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The PC Pro games reviewer who became a household name

Posted on 23 Nov 2012 at 15:30

Read the game review from the first issue of PC Pro that was written by one of the country's top humourists

If we're being brutally frank, not many of the writers who contributed to the first issue of PC Pro back in 1994 have gone on to be household names.

David McCandless (Macca to his colleagues) has enjoyed minor fame as an author and TED speaker, and a host of others have gone on to enjoy successful, if not particularly high-profile, tech careers.

However, there's one name in PC Pro issue 1 that many of you will recognise: one Charlton Brooker. Charlie, as he's better known to viewers of Screenwipe and readers of his Guardian column, started his career writing games reviews for our sister-title PC Zone.

In fact, in 1998, his cartoon pastiche of the Tomb Raider games, which (according to Wikipedia) included Photoshopped pictures of "children smashing the skulls of monkeys with hammers, jumping on a badger with a pitchfork, and chainsawing an orang-utan", forced the magazine to be pulled from the shelves.

His earlier PC Pro review of the Star Wars game, Tie Fighter, was less inflammatory. Indeed, if we're being honest, it's a little on the dry side.

Perhaps the editor of the day battered his trademark brutal humour out of the piece; perhaps Charlie was still forming his acerbic style.

Either way, he's our claim to fame, and we're sticking to it.

If you cannot see the embedded article below click here to read Charlie Brooker's review

Author: Barry Collins

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User comments

Review made me buy it!

I remember reading that review and ordering the game from a mail order games club. It arrivied on 8 (I think) floppy disks in a gorgeous box! I spent 3 solid days playing with config.sys and autoexec.bat to get 635k base memory while still having soundblaster voices and ultrasound music. When I finally did it, I played all night and my parents had to take me to hospital with a huge migraine. Best game ever!

By Geddy3001 on 23 Nov 2012

@Geddy3001 - That sounds excellent (apart from the bit at the hospital) - the way games used to be - where the boxes and manuals were often more interesting then the games, and autoexec.bat and config.sys fiddling was taken as expected.

Also interesting to see that Brooker's style didn't emerge fully formed (or PC Pro heavily edited his article). If it wasn't his name at the bottom, you'd think it was just another generic review.

By pbryanw on 24 Nov 2012

Games in boxes

Perhaps a little wasteful, looking back on it, but those boxes didn't half make getting your new games home into an event!

I remember when we bought TFX (Tactical Fighter eXperiment) how my brother and I marvelled at the box and the amazing manual that was inside. It was a premium piece of packaging to be sure.

I also remember setting up an autoexec.bat menu system where you could choose between Windows 3.11 working properly, or having max memory for games.

I missed the PCPro review but Tie Fighter was indeed a piece of space combat brilliance.

By SirRoderickSpode on 24 Nov 2012

I loved his work

I had a subscription to PC Zone for a number of years and some of my fondest memories were courtesy of Mr Brooker. From his 95% review of Carmageddon 2 (still a game I love today - and i'm a really calm driver in real life ;) ) to his Sick Notes back page column, almost everything he wrote had such humour and wit to it, I only wish he was still writing about games in the same way now.

By PaulG7 on 24 Nov 2012

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For more details about purchasing this feature and/or images for editorial usage, please contact Jasmine Samra on pictures@dennis.co.uk

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