Miss the days of PC Gamer cover discs? Well, here's a terrifying one from an alternate universe

People with Cds for heads in Kinzoku Plaza.
(Image credit: Kinzoku Plaza)

Well it's not every day that a PC Gamer writer stumbles across an indie horror collection themed around an alt-history and deeply cursed version of PC Gamer, but here we are (thanks Dominic Tarason for the spot). PC Cursed is an impressively elaborate and free grab-bag of 22 indie horror games which comes complete with a 60-page version of the imaginary magazine and even printable CD inlays (because the whole schtick is that this is a lost 1998 cover disc).

The collection is the work of Jacob Jazz and ends on one of their own games, and the whole shebang can be had for free here. I started off by playing a game called The Pizza, a lo-fi first-person experience where the setup is you're someone getting ready for guests and ordering in the pizzas. As soon as my character ordered four pineapple pizzas I knew they were screwed and, sure enough, the game freaked me out before delivering a jump scare that had me quickly moving on with a mix of fear and adrenaline in my heart.

I didn't play all 22 games, but felt it was worth going through a handful to get a sense of the vibes and, if you like horror, this has many varieties of it. Dead Pets is a very odd shooter that appears to be dedicated to the creator's own dead pet, featuring some grotesque enemies that swiftly dispatched me several times (at least it wasn't a jumpscare). The Man in the Park and its sequel somehow managed to be deeply silly, quite amusing, and scare the hell out of me several times. All of these are short 5-10 minute experiences.

The games are bundled with a 60-page magazine called PC Cursed, a lost 1998 relic that is "a gateway to the unknown." Which means creepypastas, horror stories, articles about games from this alternative dimension, cheats and tips for them, and "an experience that will haunt you long after the pages are closed." In a winning move, this comes complete with a DIY printing kit to print your own malevolent cover disc inlays at home.

A gif from the PC Cursed collection.

(Image credit: PC Cursed)

I finished off with Jacob Jazz's own 114 Miles to Dr. Noodle's Farm, which as an ostensibly horror experience perhaps had the weirdest feel of all. You're a rather charming looking pumpkin head thing who has to first find the car keys then start off on the drive to Dr. Noodle's Farm (which acts as a sort of playable teaser for Jazz's Tamarindo's Freaking Dinner, a "90s horror sitcom" set in a time loop)..

As you start heading down the road a seriously jolly little earworm of a tune begins to repeat and it's all rather lovely. Then you begin wondering if it seriously is going to be 114 miles away. Then you think about quitting. Then something happens, and I was sad.

Perhaps what's nicest about this collection of not-nice games is the curated element that the PC Cursed theming brings to it. Jazz clearly knows their indie horror games and has broad taste, so serving a bunch of good ones up in a bundle is a real service to players (and hard-pressed journalists). Just remember that PC Gamer are a lovely lot, and would never dream of ordering pineapple pizza.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."