September 2016: The Top 100
Chris T: I love this. Team effort, fantastic layout by John, and manages to be both self-deprecating and also broadly dismissive of our audience. Which means that it's dismissive of almost everybody in the magazine-writer-audience relationship! Perfect!
Samuel: Phil came up with this one then we all threw jokes at it—it was a terrific idea. Every year the Top 100 attracts these out-of-proportion responses, usually outside of our official channels (never from the magazine readers, who understand the concept of the list), as if we've gone into the past and retconned the history of PC gaming so that their favourite games are now rubbish. It was nice to put those responses—and some unlikely, daft ones—together in one place. Also, I do actually regret leaving out Thief II from this year's Top 100. That was just a clear error.
Phil: This was my idea, but it only came about because, during a team lunch the day before we went to press, Sam looked so distressed about our lack of a back page that he wasn't enjoying his pulled pork burger. In an effort to reassure him, I promised I'd have it figured out by the time I got back to my desk. If you ever wondered what the role of Deputy Editor actually entails, it's mostly this.
Samuel: I don't remember that, but yes, the deputy editor role is basically being my therapist.
Tony: A winner, but it felt like we were repeating ourselves until it came back from Art. John took it to a whole new level of credibility.
October 2016: Deus Ex – Mankind Divided
Andy: Deus Ex’s futuristic props are usually pretty incredible, but this fake cover, presumably based on PC Gamer, breaks so many rules of magazine design that we couldn’t help but point them out. And what’s a ‘special double gold issue’ anyway?
Samuel: I insisted that the strap line had to begin with 'Oh snap!' It was cool to be referenced, though. If the Eidos Montreal team had asked we'd have made them a better cover—drop me an email, guys, we'll mock you one up for the next Deus Ex. I wrote this critique, which basically sums up everything I've learned about magazines across ten years in three 20-word chunks.
Tony: Not one of our best. We’re basically just humblebragging about Eidos sort of putting our mag in their game.
Samuel: You bitch.
November 2016: Gwent
Chris T: 'The Rando' is the cult horror icon that'll make me millions, I swear to God. Like the babadook or slender man, but a twat.
Phil: One of the more conceptually complex back pages—the Mirror's Edge/Geralt travesty notwithstanding. We went back and forth on how much we needed to explain, and whether or not it made sense that we changed the hue of each picture. In the end it didn't matter, because 'Dire Jemble'. Also, hat tip to the 'Your Mum' callback in the top-right. I think if there's one thing All Over has been missing, it's lore.
Samuel: I love 'Dire Jemble'. This one's really good, although I feel bad for kicking No Man's Sky since that game definitely had more than its share of that this year. Still, look at his little face. 'Watership Frown' was one of mine.
Tony: One of my rare pitches, and I’m pretty pleased with the way it came out. I’m particularly proud of ‘Leathery Nonce-Monkey’.