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I mean, it doesn't, but also it does.

 

821510212_PCZoneLives.thumb.png.2540993a50ede07ff4d28c21f0111080.png

 

Looks like a podcast is coming from some of the old PCZ alumni (Richie Shoemaker seems a clear inclusion, otherwise unsure who's involved). How much content can be generated by picking over the bones of Zone I don't know, but it could be interesting to listen to.

 

Given how, er, 'well' the lad's mag humour of Zone has aged, I'm not sure that its style could (or should) be resurrected, but it was a formative read for me throughout my teens (and introduced me to some of my favourite games of all time), and it'll be fun to hear about it from the horses' mouths.

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It could be timely because tbh I'd be surprised if PC Gamer survives the year even with being able to get most of its editorial content from its own website.  Its circulation was barely above 10k in 2019 (Amiga Power was killed for double that) and they actually delisted it rather than post a figure for 2020 which tells me its certainly not "up".

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I remember when PC Gamer launched. Previously I’d regularly buy PC Format and PC Review, but once PC Gamer came out I dumped those two and just got PCG.
Was it PC Gamer that had the demo of Robocod with turned out to be the whole game?!

 

Anyway, off topic sorry. I did buy the occasional copy of PC Zone but don’t remember much about it. I’ll check out the website and see if I get all nostalgic about MSDos games and early CDRom releases! 

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I used to sub to PC Zone in spite of its "humour" which, even at the time, was embarrassingly unfunny and try-hard and that description above ("...burps and farts to edit out") suggests to me this will be more of the same.

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We only started reading PC Zone around late '98 or early '99 - we had only just started to explore PC gaming and this was one of the first PC games magazines we tried (although I did pick up Gamer later.) It was interesting to see a magazine where staff were personalities again; I feel like that disappeared for a bit in certain console magazines. That said, I imagine it probably has a bit of the cringey "post-pub gaming", "bants" vibe to it now!

 

E: I say "post pub" but their Supertest features were held in pubs, with photos and everything...

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PC Zone felt very much like Sega Power and that type of less stuffy and more casual magazine compared to PC Format which was super informative but very dry. I loved it. Some of the best stuff was the prank telephone calls brooker I think did as well as the cover discs which always provided great demos as well as mods like the gore mod for carmageddon. I only bought it until the early 2000s as pc gaming started to become dull for me with every game being a shooter or brown in some way but I did pick up the very last issue as it was a great send off.

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I think I'd rather have a Zero reunion/discussion tbh. That had a much more naive and childish/teen humour, Viz let's face it, which feels more approachable and inoffensive. Perhaps that's just me though.:unsure: PC Zone was for obvious reasons very similar in its early years, but the whole lad stuff seems pretty inappropriate now. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was a great mag, but I feel it's difficult to distance the discussion of it with the laddish time it took place in. Maybe I'm just be more interested in the early/mid 90s games mag industry though!

 

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Yeah, I've found Zero aged more gracefully, funnily enough - just as irreverent as PC Zone, but not quite as far into the over-the-top laddish banter.

 

Still, I do have a lot of fondness for Zone - I remember adoring their Carmageddon review at the time (written from the perspective of someone expecting a normal racing game and getting more and more distressed/delighted as they accidentally wreak murder and destruction across the countryside), and it was one of the magazines I read every month, alongside PC Gamer, Edge and (era-dependant) Mean Machines Sega and Official Dreamcast Magazine.

 

Despite that, I didn't make it to the end of Zone's run; as I approached sixth form at the start of the millennium I started to find the magazine's humour a bit stale and dropped it from my regular readlist (swapped it for OXM, if I remember correctly). Looking back I'm not sure if it was the magazine that had changed, or just that I was getting old enough to register that the style was a bit embarrassing.

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I absolutely loved PC Zone between the ages of 12-14. Some good soul has scanned all of them and uploaded the cover disc contents as well: http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone/

 

Some of it really hasn't aged well but when I had a look through the scans there was still some great stuff. Mostly Brooker's, and whoever it was that did their flight sim reviews for a while.

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I started reading PC Zone in about 1994. Stopped reading in 2000.
 

 

I remember they organised a national Doom tournament which I participated in and got my arse kicked in. I was using cursors with ctrl for fire and you had guys using wsad and mouse who taped  the shift key down. 

:doh:

 

 

Also, who knew Charlie Brooker would become famous? 

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1 minute ago, mash said:

 

I remember they organised a national Doom tournament which I participated in and got my arse kicked in. I was using cursors with ctrl for fire and you had guys using wsad and mouse who taped  the shift key down. 

 

I watched some of that in HMV on Oxford Street! I remember getting very excited that David McCandless was there.

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4 minutes ago, PK said:

I absolutely loved PC Zone between the ages of 12-14. Some good soul has scanned all of them and uploaded the cover disc contents as well: http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone/

 

Some of it really hasn't aged well but when I had a look through the scans there was still some great stuff. Mostly Brooker's, and whoever it was that did their flight sim reviews for a while.

 

Just reading through issue one (which I didn't read at the time, what with my not having access to a PC until 1994), and I unironically love the Dune 2 review for the struggle to define its genre — "a Sim City clone which is also a real-time shoot 'em up".

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4 hours ago, Dudley said:

It could be timely because tbh I'd be surprised if PC Gamer survives the year even with being able to get most of its editorial content from its own website.  Its circulation was barely above 10k in 2019 (Amiga Power was killed for double that) and they actually delisted it rather than post a figure for 2020 which tells me its certainly not "up".

i didnt know pc gamer was still going used to buy it and pc zone a fair bit between 99 and 2005

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6 hours ago, Dudley said:

It could be timely because tbh I'd be surprised if PC Gamer survives the year even with being able to get most of its editorial content from its own website.  Its circulation was barely above 10k in 2019 (Amiga Power was killed for double that) and they actually delisted it rather than post a figure for 2020 which tells me its certainly not "up".

Super successful website (millions of views a month), the PC Gaming Show (sponsored by Intel and Epic - not Mickey Mouse nonsense), and a machine of a commercial department getting ads and advertorials in the magazine itself = I don't think PCG is going anywhere soon. By no means is it too big to fail or anything silly like that, but I'd guess PCG is one of Future's best money earners.

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The PC magazine that I'm surprised is still being published is Custom PC. You'd think that an audience interested in high-end PC hardware (at least, that's who it was aimed at when I last read it) would be among the least attached to getting their information from print, so would be the most willing to abandon print for online.

 

I've just looked it up and it turns out Custom PC is now owned by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Maybe it's the sort of publication that a private company would ditch for not making enough profit, but a charity would keep going even if it's only making a very small amount of money?

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10 hours ago, Nick R said:

I've just looked it up and it turns out Custom PC is now owned by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Maybe it's the sort of publication that a private company would ditch for not making enough profit, but a charity would keep going even if it's only making a very small amount of money?

CPC is one of Wireframe's stablemates, we're all owned by Raspberry Pi Trading, so technically not from the charity wing even if Trading money is funnelled back to the Foundation.

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Yep, but also a company with different economics than a Future Publishing certainly.

 

Actually at the risk of heading a little off topic, Future have had at least a decade to properly diversify and I can't really see what they do that isn't making things on paper apart from not many websites.

 

It does feel they're going a bit Blockbuster.

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I only bought one copy of PC Zone (issue 46 it turns out) when I was into PC games and that put me off with the ladsladslads/nob jokes etc. Having said that, it did have a computer game on the front as opposed to its stuffier contemporary PC Format which tended to have various young women in schoolgirl/secretary/space minx outfits on the cover.

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It’s a shame the discussion here seems to put the view that obviously print media is dying when in actuality I feel there’s a future in it. Sure it won’t reach the heights of the past but I do feel it can be profitable and made to work. Just like the physical game market, it’s small but maintainable. Anyway, don’t want to veer ot but I thought I’d raise my hand to say I still buy print mags. I still buy the occasional Custom PC same with PCPro and others.

 

I still really miss Micro Mart too.

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On 18/04/2021 at 14:04, PK said:

I absolutely loved PC Zone between the ages of 12-14. Some good soul has scanned all of them and uploaded the cover disc contents as well: http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone/

 

Some of it really hasn't aged well but when I had a look through the scans there was still some great stuff. Mostly Brooker's, and whoever it was that did their flight sim reviews for a while.

 

Browsed through a few issues, and found this time capsule of a letter from May 1999...

 

tSCt5rb.png

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12 hours ago, ianinthefuture said:

I don't think they could be more diversified if they tried with their last big purchase: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/nov/25/country-life-publisher-future-to-buy-gocompare-for-594m

 

3 thoughts

 

1 - Actually genuinely glad to hear that, in 15 years that'll probably be the only part of the business.

2 - How the fuck do they have 594m

3 - How sad is it that the kings of gaming magazines in the golden age are now headlined as "Country life publisher"

 

1 hour ago, gizmo1990 said:

It’s a shame the discussion here seems to put the view that obviously print media is dying when in actuality I feel there’s a future in it. Sure it won’t reach the heights of the past but I do feel it can be profitable and made to work. Just like the physical game market, it’s small but maintainable. Anyway, don’t want to veer ot but I thought I’d raise my hand to say I still buy print mags. I still buy the occasional Custom PC same with PCPro and others.

 

I still really miss Micro Mart too.

 

It absolutely can, but by the likes of Pi Press, not the likes of Future.

 

And also the likes of Fusion Retro Books.

 

Simply completely different business model bases.

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On 18/04/2021 at 21:24, Nick R said:

The PC magazine that I'm surprised is still being published is Custom PC. You'd think that an audience interested in high-end PC hardware (at least, that's who it was aimed at when I last read it) would be among the least attached to getting their information from print, so would be the most willing to abandon print for online.

 

I've just looked it up and it turns out Custom PC is now owned by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Maybe it's the sort of publication that a private company would ditch for not making enough profit, but a charity would keep going even if it's only making a very small amount of money?

That's not been going continuously though, has it? I used to buy it when it launched and I'm sure it only made a year or so before disappearing? How long has it been with Pi? 

 

As for reading onscreen/paper, I agree with @Alex W.

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1 hour ago, Gabe said:

That's not been going continuously though, has it? I used to buy it when it launched and I'm sure it only made a year or so before disappearing? How long has it been with Pi? 

 

As for reading onscreen/paper, I agree with @Alex W.

It started in 2003 and is up to issue 213 now. Pi picked it up early 2019 as far as I remember, as it wasn't too long after Wireframe started up.

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Wow, I never knew it was still going? I never used to see it in WH Smiths after a point, they must've just stopped stocking it I guess, or somebody else always bought it first. Back in 2003 I thought it was great at explaining technical stuff in a simple to understand way, and was one the main inspiration for me building my first ever PC. Memories!

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Listened to the first episode of the podcast the other night, I think they've done really well to get so many people involved after all this time and willing to speak frankly about their experiences working on the mag.

 

It's also is a good reminder that the "trying to be Loaded/Maxim/Nuts" era of the mag was really almost completely confined to one of its incarnations in the late 90s. (The mag ran for 17 years overall.)

 

And how unlucky they were timing wise: shuffling along on a tiny budget for years after the Future buyout only to be killed a couple of years before PC games underwent the Steam renaissance.

 

I subscribed to Zone for the first 10-11 years but quit around when Jamie Sefton became editor because PC games at that time were literally generic brown RTS games every single month. So missed out on the later contributors who (I'm told) breathed some life back into it for a bit.

 

...

 

I would really, really like to see a nice hardback book about Zero (like that Bitmap Bros one).

 

It is weird that all the publishers (including Future) had several stabs at a 'grown up' games mag before Edge. Zero was effortlessly cooler than Edge. Again, a victim of crap timing, being a primarily Amiga/ST mag right at the time that consoles took over.

 

I never realised at the time that YS was very heavily trying to ape the style of Smash Hits, Zero was trying to be The Face and Wired. They writing styles were probably not as dazzlingly original as I thought as a child, they were still funny as fuck though.

 

...

 

My favourite amusing PC Zone prediction was in their Spear of Destiny review where they reckoned that id Software were going to have trouble competing against the big boy commercial studios.

 

That said, they also pretty much perfectly predicted EVE Online in one of the Mr. Cursor columns.

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6 hours ago, MK-1601 said:

Listened to the first episode of the podcast the other night, I think they've done really well to get so many people involved after all this time and willing to speak frankly about their experiences working on the mag.

 

It's also is a good reminder that the "trying to be Loaded/Maxim/Nuts" era of the mag was really almost completely confined to one of its incarnations in the late 90s. (The mag ran for 17 years overall.)

 

And how unlucky they were timing wise: shuffling along on a tiny budget for years after the Future buyout only to be killed a couple of years before PC games underwent the Steam renaissance.

 

I subscribed to Zone for the first 10-11 years but quit around when Jamie Sefton became editor because PC games at that time were literally generic brown RTS games every single month. So missed out on the later contributors who (I'm told) breathed some life back into it for a bit.

 

...

 

I would really, really like to see a nice hardback book about Zero (like that Bitmap Bros one).

 

It is weird that all the publishers (including Future) had several stabs at a 'grown up' games mag before Edge. Zero was effortlessly cooler than Edge. Again, a victim of crap timing, being a primarily Amiga/ST mag right at the time that consoles took over.

 

I never realised at the time that YS was very heavily trying to ape the style of Smash Hits, Zero was trying to be The Face and Wired. They writing styles were probably not as dazzlingly original as I thought as a child, they were still funny as fuck though.

 

...

 

My favourite amusing PC Zone prediction was in their Spear of Destiny review where they reckoned that id Software were going to have trouble competing against the big boy commercial studios.

 

That said, they also pretty much perfectly predicted EVE Online in one of the Mr. Cursor columns.

 

And Amiga Power was sort of the interitor of YS but with a meaner edge and less jolly. And a fine comedy mag. APs writing remains really readable to this day, although Jonathan Nash( aka Jon Pillar, YS fans - neither of which might be his actual name) remains an acquired taste.

 

The whole ladsladslads era drove me, a magazine fanatic, from magazines completely. I fucking hated it - I remember I used read MBUK (being a mountain biker in the late '90s) and watched it get new staff in that were LADSLADSLADS - one of which I remember was just clearly a horrible individual who just hated women. I still remember an editorial on an issue at the beginning of summer when he wrote about one of the signs of summer was "women busting out of their silly little bits of clothing". Fucking cunt.

 

Speaking of which: 

 

 

Wotta twat.

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