I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately. Probably that’s related to having no new games to play. So I hauled out a binder and looked through Computer Gaming World July-August 1983. It was my premier issue.
On the cover was an artwork Napoleon, with a sly smile, and his hand pulling a floppy disk out of his vest. This was by Tim Finkas, who did all the covers for the early issues. Real art. I loved his stuff.
My favorite cover is December ‘83. That’s the one with the somewhat demonic-looking blacksmith hammering out a gold floppy (5.25″ floppies in those days). Runes go around the central hole, and they’re reminiscent of another circular item, something that has (ahem) a familiar ring to it.
This was a very lean mag, only 50 pages not counting the covers. Just a few ads, and those were amazingly restrained by today’s standards (if we can call them that).
Those pages were packed, though. Along with the usual reviews and game tips, there were columns by Dan Bunten (on game simulation design), Bruce Webster (programming), Jon Freeman (editorials), and Patti Fitzgibbons (online gaming). Plus specialized columns for the Atari and Commodore computers.
Oh yeah, and a new one by Yours Truly, giving in-depth hints about one game in particular. That first Tale covered Serpent’s Star, a rather forgettable adventure game. But it was fairly new and I’d just finishd it, so that made this mediocre product a good choice at the time.
In paging through the mag, I had to smile at the screenshots which, back then, were “state of the art”. How incredibly primitive they look, and how incredibly spoiled we’ve become (well, some of us, not necessarily me ;) by today’s over-the-top graphics.
On the other hand, even with that annoying “continued on page xx”, the articles were more readable. But CGW wasn’t a glitz production back then, either.
Looking at the last-ever CGW, I can hardly believe this is the same magazine I used to write for. Of course it really isn’t (or wasn’t). You know, it hurt when they dropped me, but overall, I think it was the best thing.
The magazine was going in a different direction, one I didn’t especially like, and the audience was changing, too. Also, there were fewer games coming along in my specialties. It was time to part ways.
Still, I’m glad I was there in the beginning, those early, glory days of gaming. Back when it was still fun, still exciting, and new releases didn’t need six patches to be playable.
Those days won’t come again, but I’m glad we had them when we did.