ⓘ PC Gamer

PC Gamer

ⓘ PC Gamer

PC Gamer is a magazine founded in the United Kingdom in 1993 devoted to PC gaming and published monthly by Future plc. The magazine has several regional editions, with the UK and US editions becoming the best selling PC games magazines in their respective countries. The magazine features news on developments in the video game industry, previews of new games, and reviews of the latest popular PC games, along with other features relating to hardware, mods, "classic" games and various other topics.


1. Review system

PC Gamer reviews are written by the magazines editors and freelance writers, and rate games on a percent scale. In the UK edition, no game has yet been awarded more than 96%. In the US edition, no game has yet received a rating higher than 98%.

In the UK edition, the lowest numerical score was 2%, awarded to The 4th Golden Satellite Awards for Interactive Media Winner Big Brother 1. The sequel, Big Brother 2, was given an even lower score of N/A%, the review explaining that put as much effort into reviewing it as they did in making the game". In issue 255, August 2013, the score of 2% was matched by the review of the re-released Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, originally given 3% when it first launched. In the US edition, the lowest score awarded was 4%, given to Mad Dog McCree, unseating the previously lowest-rated game, Skydive!, given 5%.


2. Editions

There are two main editions of PC Gamer, a British version and an American version, both are published by Future plc. Founded in the United Kingdom in November 1993, the American sister version was launched a year later in June 1994.

There are also numerous local editions that mainly use the materials of one of the two editions, typically the British one, including a Malaysian discontinued in December 2011 and Russian editiondiscontinued in December 2008, respectively. The Swedish edition, though rooted in its UK counterpart, has grown to be more independent, largely due to the immense popularity of PC games compared to console games in Sweden, and now produces most of its own material. An Australian edition was published monthly by Perth-based Conspiracy Publishing since August 1998, but it appears to have been discontinued in mid-late 2004. A Spanish edition titled PC Juegos y Jugadores also exists.

Both American and British magazines are published thirteen times per year twice in December, although there are sometimes variations.


3.1. PC Gamer UK Magazine

The British edition of PC Gamer has been in constant monthly publication since 1993. Subscribers get a special edition of the magazine with no headlines on the front cover only the masthead and BBFC rating.

Almost exclusively devoted to PC games, the magazine has a reputation for giving in-depth reviews.

The magazine originally shipped with an accompanying 3.5-inch 89 mm floppy disc. A CD demo disc labelled CD Gamer was released alongside the floppy disk edition from issue 11 onwards with the first CD Gamer containing all the content from the previous 10 issues floppy discs. The single CD was later expanded to two CDs.

An edition with a 9 GB DVD known as DVD Gamer ran alongside the 2CD edition for a couple of years, until production of the CD Gamer edition ceased as of issue 162. The UK Edition then only came with a single double-sided DVD. In August 2011, the UK magazine announced it was to be discontinuing the disk as of issue 232, and replacing it with more pages of content within the magazine and exclusive free gifts.


3.2. PC Gamer UK Regular features

The magazine has many regular features which make up each edition of the magazine. These include sections called ´ Eyewitness ´, ´ Previews ´, ´ Send ´, where letters from the readers are spread over 2 two page spreads, at least one special feature, which reports on gaming related issues such as the effect of PC gaming on the environment, a review section which reviews the latest released PC games and re-reviews titles that have been released on budget and ´ Extra Life ´ which reports on modding games and gaming culture and revisiting old games. There is also a ´ Systems ´ section, which reviews and recommends hardware such as video cards and monitors. The back page of the magazine is entitled ´ Its All Over ´ and usually consists of game related artwork such as a version of Dalis The Persistence of Memory featuring items from Portal. For a time, one of the magazines features, ´ Gamer Snap ´, where amusing pictures sent in by readers were printed in the magazine, however the feature was discontinued and replaced with a ´ Guess the game ´ where readers sent in drawings of memorable scenes in video games drawn in Microsoft Paint.


3.3. PC Gamer UK Forum and blog

The PC Gamer blog was started to coincide with the transfer of the PC Gamer UK site to become part of the Computer and Video Games network which incorporates all of Future plcs gaming magazines. The move brought some controversy, with many long-standing members of the forum leaving due to the new forums cramped spacing, advertising and slow loading times. The introduction of a blog was seen as one of the redeeming features of the switch. The blog has since been regularly updated with contributions from many of the magazines staff. The topics discussed range from the controversy over violent video games, to the benefits of buying a PC over a console.

In 2010, PC Gamer re-launched their website and blog by bringing together the online communities of both the US and UK magazines into one website. As a result, the PC Gamer blog now has contributions from both the US and UK magazines, all hosted at the new website along with the forums for both magazines.


3.4. PC Gamer UK Podcast

The PC Gamer UK podcast was started on 4 May 2007 and ran 93 episodes until its final episode, which was released on 5 July 2013. It had a rotating cast made up of members of the staff including Chris Thursten, Tom Senior, Graham Smith, Tom Francis, and Marsh Davies. The podcast was formerly hosted by Ross Atherton until his departure in June 2009 and then Tim Edwards until his departure in 2012. The host position varied between Chris Thursten and Graham Smith from week to week. Previously monthly, the podcast was recorded every fortnight. Participants discussed the games they had been playing and news from the industry, and answered questions submitted via Twitter.

The podcast began again in March 2016 with a new episode being released weekly.


4.1. PC Gamer US Magazine

The American edition of PC Gamer launched in 1994.

In 1999, Future US, then known as Imagine media, purchased rival magazine PC Games and merged its staff into the magazine.


4.2. PC Gamer US Demo disk

Similarly to the British edition, the magazine shipped with a demo disk, though diskless versions were available. The CDs were replaced by DVDs in the American edition on a month-to-month basis.

When PC games with full motion video FMV sequences were popular in the mid-to-late 1990s, PC Gamers CD-ROM included elaborate FMV sequences featuring one of their editors. To access the features of the CD, including the demos, patches and reviews, the user had to navigate a basement, which played very much like classic PC games such as Myst. It was in this game sequence that the magazines mascot, Coconut Monkey, was introduced just as the editor was leaving the magazine, marking the transition from the FMV demo CDs to the more contemporary menu driven demo CDs that were subsequently used.

In the September 2011 edition of PC Gamer, it was announced that they would be dropping the demo disk altogether and concentrating on improving the quality of the magazine instead with a promise of a larger magazine printed on a heavier paper stock. The usual demo disk content would be made available online.


4.3. PC Gamer US Coconut Monkey

Coconut Monkey is the mascot for the US edition. He was created by founding editor Matt Firme, and modelled on a Bermudan tourist trinket. Coconut Monkey appears in the pages of the magazine, and has occasionally provided commentary on demo discs included with the magazine. The Coconut Monkey appears in a number of game mods.

The Coconut Monkey is often used to parody vaporware by advertising the unreleased game Gravy Trader, which has been given a 101% score on some of the review disks. The character would often cite that he would do "something" dependent on the train of thought, but use the excuse "but I have no hands" as a reason for not doing it even though his two hands and fingers are clearly visible on his belly. As a side note, he claimed he was the product of a coconut his mother and a Sri Lankan rat basher his father.


5. Ethics controversy

In January 2015, writer Tyler Wilde was found to have written numerous articles about Ubisoft while dating a Ubisoft employee with the title "Communications Associate". This, together with the fact that Editor-in-Chief Tim Clark was aware of the relationship, led to general questions about the publications ethics policies. Clark and Wilde responded, pointing out that Wilde had not reviewed any Ubisoft games during the relationship, and admitting that the relationship should have been disclosed in other coverage. Clark stated, "PC Gamer writers will continue to be obliged to disclose any significant personal relationships with people whose work they might cover."

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