Truth be told, back when we were writing Digitiser, CVG – and its EMAP stablemates – weren’t exactly our closest of friends.
At least, not in print. We had a bit of a war of words across our respective letters pages, that – as with all these things – seems a big silly in hindsight.
Not least because any time we ever met any of its writers at games events things were always very civil, bordering on the genuinely nice. We rather regret once writing a letter to Mean Machines editor Steve Merritt, unnecessarily referring to him as "Biscuit Skin" and "Fishback".
Computer & Video Games was the first games magazine I ever read, and while I may have loved the giddy surrealism of Your Sinclair more, I doubt I'd have become a games journo without it. Its debut issue was billed as 'The first fun computer magazine' - and it was. It was broad, and accessible, and cartoony, but never took itself too seriously. It was a product of its time, when games were still regarded as being for kids.
As the 80s groaned on, as was the way back then, its staff beame the closest the games industry had to celebrities. Their word was gospel. Games lived and died based upon their critique. And they looked like they were having the time of their lives.
I still remember seeing Julian Rignall, in my pre-Digi life, roaming Oxford Street twice on the same day. He was getting money out of a cash machine, before heading to make a personal appearance at some games shop, his flaxen mullet flapping behind him like a hairy head cape. The fact such detail has wedged in my memory says everything about its place on my sorry journey to writing about games for a living.
Admittedly, with Digitiser we tried to eschew any sort of celebrity – coming up with the names Biffo, Hairs, Cheese and Udders to avoid accusations of making ourselves bigger than the games we were writing about. Ironically, that just made people more curious, and the more people got curious, the more we resisted with our Shield of Snark. We acted like we were better than them, but the fact is, if we could've put our photos up on Teletext, we probably would've done the same. Look at us. Love us. We exissssssst.
Truth be told, the EMAP boys never really stepped over the line into all-out ego massage (though they came close by, I recall, giving away little statues of themselves). At least, not the way some games journos did. See Cyber-X for a latterday take on what they’re up to now…
CVG hasn't existed as a print magazine for some time, but I still occasionally read its website. I liked that its torch was still burning.
Games didn't become huge because of Computer & Video Games, but the magazine pretty much set the template for all the games writing that came after it.
From forcing writers into the spotlight, to the Golden Joystick Awards, it was a pioneer. And it never failed to live up to that initial pledge: it was fun.