Monday, January 25, 2016

Remembering Computer Gaming World

Demo disks from CGW
One of the nice things about having a blog (or a diary), is the ability to go back and know exactly when something or someone entered or left you life.  One of the things we did over Christmas break was clean out our old CDs and floppy disks and I found the demo CDs that were included in my subscription to Computer Gaming World (CGW) from about 2002 to 2006.  In the days of very cheap old games from Good Old Games and other sites it didn't make sense to keep them, but it did make me nostalgic for the many years where I would look forward to getting a copy in the mail.

A TI 99/4a I bought in high school was my first computer and I probably got it when it first came out in 1981.  At the time, it was the first 16-bit home computer that was available and well ahead of the Commodore, Atari, and Apple computers that were it's main competitors.  Being more advanced didn't really help if people wouldn't pay for it and it was discontinued after two years.  However, for learning programming, word processing and some light gaming, it served me well until I bought my first IBM compatible computer (a 386) probably around 1989.  I was never good at picking the popular choice as I also had a Mattel Intellivision when Atari ruled the video game space.

While I was in college I had a friend from high school who had an Apple computer and I would visit his house and play computer games (mainly RPGs) with him.  I also remember visiting my brother a little later and playing Warlords and F19 Stealth Fighter with him (I'm guessing it was 1989).  Around that time I found CGW and was amazed to be able to read a magazine totally about Computer games.

I always liked statistics and I remember being fascinated by the listing of best games that they would calculate based on a mail in survey they received from their subscribers.  Later it changed to an online survey and then they dropped it all together.  I also remember the Scorpia articles where she would provide hints to questions asked by her readers, which is difficult to imagine is this again of instant internet answers.

I probably subscribe the the magazine for 16 years between 1990 and 2006 when it shut down and it existed about 9 years before I started subscribing to it.  I would sometimes look at PC Gamer (which started 12 years after CGW), but I loved CGW with its focus on technology and strategy besides the hype associated with whatever was the next big thing.  I kept all the issues for many years, reducing to one per year at some point and finally getting rid of them all a few years ago.  There used to be a CGW Museum that had many of the old issues, but it isn't currently online, so I can't look at those old issues there.

In this Internet age, with all the sources of games news online, I don't need a computer game magazine and I'm not sure how PC Gamer still exists, but, almost 10 years after it stopped existing, I still have fond memories of reading each issue cover to cover when it arrived.

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