphasis on the attached tape) and Sinclair User both had cover tapes on their respective final issues, and Your Sinclair had them up to their penultimate issue, spending the budget for the final one on extra pages instead.

  21. JJRPIII says:

    The hitman demo. The MOHAA demo. A glorious evening’s entertainment followed by the immediate purchase of the game and a week of tremendous man killing.

    Surely this was gaming as the gods intended it.

  22. Al__S says:

    I can remember Amiga magazines going from one, to two, then I think AP went to the dizzying heights of three disks. Crazy times

    But the ultimate one has to be (checking the exact numbering, this isn’t from memory) Amiga Format Issue 54 (Christmas 93- I would have been 10) disk b. The hallowed Cannon Soccer.

    Played that fucker so much.

    And yes, before broadband cover disks were invaluable for patches and driver updates and all sorts of stuff like that.

  23. Zankman says:

    From demos of AAA games through small shareware titles to completely tiny freeware (sometimes even flash-based) games – yes, collecting Cover/Demo Disks was awesome.

    If it weren’t for them, I would have never played Notrium, Little Fighter 2 and Swarm Rampage/Assault.

    Likewise, thanks to them I played demos (on and on, again and again) of certain games I hold dearly, like Think Tanks.

  24. Kaeoschassis says:

    Didn’t we all? Graham, you and everyone else who ever made coverdisks are heroes and my past self wants to thank you from the bottom of his heart.

  25. jareddm says:

    One of my fondest memories of these was from Xbox magazine.

    The game demos were usually pretty good but nothing super incredible. Except for one.

    One day I was looking through the magazine, and I found a mention of a special button code that could be entered into the demo disk from a few months earlier to unlock a surprise. Well I had that demo disk and so I immediately fired it up and entered this fairly lengthy button combination. With each correct button, the controller started vibrating stronger and stronger, until it was completed and I had unlocked…

    The Metal Wolf Chaos demo!

    I was ecstatic. I never thought I’d get a chance to play this amazingly absurd game that I had only seen videos about. It was a great find.

    • fabronaut says:

      I looked that game up, and it sounds friggin’ awesome. Japan only release, unfortunately?

      I guess I’ll just watch it on Youtube. Apparently Xbox emulators aren’t really a thing. At least, not comparable to the very effective and stable ones for other consoles, it seems!

  26. Chris Evans says:

    Played many a demo from the cover discs…two favourites were a demo for the original Command and Conquer (a demo that got me hooked on the series and led me to falling in love with Red Alert 2), and the demo for Half-Life. I think it was Uplink (link to halflifeuplink.com), but it’s been so long now, the details are hazy!

  27. Sin Vega says:

    Coverdisks are how I first discovered Amiga Power (even though even they admitted theirs were often outdone by otherwise inferior rival mags). Even if they hadn’t given me hundreds, possibly thousands of hours of entertainment and access to games I’d never have seen otherwise, I’d be eternally grateful to them for that.

    I didn’t get all that many by the time CDs were everything, though, since I basically gave up on games magazines sometime in the late 90s. Sharing games with friends and relatives was still the best source by then.

  28. Greg Wild says:

    hah. I have fond memories of that specific disk. It was the first edition of PCG I bought after being unimpressed by the thin games coverage in my Dad’s PC Format mags.

    • Greg Wild says:

      Although, my fondest memories are of a disk that came with shareware versions of Strife, Rise of the Triad and a bunch of other games.

  29. B3tanTyronne says:

    I used to love going through the `PC Zone` discs, not so much for the games but the other things they would put on there, especially the videos of `Culky`, really cheap, funny and almost youtube before youtube.
    link to youtu.be

    By a strange coincidence, I have been watching the `demo disc` episodes from Funhaus on youtube – they have had me laughing like a loon (best not watch them at work as they do use rule 34 in almost every episode).

  30. P.Funk says:

    If cover discs give people nostalgia overload, what about shareware dics? Or shareware floppies!

    I still have my shareware floppy of Hocus Pocus. I think I could buy them at my local corner store in these weird flat paper packages.

  31. thekelvingreen says:

    Zzap! #66 was the first magazine I got with a cover mounted, er, thing. I played that Creatures torture demo for hours and hours.

  32. Nuno Miguel says:

    I probably played more hours of Outcast in the demo than the full game. I was seriously in awe with that game at the time.

  33. snv says:

    Back then when i had a c64 i wasted much of my allowance on those floppy-only-magazines. Those things where you get only a cardboard-sleeve in magazine size, which just held one 5.25 floppy disk.

    But in regards to cover-CDs, i cherish the memory of cleaning out a whole cupboard full of them after i moved out of my mothers place.

    I am so glad that nowadays i don’t have to archive patches and drivers on my HDD, because nowadays its easier and faster to just download them again, then to try to find them on my drive.

  34. Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

    …Ok, look, I know it’s rude to talk pirated games, but I need to ask. There’s something I’m wondering since the mid-90s and the cover disks talk reminded me:

    the Twilights. Not the movies, you silly millenial. The collections of pirated games that came out every month. I used to buy them from shady nerds in possess of the mystical power of the CD burners. Were they a thing in the rest of Europe? Ever heard of them? Some of the early ones could contain even twenty games (not shitty ones, either: n° 7 had Diablo!)

    • Sin Vega says:

      I never knew them as a regular thing to look forward to, they were just one of many names attached to copies of games that my dad would mysteriously acquire occasionally in bulk.

      My favourite was by “Prestige” (no idea), on the amiga:

      link to youtube.com

      It’s lost in translation, but once you clicked throughall the text (I think right clicking skipped the whole thing – pirates, as usual, caring more about their customers than publishers) you could sit and stare at the effects. There was a particular way of looking it that made it come to a sort of semi-3d state where it appeared to branch off into separate tunnels.

      Yes, I was an odd child.

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        Ah yes, pirates always show some pride in their craft, it’s somewhat heartwarming!
        I actually lived in Padova for years, mentioned in your link by a PO box you could contact to buy copiers, and a guy in his forties I played Warhammer with did mention that, before the Internet, he got his pirated games via phone and mail. I wonder if he contacted the actual Prestige group…

        Yeah, so, the Twilights I mentioned were instead sold by complacent hardware shops whose owners moonlighted as pirates. They even had a catalog you could skim to find out what games were in each compilation. Now, these games obviously came without manuals and were untranslated from English. My entire English vocabulary was the word “cat”. In-game tutorials basically didn’t exist. You can see where this is going: imagine 10 years old little me, trying to figure out Xcom blind for MONTHS, clicking randomly and trying to decipher what stuff did by their effects in game.

        I never managed to get my F-16 off the ground in Falcon 2.0. I cried with joy when I managed to actually launch a torpedo in some submarine sim whose name I can’t recall, let alone actually hitting anything.

        You know, people mourn the death of manuals and I see their point. Still, consider this, you lucky native English speaking bastards: MY manuals were fucking dictionaries!

      • Sizeable Dirk says:

        It’s amazing how that demoscene is still going, still competing and doing events.

    • Sizeable Dirk says:

      It was a thing up in Scandinavia in the 90’s. A sleazy small-time criminal relative made quite a bit of money on the side selling copied VHS movies and porn tapes, burned music and game compilation discs.
      I also remember him working in logistics and occasionally selling stuff “fallen off a truck”.

      I don’t remember the labelling of the discs other than game list and an index number though.
      I borrowed a few discs but they were always inferior versions with all music and cutscene videos ripped out to fit on the CD. Instead of manuals they only had some Scene group txt file with hints like mouse: shoot, arrow: move.

  35. Umberto Bongo says:

    I have about 10 years worth of PC Gamer discs somewhere in my dad’s loft. Certain demos I’ve played more than most full games. Half-Life Uplink and Grand Theft Auto I’m looking at you.

  36. pertusaria says:

    The closest I came to this was finding out what shareware Dad had brought back from whatever computing expo he’d gone to (once or twice I got to go with him). This died out around the time everything switched to CD, I guess? I got (versions of) Commander Keen, Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein and various other things in this manner. Magazine racks were never part of my life growing up, for some reason.

  37. Spacewalk says:

    I got Unreal on a coverdisc. Not a demo, the full game. I’d like to know how the magazine set that deal up.

  38. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I don’t know which issue it was, but there was a PC Gamer, I think with a greenish cover, which gave me the shareware episode of Rise of the Triad. Between that and a yellow PC Gaming Monthly (not 100% sure of the name on that one) with the Full Throttle demo, I had it made back then!

  39. Vermintide says:

    Cover discs are the reason that while most people think Daikatana was an awful game, I still have a rose-tinted view of it as the first real (i.e non-console) FPS I had ever played. It was on the cover disc for an issue of PC Zone I think, along with Starlancer, and some racing game I have long since forgotten the name of.

    Somehow, knowing nothing at all about PC hardware, my parents got a machine with a TNT2 card and a whopping 64mb of ram. It was miraculous. And yet I would sit there for hours playing Unreal botmatches in software mode, because I had no idea about hardware rendering. I also lacked the adequate skill to use WASD, and would play every game simply using the up arrow and mouselook…

    Simpler times, friends. Simpler times.

  40. April March says:

    Certainly. There is one, in particular, I remember vividly. It had a lot of excellent games, including Rise of the Traid, Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy, Heretic (which I didn’t like and barely played), Jazz Jackrabbit and a Christmas version of a game about a dude in a jetpack (which was called Jetpack?) and, since I had no idea of what the real game was like (or even that it existed), was a game about Santa Claus flying around and dropping off gifts. Add a language barrier to make things really like jumping into a strange new world…

  41. TheSplund says:

    I tended to buy PCFormat back then – not sure they gave away that ‘Lucas Arts Making Magic’ disc (I see it’s on that archive.org site now)

    Still have the my first disc which was the firt edition of the probably short running PC Guide from July 95 (I bought this and one other mag witgh a disc before I bought my PC) – it even had a low res video (by today’s standards) of a Prince track.

  42. Tartrazine says:

    ” even if much of those final years was spent hearing from people who thought the discs were redundant, did not want the discs to come with the magazine, and relished describing to me how they had thrown them in the bin”

    Amongst others, that was me on the old PCG forums (and weren’t they the wild west at times). Sorry. To be fair the conversations revolved around the price of the mag and how it could be reduced iirc.

  43. MajorLag says:

    I still have many old PC Gamer cover disks. The only one that jumps out in my memory though is the one that came with the Original XCom rewritten for Windows 9x! Sure, it had a lot of bugs, and needed you to disable hardware acceleration on nVidia cards to get it to work, but it was XCom goddamnit.

    There was also one that had a cute little one-man project on it. A River City Ransom knock-off with Zombies and a school IIRC. As I recall, the developer simply asked PC Gamer to review it and, while they decided not to do that, they did have a blurb about it and put it on the CD.

    This was the days before Steam, before Desura, before Itch.io and any other big distribution mechanism for these sorts of things. Having a gaming magazine distribute your game was probably a pretty big deal.

    • fabronaut says:

      I know the game you’re talking about! I might’ve still had 56K at the time, but I remember getting that game off a domain / hosting provider located in Toronto (nearest major city to me).

      You’re thinking of Zombie Smashers X. Pretty sure at the time it was just a one man studio, run by a guy named Jim Silva (?), who back then went by the handle of “Totally Screwed Software”

      He eventually rebranded or changed his company name to Ska Studios, and has had a solid presence on Xbox Live since the early days of the Arcade, I believe. More info here: link to wikiwand.com

      If you liked that odd art style (everything kinda looked like South Park heads?), you might enjoy some of his other stuff from that era that I remember trying…

      There was a fairly short, somewhat bananas, but really fun game called Yuki the Ninja (or something similar). It was a bloody little sidescroller where you mostly scaled skyscrapers (I think you could run up them?) and slashed up various minions, used various magic attacks (firebombs, lightning bolts… others?), and maybe had throwing stars.

      Survival Crisis Z is a REALLY neat little zombie survival simulator. Considering that it came out in… oh, I don’t even know when that would’ve been released now. 2009? Maybe earlier? I really enjoyed it and hadn’t played anything quite like it. From what I remember, you had to move from building to building in an isometric cityscape, scrounging for supplies, avoiding infection, and holing up with other survivors. Can’t remember if there were conflicts with roaming gangs or not. I remember it being ridiculously good (and possibly free? wtf?)

      And for me, personally, the crowing jewel was… oh god, what was that game called… It was this top down action game where you had a small party of different characters that you could switch between. *googles around for a bit*

      BLOOD ZERO. That came out in 2003 apparently? Damn…

      I loved that game. I seem to remember it having some kind of inventory based system similar to the River City Ransom style “eat food, level up” mechanic from Zombie Smashers, but with persistent stats for characters as well as weaponry to purchase and use. It was a cross between a Legend of Zelda 4-way top down action game, with elements of JRPG stuff in there.

      The story was really over the top, violent, bloody, and just a damn good time. I remember thinking “how the hell is this free?”

      I think I’ll buy their current game, Salt and Sanctuary, tonight on Steam. As a way of saying thanks for the memories. I don’t remember if I beat the original Zombie Smashers game, since I only had the demo version at the time and was young enough that I shrugged off the logistics of mailing a cheque or whatever.

      Apparently those old Visual Basic games don’t run properly on new systems due to major software changes, so you might want to create a VM with a “fell off the truck” version of XP solely to play games like that if you’re so inclined.

      I may actually do that tonight. Gives me a reason to screw around with VMs a bit. :) Thanks for the blast from the past, I totally forgot about that!

  44. Iainn says:

    PC Review was my magazine of choice when I used to buy them. I had almost every issue of it, including all the cover disks (although for a while, they offered a non-cover disk version for £1 less – why?!). The early issues of course came with 5.25″ floppies, after all it was the very early 90’s. But like most people when moving out of your parents house, you don’t really see the point in keeping them any more, so everything got chucked.

    Before that though, Zzap! 64 and Commodore Format were regular purchases for me. Many, many hours spent playing the demo for Exile that came with one issue of Format. Probably in the region of 50 hours, it was so much fun. I don’t even play full games for that long these days, let alone a demo!

  45. GameOverMan says:

    Trex Warrior: 22nd Century Gladiator (a german commercial game released as freeware), Transplant, Alianator (Defender in 3D)… Amiga cover disks were wonderful.

  46. phlebas says:

    Before the days when cover discs were taken over by flashy demos of games that wouldn’t run on my parents’ PC, even before (I think) there were PC games magazines, a highlight was the PC Plus SuperDisk that contained Plebs and Hell Fire. Hours of fun!

  47. Karyogon says:

    As much as time allowed, still have well over a hundred of these discs from PCG, PC Zone, Joystick etc. I recently (actually) dusted off in the interest of continued health and safety.

    PCGamer discs were veritable works of art:

    • Scandalon says:

      Oh wow is that a “OMG I forgot all about that!” moment. Yes, coconut monkey…

      First coverdisk I recall would be Blackthorne – took up the whole floppy!

  48. Einsammler says:


    The CD I am remembering was Interactive Entertainment, which was a magazine contained entirely on the CD until the end-of-life stage where it was pressed into Computer Strategy Games Plus’ service.

    Specifically, the review of Steel Panthers which was an audio drama about taking the “I E Sherman Tank” through town, picking up school children who’d missed their bus and the like. It was very strange and not something I could have as a shared experience with /anyone/.

    “Ants, gotta hate ’em. Mow ’em down with my trusty laser rifle yeahhh that’s the ticket.”

  49. AmazingPotato says:

    I have very fond memories of going round my mates’ houses to play various demos, because they all had better computers than me and so could handle all the new cool games like ZOOL and PUTTY.

    Do you remember when some demos were timed? It made you feel like you actually had the full game but only like ten minutes worth – if you could only just bomb it through the level(s) you’d effectively see the whole game. Ah, the naivety of youth.