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Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine tribute archive

Should I also post scans of ads?


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Jason Liang

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So when I have time this year I want to review every issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine. I read this magazine every month when I was a kid, and it is directly responsible for both my love of reading and computer games. When I was a kid I mostly ignored the computer game sections, but this time I want to focus on that part, chronicle the magazine's coverage of a crucial period in electronic game development.

So in this thread I will share the most interesting articles and reviews I find. Not sure if I should start from the 1st issue and go forward, last issue and go backward, or jump around.

At some point I might simply archive all the computer game reviews. So many of the games reviews were innovative for their time but have now been consigned to historical oblivion. For now I am just going to highlight the review of games that we still discuss today (and some of the reviews that I remember fondly for being hilariously written too).

Right now I am just archiving the most interesting articles and video game reviews. But I will also put up the table of contents for each issue. You guys just let me know if you see an article that you're interested in.

I've decided to prioritize the computer gaming content first, such as reviews and the features. The console stuff is fun for nostalgia, but it has less meaning these days. I'll backfill the rest of the stuff later.

I'm linking the scans directly from another website, please let me know if there's any problem viewing them.


Retrospective Analysis of Video Games & Computer Entertainment's 55 issue run

VG&CE was bookended by Electronic Games magazine, which, like Computer Gaming World, began in 1981, but, unlike CGW, did not suvive the 1985 Gaming Crash (CGW was the only electronic gaming publication to survive the crash). Electronic Games was briefly resurrected as Computer Entertainment magazine before being rebranded as Video Games & Computer Entertainment in 1988. In 1992, VG&CE's computer game review writing staff (Bill Kunkel, Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley) left VG&CE to restart Electronic Games magazine, which continued covering gaming until 1997.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Kunkel_(gaming)
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4226/electronic_games_the_arnie_katz_.php

1988

In November, George Bush Sr. defeated Michael Dukakis to become the US President-Elect. The sitting US President is still Ronald Reagan.
#1 Dec Blaster Master cover interview with Brian Fargo (Wasteland had been published that year), review of Tetris

1989
#2 Feb WW2 Strategy cover
reviews of Battle Chess and Heroes of the Lance
#3 Apr Flight Simulator cover interview with Sid Meier (Railroad Tycoon would be released a year later in 1990), review of Nobunaga's Ambition
#4 May U-Force cover interview with John Cutter (Betrayal at Krondor), review of Reach for the Stars
#5 Jun Robocop cover review of Neuromancer
#6 Jul Turbografix-16 cover interview with Don Mattrick (Test Drive, The Sims), reviews of Zany Golf and Ancient Art of War at Sea
#7 Aug Sega Genesis cover
#8 Sep Power Glove cover
reviews of Ramage and Wizardry V
#9 Oct Atari Lynx cover interview with Scott Orr (Madden NFL), review of Omicron Conspiracy
#10 Nov Freddy Kreuger cover reviews of Battletech: Crimson Hawk's Inception and SimCity
#11 Dec Genesis vs T-16 cover reviews of Might and Magic II, Gauntlet II, Populous

1990
#13
#14
#15
#16
#17
#18
#19
#20
#21
#22
#23

1991
#24
#25
#26
#27
#28
#29
#30
#31
#32
#33
#34
#35

1992
#36 Jan It Came From the Desert cover
reviews of Wing Commander 2, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Megatraveller 2
#37 Feb 1991 Games of the Year cover reviews of Riders of Rohan, Corporation, Shadow Sorcerer
#38 Mar Contra III cover review of Might and Magic III
#39 Apr Adventure Island cover reviews of Civilization, Pools of Darkness
#40 May Jordan vs Bird cover reviews of Vengeance of Excalibur, Conan the Cimmerian, Eye of the Beholder II
#41 Jun Street Fighter 2 Blanka cover reviews of Elvira 2, Out of this World and Glider 4.0
#42 Jul Krusty's Funhouse cover review of Star Trek: 25th Anniversary
#43 Aug Wings 2: Aces High cover reviews of Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed, Treasures of the Savage Frontier, Ultima Underworld
--- At this point VG&CE's computer game reviewers Katz, Kunkel, Worley, etc... left to start Electronic Games magazine (2nd run)
#44 Sep Dungeon Master cover feature on Wizardry 7, reviews of Darkseed and Wolfenstein 3D
#45 Oct Sonic and Tails cover reviews of Dune, Rampart, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Lara Bow: Dagger of Amon-Ra, Spellcraft
#46 Nov Prince of Persia cover reviews of Darklands, Legend of Kyrandia, The Summoning
#47 Dec McKids cover reviews of Star Control 2, Lure of the Temptress

1993
#48 Jan
Superman cover review of Might & Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen, King's Quest VI
#49 Feb 3DO cover review of Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis
#50 Mar Flashback cover reviews of Flashback and Legends of Valour
#51 Apr Mutant League Football cover reviews of Ultima Underworld II, Alone in the Dark, Koshan Conspiracy, Magic Candle III
#52 May Starfox cover review of Veil of Darkness
#53 Jun Street Fighter II Ryu cover review of X-Wing
#54 Jul Macho Man Randy Savage cover reviews of Ultima VII: Serpent Isle and Eye of the Beholder III
#55 Aug Battletoads cover reviews of 7th Guest and Betrayal and Krondor

UPDATE:
It seems that I can find the complete scans for 51/ 55 issues of VG&CE. There are 4 issues that I can't find online anywhere. In fact I've never even seen a physical copy of one of the issues (the Veigues cover); it was missing from my collection; I searched like 20 grocery stores/ bookstores/ magazine stands and they were all sold out or short printed or perhaps didn't ship to California or something. The only one that we really miss is the earliest missing one, the Deja Vu cover; I've been looking for the issue with the Jordan Mechner interview (Prince of Persia) and I'm almost certain it's from that issue. Really bizarre that no one has scanned that issue.

The missing issues, in case anyone cares to peruse a vintage magazine shop:

#15 1990 April Deja Vu cover
#24 1991 January John Madden Football cover
#26 1991 March Veigues cover
#43 1992 August Wings 2: Aces High cover
 
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Jason Liang

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Issue #1 12/1988
Status: Complete except for ads

COVER
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FEATURE
- Publisher's Letter
- Introduction
- News Bits
- The Game Doctor
- Blaster Master strategy guide
- Archon strategy guide
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- Interview with Brian Fargo by Arnie Katz (spotted this, how serendipitous!)
"It's a safe bet that, when those fabulous programs do eventually see the light of day, some of the most fascinating ones will feature Brian Fargo's name on the credit screen." - how perscient!
- The Digital Gridion: A History of Electronic Football Simulations by Bill Kunkel and Arnie Katz
- 1989 videogame buyer's guide: Nintendo
- 1989 videogame buyer's guide: Sega Master System
- 1989 videogame buyer's guide: Atari
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VIDEO GAME REVIEWS
- Barnyard Blaster
- Contra

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COMPUTER GAME REVIEWS
- The Three Stooges (Katz)
- Blockbuster
(Kunkel)
- Road Runner
(Kunkel)
- Superstar Ice Hockey
(Kunkel)
- Tetris
(Katz)
- Rommel: The Battles for North Africa
(Katz)
- Bubble Ghost
(Katz)
- Stellar Crusade
(Katz)
- The Last Ninja
(Kunkel)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #2 2/1989
 

Jason Liang

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Issue #3 4/1989

COVER

FEATURES
- Letter from the Editor
- Inside Gaming: Designers Get Rich Quick? by Arnie Katz
- The Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel
- Strategy: Tetris by Arnie Katz, Impossible Mission by Bill Kunkel
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- Interview with Sid Meier by Bill Kunkel
- Sailing on Silicon Wings: A Comprehensive Survey of Flight Simulators
- Sneak Peak - PC Engine
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VIDEO GAME REVIEWS
- Arkanoid
- Gauntlet
- Legendary Wings
- Galaga
- Mighty Bomb Jack
- Freedom Stick
(joystick)
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COMPUTER GAME REVIEWS
- Nobunaga's Ambition (Andrews)
- Ocean Ranger
(Kunkel)
- Fast Break (Katz)
- Global Commander (Kunkel)
- Captain Blood (Kunkel)
- Warlock (Kunkel)
- Hole-in-One Miniature Golf (Kunkel and Katz)
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ADS
- War in Middle Earth
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Jason Liang

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Issue #4 5/1989

COVER
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FEATURES
- Letter from the Editor
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #5 6/1989

COVER

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Jason Liang

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Issue #6 7/1989

COVER

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Jason Liang

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Issue #7 8/1989

COVER

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Jason Liang

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Issue #8 9/1989

COVER
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REVIEW
- Wizardry V by Alan Roberts
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #9 10/1989

COVER

FEATURE
- Letter from the Editor
- Inside Gaming: Consumer Electronics Show Confidential by Arnie Katz
- The Game Doctor
- Adventure Island strategy guide (art only)
- Shinobi strategy guide (art only)
- Computer-game strategies for The Honeymooners, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Road Runner
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- Interview with Scott Orr by Bill Kunkel
- The Atari Lynx - Big Games in Small Packages
- Christmas Computer Game preview
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VIDEO GAMES REVIEWS
- Vegas Dreams
- California Games
- Mappy Land
- Video Shooter
- Operation Wolf
- Bashi Bazook
- The Three Stooges

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COMPUTER GAMES REVIEWS
- Slipheed (Kunkel)
- Omnicron Conspiracy (Ratcliff)
- Star Saga One: Beyond the Boundary (Dille)
- War in Middle Earth (Puglia)
- Time Bandit (Kunkel)
- Reel Fish'n (Chamberlain)
- Life or Death (Kunkel)
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ADS
- Sword of Aragon
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #10 11/1989

COVER
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REVIEWS

- Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception by Arnie Katz
- SimCity by R. Bradley Andrews
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #11 12/1989

This was my first issue of VG&CE so it feels appropriate to start here. In fact, these next 3 issues- #11, #12 and #13- were absolutely amazing. They had a glossy, deluxe cover and just stuffed with superb content.

(I'm just going to link the scans directly from megalextoria.com. If they go down, I have the scans backed up)

COVER
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Imagine you're a kid, and for Christmas you asked your mom to buy you this video game magazine- you're a 9 year old kid obsessed with video games but you don't even have a NES at home since you have Chinese parents (this also explains why you got a $2.95 magazine from your mom for Christmas).

And it might be the worst mistake you've ever made, because the first article is filled with words that you can't even read! But it's not an article on how to play a video game. It's an article on how to design a video game. One day, instead of playing games, you can make them. Imagine reading this when you're 9 year old kid. I didn't even know what a vixen was. Let alone what a pixel or a byte were. This article changed my life.

FEATURE ARTICLES
-Video Game Design: From the Inside Out
-Inside Gaming: 12 Games from Electronic Gaming's first 20 years
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REVIEWS
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego by Clayton Walnum
- Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World by Ross Chamberlain
- Gauntlet II by Bill Kunkel
- Populous by Arnie Katz
- Qix by Michael Holda

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego
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Might and Magic II
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Gauntlet II
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Populous, Qix
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ART (every issue had strategy guides for 2 games, featuring beautiful original art that I will try to archive here)
- Altered Beast
- Mega Man 2

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ADS
- Wizardry V
- Curse of the Azure Bonds
- Dragon Wars
- David Wolf: Secret Agent
- Ghostbusters 2 ("Bustin' makes you feel good!" holy crap!)
- Double Dragon 2 (I so fapped to this [and the Azure Bonds milf])
- Rick Dangerously
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #12 1/1990

COVER
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FEATURES

-Cyberspace... what we imagined in 1990, finally realized 26 years later in 2016!
-Interview with Chris Crawford (Balance of Power)
-Inside Gaming: What is a good game? (analysis of Tetris)
-The Game Doctor
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REVIEWS
-Rastan by Clayton Walnum
-The Guardian Legend by Chris Bieniek (these two were my favorite video game reviews)
-Genghis Khan by H. E. Dille
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ART
-Wonder Boy 3
-P.O.W
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ADS
- Street Fighter
- X-Men and Dr. Doom's Revenge (always wanted to play these games)
- Space Rogue (I think I'm just going to post every Origin ad... god what a fail publisher... at least until Wing Commander)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

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Issue #13 2/1990

COVER

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FEATURES

- 1989 in Review
- Inside Gaming: Why is computing gaming unpopular?
- The Game Doctor
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REVIEWS (I think I am going to start archiving the entire computer game review section, it makes the most sense)
- Duck Tales by Clayton Walnum
- John Madden Football (for Apple II and IBM PC!) by Bill Kunkel
- Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? by Bill Kunkel

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ADS (to be honest, I have no idea which ads you guys find interesting)
- Sword of the Samurai
- Crime Wave (An ancestor to GTA?)
- Knights of Legend (EIGHT YEARS IN THE MAKING, POOR Origin!) <- Most hilarious ad ever
- Tangled Tales (AND Origin goes 2 for 2!)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Unkillable Cat

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Infinitron is referring to this thread where I posted various musing on old video games magazines, mostly Computer & Video Games and Retro Gamer. I haven't been posting in it lately, but I recently scored a large cache of magazine scans, so that may change.

Oddly enough I'm not familiar with Video Games & Computer Entertainment magazine, even though the title suggests a connection.

I'll be watching this thread, it's always nice to find people interested in the old mags.
 

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It's always surprising to see how much computer games cost 30 years ago. Some games were more expensive than new releases today.
 

Max Stats

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It's always surprising to see how much computer games cost 30 years ago. Some games were more expensive than new releases today.

Computer games were usually a lot cheaper than "list price" you'll often see. Often as low as half of that. List price was pretty much if you ordered it directly from the publisher, which who did that with a Babbages, Electronics Boutique, Egghead, Softwarehouse (CompUSA) around every corner.

Console games had expensive chips in them, so they were really super expensive back then.
 

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It's always surprising to see how much computer games cost 30 years ago. Some games were more expensive than new releases today.

Yes, this was WAY before the internet so you couldn't pirate anything, and game makers could charge a premium. Nowadays if a game is too expensive, people will still play it but no one will buy it...

You have to remember, in 1989 computer gaming was still very niche. Most American households didn't even have a personal computer. This was several years before Myst, and Myst was one of the first games families bought computers to play (and get online. Myst came at the right moment when the internet was starting to catch on). In 1989 if your house had a computer, it's primary use wasn't for gaming. You bought a NES for $150 to play games. You didn't buy a personal computer for $2000 to play games.

Ultima VI hasn't even come out yet. The CRPG ads are for Secret of the Silver Blades and Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom. In the console scene, the Genesis had just hit the American market; the Genesis is absolute state of the art and its main competition was the original 8-bit (does this term even mean anything these days?) NES, not the SNES; the SNES wont hit the American market until summer of 1991. Hell, they were reviewing Might and Magic TWO.

Civ 1 wont be released until 1991. At this point, the history of modern computer gaming is just beginning. And yet we were already dreaming about VR.

So, hopefully, we're going to see this magazine cover the foundations of modern computer gaming as it is being laid, month by month- Prince of Persia. Loom. Monkey Island. Wing Commander. Star Control 2. Wolfenstein 3D. CotDS.
 
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Unkillable Cat

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Yes, this was WAY before the internet so you couldn't pirate anything

I know that you mean that piracy wasn't on the scale as it is today, with the internet and torrent sites and all, because piracy most certainly was a thing even as far back as the early 1980s.

You have to remember, in 1989 computer gaming was still very niche. Most American households didn't even have a personal computer.

Meanwhile almost every Western-European home had at least a computer in the house. It could be a PC, but odds were more likely that it was a Sinclair, Commodore or Atari computer. Consoles didn't start to catch on in Europe until 1988 or so.

8-bit (does this term even mean anything these days?)

OH YES.

So, hopefully, we're going to see this magazine cover the foundations of modern computer gaming as it is being laid, month by month- Prince of Persia. Loom. Monkey Island. Wing Commander. Star Control 2. Wolfenstein 3D. CotDS.

I admire your spirit. The truth of the matter though is that you'll need to look at several sources at once to get the big picture. VG&CE will most certainly give the American perspective, but you'd really need to get at least one European mag in the mix, and preferably another that focuses on the PC. The problem is that PC-exclusive mags were few and far between before 1991.

Good luck, I want to see where this goes.
 

Jason Liang

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Issue #14 3/1990

COVER
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FEATURES
- 1990 Personal Computing Show report (UK) featuring Konix
- Inside Gaming: Realism vs Abstraction
- Game Doctor
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REVIEWS
- Back to the Future by Chris Bieniek <- so hilarious, this is a classic Bieniek review
- Phantasy Star II by Joshua Mandel
I archived all the PC reviews but none of the games this month survived obscurity. Guess this period was a period of immense decline.
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ART
- Strider
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ADS
-Microplay ad
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Jason Liang

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
7,160
Location
Crait
Issue #15 4/1990
 

Jason Liang

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
7,160
Location
Crait
Issue #16 5/1990

COVER
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Last edited:

Jason Liang

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
7,160
Location
Crait
Issue #17 6/1990

COVER
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FEATURES
- Inside Gaming: The 16-bit console war
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REVIEWS
- Heroes of the Lance (NES) by Howard H. Wen
- Ninja Gaiden II by Chris Bieniek
- Neutopia by Clayton Walnum
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ART
- Batman
- Faxanadu
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Last edited:

Jason Liang

Arcane
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
7,160
Location
Crait
Issue #18 7/1990
 

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