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LONG BLOG

PCXL: Sometimes dead is better...

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Here's the problem with bringing things back from the dead -- for the most part, you usually get something that's all rotten and smells bad and wants to eat your brains, even if it was something beautiful and magical and wonderful in the first place. 40 years of film have shown us this simple fact: the living dead are a bad, bad thing.

I encountered the living dead someplace rather unexpected last week -- Seven-Eleven. I had stopped in for a slurpee and was browsing the magazine rack, looking for the current OXM, curious what sort of demos the current issue was sporting, when I saw a magazine branded with four letters I never expected to see on a magazine ever again.

PCXL.

PCXL (or as it was then officially titled, PC Accelerator), for those of you unfamiliar, was, simply put, the very finest magazine that has ever existed. It combined a love of games with a Maxim-Magazine-esque love of half-naked women and sarcastic / cynical snark. It died after only a few years in 2000, because they had a habit of ripping bad games a new one, which didn't sit well with their advertisers. And anyone in the publishing industry knows, it's the advertisers who write your paychecks. Or it's the advertisers who write the checks that go into the bank account where you paychecks are written from.

Seven years later, and here, in Seven-Eleven, was a magazine sporting the shortened form of the name of the best magazine to ever live. And after a quick thumb-through, I realized that this was not just a coincidence. This magazine actually WAS attempting to breath life into the PCXL brand again.

So I bought it. I bought it even though I was pretty sure that it was destined for failure. I bought it because, however slim, there was a possibility that they had managed to recapture the magic of the original.

As it turns out, the possibility was just to slim. PCXL is a shadow of what PC Accelerator was. And as much I expected it, it still sort of breaks my heart.

I'm not sure exactly where to place the blame. It seems obvious that the writers who worked on it were familiar with the original, and were fond enough of the original to include enough loving homages. And it was nice to see a handful of former PC Accelerator writers pop by to discuss that magazine's heritage. But once it moved out of the realm of homage and tried to generate its own, fresh, PCXL-style content, it fell painfully on its twisted, ravaged, zombie-face.

The primary feature -- if it could be said to have one -- which was an interview with the Frag Dolls, was embarassingly bad, with the first two pages made up of the sort-of insulting questions that you'd expect from any other publication. Sure, PC Accelerator loved showing photos of half-naked women, and they would have been all over coverage of the Frag Dolls if they were still around, but no one would have wasted even a single column trying to figure out if chicks really game. Of course they game. Now tell us how we can have sex with you.

Beyond the Frag Dolls feature, PCXL is surprisingly light on content. Big photos with short stories, lists of geek toys, a few single-page blurbs on upcoming games, and before you know it, the whole mess is over.

It's not a terribly bad magazine. It's only problem is that the legacy it's trying to live up to is so much greater that what it could conceivably pull off. And maybe I'm just spoiled, maybe I've been getting too much of my gaming content from the 'Net, where the spirit of PC Accelerator seems to be far stronger. Maybe the print publishing industry has gotten to be so boring and vanilla that PCXL is a fine example of something risky and cutting edge. And if that *is* the case, then it's no wonder they couldn't get more former staff-members to chime in on the new PCXL. Because they'd be embarrassed at the association.

PC Accelerator was a magazine that died far, far too soon. But that doesn't change the fact that it did die. It is dead. And it should remain in the ground. This rotting, fetid corpse that PC Gamer has decided to dig up should be put back in the ground and left there, where we can honour its memory.
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About Lewzrone of us since 2:55 PM on 07.12.2007

My name's Todd, and I'm a gamer.

I have an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii (though it's in a box somewhere). I have a newer laptop PC which I'm using to finally start playing around in my 300-title strong Steam library..

I used to have a Gamecube, but I sold. I also used to have a PS1, but I sold that too. I also used to have a Commodore 64, but that was too many years ago, and you'd have to ask my parents what happened to that one.

My taste in games is somewhat eclectic. Shooters are a blast, though it's taken me awhile to get used to running them on consoles. RPGs are great, but I tend to prefer the North American style to the Japanese style.

I like to drink sometimes, and sometimes I do it when I game, but not as much as I used to because I'm getting older and I think I need to take care of my body. That's also why I don't eat as much pizza as I used to, even though I'd still to.
Xbox LIVE:Lewzr
Mii code:8915-4973-2088-6107


 

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