Let’s Read PC Magazine, July 1995!

PC Magazine ran in print from 1982 to 2009, and lives on today as an exclusively online publication. Originally a very niche and crunchy magazine, as the audience of personal computing continued to widen so did the content, until it became a much more generalized computer magazine.

So, June 1995: Windows 95 drops two months later and blows the doors off how we work with computers forever. Interestingly, this issue has nary a word about the oncoming launch, even though the marketing hype was so intense that I remember it well and I was all of eleven years old at the time.

Simply3D: It’ll get you laid!

Why didn’t “multimediocrity” take off as a buzzword? It’s so wonderfully snotty.

I’ve used OmniPage Pro for transcription in its 2017 incarnation and the thing still doesn’t transcribe worth a damn.

This magazine runs a decadent 360+ pages, with a striking amount of advertisements being two-page spreads and a more than a few ads being elaborate multipage foldouts in thick glossy stock. It feels like a relic of a long lost, far more prosperous age. Even the table of contents is four pages long, padded out with lots of empty space between graphics. You might notice that these pictures seem a little dark – I had to photograph them in low light, because the pages are so shiny and they reflect glare like crazy.

It doesn’t get more classic Apple than a marketing slogan that sounds like it was ripped out of a zen affirmation daily calendar.


In which the debate rages over whether a computer is worth buying solely on whether or not it can run Doom.


Ron Feigenblatt of The Internet, you have no idea how prescient your future vision of people just repeating the name of an AI over and over again to a silent interface truly was.

According to my software engineer husband, this is the equivalent of a penis enlargement pill ad for your computer, as the only way to genuinely increase your RAM is to just buy more RAM. It’s even written alarmingly close to one. But RAM was incredibly expensive, as was virtually everything involving consumer electronics – in an age where we expect everything to have an open-source option, the sticker shock for these machines and their associated programs is jaw-dropping.

Maze games! Everyone loves maze games! Hey, remember Doom? Why don’t we just keep talking about Doom?

An article on the development of DirectDraw, which may interest some nerds.


Pour one out for America Online, which somehow still exists as a thing that people pay money for to this day.

It amazes me that these ads are so focused on showing off the graphic design they can create, but no one actually bothers to make it look good, so it’s all just a mostly-unreadable eyesore.

The end of all media copyright protection can be yours for the price of a car!

This Gateway ad was actually a six-page foldout of eyeball-searing hot pink and turquoise, demonstrating that this company had way too much money and none of it was actually going to good marketing.

I love everything about this.

Typical ad for the times, but I just wanted to comment on the prevalence of that one piece of stock art with the image of the smiling sun that was absolutely inescapable in the early-mid 90s. Did anyone ever come to a consensus on what it was called? I remember it being called Renaissance Sun, Celestial Sun, Sun Engraving, Zodiac Sun, etc. by various things. I thought it was the coolest image ever.

Ooh tell me more about those mutual funds investment forecasts, SyncMaster

Professional cranky tech asshole John C. Dvorak reviews the COMDEX trade show, which was tech nerd Coachella for close to two decades before it fell to the popularity of the Consumer Electronics Show. Dvorak has been complaining about technology since the 80s and continues to do so on Twitter today. Things that John C. Dvorak predicted would fail: the computer mouse, Steve Jobs, the iPhone, the iPad. At least he was correct here about the future of LCD monitors.


I don’t know what’s better, that the top of the line computer is called a “ThunderBrick” or the guy they got for the ad. He’s no SyncMaster!

Advertising in the 90s really was just an unpleasant assault on the brain, wasn’t it? Nothing about this is good. Nothing. The fella pictured here is Mike Backes, who wrote the screenplay for Congo and co-founded a video game company called Rocket Science, which made full motion video games at the height of the FMV craze. After making games that were virtually unplayable because they were shipped without the LAN support that they were promised, Rocket Science shut down in 1997.

Myst and Doom were the top selling CD-ROMs of 1994, surprising to absolutely no one.

I love that they use the term “street price” instead of MSRP, like PC Globe Maps n Facts was crack.

Yes, a CD-ROM about pastry that appears to just be static notecards of recipes somehow made it to the top 100 best CD-ROMs out on the market. You can’t print out the recipes or refer to it while you’re cooking unless your computer is in your kitchen, but you can play soothing music if you want!

I had the Oregon Trail II game, which was lots of fun (I always named my family members John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Yoko, without fail) but extremely memorable for the video characters you would meet along the way, such as the Lakota Sioux woman who would sternly lecture you about how your people have eaten all their buffalo and taken all their lands, and then resignedly sighs and asks if you would like to trade for beads.

Who had this at their school? I did! Kids would tear each other apart to get to it during recess.

One of so many terrible ads that took up far too much page space.

I didn’t have Lenny’s Time Machine, but for those who did, here’s what it took to have a…successful…classic…kid’s CD-ROM that has certainly endured through the years and whethered the ups and downs of changing tech. Right?

Experience Bob Dylan like never before!

Shout out to Monty Python’s Complete Waste of Time.

Again, how could anyone justify dropping so much money on something literally branded as a coffee table book that was practically out of date before you even bought it?

*wheeeze* over a thousand dollars in today’s money for this software…it’s…overwhelming.

Yes, apparently there was a computer in 1995 that happened to be called the Austin Power, and it was X-TREME, and just let that all sink in.

Is your machine EXTREME?

I’m 99% sure there was a poster of this in my school’s computer lab.

WordPerfect’s ad campaign of “pensive women trapped behind bars of rhetorical questions” was thankfully lost to time.

No one has really brought back the “weird graphics collage of unsettling people with tiny feet” style of art. I wonder why.

IBM bought Lotus in July 1995, so even if you have finally mastered the art of doing whatever it takes to make your email actually usable, which is apparently writing a script on the level of sending a satellite into orbit, it’s probably completely obsolete by the time this went to print. I’m sure that very few tears were shed about that.

Oh no! The aliens are stealing this man’s 50 pound laptop! Maybe he’s uploaded a virus to it like Jeff Goldblum did in Independence Day! God bless America, you screaming businessman!

Some classifieds, and — WHOA THERE


I know I shouldn’t be as scandalized as I am, as a modern liberally-educated lady of the year 2018, but…of course, it makes perfect sense. The internet was still a place that required a lot of specialized skill to navigate through, creating perfect little private isolated message boards and communities. Cyberspace! So new and exciting! AND full of porn! That there are open classifieds for adult websites in a magazine otherwise dry and crunchy as a piece of toast, really exemplifies the 90s to me: “We acknowledge that gay people exist, and that they may even want their own gay things to enjoy. Now here are their four paid classified pages of gay message boards to be gay at with other gay people, and we will never ever devote a speck of acknowledgement of gay people anywhere else in our magazine, because they can go be gay in the classifieds and we’ve done enough already to acknowledge that they exist. Now, back to TONER CARTRIDGES!”

And, second to last, a seemingly randomly placed review for Star Wars: Dark Forces and a review of Heretic. Is Heretic as good as Doom? They seem to think so, but that’s because Heretic is, essentially, just Doom.

Hey, in the 90s the single-panel cartoons finally sort of made sense! But they still weren’t funny!

Only *grabs at chest* today’s equivalent of $6,000 for a computer that RIPS.

Thanks for reading another week! Next week will be…up in the air! I’m going to be out of town for the weekend, and I had a guest reviewer set up but now that’s in question. So…check back on Friday and if there’s still a feature we’re all good? Otherwise, I will return on Friday, March 30.

As an apology, you get to pick my next magazine for the 30th –

Holiday, October 1954

Sports Illustrated, April 1963


Seventeen, May 1992