Computer Game Review is a magazine devoted entirely to PC games and hardware, although early issues also included a small amount of console game coverage. It was Sendai Publishing's sole magazine devoted to computer games, and was Computer Gaming World's fiercest competitor in circulation and readership until it was bought out in 1996.
Sendai's first shot at a PC games magazine was Computer Fun & Games, an obscure title that launched as 1990 as a bimonthly. Edited by David White and featuring EGM regulars like Martin Alessi, Russ Ceccola, and Europe correspondent Tony Takoushi, CF&G could be compared to Electronic Game Player -- it serves as a prototypical version of Computer Game Review, with the same rating system and roughly the same design and voice. The magazine was unsuccessful, however, and seems to have folded with its second issue in September 1990. (If you have any issues beyond this, please contact me.)
Both CF&G and the version of CGR that launched in August 1991 have a unique design that borrows elements from both the Computer Gaming World and Electronic Gaming Monthly of the day. Like CGW, the magazine was text-heavy and gave a great deal of its space over to strategy guides. However, CGR was a far more busily designed and screenshot-laden magazine than the CGW of the time, and it avoided CGW's extensive coverage of wargames and flight simulators in favor of RPGs, sports, and adventure games. CGR also borrowed two elements from EGM that stayed with it for the entire run -- a review system that includes scores from three different reviewers, and a "Game Over" back page (introduced in January 1992) that covers the final battle and ending of a recent game.
This less grognard-oriented approach to PC games coverage filled an audience niche that CGW and the other computer game mags of the time had missed, and while CGR never achieved a great deal of prestige, it was able to hold its own against crowded competition for nearly five years. Its circulation was approximately 200,000 copies at its height, and Sendai claimed at one point in 1995 that it was the most widely-read computer games mag in the US.
The title only began to falter in the spring of 1996, when ad sales dropped off extensively and the magazine shrunk down to 114 pages. Publisher Steve Harris promised an extensive redesign and relaunch in the April 1996 issue, but before that could happen, his company was bought by Ziff Davis Publishing the following month. Instead of continuing CGR, Ziff, which already owned Computer Gaming World, decided to scuttle the title after securing it from Sendai.
Computer Game Review Index