Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bye now to the mighty Zone

Wow, that was a laboured pun. Even for me.

I've never really been a PC gamer, it's just too much of a headache. However, round about the turn of the millennium I did give the concept a go. And during this brief period (round about mid 1998 to late 2000), I did what I always do when confronted with a new area of gamesplaying to navigate - I turned to a magazine. Said magazine was PC Zone.

I have read many a gaming mag in my years - some lasted one curious issue, others stayed with me for extended periods, as I eagerly snapped up each new edition. PC Zone fell into the latter category. It was, quite simply, a very fine read. Even though my PC of the time was too basic to run the majority of titles featured - it could just about manage Half-Life, but that was the extent - I got it every month for around 15-18 issues. (Actually, I decided to stop getting it one month and reversed the decision the next, with the result that I missed #71, which included the Half-Life review. That always niggled me.) It was simply a delight to devour, with every writer offering their own slant - it was the first magazine that showed me how each writer can have a very distinct voice - and great heaping helpings of articles and features that were interesting even if I had no intent of buying the games they were talking about. On a more practical level, the monthly demo discs were great, too.

I still have a couple of issues - and possibly a demo disc or two - floating about, and as such I'm sad to see that it's closing after 17 years. Farewell, Zone - you'll be missed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Today I have been watching series six of CSI: NY for a review. It never ceases to amaze me how this show can get writers who are capable of good, twisty (if usually ludicrous) plots and yet cannot write dialogue to save their collective lives. More than once this afternoon I've thought, "Oh my goodness s/he actually just said that," and I'm only four episodes in.

(The only instance I can think of off the top of my head is where a couple of guys are chasing a street hustler who's been doing a bit of three-card monte. When they catch him, one guy says, "Looks like it's time to fold." GROAN)

Also, everything must be explained at least three times for slower audience members. I think at one point they managed to explain a plot detail six times in forty seconds.