Horror the hrorror. Man kills man. Fact of life. And no matter the technology, no matter how developed and refined our blunt killing machines get, it’s still a man to blame, behind the barrel, pulling the trigger. Like Red Alert, Ground Control recognizes this and rebalances its world towards human content, towards

Of course, GCII tries to escape its heritage, taking man into space, far out into the cosmos where he develops and grows cut off from his earthly heritage, creating futuristic items like left-handed toilets and clockwork sheep. In the first game two large amoral entities, the Crayven corporation and the religious Order of the New Dawn battled it out for possession

The best levels are the city maps


Positioning – like Rome: total war (oh, why, oh, why isn’t that out yet)

Mano a mano.


Ground Control

Ground Control 2

“Geeettt ooorrrfff myyyy laaand”


intro – anecdote, theme of review- know what opinion of game is by end of it.

Lack of resource management



Dear Mr Cobbett,

I call you ‘Mister’ cos I respect you. That’s what our relationship is based on, respect. I respect you, you respect Adam, I am ground beneath the heel of long-term contempt by all. Mutually appropriate respect, right?

So this commission presupposes that respect, and assumes that you, as a consummately professional writer, the apex of your breed, Journalist of the year and all, will produce a piece entirely in line with the following commission. No missed bits. No dropped elements. If you want to bitch, do it now. Problems with code, now. Start complaining… now!…

…bitching time up.

Here’s the commission. Remember – r.e.s.p.e.c.t., find out what it means to me.

To quote Dr Johnson, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”, and to quote Boris Yeltsin “A man may build himself a throne of bayonets, but he cannot sit on it.” We want you to review

Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots

1/2 Page.

For £40

By Wednesday 5th May

Copy and grabs to – dan.griliopoulos@futurenet.co.uk and libby.pagett@futurenet.co.uk

And here’s the details. As we’ve redesigned the mag, this is all-new, so please read it closely and get back to us straight away if anything’s unclear.

Firstly, it’s ESSENTIAL you try to install the game as soon as you get it – your deadline might be some time off, but it takes time to sort out replacement code, so we need to know as soon as possible if there are any problems with the discs you’ve got.

***New bit – please read closely***

Each review of a page or more must have some accompanying material for the DVD. That’s why we’ve pushed up our page rates a little. So, please provide at least 20 screenshots on top of whatever’s going in the review itself, and use a program called FRAPS (we can talk you through using this) to record a few minutes of film footage of yourself playing an exciting segment of the game. You can upload this footage to our FTP site (see below). Chances are, this footage will come out on the large size – talk to us if there’s problems, or it may be easier to burn it to CD and post it to us. If you can find anything else worthwhile that could go on the disc (such as demos, soundtracks, developer interviews, etc) let us know and get it over to us.***


You should be fairly familiar with the PCF style guide already – if you’re not, ask us for a copy. The crux of the matter is, however, that we’re a grown-up magazine for serious gamers, not agoraphobic 15 year olds or luddite geriatrics still learning what a mouse is. Be humorous, inventive, clever and analytical, and refer to other games and gaming concepts. We’re not going to reel off a list of all the magazines we’re not, but instead simply state that we’re better than all of them. We want our reviews to be the most outspoken, the most knowledgeable and the most memorable around, and because of this, if you hand in something that’s clearly been written as an afterthought to whatever enormous pile of other freelance you’re doing, you won’t be asked to write for us again. We mean it. As a magazine and a brand with a 13-year pedigree, it’s a privilege to write for PCF, and we’re going to be very exacting in who we give work to.

Remember that PCF generally speaking writes in the third person, though we do allow exceptions; if you think you’ve got a cast-iron reason to write in the first-person, please bounce if off one of us before you do it.

A special note – don’t treat multiplayer as a postscript in your review. In this day and age, it’s an enormous part of almost every PC game, hence we need to give it due attention.


Yup, we’re quite prepared to fine yo’ass 10% of your fee for every day your copy is late. If you’ve requested an extension up-front and given a convincing excuse, we won’t do this, but simply not handing your writing in and not mentioning it is rude and unprofessional. We’ve got a magazine to make each month, hence deadlines make our world go around. Repeat offenders won’t be asked to write for us again, basically.


If the hardware is available to you, please provide screenshots at a resolution of 1280×1024 or higher – lower than that is basically sub-print quality. Please also save them in .TIF or .BMP formats – JPGs suffer from a loss of quality, which is all-too-visible on our super-glossy paper. Additionally, if the game offers an option to hide the interface, please use it when taking grabs. And don’t take images from Gamespress or anywhere else on the web – if you’re having trouble sorting out your own, please speak to the PR.

If your grabs are too big to email, put them on ftp://ftp2.futurenet.co.uk/pub/mags/pc_format. You can’t create a new folder in there, so please zip them all up into a single file.

Please remember that each grab needs a caption – if you don’t provide them, we’ll only have to bother you about them, and it won’t put you in our good books.


Title – Exactly as it appears on the game’s packaging or official website. Don’t abbreviate or leave out punctuation.

Genre – Common ones are FPS, action-adventure, RPG, management, RTS, turn-based strategy, MMO, racing, sports. If you think the game you’re reviewing needs a batshit genre, bounce it off us first, please.

Strap – 15 to 20 words, humorous and explanatory.

Detail 1 – Price (and also monthly charges for online games), Publisher, Developer

Body copy (see below)

Boxouts (see below)

See this if you like (not applicable in 1/2 page reviews)– Three related games, the issue of PCF they were reviewed in and their score. We can provide a list of all PCF game reviews if you don’t have one.

Detail 2 – Min. system requirements (in the format xxxMhz or Ghz CPU, xxxMb RAM, xxxMb 3D card, anything else essential, such as the original game if the review is of an expansion pack), recommended system requirements (if you disagree with the publisher’s specs, state your own), net gaming options (number of players, modes offered), URL of the game’s official website, and a short list of all supporting materials for this game provided on the disc

Percentage score – under 50% is bad, 60 is above-average, 70 is good, 80 is exceptional (and a silver award winner), 90 is groundbreaking (and a gold award winner). Don’t give quite good games 80% by default – we do mark a tad harder than most.

Conclusion – 10 words summing up your opinion of the game.

Body copy word counts

1/2 page review – 280

1 page review – 450

2 page review – 900

3 page review – 1350.


None for a half page review or smaller

One for a one-page review.

One to two for a two page review

Four for a three page review – Ideally, one of these will be a large annotated illustration. For the annotations, don’t bother with noddy stuff like ‘this is your gun’ – point out interesting and unique things in this game, such as graphical effects, innovative features, facts about its development history, etc.

Standard boxouts can be of whatever structure and content you think you need, but generally picking from formats such as 100 words + one grab, 3 x 40 words + three grabs, etcetera. Don’t do generic noddy boxouts on how many weapons there are.

For two page reviews, if you’re having more than one boxout, the second of these should be just 50-70 words without an image. Each boxout needs a 3-5 word title.


We need about 8 decent screenshots per page of the review. For a half page review, give us half a dozen exciting-looking, high-quality grabs. If the game in question doesn’t have its own screenshot button, try downloading the demo of Paint Shop Pro, and using the file – import – screen capture function.

EACH GRAB NEEDS A CAPTION. 10-20 words for each.

Dan Griliopoulos

Games Editor | PCFormat / Gamemaker | Future Publishing

Units 1&2, Cottrell Court, Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP, UK

+44(0)1225442244 Ext. 2502

Dan Griliopoulos

Games Editor | PCFormat / Gamemaker | Future Publishing

Units 1&2, Cottrell Court, Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP, UK

+44(0)1225442244 Ext. 2502

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please reply to this email and then delete it. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Future.

The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Future accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.

Future may regularly and randomly monitor outgoing and incoming emails and other telecommunications on its email and telecommunications systems. By replying to this email you give your consent to such monitoring.

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