The Project

Personal Computer News was a UK magazine about computers and computing. It ran for 110 issues between 12th March 1983 and 11th May 1985. Its run coincided with the "boom period" of Eighties computing (as popularised in the BBC film Micro Men); covering at first an emerging industry, then an oversupplied one and then the aftermath of a catacyclismic crunch.

The magazine was fiercely opinionated. Despite the UK being at the forefront of home computing, the mag's reviewers, without any hesitation, proclaimed many computers out there "not worth buying" (The Sinclair QL, for example, was lambasted for its terrible data storage system before it even left Sinclair's production line!).

PCN kept pace with almost every new company that launched yet another computer onto the market. Its pages were filled with photographs, comment, screenshots and predictions about the machine's would-be popularity. Do you remember the Apricot range? What about the HBD-50 Sony disk drive for the MSX? In addition, the magazine had games to type in and software reviews too, as well as regular columns about adventuring and programming.

Then PCN folded. Its readership binned their copies - and almost everyone forgot that it had ever existed. Until now...

PCN is essentially a treasure-trove of retro computing information. Mainstream mags like Retro Gamer may look back with teary-eyed nostalgia on the heyday of the UK software industry but, for sheer excitement/immersion in the Eighties age, reading an issue of PCN cannot be beaten.

Having spent seven years tracing almost every individual issue of the paper magazine, we now want to bring PCN back into the mainstream. We want to create a digital archive, right here, of everything it published that can be accessed on any device. And no, we're not talking about just hosting scans of its pages - that's already been done! We want all the information PCN has preserved on all of the "machines that never made it" to be searchable, indexed and available digitally. And we also want to dress it all up with links and proper emulated screenshots.

The size of the project is huge. Creating and testing a new digital version of a single issue of PCN takes around 20-25 hours. But the results are, as you will see, well worth it. In all likelihood, you're also reading about our project because you were looking for some obscure piece of Eighties hardware or software, and we came up in your search results precisely because of one of the digitised articles from the issues we have preserved already.

If you like our site, and share our vision of an online archive of PCN, then please consider buying a DVD boxset of the PCN scans. For each three DVD boxsets sold, we will create a further electronic issue for the world at large to enjoy - and you will be credited as one of the sponsors.

Of course you can also get involved in other ways - after you've got your PCN DVDs, you could assist by OCRing (or typing) some of the articles. Or you could - if you happen to have one of the very few issues we still haven't found - donate it to us and we'll do an instant scan and digital version of it at the same time! Or you can assist by simply spreading the word - hitting the FaceBook 'Like' button, talking about our project on relevant forums, designing some more flashy animations for us, following our Twitter feed, etc; basically all the regular things associated with the modern Internet are at your disposal to help us resurrect the Eighties.


What, you want to read all the games reviews? Well, simply click here for a very easy-to-navigate index!