The title is actually a misnomer, because this isn’t about selling cover space. There was a remark made about that, as well as “magazines don’t give big games bad reviews”, in the comments section of the Tell Me A Story post. Coyote then said he’d bet I probably had stories about that. He lost the bet ;).

In all the years I wrote for CGW, no one there ever said or hinted to me that the magazine sold the cover. By that is meant, a company (or its ad agency) pays extra to have a certain game featured on the cover.

What other magazines may have done (or do), I don’t know. There are always rumors floating around, but little hard evidence. To the best of my knowledge, it was never done at CGW.

When it came to reviews, I had a free hand. None of my editors ever said, or suggested, or hinted, or implied, that I should treat a particular game in a certain way, or that I should “go easy” on it.

There were, as I vaguely recall, a couple of instances where I was asked to tone down a negative review a bit. Not change it, just make it a little less, hmm, maybe “vehement” would be the right word (“Special Asbestos-Glove Issue” ;).

And yes, there is one instance I know of where the magazine lost advertising because of negative reviews on my part. I won’t mention the company. It’s gone now, as are almost all the companies from that era. But my editor at the time told me straight out that ads had been pulled.

I didn’t feel especially thrilled by that. It was unpleasant all around, because I had no axe to grind with them, yet it was my reviews that had upset them to such a degree.

On the other side of the coin, there was one time when CGW declined a review. They were perfectly within their rights to do so. I was a freelancer, and the mag was under no obligation to accept all my material.

In case you’re wondering (of course you are), it was Knights Of Legend. That was a long time ago now, and I don’t remember the reasons. Naturally, I wasn’t happy about it, although I did end up writing a strategy article for the game. Life is strange.

How things are today, I have no idea. But when I was writing for Computer Gaming World, from my perspective, it was a magazine with integrity.