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First post, by gaffa2002

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Hey everyone,
Lately I've been checking some pictures of PC game magazines on the internet (like PC Gamer), and noticed that every CD that came with the magazine (at least the ones I could find) only had shareware or freeware titles included in the disc.
That made me a bit curious, because here in Brazil almost every major PC Magazine released during the late 90s/early 2000s (including PC Gamer itself) offered one or even two full games per issue. Those magazines were insanely popular and there were quite a few publishers competing for agreements to sell the more popular titles.
For a lot of people such as myself, those magazines were the best way to get new PC games as the price was far less than the full boxed ones found in stores, plus they could be easily found for sale in any newsstand. The titles offered were usually a bit older (around one year after the retail release), but it was worth the wait.

Some of the games released this way from the top of my head, usually the magazine came with 2 CDs, one with the game and another with demos/shareware:
-Stargunner
-Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure + Test Drive Off Road (this one had two games instead of a game and a demo disc)
-Earthworm Jim Special Edition
-Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition
-Command & Conquer
-Shattered Steel
-Time Commando
-Age of Empires Collection (I and II + expansions)
-Redneck Rampage
-POD
-Forsaken
-MDK
-Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
-Tomb Raider 2
-Dino Crisis
-Diablo
-Unreal

My question is...was this kind of "full game" magazine popular anywhere else?

Some magazines below, to anyone interested (those are not mine, just got the picture from the internet).
CD_Expert.JPG?attachauth=ANoY7coBdX1oA_Q25_xkFZurQIyTXtM28fd_bFF6Cq-8b56DoyDU52dhpwMQYoc1wZzf3txOCjtIp84qwBXd65f_2hMIkIb8P72jMiEWXhzNvLz7Uqj081vzbQY-Fj52DB0hPSB7ayIiX8uTdJ8LA1iEkRB4cRHGos_n7mEvFaENkPlUhWJWWBhLNa5WVIqbzbrUDojyfGLnyzmeVeq_tPuB3vkCzCYaQg%3D%3D&attredirects=0

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 1 of 15, by Jorpho

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gaffa2002 wrote on 2021-06-23, 18:58:

My question is...was this kind of "full game" magazine popular anywhere else?

Are you thinking they wouldn't be? You should still be able to find a bunch of those CDs, complete with games, on archive.org. (Like a lot of other stuff on archive.org, the legality of their redistribution is questionable.) Also I expect a lot of those magazines that were published in Brazil had very similar editions for other countries.

I wonder if those magazines necessarily always had full permission to redistribute some of those games, or if any of them got into trouble.

It's frustrating that so many of the older floppy coverdisks are completely lost to time. Hopefully some of them are probably stuck in the bottom of Jason Scott's shipping container awaiting cataloging. (It occurred to me the other day I could try reaching out to some of the former magazine staff, though of course that didn't get very far.)

Reply 2 of 15, by jgf

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What is included as bonus material in any magazine with international distribution can vary from country to country depending on licensing, franchising, and marketing agreements. It's the same as youtube today, where you often (too often) get "sorry, this video is not available in your country".

FWIW, I still have a boxful of those old demo CDs from various magazines in the nineties.

Reply 3 of 15, by RandomStranger

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I used to be a PC Guru subscriber for a couple of years in the 2000s and bought a couple of issues outside of subscription. One or two PC game too.

The full games I got in random order:

Homeworld
International Rally Championship
MDK
Fallout 1-2-Tactics
Thief: The Dark Project
Forsaken
Crashday
Hitman 1-2
Aurora Watching
Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness
Weird War
Pure Pinball
Cossacks
Haegemonia + Solon Heritage
RC Cars
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Evolva
Spelforce: The Order of Dawn
Deus Ex 1-2
S.W.I.N.E.
Industry Giant
Incoming Forces
The Nations
Archangel
K. Hawk Survival Instinct
Aqua Nox
Arx Fatalish
Gorky Zero
Soldiers of Anarchy
Port Royale
Earth 2150: Lost Souls
Restaurant Empire
Chrome
Rebels: Prison Escape
Road to Fame
Space Hack
Sudden Strike
RPM Tuning
UFO Aftermath
Chaos League
Scrapland
Wizardry 8
Football Generations

And maybe some others. There are a couple of classics, some hidden gems and some bottom tier trash.

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Reply 4 of 15, by gaffa2002

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Jorpho wrote on 2021-06-23, 19:50:

Are you thinking they wouldn't be? You should still be able to find a bunch of those CDs, complete with games, on archive.org. (Like a lot of other stuff on archive.org, the legality of their redistribution is questionable.) Also I expect a lot of those magazines that were published in Brazil had very similar editions for other countries.

Can you give me some examples? I searched through Archive.org and all I can find are CDs with demos and shareware, the only ones I could find with the retail game were the ones released in Brazil (and one issue of PC Guru with Forsaken thanks to RandomStranger).

RandomStranger wrote on 2021-06-23, 20:17:

I used to be a PC Guru subscriber for a couple of years in the 2000s and bought a couple of issues outside of subscription. One or two PC game too.

Interesting, the list of games is also similar to what was released here.

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 5 of 15, by BitWrangler

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I have one from Computer Gaming World, wasn't an every month thing, just special issues, like March 2001 200th Issue special disk, Achelon, Alpha Man, Avoid the Noid, B-17, Balance of Power, Betrayal at Krondor, Bunniflip, Elite, Elite Plus, Empire, Kampfgruppe, Mystery House, Net Hack, Pirates 2, Reach for the Stars, Rogue, Super Dune 2, Tac Ops, The City, X-come, and Zelda Classic full games, plus 10 demos.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 6 of 15, by MrFlibble

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IIRC certain German gaming magazines had covermount full releases. I believe images of those CDs were even taken down from archive.org, including (IIRC) cover CDs of PC Games (German) (this might've been at the magazine publisher's request, not sure). Which is a shame because those CDs have a lot of rare stuff unrelated to full version covermount games. I don't remember other mags that had those but almost certainly there was at least one other German magazine with covermount full games.

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Reply 7 of 15, by vetz

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We had those magazines in Scandinavia as well. The one I bought had the discs bundled as the full original retail ones, not "branded" cover discs. I need to find the CDs and see what was included. I do remember Redneck Rampage was one of them though.

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Reply 8 of 15, by gaffa2002

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-06-23, 20:59:

IIRC certain German gaming magazines had covermount full releases. I believe images of those CDs were even taken down from archive.org, including (IIRC) cover CDs of PC Games (German) (this might've been at the magazine publisher's request, not sure). Which is a shame because those CDs have a lot of rare stuff unrelated to full version covermount games. I don't remember other mags that had those but almost certainly there was at least one other German magazine with covermount full games.

Oh, so covermount is the correct term for those discs. Thanks for that, much easier to search now 😀
Here in Brazil demo-only discs only lasted during the early to mid 90s, after that, nobody really cared for the publishers offering demos as there were many others offering a full (and legal) retail game for a similar price. Covermount retail games became the norm around 1996 and lasted until mid 2000s.

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 9 of 15, by robertmo

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https://lowcygier.pl/historia-pelnych-wersji-w-cd-action/
https://lowcygier.pl/historia-pelnych-wersji- … uter-swiat-gry/
https://lowcygier.pl/historia-pelnych-wersji-w-click/
https://lowcygier.pl/historia-pelnych-wersji-w-play/

Reply 10 of 15, by Jorpho

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gaffa2002 wrote on 2021-06-23, 20:23:

Can you give me some examples?

The old topic at Archive.org hosting warez? specifically refers to the July 2000 PC Gamer issue, which I guess is https://archive.org/details/pcgamer-coverdisc-2000-07 ? Things might have shifted in the last six years.

I definitely seem to recall that the full version of Death Gate was released on a coverdisk, but Googling around isn't revealing any clues and my memory may be playing tricks on me. The search does happen to bring up https://www.mobygames.com/game/shannara , which says "full version of this game was released on the July, 1997 cover disc for Computer Game Entertainment magazine".

EDIT: Oh, that's right, I own that CD! Someone traded it to me on GameTZ many, many years ago. Full version of Death Gate on a Computer Game Entertainment CD. Looks like it was March 1997, going by the CD volume label.

I guess this was the issue cover. No help there.

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Reply 11 of 15, by dr_st

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In Israel there was a famous magazine for video games / D&D / general computing called Wiz. It ran between 1991 and 2001. Starting from October 1995 they used to include full game CDs with each magazine. Here is a list of games that had been included at one point or another:

  • Dune
  • The Humans
  • Kyrandia
  • Primal Rage
  • Batman Returns
  • FIFA International Soccer
  • Simon the Sorcerer
  • Ultima VIII: Pagan
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Corridor 7
  • Witchaven
  • Rise of the Robots
  • Humans III
  • Prince of Persia 1+2 CD
  • System Shock
  • Michael Jordan in Flight
  • Shadow Caster
  • Navy Strike
  • Dune II
  • Armada
  • Red Ghost
  • Starball
  • Super Stardust
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Fist Fight
  • Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller
  • The Riddle of Master Lu
  • Space Pirates
  • Crime Patrol
  • Drug Wars
  • Blue Force
  • Millennia: Altered Destinies
  • Shadows of Cairn
  • No Mercy
  • Golden Gates
  • Revenge of the Toys
  • Pharaoh's Ascent
  • International Rally Championship
  • Assassin 2015
  • POD
  • Sub Culture
  • Bud Tucker
  • Street Racer
  • Shogo
  • Get Medieval
  • Incoming
  • Vangers
  • Expendable
  • The 3rd Millennium
  • Flying Corps
  • Pax Corpus
  • The Guardian of Darkness
  • Zero Zone
  • 101: The Airborne Invasion of Normandy
  • F/A-18 Hornet 3.0
  • Hellcopter
  • RedLine Racer
  • Gex 3D
  • V-2000
  • Xenocracy
  • Pandemonium
  • Oddworld
  • Tonic Trouble
  • The Time Trap
  • Mission Sunlight

They also sometimes shipped demos and freebies CD, including:

  • Master of Dimensions Demo
  • Heart of Darkness Demo
  • Non-descript CD containing various motorsports game demos
  • Tactical Operations Missions CD for Warcraft II / Command & Conquer / Red Alert
  • Diablo II Demo

The magazine was published by Bug Multimedia - then a major importer and distributor of PC games in Israel. They probably would include games for which they had a surplus of CDs at their warehouse or something. You would get just the disc in a plastic sleeve, nothing else ("Covermount" as MrFlibble said - another term I learned today 😀). The installation instructions were included in the magazine.

In the last several months of their existence they stopped shipping game CDs. Printed magazines have plummeted in popularity at that point, and this was probably just part of their dying throes.

You can find all their scanned copies here (this is where I got the list of games):
https://abandonware-magazines.github.io/magazines/wiz.html

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 12 of 15, by GoblinUpTheRoad

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Can't remember the publication, but the game was Companions of Xanth a pretty cool point and click adventure if you haven't played it. Still remember the Censor Ship fondly 😀
The catch was that you only got the 16 colour version.

Reply 13 of 15, by gaffa2002

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Thanks for all the replies.
It seems to me that in some countries those magazines were intended to be not just for promoting games, but as a channel for selling games as well. What I mean is, the magazine was an extra that came with the game and not the other way around, and most of the time the magazine was promoting games that they intended to release in later issues and it also served as an instruction manual.
As for some countries were distribution was more centered (i.e. United States), those magazines were actually meant to be advertising, no full game included (or very outdated ones, if any). As the main sales channel for the games were the retail stores.

BTW, Israel got some real cool titles like Super Street Fighter 2, Last Bronx, Alien Trilogy and Primal Rage! Wish they were released here in Brazil 🙁! Those magazines were so popular here that today games released by them are much cheaper and easier to find as everyone had them compared to the retail versions.
Another curious thing comparing with titles released in Israel, you have a lot more football (soccer) games. In fact, I can't remember a single football game being released here in magazines! My guess is that those are so popular here that there was no reason to not sell it for more in retail stores.

LO-RES, HI-FUN

My DOS/ Win98 PC specs

EP-7KXA Motherboard
Athlon Thunderbird 750mhz
256Mb PC100 RAM
Geforce 4 MX440 64MB AGP
Sound Blaster AWE 64 CT4500 (ISA)
32GB HDD

Reply 14 of 15, by lolo799

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They were so many computers related magazines published in France, many were at some point in the mid to end 90s starting to give a full game or application each month.
And not only PC centric ones, Macs magazines were doing it as well.

I couldn't list the ones I got by memory, but the most notable one I recall is a 3 players top-down racer you've probably never heard published by Studio 3DO which wasn't officially released anywhere, some retail discs can be found sometimes on ebay though.

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Reply 15 of 15, by leileilol

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In the 90's US, there was Computer Games Strategy Plus which would occassionally bundle a full game's disc (usually years old by that point).

What Computer Gaming World usually did was put old promotional freeware rereleases from Sierra (Red Baron EGA, Betrayal at Krondor) for promoting their sequels. Around 2000, they've had a new editor-in-chief and different people managing their disc (around the "Lifelike" frontend change), and they had caught the "abandonware" bug and stuck some random unlicensed rips on some of the coverdiscs, as well as some freeware games definitely derived off nintendo properties, all while the frontend makes explicit hyperlinks to "abandonware" sites. 😐 After that point, the "FULL GAMES!!" on discs would most likely be MMO clients/trials.

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