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Couple things to report on this week:

- I've recently picked up the complete collection of PC Ace magazine, which you can see above. Yes, there were only two issues published in early 1996.

It's surprisingly difficult to find old US computer game magazines online or from other collectors. And when I say "old," I'm not even talking about 1980s-era Computer Gaming World issues (which I haven't even seen offered for sale in months) -- I'm talking about stuff from the '90s. Try to track down issues of PC Gamer (or, for an even stiffer challenge, Game Players PC Entertainment) before 2000. It's nearly impossible. I know, 'cos I've been looking. (If anyone at Future would like to make a charitable contribution to Magweasel, I'd be delighted. Not expecting it, but.)

PC Ace (nothing to do with the UK kids' mag of the same name) is particularly interesting because of the folks involved with it. The editor-in-chief is Bill Kunkel, veteran of Electronic Games and VG&CE and all sorts of other mags, and the publisher is the late Jim Bender, former ad director at the classic-era Electronic Games.

Kunkel's book Confessions of the Game Doctor tells a long story of Bender's EG days and the amount of drugs he did back then -- it's a good book, by the way, and not just for this story -- and it also reveals that after Jim straightened out a bit, he and Bill got together to form the magazine. It's not a bad read, with articles by folks from CGW and Strategy Plus and a focus planted squarely on simulations, strategy games, flight sims and anything with a sci-fi plot to it. Nothing too exemplary, but worth checking out if you dig the dry, wordy style of PC game mags back then.

The magazine folded after only two issues, chiefly thanks to money problems on the part of its publisher, California-based Vector Publishing Group. Kunkel quickly went on to better things, helping build HappyPuppy.com into one of the largest early game sites.

- Folio is reporting that Ziff Davis Media has named Jason Young as its CEO, replacing Robert Callahan (though he'll stay on as chairman). Along with this personnel change comes an announcement that the publisher will focus less on trying to sell the Games Group (which handles EGM, GFW and 1UP.com) and more on operating them directly, which is an about-face from where the company's been for the past year or so.

In financial terms, Ziff is kind of between a rock and a hard place here. It's still working under fairly big debt (something Callahand had to deal with for years), but the Games Group as is doesn't seem to be enough to cover for it, even after Ziff sold off the Enterprise Group (which publishes a gaggle of tech-industry titles) for $150 million. It'll be interesting what further steps ZD takes to grow it.

- I received the revamped, bimonthly Tips & Tricks (now permanently renamed Tips & Tricks Codebook) in the mail the other day. I'll save the details for the mag roundup next week, but essentially T&T without the columns, fewer previews, and lots more codes, as well as the typical Codebook non-glossy paper. But at least the pencil puzzles are back for good, right?

- Still no word on Nintendo Power's future, but I had a friend point out to me that Picross DS does not come with any NP subscription offer packed inside -- probably the first Nintendo-platform game to have that distinction since 1988.

[Kevin Gifford breeds ferrets and runs Magweasel, a site for collectors and fans of old video-game and computer magazines. He's also an editor at Newtype USA magazine.]