1 August 2007 Scorpion's Tale Column 3

Awhile back, I posted a short piece on my site called "First Issue", which was a brief look at the issue in which my column premiered.

In those days, CGW was amazingly varied. It catered to different aspects of the hobby, which gaming was at that time. Naturally, there were feature articles, many of them covering war and strategy games; a large number of readers were devoted wargamers, both board and computer.

But it was in the columns (or "departments" as they were called) where the magazine really stretched out. Mine was there, to help with what I guess could be called a "hint-through" (as opposed to "walkthru"), giving nudges to puzzled adventurers.

Then there was "Telegaming", by Patti Fitzgibbons. Yes, even in those early days, there was online gaming of various types. BBS "door games", gaming by message, chat games on proprietary systems like CompuServe, and even real MP games. Online gaming has a long history.

"Silicon Cerebrum" (great title!), by Bruce Webster, covered game programming. Not so much the actual code, but the thinking that goes into creating tight, efficient instructions.

Bob Proctor's "The Learning Game" covered products for kids, especially educational ones that were also fun to play. Does anyone do this anymore?

"Real World Gaming" by Dan Bunten was about program design. It explained the various steps necessary to work out what the game was and how it would function. Then, I suppose, you could use Bruce's columns to program it. Heh.

While the focus of the mag was mainly on Apple games, others were not overlooked: there were Allen Doum's "Atari Arena", and "The Commodore Key" by Roy Wagner.

Jon Freeman (Freefall Associates; Archon, etc.) wrote "The Name Of The Game", where he would rant about different aspects of the industry. It was always an interesting read.

Beyond that, we had "Inside The Industry" and "Hobby and Industry News", which are self-explanatory. "Taking A Peek" gave brief looks at recently-arrived new games that had yet to be reviewed, and finally, "Micro-Reviews", succinct write-ups of games that didn't require a full article.

It's really mind-boggling to look at all that, and consider it was packed into a publication which rarely went beyond about fifty pages. Of course, there wasn't as much advertising back then.

Just as well, because you really got your money's worth from Computer Gaming World in those days. Page after page of good, solid information, written by people who knew what they were talking about. A hardcore gamer's dream come true.

We won't see anything like that again. The golden years have passed, the market has changed, and I suspect that game magazines will pass eventually, too. The Internet with its immediacy and multimedia capabilities will cause it sooner or later.

But for those of us who were there at the beginning, those golden years were made all the brighter by Computer Gaming world. Ave atque vale, CGW; the one and only, the unique, the best. (*sniff*)

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