20 years in 20 Eurogamer articles - as they appeared at the time
Wayback to the future.
The first ever post on Eurogamer was made 20 years ago today, on 4th September, 1999. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we've picked 20 articles - well actually, 21, including that first post - one for each year we've been running.
Some are serious, some are silly, some are a bit embarrassing to us, some we're proud of, and some are just an interesting record of the times we've lived through.
The best part is that our wonderful tech team has recreated the articles' original appearance on the site, so you can see them the way they were at the time and browse through all the old versions of Eurogamer. The only major change to the layout is that pagination has been removed for an easier reading experience.
Click through the links below and glory in those old logos. Cut us and we bleed blue... but remember when we were orange?
1999 - Welcome to EuroGamer
Our first post was more than a little functional. We only remembered to introduce ourselves properly five minutes later. Yuck, that capital G in the name - and what's going on to the left of the logo? Bald man, scan lines, headset mic, scope - it's as if the reader is about to be fragged with a blast of pure gaming information. So edgy. You can't get more Y2K than that. This version of the site wasn't very long-lived, but going by the calls we still get for a night mode, some people wouldn't mind a return to the colour scheme.
2000 - EuroLAN #1 coverage
It is bizarre, now, to reflect that Eurogamer was once a sort of early prototype of an esports site. The site started as an offshoot of founders the Loman brothers' EuroQuake and EuroLAN competitive gaming events, and reported on them, as here. Anthropologists will one day pore over this photographic record of pallid young men sitting in a room full of large beige machines. The site looks a little more professional now - only the logo remains from the first version - and has many lovely period touches, such as a 'home' link illustrated by a picture of a house, a DVD review section and a house ad proudly alerting us to a basic mobile phone version: "Eurogamer on WAP - www.wapgamer.net".
2001 - Grand Theft Auto 3 review
Tom Bramwell joined Eurogamer from a GTA fansite in 2000, at the tender age of 16, and would end up spending 14 years working on the site, rising to the position of editor after just seven of them. He learned his craft on the job. Here's a young Tom relishing (despite what he says) the task of getting stuck into a game that would define so much of the next two decades. Tom will probably wince at this now, and it's true that our style of criticism has evolved quite a lot since, but the directness and enthusiasm, the sense of shared passion with the reader, are bursting off the page.
2002 - Halo review
Even now, 17 years later, there is no more famous - or should that be notorious? - review in Eurogamer's history. Bungie's universally lauded Xbox launch title earned a merely respectable 8/10 from then editor John Bye - under his pen name Gestalt - and so began at least a decade of "Better than Halo?" comments under reviews of any other game that scored higher. You mocked us for it, and most of the people who've worked on the site since might agree, but actually John's review holds up pretty well - and wasn't an uncommon opinion among people, as he put it, "weaned on PC shooters".
2003 - Steam launches
New site, new logo, and perhaps our first stab at a distinctive visual identity. A surprisingly orange visual identity. There are still some here (hi Craig) who mourn the loss of this grey-and-tangerine look, before we went all in on Eurogamer Blue. Meanwhile, here's a news post from Martin Taylor - who at some point shifted from writing to designing the site, and would later be responsible for that eye-popping shade of blue - on what would probably turn out to be one of the most momentous events for the games industry in the last two decades.
2004 - Driv3r review
An early test of our church-and-state declaration of editorial independence from advertising sales would come with this typically forthright and exhaustive review from then editor, and reviews machine, Kristan Reed. Let's just say that Atari didn't like it very much and leave it at that. We've dealt with the same situation many, many times since, and while it's never fun, it is also the bedrock of trust that the site's reputation is built on. As founder Rupert Loman once said, It's the cost of doing business. But it has to be said that it's more rare these days; publishers have mostly learned, the hard way, that there's no way to control opinion on the internet.
2005 - Boiling Point review
The blue appears! I think this version of the site is what Eurogamer will always look like in my head, perhaps because this is more or less what it looked like when I joined in 2008. I still have a great fondness for the tiny icons of all the different platforms in the left rail. Fun fact: we moved away from this shade of blue in the last redesign, not only to save our eyes, but in part because it literally cannot be reproduced in print. If that isn't a statement of intent, I don't know what is. Also a statement of intent: this extraordinary three-reviews-in-one piece from Kieron Gillen, one of a handful of ex-PC Gamer writers recruited by Kristan who would go on to found Rock Paper Shotgun. It's a bit of a stunt, but it makes its point: you can trace our current, more subjective reviewing style back to pieces like this.
2006 - PlayStation 3 - the real next generation
Oh, boy. Here's a line that would come back to haunt us. I note that the author of this article has chosen anonymity and I won't betray that. Let's just say that they were a little inexperienced and got carried away. In our defence, we weren't the only ones to get headspun by Ken Kuturagi's bewildering beast of a console: Edge ran almost exactly the same line, and got in just as much trouble for it.
2007 - Sony to conduct internal inquiry following dead goat incident
Now to be quite honest, this one's a bit of a cheat - this is a cross-post from GamesIndustry.biz, where the story originated, which is something we used to do back then. Be that as it may, the inimitable Ellie Gibson, who was taking a holiday from Eurogamer to work on GI at the time, reckons this is her finest headline ever. I'll go one further: I think it might be the single greatest headline ever to grace the site. Also, side note, this story gives you a spicy taste of the last days of the old school of decadent video games PR, before it all burned to the ground.
2008 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots review
This may be only the second most famous 8/10 in the history of the site, but I believe it still holds the record for most comments: 2299. And some of them are pretty fruity, believe me. I had recently joined the site and naively thought that people were kind of over Metal Gear, neglecting to notice that this was one of the longest-awaited and most-trumpeted PS3 exclusives. For a day or two I was at the epicentre of the fanboy wars. For the record, I stand by everything except that final kiss-off, which I concede is a bit much.
2009 - An interview with Epic's Mark Rein
Ellie Gibson was perhaps best known for her scabrously funny reviews of substandard shovelware, but she was also a - shall we say one-of-a-kind? - interviewer. She took cheekiness to the level of performance art. Sometimes she went too far; there exists one interview with a well-known industry executive that, by mutual consent, will never see the light of day. But with a game subject who could go toe-to-toe with her, such as Rein here, the results could rip the stuffy PR veneer off the industry and show you the humans beneath - as well as making you laugh like a drain.
2010 - Overachiever for a day
Possibly the most entertaining feature we've ever published, by John Teti, an American writer and editor who we were lucky enough to work with for a while. Achievements were a new-ish thing then, and John took the advice of some pro achievement hunters to see how many Gamerpoints he could earn in 24 hours, exposing how they could break your enjoyment of video games in the process. It's a gaming Heart of Darkness.
2011 - The boy who stole Half-Life 2
Another writer we're lucky to have been associated with for a long time is Simon Parkin, now a famous investigative journalist with a Hollywood movie deal for his second book. You would often find Simon reviewing Japanese RPGs, indie games and blockbusters on the site, but he also did a few memorable exposés for us, including this tale about the unlucky hacker who stumbled on Half-Life 2's source code before it was released.
2012 - Night and the City
New site klaxon! EG11, as we called it, was a long time coming, and it lasted a long time too - almost 7 years. Any colour that isn't grey or Eurogamer blue has been culled in what must be the most formal design of the site. We'd been around long enough to be taken seriously, we were saying. In being taken seriously, it certainly helped that Christian Donlan had joined the staff, a soulful writer who used LA Noire to explore his family history with his dad in this memorable piece.
2013 - Microsoft kills game ownership and expects us to smile
Actually, maybe this is the best headline on Eurogamer. Then editor Tom Bramwell mercilessly lanced Microsoft's hapless Xbox One launch strategy in this clarion call of an editorial - weeks after he had run rings round a discombobulated Phil Harrison in an interview at the reveal event for the console. No-one was more tireless in speaking for players' interests than Tom.
2014 - Rapture leaked: the true story of BioShock
It was definitely one of the games of our lifetime - one of the most hotly-debated, too. BioShock had a troubled development, though, detailed here by Simon Parkin in an early example of a now depressingly familiar genre - the exposé of unhealthy working practices in the games industry. Another great example, from last year, is Tom Phillips' meticulous work on the human cost of Red Dead Redemption 2.
2015 - I was there when the Witcher 3 launched
Bertie Purchese is the longest-serving member of the Eurogamer still standing; a schoolfriend of founder Rupert Loman who has blossomed into one of our most distinctive voices. Bertie has wide-eyed enthusiasm to spare and also, for some reason, deep connections in the Polish games industry, which served us well when The Witcher 3 became a defining game of the current generation. This is a lovely eyewitness account of the moment a genuine phenomenon was born.
2016 - Lionhead: The inside story
Is this the longest article we've ever published? Quite possibly, and I still wouldn't cut a word of it. Of course, Eurogamer's connection to the UK games industry has always been particularly important to us, and we've long prided ourselves on our in-depth reporting on UK studios. We could hardly let the closure of one of the most legendary go unmarked, and Wesley Yin-Poole delivered this astonishingly comprehensive warts-and-all tale.
2017 - Inside the next Xbox: Project Scorpio revealed
Since 2007, Eurogamer's secret weapon has been the veteran games journalist Richard Leadbetter and his Digital Foundry imprint, which Rich has built into pretty much the only authority on games technology worth its salt. We're very lucky: you simply cannot get this reporting anywhere else. Microsoft understands that, which is why it selected Rich for an opportunity you simply never get: a genuinely world exclusive new console reveal, for what would be Xbox One X.
2018 - I was in Football Manager and I don't know how to feel about it
And we finally arrive at the current version of the website. A new generation of writers is getting great mileage out of using video games as a lens to explore their personal histories. It's easy to over-indulge or over-share with this sort of thing, but here's one of our newer team members, Chris Tapsell, knocking it out of the park with this story of teen hopes of football stardom and the strange, unknowable mechanics of a sports strategy game.
2019 - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the problem with its child soldier level
It's scarcely believable that it was less than a year ago that we hired Emma Kent straight out of our summer internship programme; she already feels like an integral part of the site. This piece, written from an E3 show floor demo of all things, is just the kind of writing about games we strive for in 2019: acute, plugged into the context of the wider world, but fair and considered, not giving in to knee-jerk reactions. These are contentious times, but articles like this help us navigate them.
[PS: I don't want to let this article go without a mention of Martin Robinson. Our features and reviews editor is a mercurial polymath who can't be summed up in a single piece, although regulars will surely join me in saluting his extraordinary live blogs that eclipse even Ellie's for irreverent surrealism. Here's just one recent, unforgettable example.]