It still baffles me that PC Zone ever worked at all.
In 1993, the old console markets were in the twilight of its years and PlayStation had yet to drag the public perception of gamers from sad ski-jacket wearing nerds into ‘ordinary’ people. But that’s what gamers were and still are. And PC Zone spoke directly to them.
In the early days, they spoke to them in slightly posh tones. As Tim Ponting – the magazines publisher till the end of the 90s said: “It was public schoolboy, very clever, holier-than-though, but it worked.”
I joined the team a few issues in, after the decision was taken to put a CD-Rom, full of game demos, on the front of the magazine. The internet was still very much in its infancy and it took the best part of three weeks to source, download and compile the disk. Sending CD masters off to Blackburn at 2am on a Sunday night was not an unusual occurrence.
Everything changed with the arrival of a very young, slightly beardy, long haired editor from Paragon: John Davison While the previous editors, Paul Lakin and Laurence Scotfield loved playing games, John took it to a whole new level. These days we would call it OCD.
The editorial staff also expanded, with the average age dropping significantly (and the mental age struggling to make double digits). Joining the ranks of some of the magazines key talented writers, such as David McCandless, Duncan McDonald, Paul Presley and Patrick McCarthy came Jeremy Wells, Richie Shoemaker, Charlie Brooker, and Steve Hill to name but a few.
And the gaming audience changed too.
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