CRASH

THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

... and what a state it’s in!

There’s this cynical tradition at CRASH that when the editor can’t think what to write in his editorial on the last day before printing he’ll put down some meaningless ‘state of the industry’ musings. These usually turn on the observation that tie-ins and coin-op licences are growing ever more important.

Well, tie-ins and coin-op licences have been growing ever more important since the world was without form and void, because now the software houses can afford to buy licences — and the film producers, TV stations, Garfield grandees and so on are more aware of the marketing possibilities of computer games. Gradual movement into the mainstream of home entertainment... industry coming of age... 16-bit revolution... yawn.

You’ve heard it all before. But then there are only 4,000,000 of you — Spectrum owners, that is. And it’s a different kind of licence we should be thinking about: the TV licence. There are only some 20,000,000 of those in the land, yet look at the attention TV gets — in the national press every day, in the public eye every evening. Why shouldn’t the home computer get that kind of coverage? Why shouldn’t cycling simulators get as much coverage as cycling, a minority spectator sport?

No national newspaper runs regular home-computer features; when they do discuss home computers, it’s usually in stories of the absurd ‘automated house of the future’ strain that resurfaced in the Daily Mail today (February 10). (And it’s usually headlined CHIPS WITH EVERYTHING.)

Or it’s about Jack The Ripper (because it’s 18-rated) or Tetris (because it’s Russian — hey, guys, it’s that crazy crazy glasnost!).

Like it or not, computer games — and the dear old ever-so-British and unfashionably cheap Spectrum — still have a trainspotting image. Only the macho coin-ops pass street-cred’s muster.

Organisations such as the British Micro Federation and the Guild of Software Houses haven’t done much. We can preen and chatter and call our interest — whether it’s a commercial or hobby interest — ‘leisure software’ instead of ‘computer games’ all we like, but only wider awareness of the games themselves will do the trick. And perhaps a shorter, catchier moniker than ‘home computer’ would help!

Perhaps SAM, the cheap new Spectrum-type computer discovered by CRASH and previewed on page 58 will help too; perhaps there’ll be as many monitors as TV sets one day. But till then, why not write to your favourite newspaper and ask it to cover computer games?

REVIEWS

March’s high-fliers

SMASHED!

  • FIREFLY
    Newcomer Special FX proves there’s life in the shoot-’em-up
  • GARFIELD
    That mischievous cartoon cat from The Edge
  • NORTHSTAR
    Superb graphics, sound and Exolon-style space shooting from Gremlin Graphics
  • PLATOON
    The challenging, complex film tie-in lives up to its hype

HOT SHOTS
75% and over...

  • ATF
    Digital Integration zooms in with an advanced fighter
  • THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
    You are the hunted in this sub sim
  • JETBIKE SIMULATOR
    Code Masters Plus prove that more of the same DOES work
  • PHM PEGASUS
    Electroni Arts finally releases a game — a hydrofoil sim!
  • SCUMBALL
    Clean the sewers with this well-polished Bulldog arcade adventure
  • TETRIS
    The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming — but puzzlingly simply

FULL INDEX

  • ATF
    Digital Integration
  • BMX Kidz
    Firebird Silver
  • Captain America
    GO!
  • Energy Warrior
    M.A.D. X
  • Firefly
    Special FX
  • Garfield
    The Edge
  • The Hunt for Red October
    Grand Slam Entertainments
  • Jetbike Simulator
    Code Masters Plus
  • Kikstart II
    Mastertronic
  • The Krypton Factor
    TV Games
  • Los Angeles SWAT
    Entertainment USA
  • Madballs
    Ocean
  • Merlin
    Firebird Silver
  • Microball
    Alternative Software
  • Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix
    Martech
  • Northstar
    Gremlin Graphics
  • PHM Pegasus
    Electronic Arts
  • Piggy
    Top Ten Hits
  • Platoon
    Ocean
  • Rollaround
    Mastertronic
  • Rolling Thunder
    US Gold
  • Scumball
    Bulldog
  • Tetris
    Mirrorsoft