With everyone returning weary but triumphant from this year’s PCW Show (I’ve been stuck here holding the fort in their absence as I cannot bear crowded places), I find myself with a bulging mail bag and some very good letters. The triumph I mention refers to the highly successful sticker campaign where repeated commando style raids on the EMAP stand at the show made it clear that Hannah Smith and not Melissa Ravenflame is the only REAL Girlie Tipster. Despite the repeated gauntlet throwing, the much vaunted C&VG girlie tipster failed to put in an appearance, leaving our very own Hannah in command of the field at the end of the day. I’m told that it was C&VG who started things by plastering the Newsfield stand with offensive stickers on the Wednesday and Thursday which threatened to throw mud in Hannah’s eyes. Typical underhanded tactics I say!

However, onto the real business of the day — your letters, and this one below gets the £20 worth of software for letter of the Month...


Dear Lloyd,
In reply to John Pinkney’s letter (ish 31) I must point out that the Forum would not be, without the so-called ‘manners’. OK, so most letters in the Forum are moaning ones, but when most people are happy and contented, they don’t usually make a song and dance about it, do they? But when something upsets them, or someone says that a thing they enjoy is bad or wrong (no smutty innuendo intended), then most people feel they should moan about it, I should know, it’s for this reason that I’m writing this letter! Also, does the aforementioned (LMLWD) personage realise that he is contradicting himself by moaning about moaning?

And in reply to Mr P(brain) Schofield, what is wrong with women in CRASH? Where would CRASH be without the subscriber teachings of ‘GURU’ Denise Roberts, the packaging expertise of ‘Auntie Aggie’ Carol Kinsey or the educational reviews of ‘Brains’ Rosetta Mcleod? And, I think many readers would agree (including Helen and Sara Beckett, Lisette Menage, Liz Soames, Sarah Grace and Becca Davies) that Hannah ‘Eat your heart out Melissa’ Smith is in fact BETTER than Robin ‘Roger Kean Follower’ Candy.

So Lloyd, keep up the moaning letters,
Simon ‘moan moan’ Salwan

What! Me contradict myself!? I’m the epitome (look that one up) of logical thinking, reasoned argument and sensible debate. I’m also a jolly nice guy, which is why I’m giving you the £20 worth of software this month for your splendid defence of all things feminine.


Dear Lloyd,
I am hoping that you print this letter in full with no bits edited as if you don’t it will mark a sad episode in the life of CRASH and you don’t seem to want to publish any controversial letters (which are often more interesting).

I have just been reading Sinclair User when, I came across a letter which criticises your magazine a great deal. After reading it I felt I must immediately write to you and put the record straight.

This letter (in the September 1986 issue) makes many ridiculous points. First it says Sinclair User is more readable and amusing than CRASH which, it most certainly isn’t as all Sinclair User’s ‘Jokes’ are just foolish and immature unlike some of yours which are actually funny.

It proceeds to say that Sinclair User is more colourful and interesting but, I must complain and state that CRASH has as much colour as Sinclair User and is definitely more interesting with it, also lasting a longer time to read and re-read (also, having 20 or 30 more pages) while, Sinclair User just gets thrown away.

This letter carries on... Now it says that Sinclair User’s reviews are better than yours but, as any sane person must realise yours are a lot better, more descriptive of the game in question, more detailed and longer though you could improve this by showing the reviewers’ initials by the review.

There’s more yet! Apparently, our letters are written by people with IQs less than 75 (not me nor most of our other readers), all printed by teenage boys (I don’t think so!) never say anything worthwhile (somebody’s got this wrong! Sinclair User’s are all stupid and include rubbish by the so called leader of the Humanitarian Democratic Communist Party! That says a lot!) CRASH letters are supposed to be unwitty and come across as **** (ha ha).

There’s more!! Our clear contents page and excellently drawn covers (most of them are good) are meant to be unclear and less readable and informative than theirs which is rubbish as Sinclair User covers could be drawn up by a blind man in five minutes and the contents page is one hell of a mess.

Also, it comments, Sinclair User covers every aspect of computing, but this is stupid as most of the magazine is adverts and Playing Tips which ramble on and have ancient pokes which look like they’re nicked out of back issues of CRASH. I bet I could send an August CRASH poke and get it published in about November’s Sinclair User. One nameless person even sent the same map off to both magazines.

CRASH is better than Sinclair User in these ways: Better maps (not inch high ones), letters, covers, reviews, contents, decent adventure (even though my classic game wasn’t reviewed), Tech Tips that work, more colour, Lunar Jetman, readability, length, value and Playing Tips.

By the way, good luck to your LM magazine which I shall buy and to Hannah Smith in her battle with inferior C&VG Tipsters.

This girl letter-writer to Sinclair User (her name I am tempted to print), is the worst traitor since Mark Roberts of Ealing all those years ago. She says Sinclair User is better value as it is 2p cheaper. Now let’s see...

At that rate you’d buy a new game in just over 41 years NOT counting inflation! She also claims to read CRASH so I hope she sees this and realises her many mistakes, if I was her I’d go back and crawl in a hovel.

Finally, try and print my letter and not just chuck it in the bin as, it contains brilliant valid points and my name’s never been in CRASH.
Michael Sutton (loyal CRASH fanatic)

Wow, that’s some analysis Michael. I’m afraid I must confess to hardly ever reading S U, so I haven’t seen this particular letter. I’ll bet S U doesn’t have nice grannies writing in like we do — 12 year-olds indeed. Well some no doubt are, but don’t forget the average reader age is actually 17.5. The next writer also has a few similar points to make...


Dear Lloyd,
Recently while reading Sinclair User I noticed that some of the pokes and cheat routines which appear in CRASH also appear in Sinclair User usually a month or two after they appeared in CRASH. A recent example of this is the Green Beret listing for infinite lives which appeared in the June issue of CRASH programmed by Brian Smyth, the same listing turned up in the Sinclair User August issue with very slight changes (line numbers changed, prompt messages changed etc) and S U claimed that Barry George and Mark Bell had written it. Also in the same issue of S U appeared a listing for Bombjack which had also been copied straight from CRASH. They have also copied the colour, double page reviews which CRASH are famous for. Sinclair User is not the only magazine which copies both style and cheat listings, other offenders are Your Sinclair and Computer and Video Games, but to a lesser extent. Keep up the good work and keep CRASH the number one magazine in the entire world. One word of warning, keep CRASH original and keep the humour.
Thomas Connolly

I’ve no doubt the mags you mention could sometimes claim the opposite. There are some readers who take great delight in lifting the listings from one magazine and writing in to another very quickly as though it was their own cheat routine. As magazines we have very little way of checking up on this sort of thing until it’s far too late. Just another example of how we suffer for our art...!


Dear Forum,
After the Seven Deadly sins of Adventure here are my Seven Magnificent Deadly Sins of Arcade Writing:


Mermaid Madness, Kung Fu Master, The Comet Game and, believe it or not, World Cup Carnival are all overpriced by a huge amount. In at least three of these the sound is bad, the graphics worse, and the colour clash worse still. The latter, World Cup Carnival, fooled a lot of people, and whoever I meet says it is even worse that the reviews people have given it.


I can’t say all budget games are crap, because they aren’t. But some software houses think that they can launch rubbish games at low prices. Ninja Master, The Master and Cagara and Con-quest are below average to say the least. And three pounds is not all that cheap, although most games in this league are good, Cagara is exceedingly crappy crap.


Knight Lore, Alien 8, Pentagram, Batman, Sweevo’s, Spindizzy, B Bearing etc, W.O.T.E.F., Yie ar Kung Fu, International Karate and Sai Combat, Gunfright, Pyracurse and Nightshade. It goes on and on. Can’t the software houses realise that we want originality? Jet Set Willy, the game that launched a thousand copies. Most of them poor imitations. Shadowfire was the first game with icons to speak of. All of a sudden up pops all these games with icons. What had been revolutionary soon became run of the mill.


Why do all games seem to have double cassette boxes around them? I have only seen two games which need two cassettes, The Planets and Way of the Tiger. Ultimate and Ocean are the main culprits. Also, huge packaging that falls apart as soon as you open it. That means Beyond!


Remember Hunchback the Adventure, Street Hawk and Knight Rider? Gosh, doesn’t it seem like a long time since adverts first appeared for them. About a year ago, if you must know. Actually, a version of Street Hawk came out, but was withdrawn before anybody could part cash for it. Other held-up adverts were the Prince and Swords and Sorcery.


Why are so many games protected? Not everyone in this world is a pirate. Lenslok is a pain up the butt and I once needed to re-load Elite three times. JSW1’s colour codes are a deterrent, but it only took me one night and six pens to copy them out, while my friend used a colour photocopier. The number codes on Dragontorc were photocopied successfully first try.


This is only a minor complaint, but why do so many games have crap endings? Batman, most Ultimate games, Starstrike II and others all have endings along the classic lines of ‘Congratulations, you have completed this game’. Can’t houses leave some space in memory for an animated ending, or something interesting?

Those are my seven deadly sins. Hope you agree with them.

That seems like a fairly concise list of sins. Andrew. Anyone else share these feelings? Ah yes, there is...


Dear Lloyd,
After reading A Neithan’s letter on the seven deadly sins of adventures, I’m writing about the 5 deadly sins of Arcade games.


When a game has no aim it loses some of its addictiveness because there is no ultimate aim. It either loops round to the start or carries on at the same difficulty. Some examples are Fist, Spy Hunter, Bombjack and Yie ar Kung Fu. Many say that some games couldn’t be aimful, but I would disagree, even shoot em ups can be made aimful eg. Starstrike, Glass, Moon Cresta. But maybe not Space Invaders. When you set out to complete a game rather than just get a big score it has you coming back to it see the end effect, adding to the game’s excitement.


A game must obviously not be made too easy, but should be completable by an average game player with plenty of practice. Many good games could only be completed by game playing wizards eg. MOVIE, Knightlore, Alien 8, Spindizzy, Starstrike 2, Pyracurse and Dynamite Dan. Okay you could always cheat, but it’s not the same when you have to cheat. When a game is over-difficult people tend to let it fall by the wayside because they know it is out of their reach which is a shame if the game is a good one. The game doesn’t have to be slowed down or made inferior, to make it easier you could give the player more lives, or make the nasties less nasty.


This occurs more with arcade adventures than anything. Generally, if the game is too small it’s too easy, eg Jack the Nipper, 3 Weeks in Paradise, Herbert’s Dummy Run. With these games it’s just a case of experimenting with objects and looking for significant links. I bought 3 Weeks and completed it in two days without help, hints or pokes. My mate did it in one and a half hours. The cream of the arcade adventures are the massive ones, eg Dragontorc, Marsport, Dun Darach, Fairlight.


A good arcade game should have you using your reflexes most of the time and your brain some of the time. A big mistake of software houses is to put in lots of insignificant screens which are empty and actionless, eg Gift from the Gods, Robin of the Wood, Enigma Force, these are but a few culprits. Insignificant screens are a waste of memory.


There is nothing more frustrating than spending hours of endless effort, brain flogging and eye straining just to see some crummy message or daft effect. The least software houses could do is to reward our efforts with a stunning end effect. The top 5 all time bad end effects in my opinion are Dun Darach, Ghosts n Goblins, Fairlight, Underwurlde and Green Beret.

The best 3 are: Everyone’s a Wally, Max Headroom, and Herbert’s Dummy Run.

So come on software houses, make our efforts worth while and make some good end effects for us.
RMW Yorks
PS Who’s that ugly bloke on the back issues page?

You seem to agree on the end effects being generally poor. But most programmers I know are baffled as to how to fit them in when so many games use every spare byte available and I can’t quite see you waiting for a few minutes while another load of code gets dumped into the Spectrum to provide an end effect.


Dear Lloyd,
I wish Candy would return from his new pastures and come back to his old job, because I hate Hannah Smith. The thought of a woman taking over a man’s job embarrasses us readers as we think that CRASH is such a brilliant magazine, but the thing that bugs me is that us (fabulous) readers never get to see many photos of you or anyone else who writes for CRASH.

If you make any stupid remarks about this letter I’ll personally kill you.
Daniel Kydd

Hannah’s very keen to get her hands on your full address, Daniel! After several bouts with Melissa Ravenflame, she could take you on with both hands tied behind her back. Man’s job indeed! Robin Candy still pops into the offices after college some afternoons, but he’s taking a long sabbatical (LMLWD) from CRASHing. (Incidentally he thinks Hannah’s doing a great job).


Dear Lloyd,
What has happened to dear CRASH? I am talking about that very disgusting letter YOU PRINTED (gasp) by Mr P Schofield saying that women are only here to clear up after men. We’re not machines you know, we do have a mind of our own.

I wear jewellery, make-up and do other feminine things but have never picked up a pair of knitting needles in my life. Mr P is living in the 19th century: and if he thinks women would like to clean up after his disgusting self he’s got a shock coming. Has he ever noticed the squillions of women authors around? Judging by his letter he isn’t too intellectual himself. He is also very boring as well as a very disgusting male chauvinist pig.
Clair Ritchie

I couldn’t agree with you more, Clair, but you mustn’t be angry with me for printing his letter. After all, it’s got your dander up enough to write and refute his chauvinist nonsense!


Dear Lloyd,
First of all I have a confession to make, I actually buy computer magazines other than CRASH. Now before you screw this letter up and throw it in the bin please read on.

I have been buying CRASH and Sinclair User for over two years now, and from time to time I have also purchased other mags such as Computer & Video Games and Your Sinclair. What has compelled me to write to you is a letter that I read in Sinclair User concerning its new look. It states that Sinclair User is becoming more colourful and interesting to read and is overtaking CRASH in these respects. Whilst I accept that the magazine has improved vastly over the past few months, I find the statement that Sinclair User is actually better than CRASH very hard to digest.

The ‘New Look’ that so many magazines have adopted of late — ie much more colour, bigger reviews, playing tips, greater emphasis on games reviews than hardware reviews — is not new at all. I have seen it in CRASH magazine for years now.

It seems very ironic that mags which used to boast that they were not just comics, and treat themselves very seriously have now adopted the ‘CRASH Look’. It would appear that these mags have at last realised that although the humble Spectrum can be used for many serious applications, the principal use of the computer is in games playing.

Keep up the good work CRASH, and although I will continue to buy other computer mags yours is still the best.
Andrew Thorpe

Thank you for the kind comments, Andrew. It has been interesting for us up here in the wilds of Shropshire to watch other publications follow CRASH’s lead. I’m not trying to suggest that we are all brilliantly clever or anything (cos we’re not really), all we did at the outset was look at the market and realise no-one was taking games as seriously as they deserved.


After the slagging CRASH readers gave to US Gold’s World Cup Carnival it only seems fair to let them reply, and here is the letter I received recently..

Subject: World Cup Carnival

US Gold licensed this property in the summer of 1985. Our intention was to produce a program that not only gave actual computer entertainment but also gave added interest to football enthusiasts.

We duly commissioned a company, who will remain nameless, to produce a piece of entertainment software that matched, in terms of graphics and playability, Ocean’s Matchday, but with added football associated events and some unique fun features such as ‘ball control’.

We proceeded then to prepare packaging and contents which, without exception, have been praised for quality. After repeated requests to the software company for proof that the ‘game’ was progressing, certain searches and investigation highlighted to us that the company was imminently due to enter into liquidation and game completion could not he guaranteed. In fact, tracking down the individuals that were actually freelance and writing the versions proved almost impossible.

We then (this was the end at February) decided to sever our links and hopes of completed titles from this company and re-assign the development. We needed final versions by the first week in May and licenses were also obtained for our European offices in France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

This left us two months to assign the work, develop the games, fully test, master and package in time for the commencement of the World Cup Finals.

Anybody who knows anything about software development will tell you that a game cannot be written in two months. Our only option was to take a game that had not sold well, make modifications and add features not previously available.

Prior to the release of the game, screenshots from the Commodore version were sent to all major magazines including ZZAP! 64, CRASH’s sister magazine. We then duly informed major retail chains of the title’s origin and when released to the trade, told distributors to inform retail stores to tell prospective purchasers of World Cup Carnival that the game was an updated version of Artic’s World Cup Football. US Gold did not mis-lead the buying public but was faced with a situation that commercial interest had to weigh heavily. Our reputation in dealing with our customer is well versed. We answer all letters and take all telephone calls. If our customers are genuinely dissatisfied with one of our titles, we offer another game at half the recommended price. The decision always being at US Gold’s discretion and subject to availability.

In some respects, World Cup Carnival was to the good of the software market. It has set a precedent for publishers to produce quality software on the back of a licence which US Gold has been proud to have been able to achieve without exception in the past.

Conditions and timing wouldn’t allow us the grace to maintain that reputation with World Cup Carnival although I personally feel that if the purchaser did not already own World Cup Football, the package offered very good value for money.

US Gold is the World’s Number 1 Entertainment Software publisher and as such, views as vital the excellent reputation it has earned with Spectrum Owners!


Dear Lloyd,
The nation is in a State of Panic and why? (As if you didn’t know). Yes it’s true Sir Clive Sinclair is out of the home computer market (industry). And no one cares. Well let me just tell you about Uncle Clive. In 1980 the world saw the launch of Sinclair’s first computer — the ZX80. Then within 12 months of the happy event the ZX81 was launched, but this was only the beginning of a great era. With this Clive produced his ace in 1982 and what an ace the Spectrum is. By doing this he had created the British home computer market. Just think, if Clive hadn’t made his move Commodore 64s would still be selling for £350.00. Amstrad might still have been mucking about with Hi-Fi and I would have sat around waiting for a miracle to happen. Even good old CRASH wouldn’t be around. Sir Clive Sinclair may not have been a great business man but he is a computer genius and no one can question that. Sir Clive Sinclair may be gone for good, but he will live on forever in the heart of my Spectrum.

There will never be another computer like the Spectrum.
Richard Hargreaves

(To be spoken to the strains of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’)

I don’t think anyone would deny the truth of what you say Richard. As to whether Sir Clive is gone for good is another matter — he’s bounced back time and time again, perhaps he’s got another ace up his sleeve. Who knows?


Dear Lloyd Mangram,
The June issue of CRASH Forum contained a letter from a lady and you asked for any other ladies to write in to you. Well I am a Granny and enjoy CRASH mag and of course Forum. My children are much quicker than I am, but my grandchildren 10, in all, also enjoy trying to do the games which teach them patience and skill.

As a warden of elderly people I found I stayed at home much more, so decided I would teach myself the computer and it has given many hours of fun. My age is 51 and though not old yet, it does surprise many people when I say I’m going to play with Monty Mole, Popeye or my favourite Chuckie Egg.

Thank you for your news pages in CRASH, it’s a super mag and explains so well that you seem to know what you are buying.

Cheers for now
Joyce Smith

Nice to hear from you Joyce (did you know they named a computer after you — well they did, well done). Perhaps you should try out some adventure games, you might find you’re quicker than your grandchildren on them!


Dear Lloyd,
No I’m not writing to complain about the fall and rise of Ultimate, or to winge about the price of software, or rabbit on about software piracy. And no I’m not going to moan about my CRASH arriving in like second post (or even later!!!), or try and stop poor games being reviewed, or complain about games being late for release, or about Oli’s artwork. And I’m not going to write a stupid male chauvinist letter. I’m not even going to complain about the ‘disgusting’ pictures scattered through CRASH and from now on if everyone thought this before they wrote a letter to the Forum it would brighten up without the need for bug box (yuc!). Stop using Forum as a moaning column.
Jo O’Donovan

Too right, Jo. You tell em. How about some really constructive letters for a change? All this moaning and groaning is beginning to give me a complex, and you know what happens when I get a complex, I get mad and rude and (what was the word some nurd used a few months back, ah yes —) FLIPPANT. And all that does is cause more moans. Ah well, such is life...


I am one of the unfortunate teenagers who have just taken their O Level/CSE exams this summer with whom Robin Grant so kindly sympathised in the August issue.

Anyway, a few days ago I was playing Pentagram when it suddenly dawned on me that my life is slowly transforming into a plot devised by Ultimate in a typical adventure game of theirs. You know the plot — evil spreads over a kingdom and poor old Sabre Man has to risk life and limb trying to piece a Pentagram or a similar item together in order to bring happiness and joy back to the ill-fortuned kingdom which darkness and evil has possessed for the time being.

This plot roughly resembles the unfortunate situation that I have found myself in. My mum has warned me that if I don’t get a certain amount of O Level passes then my faithful Speccy will be banished to the loft while I am forced to do retakes. What’s more all my copies of CRASH, plus my future subscribed issues, will be following my ill-fated Speccy into the dark realms of the loft as well. This, of course, will bring gloom and despair to life as I know it.

So you see, in my case, a number of good exam results have to be collected in order to ensure future happiness and joy in my life otherwise evil consequences will prevail. Sabre Man does have an advantage over me because he can have as many goes as he likes in order to achieve his target but as for me, I only have the one chance. Hannah Smith’s Playing Tips could probably help Sabre Man out, if his life gets that little bit too dangerous in his adventuring, but there is no way she could help me out on this one.

So it’s ‘cheerio’ from me folks, if my luck runs out which there is a pretty good chance that it will. It would probably be of some consolation to me to see this letter printed in your great magazine because the September Issue of CRASH could be my last CRASH for quite a long time and it would be pleasing to see this letter printed somewhere in its Forum.
Andrew Callaghan (16)

What an absolutely horrific tale. Tell your mum that if she does anything of the sort I’ll use all my influence with the Ludlow mafia to get them to change her mind. I’m sure you’ve had your results long ago by now, and we all hope time they were good. Incidentally, Robin Candy proved to be a real clever boots by getting loads of O levels. I always knew that boy would go a long way and doubtlessly all of it downhill!


Dear Lloyd
Allow me to introduce myself, I am DROID MK16 and it’s part of my programming to read CRASH and your excellent Forum every month. (GROVEL MODE OFF).

As I was flicking through the pages of the aforementioned Forum, I noticed an increase in letters concerning the so called GIRLIES. One of the items which grabbed my attention was one from a Mr P Schofield who is obviously some kind of male chauvinist.

All this rubbish, and unnecessary rubbish at that, is not worth the space, even if you do proceed to pick them apart in your reply. I personally, or Droidally as I’m not a person, have no time for both chauvinists and feminists as their views are very biassed and destructive, leaving a nasty taste in the mouth of both sexes who could not care either way, but take people as they come.

I do not think women should be stereotyped as I know several of the human persuasion who are witty, attractive, and clever with it. I think the girls (and blokes) at Crash Towers do a great job and wish you all the very best for the future.

I also think that the lovely Hannah Smith (hope that’s not too patronising for you) is a very welcome change from the Candyman and writes a very good Playing Tips column.

So think again, Schofield you jumped up prat, or I will send round a few heavy automated pals of mine to deal with you and anyone else with chauvinist or feminist leaning in their letters.

Yours most faithfully, (WHOOPS Grovel mode again)

Through my good offices, the girls and blokes of CRASH Towers thank you kindly. Now you’d better go get your batteries recharged.


Dear Lloyd,
Is there a Welsh CRASH? Having bought the August edition in Derby, I took it on holiday.

When I returned my friend had bought the same edition but he had bought his copy when, ‘Gadzooks!’ cried my friend, as we turned to page 83 ‘On The Screen’.

In the bottom left-hand corner of the page was the screen dump of the castle courtyard. This was coloured pink and purple. So what? you cry.

Well, after a quick cycle round to my friend’s house, he produced his CRASH and Yes! The castle courtyard in his edition was indeed yellow and green!

So, is there a Welsh CRASH? We demand an explanation!
M Edwards and R Powell

Well I think you’re jolly lucky, it’s like having a rare, wrongly printed stamp! No, there’s no Welsh edition of CRASH, what’s probably happened is that you have one of those very few copies that get out when the printer changes paper rolls in mid-run. A few get slightly ruined, for a second or so it can take the printing plates to get the ink balance correct again resulting, here and there, in some odd colour combinations.


Dear Lloyd

What’s happening at CRASH Towers? Has Graeme Kidd’s BO got too much for you all. First Robin Candy then Gary Liddon and now you! Are you leaving CRASH for LM or what?

Well if all the new staff are like Hannah Smith you won’t hear any complaints from me (she can wrestle with me any time know what I mean)! Less of the sexist (me, sexist HA) remarks, onto something more constructive.

Minson is great, his inane ‘Fear and Loathing’ is ace, even if I’m none the wiser after reading it.

I must congratulate CRASH on introducing a PBM game section to the magazine. I was in danger of dying of boredom as my Spectrum had blown a fuse (A IN4148 diode and a A 780516 regulator to be exact) so I joined Vorcon Wars. Brill!! (any players on Vorcon 60 better watch out cos FRIDGER will settle for nothing less than total domination).

I think praise is also needed for Sean Masterton for having to put up with anencephalous (new word for you) prattlers like Peter Shields (Frontline Forum No 31) he’d need more than shields if I got hold of him. Just cos frontliners are in the minority there is no need to scrap frontline.

Otherwise you’re gonna have a revolution on your hands matey (sorry about that outburst but people really piss me off).

All you have to do to make CRASH perfect for me is to expand PBM Mailbox, Frontline and put the reviewers initials after the reviews. A pin up poster of Hannah Smith wouldn’t be a bad idea (simple to please aren’t I?)
Mark Frewell

I’m not going anywhere Mark. They’ve just borrowed my initials for the new mag (only now they’re pretending they have nothing to do with my name — something to do with calling it a Lively Magazine I think, or Lazy Morons, or Last Minute — the way it gets done no doubt). The biggest change is that Graeme Kidd has sort of left CRASH, left in the sense that they’ve booted him upstairs to become Publishing Executive of all the computer titles. He’s now a Big Kidd and having trouble getting into his Doc Martens. Funny thing life, ain’t it?


Dear Lloyd,
I am sick and tired of reading people praise and slag off Ultimate every month. I myself was a true Ultimate fan up until the release of Pentagram. This game was a complete waste of money, it’s exactly the same as everything else around at the moment. However, it is not their fault that once great and way ahead of the rest, they have fallen into a slump, and if they are truly are great they will recover.

I think people should stop going on about Ultimate and take more notice of Odin for in my view they are the leading software house in the country.

I must however, thank you for telling us about the Loki being pure rubbish for this is one relieved 128K owner.
RJ West
PS You had better publish this or I’ll keep writing until you do.

I’ve printed it — so stop writing. No I don’t mean that — honest. I’m not sure I totally agree with you, however. What do other CRASH readers think?


Dear Lloyd,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Geraint Jones and I am President of the Hunter S Minson fan club. Our sole aim in life is to promote the great man himself, his drinking habits and to destroy all those who oppose him. So, JA Attwood, our hit gang is already on its way to Norfolk to seek you out. Even now two stretched limousines escorted by a fleet of Ferraris and Lamborghinis may be closing in on your abode. If you don’t swear allegiance to Mr Minson they will give you a pair of concrete shoes and drop your rotting torso into a vat of Bloody Mary’s.

Such is the fate of those who blaspheme against Hunter S Minson. Nobody has ever said that our society doesn’t give its victims fair warning (none that have lived long enough anyway), so blasphemers, next time you see somebody in a Hawaiian style shirt, watch for the burst of insect repellent (as demonstrated by the almighty Minson in issue 27) it may spell your end.

I also have a warning for you Mangram. Print any more anti-Minson letters and you will find a long limousine outside your cottage, unless of course you send the squad Heartland and Cauldron II. Don’t try to get the Ludlow mafia onto us as we have infiltrated that puny excuse for a protection racket. But we know that that thought never crossed your mind as you’re a nice guy really and wouldn’t like your kneecaps broken.
Geraint Jones, 16 Bloodymary Road, Hungersville, Loathingshire

I wouldn’t dream of printing another anti-Minson letter ever again, as I require my kneecaps for kneeling on. I can say little about the great man himself because the few times I’ve bumped into him I haven’t been able to see anything through the glare from those appall... (sorry) stunning shirts. Still, you can rest assured that you’re not the only reader alarmed at the Attwooditude...

Dear Lloyd,
I think the opinion voiced in the letter written by JA Attwood was in itself excessive.

Hunter S Minson is paid for doing a job, a job he does well. As a journalist he paints a colourful picture of life behind the scenes in the computer world.

If JA Attwood thinks that Hunter S Minson’s behaviour is slightly below par at launches I can assure him that he is not the only one to behave in this manner. I know two or three journalists and from what I have gleaned from them Hunter Minson is a kitten compared to some. The offer of a free meal and free booze to the ligging manes creaks a buzz of excitement, and why shouldn’t it? Epicureanism (look it up) is far from dead.

A sense of humour should be exercised, and the articles of men like Hunter should be read in a jovial, lighthearted way. More power to your drinking arm Hunter, from a loyal fan!
Ben James

It rather depends on whether you think CRASH readers want to see behind the scenes. Some would argue not, but from my experience, most do, and Minson does it well (kneecaps, please stop telling me what to write..) Someone else who also enjoys kneeling in comfort has this to say....

Dear Lloyd,
Here is my view on Minson’s Column. It’s different, funny and good to read because he goes into detail wherever he goes (games launches etc) or games lunches as he would prefer!

There is nothing else like this column in other rags so, well done CRASH for packing so many different things into the magazine.

... and...

Dear Lloyd,
Don’t sack John Minson.
Alex Marsh

... and again...

Dear Lloyd
Mr Minson can relax because I am certainly a fan of his. His column is entertaining, amusing and a piece of professional journalism. I’m sure his column is not going to encourage any younger readers to go out and ‘throw up on volvos’. Come on, after all it’s only a bit of fun and isn’t that what computers are all about?

And look at T’zer in YS. Her column’s written in similar style and nobody complains about her.
Lynda Matthias

... and and...

Dear Lloyd,
I happened to read JA Attwood’s letter on the excellent column by Hunter S Minson. I can’t tell you how utterly embarrassed I am to live in Norwich. I find it embarrassing that JA Attwood should be so uncultured and not have heard of or read any Hunter S Thompson. I myself find him highly amusing and have a book which houses such greats as ‘The Great Shark Hunt’, ‘Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl’, ‘Jimmy Carter and the Great Heap of Faith’ and many more. I do hope you will continue with the column and not be put off by morons such as JA who do not think before they speak. Please don’t suppose that all Norfolk Dumplings are uncultured, country yokels.
Yail Bloor

... and yet again...

Dear Stereogram,
To JA Attwood and CH Evans — Paws off Hunter S Minson! The Fear and Loathing page in CRASH is the page I first turn to on buying the magazine, being very humourous and well written. To those critics, if you want to read serious news turn to the news pages of CRASH, Mr Minson is obviously CRASH’s answer to Nigel Dempster, with Fear and Loathing being the CRASH Diary. More free lunches and liquid ones too to his elbow!
Philip Green

... but what’s this?

Dear Lloyd,
I will put my point of view on Hunter S Minson’s ‘Fear and Loathing’, as you requested. After reading his column I thought to myself, what was all that about? Reading again it dawned on me... Absolutely Nothing!! It had hardly anything relevant to home computers and was as boring as it was long. Please remove Hunter S Minson from this column or try and get him to write more relevantly!
Richard Poppleston

Better watch out for those li’ll ol’ kneecaps Richard.


Dear Lloyd,
I write this letter because no-one else has done it. Someone’s got to be first, it might as well be me. You see I am addicted to computer magazines. Well that’s not too serious you might think, but it is driving me nuts. I read CRASH, Sinclair User, Your Computer, Computer & Video Games and about six Dutch magazines you have never heard of. I hardly ever read anything else. There isn’t time! As soon as I have finished reading through one load of magazines the next load appears. My greatest fear in life is that I miss one issue of a magazine. I read them long before I even owned a Spectrum, yes I do own one now, but playing games? Hah! Even if I would have any money left to buy programs I probably wouldn’t know what to buy: I am spoiled for choice: Smashes, Star Games, Classics etc, all of them programs no self-respecting Spectrum owner should be without. Well, I am!

My family have been very understanding, but right now they are trying to get me to talk to a ‘very nice gentleman’. You’ve guessed it: a shrink.

So here’s some advice to all of your readers out there: stick to one magazine (CRASH is not a bad choice), or you could end up like me. You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?
Michel van Staveren

Perhaps you should look at it the other way Michel, that it is the others who are mad and you who is sane. The Dutch are enormous magazine readers anyway (pity the British aren’t the same!) and you may just be suffering a slightly advanced condition of being Dutch. If you want to put your ‘shrink’ off, just ask him for a reading list of international psychology magazines...


Dear Lloyd,
Does Hannah Smith have breasts the size of Samantha Fox’s, a waist as thin as Duchess Fergie’s and buttocks the size of Anneka Rice’s?

If not then why is this beautitul body displayed on the cover of issue 31?

Yours droolingly
Peter Reid

It’s all true, Peter, and she’s much more stunning than C&VG’s Melissa Ravenflame. If you attended the recent PCW Show at Olympia, you may have seen the ‘battle of the stickers’. C&VG started it by plastering the Newsfield stand in ones saying ‘Here’s Mud in your Eye Hannah Smith’. I’m told the Newsfield team retaliated furiously on the Saturday with stickers saying, ‘Stop Raving Dame, stand up Melissa and accept the challenge.’ There was even a paddling pool at the ready and a supply of lime green jelly for the two tipstresses to wrestle in but Melissa never showed up.


Dear (Urgh!) Lloydy Poos,
Don’t read this smelly old piece of paper cos it’s totally meaningless.

Moan 1. Don’t let puffs like Mr P Schofield write a load of sexist crap like the stuff you printed on page 35 of August issue. Most females are human except for my sister (Hello Lindsey) and her friend (Hello Batie) who is a distant relative of the cherry (her nose is a cherry).

Moan 2. This has nothing to do with computers or CRASH. Would you please tell my cat to use the garden and not my bed for a cat’s duties.

Moan 3. Have longer reviews and the reviewers name after every comment.

Moan 4. Kill the Ed, Graeme Kidd, Robin Candy and yourself and send me Hannah Smith’s (bissy kissy) address. Also kill the pervy who only gave Pyracurse a one page review and 88% for graphics. It deserves at least 95%. I just lurve them zombies wiv the stakes driven through their hearts.

Moan 5. Don’t print my address cos I don’t want Mr P Schofinessle writing to me to complain. Remember to send me Smithie’s address and give her mine.
Paul Rocball

Hannah is very flattered you want her address but unfortunately she has no home to go to, sleeping and working at her computer. Otherwise you’re right, I never should have read this smelly bit of paper.


Dear Lloyd,
I am a 16 year old Spanish boy and I have been reading CRASH for 18 months. I have many friends who read CRASH and we think it is very good. I saw the issue 31 which my English penfriend buys and I have some points to make:

1. Minorities.
Peter Shields in the Frontline Forum says the Frontline and other minorities should be finished. This is not good. The different parts of the magazine is what makes it interesting. Finishing them would make it all the same and make a boring magazine, si?

2. Budget Games
The reviews of budget games is stupido! Why does the price of the game hardly affect the ‘Value for Money’ score? Example: Podder, 99p, overall 54%, value only 58%.

3. Manngramm
What does he think he is making?? He never answers the serious letters seriously but is getting angry on the joking letters, eg the Girlie Takeover letter, issue 31. Some CRASH people are saying he does not exist, I am thinking it’s better if he did not.

4. Fear and Loathing
What is all this moaning about Minson? He is the best thing in CRASH.

La saluda atentamente,
Miguel Martinez

Point 3 nearly got your letter in the waste paper bin, young Spanish gent. How dare you cast aspersions on my abilities. I, Lloyd Mangram (please note the English spelling), am what makes CRASH what it is, if you don’t mind. As for that brightly coloured Hawaiian butterfly of a roving journalist called Minson — well you can have the kneecaps back — so there.


Dear Lloyd,
I thought I’d write to let you know how I feel about software (horrible) houses!! Oh ‘groan’ I hear you cry but it gets me really angry to think how they are holding back the home computer industry and their attitude towards it.

Only last week I heard that Enterprise Computers had gone bust, why? Well the answer is simple, people didn’t buy it. Oh Wow! I hear you all think, but listen, the Enterprise had hardly any Software available for it, why? because no damn software house would produce software for it because it didn’t sell!! This seems like a pathetic attitude to take! If software houses produced software for it, people would buy it and everyone would be happy.

It has got to the stage where no company will produce software for any other computers beside Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPCs. When you think about it the Speccy 48 has been pushed to its limits, the Commodore 64 reaches its limits years ago and the Amstrad is hardly a quantum leap! But until software houses change their attitude in the 1990s we will be stuck with 80s computers when we should be having super high tech computers and many more companies will end up like Enterprise when they had a marvellous computer, (some already have).
Simon Jones

You seem angry and surprised about the Enterprise, yet hardly anyone else is, I think. When the Spectrum was released, the fledgling software industry such as it was were easily able to leap up from producing ZX81 games by converting them straight to the Spectrum. Development of software was cheap because the punters didn’t actually expect too much then. Software houses could make money, survive and prosper to do better things. When the Amstrad was launched, the company had taken care to ensure a reasonable quantity of utilities and software was already available and backed up their hardware by also becoming a (none too successful) software house themselves, helping Spectrum houses to convert existing games by the hundreds to the CPC464. The Commodore, already a massive worldwide success, could draw heavily on hundreds of American games, also cheaply converted to run on British machines. None of this did the Enterprise have — no real back up at all.

You can’t expect software houses (who have to live just like you and me) to spend thousands of pounds paying for programmers, promotions and advertising to develop an Enterprise game when there were probably only three to four thousand machines sold (don’t know the actual figures). It would mean selling hardly any copies of the game. Equally, who wants to buy a computer with no software to run on it? A vicious circle which other manufacturers have managed to crack. Enterprise didn’t.


Dear Lloyd,
Have no fear, Lloyd, I am not writing to say that I’m a male chauvinist pig (cause I’m not).

No indeed, I write to congratulate you and thank you for an excellent magazine, that has kept me enthralled enough to pay a pound each month for the last two years and to write this letter.

Yet I am saddened at the loss of Robin Candy and Robin Candy’s Playing Tips, which he brought from puke to pokes (as the saying goes). But wait, let us not talk about this young attractive new tipster by the name of Hannah Smith who has saved Playing Tips and what a great job she has done of it as well and hopefully she will bring it to the highest standard in the future.

I also congratulate you on the PBM mailbox and what a great job Brendon Kavanagh has done of it.

All the other regulars are Brill as well, Merely Mangram, SM’s Frontline, DB’s Adventure Trail, Forum, Tech Niche, Lunar Jetman (how about Terminal Man II) to name but a few. And every one deserves a round of applause Oh Yes! And a special thanks to Graeme Kidd (May his Doctor Marten Boots reign the carpets of CRASH for many a year to come).

Tell Cameron Pound to keep up the good work because his photos complement the reviews like Laurel and Hardy complement each other.
S Davies

Graeme’s boots have certainly ruined over the carpets of CRASH for some time now. Hate to think what his bigger ones are going to do to the lush, hotel-quality pile. Actually, I’d better be good now that he’s turned into another Power That Be’s. (Have you noticed how many times I’ve been passed over in the promotion stakes. Just as well I’m not the sort to moan and complain). LM

And talking of recharging batteries, it’s time to replace the cracked leather dustcover of my Hermes, unlock the chains from the old bicycle, and wend wearily off up the hill to Mangram View Cottage while the rowdier elements of the team like Michael ‘Skippy’ Dunn and Ben (I didn’t get to bed until 6 in the morning last night) Stone join Greyboots Kidd, carpet scourge and bigger than ever bossy boots and Hannah (Flamed out the Raving Dame) Smith in the local hostelry they refer to as the Pig and Ballbearings (would you drink in a place with a name like that)? I wouldn’t — that’s why I’m off home. See you next month...