By Lloyd Mangram
cover bore the CRASH Sampler cassette. Often cover mounts
simply obscure the artwork underneath, but Oliver had
always argued that if we did one, the mounted object
would have to blend in as much as possible. The image
itself could be anything, but there wasn't room for
a full-blown painting based on the issue's contents;
it was Roger who suggested returning to the monster
that adorned the cover of Issue 1, only closer up, and
have it hold the cassette in its claws. Oliver obliged
with actinic light and machine-oiled fangs. It is fascinating
to hold up the two covers and compare them.
The reference to CRASHes past on the cover was not entirely
inadvertent. It already seems an age of its own now, but this
was the first issue in which I began recalling the CRASH History
of four years. And once again Roger Kean was on the move -
well, almost, for he became Editorial Director of the three
computer titles, while Barnaby Page became Managing Editor
of CRASH. It wasn't much change for CRASH, where Barnaby had
been running large sections of the magazine for some months
anyway, but the simple change in titles was a sign of the
year's third upheaval at Newsfield.
It would be wrong to publish many of the confidential details,
so suffice it to say that there were serious problems with
the way THE GAMES MACHINE was run by its two editors (fortunately
they didn't show in the finished product), and shortly after
the completion of its first issue Graeme Kidd and Gary Penn
were asked to leave the company. That didn't cause any catastrophes
itself, but when ZZAP! Editor Ciarán Brennan decided
a few days later to leave Ludlow and return to London a reshuffle
was essential. Roger Kean assumed Graeme Kiddís role of general
overseer, which job he had been effectively doing for several
months at King Street anyway; Barnaby took over CRASH,. Julian
Rignall became Managing Editor of ZZAP!; and Dominic Handy
became a full-time Staff Writer at CRASH.
A few weeks after all these changes, Newsfield left for the
annual shebang at Olympia, the tenth PCW Show, where all the
company's upheavals were soon subsumed under the chaos of
meeting software houses, signing autographs, selling CRASH
T-shirts and fighting a spirited sticker war against Your
Sinclair. In fact the only long-term casualty of Newsfield's
internal changes was Fear & Loathing; John Minson, who
had been a personal friend of the dismissed Graeme Kidd, was
no longer happy with writing for CRASH.
However, a new writer and a new section arrived. Paul Evans,
a CRASH reader from Liverpool, had written to Barnaby asking
if he might try doing a column for CRASH on modem communications.
The magazine's policy had always been to give anyone a try
- and it had often had useful results - so Paul's column started
in this issue, and soon became a regular feature.
Et Al also made its debut, the video section having transformed
itself into this motley collection of videos, books, games
and offbeat little snippets.
And as for the games . . . given the general mood at the
time, one could be forgiven for thinking that Virginís How
To Be A Complete Bastard might have been made a Smash,
but in fact the real problem with it was describing it in
the magazine, given the language used in the game. I thought
the review was as tasteful as could be, but we still got letters
complaining, and even a notification from the Press Council
about parental complaints. Sometimes you can't even call a
spade a trowel.