is the longest running, and it is generally accepted, the best, PC games magazine published in the UK. It launched in the Summer of 1993 (first cover : X-Wing
- the first of many Star Wars
related covers) and carried two 3.5-inch disks. At that time, the staff consisted of Zero
and Game Zone
regulars such as Paul Lakin
, Duncan McDonald
and David McCandless
. The reviewing style was markedly different from any other games mag at the time - the quirky background information (for instance, the review of the first Gabriel Knight
game was accompanied with a short article about the practice of voodoo) and mature writing style were a refreshing change from the comic-book simplicity of most console mags.
The long-running Mr. Cursor column made its first appearance. After a couple of years, floppies gave way to covermounted CD-ROMs. For a while in 1995-96, the mag had a different editor and became a bit too laddish - there were many failed attempts to duplicate the humour of the Mr. Cursor column. The reviewing standards have never dropped though - the only reviewer with whom I have had any serious beef was the cartoonist Charlie Brooker, who consistently over-rated console ports (such as Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy 7).
Currently, the mag is edited by Chris Anderson, and has a slant toward more multiplayer gaming. The marking scheme has been revised to prevent Playstation-style over-zealous marking of big titles : It is now very difficult for a game to score more than 90%. The readership has fluctuated over the years, but has generally stayed on par with the nearest rival, the inferior PC Gamer.
Also, seemingly in defiance of the laws of economics, PC Zone is the only mag to be cheaper now than it was when it launched seven years ago. (At one point it sported 164 pages and 2 CD's for a mere £3.00)
Update: The magazine is now edited by Dave Woods, is slowly undergoing a creeping deterioration in quality, and costs between £3.99 and £4.99 with two CD covermounts.