Computer Gaming World
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Computer Gaming World Issue 249 - March 2005
|Editor||Russell Sipe (1981 - 1992)
Johnny Wilson (1992 - 1999)
George Jones (1999-2001)
Jeff Green (2002 - 2006)
|First issue||November 1981|
|Country||United States, Canada|
Computer Gaming World (CGW) was an American and Canadian computer game magazine published between 1981 and 2006.
Early bi-monthly issues were typically 40-50 pages in length, written in a newsletter style, including submissions by game designers such as Joel Billings (SSI), Dan(i) Bunten (Ozark Software), and Chris Crawford. As well, early covers were not always directly related to the magazine's contents, but rather featured work by artist Tim Finkas. In 1986, CGW increased its publication cycle to nine times a year, and the editorial staff included popular writers such as Scorpia, Charles Ardai, and M. Evan Brooks.
In late 1987, CGW introduced a quarterly newsletter called Computer Game Forum (CGF), which was published during the off-months of CGW. The focus of the newsletter was game design, game hints and scenarios, and game development. The newsletter never really took off and only two issues were published (Fall 1987 and Winter 1987) before it was cancelled. Many of the columns which debuted in CGF, such as Scorpion's Tale and The Rumor Bag, were incorporated into CGW, which went monthly in 1988.
The magazine went through significant expansion starting in 1991, with growing page counts reaching 196 pages by its 100th issue, in November 1992. During that same year, Johnny Wilson became editor-in-chief, although Russell Sipe remained as Publisher. In 1993, Sipe sold the magazine to Ziff Davis. Sipe continued on as Publisher until 1995. The magazine kept growing through the 1990s, with the December 1997 issue weighing in at 500 pages. In 1999, Wilson left the magazine and George Jones became editor-in-chief, at a time when print magazines were struggling with the growing popularity of the Internet. Jones' time at the head of the magazine was largely undistinguished, and he was replaced by Jeff Green in 2002.
On August 2, 2006, Ziff Davis and Microsoft jointly announced that Computer Gaming World would be replaced with Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. The final CGW-labeled issue was November 2006, for a total of 268 published editions.
Simultaneously with the release of the final CGW issue, Ziff Davis announced the availability of the CGW Archive. The Archive features complete copies of the first 100 issues of CGW, as well as the 2 CGF issues, for a total of 7438 pages covering 11 years of gaming. The Archive was created by Stephane Racle, of the Computer Gaming World Museum, and is available in PDF format. Every issue was processed through Optical Character Recognition, which enabled the creation of a 3+ million word master index. Although Ziff Davis has taken its CGW Archive site offline, the magazines can be downloaded from the Computer Gaming World Museum.
CGW featured reviews, previews, news, features, letters, strategy, and columns dealing with computer games. While console games are occasionally touched on, these are primarily the territory of CGW's sister magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly.
In 2006, two of the most popular features were "Greenspeak", a final-page column written by Editor-In-Chief Jeff Green, and "Tom vs. Bruce" a unique "duelling-diaries" piece in which writers Tom Chick and Bruce Geryk logged their gameplay experience as each tried to best the other at a given game. "Tom vs. Bruce" sometimes featured a guest appearance by Erik Wolpaw, formerly of Old Man Murray.
For many years, CGW never assigned scores to reviews, preferring to let readers rate their favorite games through a monthly poll. Scores were finally introduced in 1994. However, beginning in April 2006, Computer Gaming World stopped assigning quantifiable scores to its reviews. In May of the same year, CGW changed the name of its review section to Viewpoint, and began evaluating games on a more diverse combination of factors than a game's content. Elements considered include the communities' reaction to a game, developers' continued support through patches and whether a game's online component continues to grow.
The reviews were formerly based on a simple five-star structure, with five stars marking a truly outstanding game, and one star signalling virtual worthlessness. On very rare occasions, immensely abysmal games have been reviewed: Postal² by Robert Coffey, Mistmare by Jeff Green, and Dungeon Lords by Denice Cook, three games which "...form an unholy trinity of the only games in CGW history to receive zero-star reviews."
According to MDS Computer Gaming World had a circulation of slightly above 300,000 as of 2006. In this regard, it was slightly behind industry arch-rival PC Gamer. It should be noted, however, that magazine circulation numbers are highly subjective, despite the seemingly straightforward connection between publication and distribution.
Games for Windows: The Official Magazine 
On August 2, 2006, Ziff Davis Media issued a press release detailing their plans to halt circulation of Computer Gaming World. As part of a joint-venture project with Microsoft, Ziff Davis launched a new magazine dubbed Games for Windows: The Official Magazine in Fall of 2006. The new magazine replaced CGW as part of Microsoft's Games for Windows initiative. In their press release, Ziff Davis indicated that much of Computer Gaming Worlds's core content and the entire staff will be transferred to the new magazine. Because of these announcements, Ziff Davis' actions appeared more on the order of a rebranding of CGW, rather than an actual cancellation.
CGW/GFW ended its 27-year run on April 8, 2008. At the GFW Radio Penny Arcade Expo reunion, Jeff Green claimed that the deal with Microsoft allowed CGW/GFW to continue operating, and that if it had not occurred Ziff Davis would have shut down CGW.
See also 
- The Computer Gaming World Museum - dedicated to the preservation and presentation of all items related to the early years of the first magazine specifically dedicated to computer games.
- CGW on the 1UP Network