By Lloyd Mangram
can I say about this cover that hasn't already been
said in detail in the Forum? It did cause CRASH trouble
with WH Smith, who at one point considered withdrawing
the issue from sale, but then contented themselves with
extracting a written promise from Newsfield to be more
careful in future. The moral issue apart, it remains
a powerfully painted image which suits the game ideally.
It also caused C&VG to hiccup, because apparently
Palace had given them the 'exclusive cover', unaware
we were doing one. C&VG evidently withdrew theirs.
Not everyone on the LM team was made redundant. Graeme Kidd
remained in place as an editor without portfolio and Publishing
Executive, and Barnaby Page, LM's Subeditor, came to CRASH
to become its Assistant Editor. Ciarán Brennan moved
over to ZZAP! full-time.
And LM’s closure was an ill wind which blew some good for
the casual reviewers because more work stations were created
as more Amstrad PCW8256 'Joyces', used for writing, came to
CRASH from the defunct magazine. CRASH itself had moved again,
returning from the middle to the lower floor.
And another new-old face (re)appeared. While Roger Kean was
editing LM at Gravel Hill, Robin Candy started turning up
for the odd chat. The strains of the previous year were exorcised,
and with Roger's return to King Street and CRASH, Robin indicated
he would like to start writing again, largely because he needed
finance for his band, Ad Lib To Fade, and because he had recently
taken up skiing in Switzerland, which is an expensive pursuit!
His first task was an article on the history of software houses
and the changes in attitudes over the past four years. Robin's
return seemed to complete the feeling that the old CRASH spirit
was back in force.
The new spirit ushered in video reviews, well aware that
there would be catcalls from some readers crying 'LM!'. To
be truthful, those first few were written for LM, but the
reasoning behind including them had not been lost (in reverse)
on the fantasy film magazine Star Burst, which every month
reviewed computer games. CRASH readers, we argued, are likely
to be heavily into video-watching, so it makes sense. And
despite several mutters of protest, the experiment seems to
have worked well for most readers.
Recent independent market research has shown that we were
right - of a range of magazines aimed at the 'youth market',
including Smash Hits and the weekly music papers, CRASH and
ZZAP! readers came out as the most avid hirers of videos.
You are also, it transpires from the same research, the biggest
purchasers of blank audio tapes - though that's probably a
subject we shouldn't touch upon . . . !
Not to be outdone by my Playing Tips Supplement in the May
issue, Derek Brewster provided a special supplement for adventurers,
which included two Smashes for The Pawn and Shadows
Robin Candy became involved in an interesting project almost
immediately upon his return to the fold. As work on this issue
began, Roger and Richard Eddy had visited programmer Pete
Cooke at his home in Leicester to have a look at the part-completed
Micronaut One, his first game for Nexus. At that time
Pete had only designed three of the game's four tunnel networks
with a special utility he'd devised. Everyone thought it would
be a good idea if someone from CRASH designed the fourth and
hardest. Richard volunteered. However, he was due to attend
a journalism course in London which cut across tunnel-designing,
so Robin took the utility home and designed a network himself.
He was never credited in the game, but to avoid any accusations
of hidden bias Roger and Barnaby mentioned Robin's involvement
in the next month's editorial. And fortunately, when Micronaut
One arrived it was quite good enough to speak for itself
without any personal partiality to boost its rating.