Computer magazine

This article is about computer magazines in general. For the magazine published by IEEE, see Computer (magazine).

Computer magazines are about computers and related subjects, such as networking and the Internet. Most computer magazines offer (or offered) advice, some offer programming tutorials, reviews of the latest technologies, and advertisements.



Datamation published in 1957 was the first Computer and Data Processing magazine. It is still being published as an ePublication on the Internet. Futurist Donald Prell was its founder. Dr Dobbs Journal is one of the oldest computer magazines still being published, and it was the first to focus on software, rather than hardware.

1980s computer magazines skewed their content towards the hobbyist end of the then-microcomputer market, and used to contain type-in programs, but these have gone out of fashion. The first magazine devoted to this class of computers was Creative Computing. Byte was an influential technical journal that published until the 1990s.

By late 1983 more than 200 computer magazines existed. Their numbers and size grew rapidly with the industry they covered, and BYTE and 80 Micro were among the three thickest magazines of any kind per issue.[1] Computers were the only industry with product-specific magazines, like 80 Micro, PC Magazine, and Macworld; their editors vowed to impartially cover their computers whether or not doing so hurt their readers' and advertisers' market, while claiming that their rivals pandered to advertisers by only publishing positive news.[2] Many magazines, however, did not survive the video game crash of 1983, which badly hurt the home-computer market. Dan Gutman, the founder of Computer Games, recalled in 1987 that "the computer games industry crashed and burned like a bad night of Flight Simulator—with my magazine on the runway".[3] Antic's advertising sales declined by 50% in 90 days.[4] Computer Gaming World stated in 1988 that it was the only one of the 18 color magazines that covered computer games in 1983 to survive the crash.[5] Compute! similarly stated that year that it was the only general-interest survivor of about 150 consumer-computing magazines published in 1983.[6]

Some computer magazines in the 1980s and 1990s were issued only on disk (or cassette tape, or CD-ROM) with no printed counterpart; such publications are collectively (though somewhat inaccurately) known as disk magazines and are listed separately.


In some ways the heyday of printed computer magazines was a period during the 1990s, in which a large number of computer manufacturers took out advertisements in computer magazines, so they became quite thick and could afford to carry quite a number of articles in each issue, (Computer Shopper (UK magazine) was a good example of this trend). Some printed computer magazines used to include floppy disks, CD-ROMs, or other media as inserts; they typically contained software, demos, and electronic versions of the print issue.


However, with the rise in popularity of the internet, many computer magazines went bankrupt or transitioned to an online-only existence. Exceptions include Wired magazine, which is more of a technology magazine than a computer magazine.

List of computer magazines

Notable regular contributors to print computer magazines

Name Occupation(s) Magazine(s) (years of regular contributions)
United States Ken Arnold Programmer Unix Review (1980s - 1990s)
United Kingdom Charlie Brooker TV comedian, TV reviewer, newspaper columnist PC Zone (1990s)
United States Orson Scott Card Science fiction author Ahoy!, Compute!
United Kingdom Chris Crawford Game designer BYTE, Computer Gaming World
United States Pamela Jones Paralegal, legal blogger Linux User, others
United Kingdom Stan Kelly-Bootle Writer, consultant, programmer, songwriter UNIX Review (1984 - 2000), OS/2 Magazine, Software Development
United States Nicholas Negroponte Professor, investor Wired magazine (1993 - 1998)
United States Jerry Pournelle Science fiction author BYTE (1980 - 2006)
United Kingdom Rhianna Pratchett Game scriptwriter, journalist PC Zone
United States Bruce Schneier Security specialist, writer, cryptographer Wired magazine
United Kingdom Charles Stross Science fiction and fantasy author Computer Shopper (UK magazine) (1994-2004)


  1. "Boom in Computer Magazines". The New York Times. 1983-11-09. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  2. Bartimo, Jim (1984-12-10). "Magazines Woo Users". InfoWorld. pp. 35–36. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
  3. Gutman, Dan (1987-12). "The Fall And Rise Of Computer Games". Compute!'s Apple Applications. p. 64. Retrieved 18 August 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. Bisson, Gigi (1986-05). "Antic Then & Now". Antic. pp. 16–23. Retrieved 28 January 2015. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. Sipe, Russell (August 1988). "The Greatest Story Ever Told". Computer Gaming World. p. 6.
  6. Mansfield, Richard (January 1988). "Editor's Notes". Compute!. p. 6. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
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