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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved

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First issue release date: May 1994? Final issue release date: February 1996
Publisher: Paragon Publishing Coverage: Games magazine
Country published: United Kingdom No. of issues: 21
Medium: Paper Status: Dead
Web Address:

The CD32 was Commodore's last ditch attempt at raising finances. Launched in 1993 the system caused a stir in the Amiga press, by packaging the Amiga in a console unit and positioning it opposite the SNES and Megadrive. The system strengthened the CD market with market surveys repeatedly showing CD32 software sales ahead of all other CD formats, including PC CD.

Over the course of 1994, three CD32 magazines were launched; Amiga CD!, Amiga CD32, and Amiga CD32 Gamer. The latter was the most successful, surviving for just under two years. CD32 Gamer was a monthly publication launched during May 1994 that as the name suggests covered the CD32. For 21 issues it cast its gaze of CD32 releases whilst covering areas that were not seen as important in the traditional Amiga magazines of the time. It was the first Amiga magazine to include a CD with every issue. As was common at the time, the making of the cover CD was harvested out to Multi Media Machine who gathered software and produced a custom front-end for it. This usually included a few game demos, animation's, shareware, and the best from the demo scene. Apart from the game demos this was mostly shovelware. Fortunately most of it was of high quality, featuring work by Eric Schwartz amongst others. The careful observer would also find a full version of Workbench on the CD, including many libraries from the 1.3 release to allow certain games to work. Even with this added padding the CD hardly took advantage of the storage capacity, barely reaching 100Mb of software on most issues.

The monthly feature section covered areas of importance for the reader, including running CD32 games on a CD-equipped Amiga, video CDs and a surprising number of games that passed unnoticed in other Amiga mags. Anyone for Conan, Fighten' Spirit, or Limbo of the Lost? For the final issue they examined sources of information on the Internet regarding the CD32. Other regular sections included Playing tips and an A-Z of CD32 games. Despite the magazines title it also reviewed non-game CDs such as Optonica's Insight Dinosaur encyclopaedia as well.

As time progressed it became obvious that Escom's ignorance of the CD32 market had taken its toll. Whilst the magazine had never attracted advertising to a great extent, the 4th quarter of 1995 saw a dramatic fall in quality of the magazine as CD32 software began to dry up. Facing stiff competition and a smaller market share, the writers appeared to be unconcerned about the magazine, using pointless features to hide the lack of CD games. The editorial comment during the final issue served only to promote the Saturn and Playstation as gaming platforms. CD32 Gamer had always been written very dryly with random attempts at humour that often missed the mark, patronizing readers regarding their game playing skill and the situation regarding Commodore's bankruptcy. Over the course of the magazines existence it had risen in price from 3.99 to 5.99UKP, whilst cutting the number of from 68 to just 36. Pages were filled with huge text or screen shots that only made it increasingly obvious that there was little concern regarding value for money. There was no forewarning of the magazines' cancellation, the final edition (issue 21, February 1996) simply announced that the next issue would be available from March 28th but it failed to appear. This came as no surprise to regular readers as it began to choke on the shrinking market and its passing was completely ignored by the rest of the Amiga press. It is likely that at the time issue 21 went to press the editorial staff did not know it would be the last issue and were only told after the event.

Specials

Alongside CD32 Gamer, Paragon Publishing launched a spin-off title called Amiga CD32 Special. The first edition hardly differed from issue seven of CD32 Gamer, with the exception that the full version of Lamborghini American Challenge appeared on the cover CD. This retailed for 9.99UKP, five pounds more than the plain edition. The second edition went on sale around April 1995. Rather than being a reprint of CD32 Gamer, issue 2 was a tips special dedicated to the Quik the Thunder Rabbit- a full commercial game that was included on the CD.

It may seem clear that CD32 Gamer was not the perfect magazine by any means. However it's existence for many people was the sole reason for using their CD-ROM drives during 1994-6. Amiga magazines were still testing the water with one-off CD-editions. The magazine showed that an Amiga CD publication was viable, leading to the launch of the CD editions of Amiga Format and CU Amiga. In this respect CD32 Gamer can be seen as a trend-setter that helped to improve the Amiga market by showing that CD drives would be a necessity.

View CD32 Gamer Issue 1 (66.6K) | View CD32 Gamer Issue 10 (61.3K) | View CD32 Gamer Issue 20 (142K) View CD32 Gamer Issue 21 (181K) | View CD32 Gamer Issue 22 (166K)
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