Check Out the Many Origin Back Cover Ads from Computer Gaming World (October 27, 2022)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
From May 1986 to September 1998, Origin Systems 'owned' the back cover of Computer Gaming World. Their first ad was for Ogre, a tank fighting game and the last was for Ultima IX.

Origin did this marketing in house and got so good at it that instead of shutting them down after the acqusition EA used their team for studios like Firaxis and Bullfrog. Looking at them is a neat way to watch the culture, desktop publishing and the audience change.

Since there are great scans of the full run of CGW, I thought pulling out all the Wing Commander ads would make for a good start to a larger collection. I've collected them all here.

You start out with handmade ads designed to capture the hobbyists of the early 90s...

... then a more prestigious Hollywood look (moving to digital layouts) for the multimedia era that brought in more gamers...

And then some true X-TREME nonsense towards the end!

Privateer 2, which had a totally separate marketing effort in Europe, got an insane six (!) page ad that... hmm.

This was a weird find. It's especially interesting what DOESN'T get print ads: mission disks (after 1990), speech packs, re-releases (even Kilrathi Saga never gets a dedicated ad)... Secret Ops...

While sorting through all the CGWs I found this ad I had never noticed before. If we'd seen it at the time (August 1994), we wouldn't even know it was our first look at the Victory's gunnery room!

The Prophecy ads that are mostly built around beautiful renders of the cinematic models are totally rad, though, we absolutely went out on top.

The Privateer 2 ads that aren't closeup pictures of noses are also extremely cool.

There are also a couple issues where it's pretty clear something that was supposed to be announced got pulled at the last minute:

And here are a couple of cool oddities: a collected Wing Commander ad from late 1992 when there were no games coming out... one for the Origin FX screensaver... a seemingly lost Super Wing Commander (not a PC game, guys!) and one that's telling you you need to buy a CD-ROM.

Original update published on October 27, 2022